Guest Notes for Episode 314: Renovating Houses in France

Categories: French Customs & Lifestyle, Moving to France, Provence

Discussed in this Episode

  • Uzès
  • Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie
  • Montpellier
  • Paru Vendu
  • Le Bon Coin
  • Green Acres
  • Sabbatical Homes
  • Sauve

Suzanne Saxe-Roux

Yes 3 homes all different

– Village maison fixer

– apt in montpellier- remodeled

– our forever home in sauve

Book: Courage and Croissants, Inspiring Joyful Living, A Story and Life Guidebook

Your book is listed under self-help, motivational, marriage and healthy living overtones. NOT a genre I know anything about or read. I’ll mention the book and your blog in the intro I’ll record, but I want to talk about buying and remodeling homes in France.

Basic Show Outline:

  • My husband and I (and daughter once she was born) have been traveling to France for 25 years).
  • Landed after year 2 in the south of France in a village called St. Quentin-la-Poterie, 4 Km from Uzes and visited yearly for 20 years and lived there fulltime for 3 years when our daughter was 5.
  • My husband is from South Africa/ Nambia – French orgin and I’m from California. We actually met traveling and living in Israel. We have lived in San Francisco, Marin county and are now moving permanently to France in our forever home.

What to Share

  • We love the Uzes area or what is called Uzege. At the time we first discovered it, it was still unknown and just developing. I think we were the 2nd American family that landed there.
  • Going back in history, we purchased a Maison de Village in St. Quentin la-Poterie and spent about 15 years fixing it up every summer- painting, stripping, etc. and then getting some builders to renovate bathrooms, and the cave.
  • Quentin-la-Poterie is a special town as it is made up of over 20 plus potters who are open year round. In addition, the village has great pottery faires and a special one in May for all their seconds. If you are in the town then, make sure to go. Since we moved there the town has grown and expanded, but has it’s small village charm. There are restaurants that are changing so our favorite is no longer there anymore. The Bar du Marche is right off the main parking area and a local favorite for drinks and lunch. On Friday’s they have a nice market and great place to hangout and shop if you are looking for a less crowded market.
  • Uzes is the village of about 8,000 people and growing that is situated in a perfect circle with the best Saturday market in the region. The entire inside of the perimeter is pedestrians only with many restaurants and boutiques. Last year when we were there, a few of our favorites had changed and I fear with Covid 10 more will. One of my favorites in the middle of the town square is Le Terroir, in the Place d’herbes. They have great open faced sandwiches that are fantastic open for breakfast and lunch. Quite a gathering spot.
  • Jan 15 they have the Truffles market where vendors around the area come to sell their truffles and demonstrate how the pigs find them.
  • French classes: When we lived there I studied with a woman, Maryse Tonnilier who has a growing school I highly recommend. She has small groups and also focuses on different themes. She’s become a great friend, has visited us and her daughter became our au pair for a summer.
  • Pt Du Gard – One of our favorite places to hike is the Pt du Gard. It is an amazing Roman acqueduct that crosses the Gard River. When we first got there it was still being discovered and we were able to climb on the very top aqueduct. Now it is a heritage site and more guarded, but still amazing. A great secret to getting to the Pt Du Gard is to park by Castillion du Gard off the road and cross the street and hike about 1 mile to Pt. Du Gard. The trail is easy to follow and you go through olive tree orchards, gardens, and a park. Along the way are more Roman ruins. Definitely cross the Pt du Gard and hangout at the river.
  • Canoeing down Pt du Gard. Start at Collias and leave your car, bring a picnic and canoe about 8 km past the Pt du Gard. You are picked up there. Plan an entire day to stop , swim, picnic, and enjoy the time on the river.
  • Nimes – about 30- 45 min through beautiful small roads and vineyards, over the river and into town. Visit the colessum and walk around the pedestrian area for shopping
  • Montpellier – 1.15 min away-
    Visit the old town, big outdoor gathering in middle of the square and park every Friday night in the summer
    Arc de Triomphe
  • Palavas Les Flots – beach with old fishing boats, great mussels and frites,
    Go to the far end on the Rive Gauche for fewer crowds, You can usually get parking as they have added parking lots on the edge of the Camargue
  • Carnon – bigger yachts and nice beaches, less crowded,
  • GrandMotte – very very crowded

New Area discovering:

Sauve / Quissac –

Sits below the Cevennes mountains for great hiking.

Purchased our Forever Home in Sauve as it is a great small town of 2,000, we can walk to town, and got the house we wanted meeting all our criteria including a guest cottage.

Sauve reminds us of St. Quentin-la Poterie, but not as sophisticated (almost like it iwas 20 years ago). They have great musical concerts in the summer and are known for those. There is a great restaurant called Restaurant de Gare (the old train station) that has fantastic lunches at good prices. On top of the old village is also a great restaurant started by a women from France. She served an amazing oriental salad that we have been back for 3 times.

Sauve is famous for the Mer de Rocher – sea of Rocks, a 1. 5 km hike above the village that is all rocks and has a history from the medieval times of people hiding from conquerors. It is also the place in which

General Experience:

  • Try to spend as long as you can in France in one place. Recommend renting a house for at least a week and taking day trips .
  • Buying property in France as an American.
  • Staying in a village that you can walk to for coffee and patisserie. Large farm houses are great for big families as well.
  • It is hot in the summer, so stay somewhere with a pool/ near a river/ ocean or go in off season
  • All seasons are great!
  • Look at postcards and see what you like and go visit it. Often these postcards are small places local to a region and may not be easily found in a book or on the internet.
  • Take a class in painting, cooking, French. Get immersed
  • Going with kids is a great experience for everyone (and without kids)

Book and Website/ Blog

My husband and I wrote the book, Courage and Croissants, Inspiring Joyful Living, available on Amazon.

This itself was a journey as well. Below is background and information on the book.

Our Website and Blog is
(extensive ideas on older Blogs when we lived there) offers lots of information on the area, traveling in the Languedoc-Rousillon area and creating your own dreams.

In addition, we have a Cottage 2 bedroom next to our house in Sauve for rent and or on home exchange with shared pool.

Growing up we were told we could have it all, the American Dream—challenging careers, a rewarding marriage, financial success, increasing amounts of leisure time and even children if we wanted.

Much has changed since 1931 when “The American Dream” was first coined by James Turslow Adams in his book, The Epic of America. Over the past 40 years, the American Dream slowly evolved into devoting your life to your work at all costs. By 2005, the catalyst organization reported that 83% of households had two working adults earning income outside the home and approximately half of those households have children under 18, a 63% increase since 1950. This shift in lifestyle alone has drastically changed how Americans spend their time. Life has become about developing one’s career, living and breathing work, and doing household chores.

Courage and Croissants is the story and a life guidebook of a mid-life, dual-career couple with a young daughter who took the risk to go in search of what was truly important to them. At its heart is a love of family and the desire for a better quality of life. It is a story for anyone who has ever wondered—is there more to life? It’s a story and a guidebook about knowing when it is time to compose a different life experience, having the courage to make dreams happen, embracing the simple joys of living, and focusing on what is important in life. It is about learning the French secret to living with Joie de Vivre wherever you might be.

Courage and Croissants begins with the couple’s search for balance, and clarity in a hectic modern world. Reeling from the stress of life as a dual career couple with a young daughter, they decided to give up a life that was full of status but lacking in sanity. They left the housecleaner and gardener behind, along with the SUVs, moving instead to a small village in the South of France. They would take time to live simply, reassess, learn and grow as a family, be invigorated for the next phase of life and learn from the French what Joie de Vivre really looks like.

Courage and Croissants reads like a novel and includes a focused guidebook on how to create the life you want to live. The sections include; Part I: Old Ways, Part II: Transition, Part III: New Ways; Healthy Living, Sensuality, Art and Creativity, Travel and Adventure, Part IV: Life Lessons and Moving Forward, and Part V: Guidebook – 14 key Tips. Through their stories, the reader finds themselves transported to a place in which they can begin to find small and big ways to live with greater joy and balance.

Courage and Croissants is for everyone from 35-65, who is thinking that life needs to shift—whether they need a break from the stresses of modern living, are nearing retirement, yearn for time with their family, want to make some simple choices to bring back more joy in their life or are just tired of the rat race. Not only does it take the reader on the journey of one family’s in-depth look at what living with Joie de Vivre really means, it provides guided tips, inspiration and education for those looking to make small and big changes in their lives. It is a narrative guidebook appealing to career professionals who love to grow and learn, adventuress parents, pre-retirees and retirees, armchair travelers, and those who love to travel and experience a different side of life.

St. Remy Press  –


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Categories: French Customs & Lifestyle, Moving to France, Provence