“But you are in France Madame!”

“But you are in France Madame!”

Catherine Berry moved her family to live on the Annecy lake and now owns a maison in Talloires. Divine!

Loulabelle's FrancoFiles - episode 39

Guest: Catherine Berry

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Author Catherine Berry fascinated me with her story of her journey to live a French life with her family.

Catherine made the decision to only speak French to her infant son which prompted her and  her husband to pull up stumps and head to France to live.

When her children were aged 6, 9 and 12 they moved to France with no work planned and no support network. They had a house arranged and found a l’école for les enfants but the rest was a fabulous adventure! They chose to live in or around Annecy near the Swiss border, rather than Paris or a main city. They wanted to feel a part of a community and immerse themselves in a town not too big, but not too small.

I loved hearing the story of how the children settled into school, how they found houses to rent and the challenges of buying property. Catherine’s tips for making such a purchase will prove invaluable to FrancoFilers who are planning to make that leap at some stage!

Getting used to a different style of life I imagine was challenging, even though it was clearly something Catherine and her family wanted to engage in. Catherine wrote an article published in the France Today newsletter mentioning some difficulties such as finding accommodation, buying a car, understanding the school stationery list, driving on the right side of the road (but the wrong for us Australians) and even doing research without an Internet connection. But then that was followed up with delightful highlights: being surrounded by real mountains, not Australian-sized ones, in the middle of which was a lake and a town with canals, old stones, disorder, colourful markets, strange opening hours and different light and smells.

Catherine’s books But You Are in France Madame and the sequel Weaving a French Life tell the story of your journey in France and are terrific reading for anyone curious about what such a shift would be like.

Now whilst Catherine is in Australia her house in Talloires near Annecy is available as a holiday rental. I just love following her Instagram account for the house OUR FRENCH VILLAGE HOUSE. The pics in the posts are divine and just make my heart ache to return to France! She also has another Insta account named for her book BUT YOU ARE IN FRANCE MADAME. Both accounts just beautifully help keep a connection to France for us all.



Living in the mountains there is much food perfect for the cold weather! Catherine mentioned one of her fave French foods is a Tartiflette. This is a wonderful gratin dish of diced cooked potato, sautéed bacon lardons with onion and dry white wine all piled together and baked with lashings of Reblochon style cheese, a washed rind cheese with a très fabuleux nutty flavour.


Catherine read a paragraph from her book “But You are in France Madame” about how she and her husband heard a Lily Allen song which really struck a chord with the challenges of the experience they were going through. Catherine also discovered a song that Lily Allen sings which is half in French.

Lily Allen et Ours avec 22 (or Vingt Deux)

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