As a self-proclaimed urbanite who doesn’t like to be too far away from her iPhone or internet access, it’s surprising to me how many photos of nature have ended up on this blog. But part of the reason I came here was to see France, not just Paris, so off I go on the various trips and excursions my host family makes during the weekends. Saturday evening and Sunday were spent in a small French village in the Pays-de-la-Loire region, and I think I must have been the only American around for miles. We were visiting with my host dad’s grandparents; they’re in their late 80s-early 90s, married for 65 years, and are still incredibly active. His grandmother still likes to do everything herself, and we attended his grandfather’s final concert with the band for which he plays the trumpet (he told me he’s played for eighty years!).
Formerly the purveyors of apples from their orchard, they grow a good deal of their own food. Over the three meals we spent there, the menu included grapes and lettuce grown in their garden, in which also grows tomatoes and hazelnuts. Of course, when we went over to fish in the pond near the orchard, munching on a few tree-fresh apples was a must! The roses, like the one above, are the grandfather’s special project now that he doesn’t work in the orchard, and they’re absolutely stunning.
The approach to food and healthy living is certainly one of the things I’m going to miss most about France when I’m finally forced to leave, and perhaps that’s the secret to their longevity. Even in a big city like Paris, everything is fresh and seriously everyone I’ve met are great cooks!
Where have you found the way of living you liked best or found healthiest?

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