La belle France

Our little family of three moved to France in 2010. We traveled, ate a lot of cheese, drank some wine, often frequented our local boulangerie, traveled some more, welcomed a baby boy to our family and in general enjoyed almost every last minute until the time came to return to the United States.

While in France we lived in Clermont-Ferrand in central France, surrounded by long-dormant volcanoes. The capital of the Auvergne region, Clermont-Ferrand is famous for cheese, such as Bleu d'Auvergne, Cantal, Fourme d'Ambert and Saint-Nectaire. The economy is based on agriculture, but the tire industry may come a close second, as Michelin has its world headquarters in CF. Clermont is also famous for hosting one of the world's leading international festivals for short films, the Festival du Court Metrage de Clermont-Ferrand. In addition, the famous mathematician, physicist, and philosopher Blaise Pascal was born there in 1623.

Femme au Foyer means housewife in French. I was very fortunate to be able to concentrate on being a wife and a mother during our time in France, and the description of femme au foyer grew on me to where it wasn't just a line on my carte de séjour but also the title of this blog. Plus, I like being a femme!

While in France, we took advantage of the shorter travel distances (when compared to the US) and took several vacations, to Spain, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, England, Latvia, Germany, Norway, Andorra, Greece and Luxembourg. We also found time to visit many corners of France, including Normandy, Île de France (Paris), the Languedoc, the Midi-Pyrénées, Provence, the Aquitane (Bordeaux), the Rhône-Alps (Lyon) and Limousin.

But the best thing about living in France was the everyday; learning the language and culture of an area rich in history and scenery. Our time in Clermont-Ferrand came to an end much too soon, and  our slightly bigger family moved back to the United States, to the state of South Carolina. Not a volcano in sight, however the foothills of the Appalachians are nearby...

I hope every Franco-phile, expatriate, re-patriate, world-traveler, English-speaking mom/mom-to-be in France, every reader that stumbles upon this blog - I hope you can find something of value in our experience. S'amuser!

To assist in navigating this site, I've arranged some of my more informative posts about life in France into several topics.

Puy de Dome, the Amboise Fountain, Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Le Mur de Sarassins, Hôtel Fontdfreyde and FRAC

Day trips from Clermont-Ferrand
Vichy, Royat, Mont-Dore and Bourboule, the Plateu of Gergovie, Parc Naturel Regional Livradois-Forez and Thiers, Lac de GuéryPuy des Goules, Super-Lioran and Murat, Montpeyroux, Lac Aydat, Riom and Puy Mary

Travel in France
Lyon, Millau, Gorge du Tarn, Le Puy-en-Velay, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Annecy, Fort Louvois, Bordeaux, Île de Ré, La Rochelle, Normandy, Nîmes, Cassis, Avignon, Pont du Gard, Sète, Carcassonne, Fontainbleau, Chatenet, Besançon, Chamonix, Rocamadour, Dijon and Mont-St-Michel

French culture
Christmas in the Auvergne, Tour de France, the flea market, Art in the city, May 1st, eating in France, the French seven course meal, Sophie the giraffe and April 1st or poisson d'Avril

Food related posts
Frais & doux (sour cream), Jour dês crepes (Candlemas day), œufs blancs (white eggs), a week of vinaigrette (on food not found in France and a simple vinaigrette), tomato paste (on conversion and translation errors), the seven courses of a French dinner, truffade, raclette, Kouign Amann, King cake

About life in general
Happy New Year!!! (First impressions on France, my very first post!)
Returning to France after time in the US

Being a mother in France
Prenatal care in France
Differences between the US and France in prenatal care
Packing for an overseas move with young children


  1. WE are considering retiring to France from the UK and are therefore looking at buying a hose somewhere in the Bourbonnais, or Allier region so I have found reading your blog fascinating. Thank you

  2. Great blog!! I'm currently pregnant with our first child and we've been wanting to live in Europe (possibly France) for a while. We moved from Manhattan to Wilmington, NC 4 months ago for me to have an easy pregnancy close to family. But we're getting so antsy. The baby is almost here and now we want to leave. How easy was it for you to travel with your little ones? How old were your little ones when you started traveling? Thanks!

    1. Thanks Ryan, and congrats on the expected addition to the family! To answer your question, we started traveling with both the boys when they were really young. Mikus went on a grand tour of Provence when he was one month old (, and both boys were only six months or so when we made the transatlantic move. That being said, we didn't want to take them on planes in the first months (where they could be exposed to all sorts of viruses and colds), and I had great support from family and friends. Traveling with small children is difficult, but rewarding - and it is only what you make of it. Good luck!

  3. Hi Liene, #AllAboutFrance linky is now open again if you'd like to link up a couple of your posts about France. Are you on Twitter? I like to tweet out reminders.


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