Exploring a perfect French Oasis in the Charente Maritime

Exploring a perfect French Oasis in the Charente Maritime

Spending time with family and friends of all ages and generations together around the table, is one of the many benefits of living in France for Susan Hays!

Loulabelle's FrancoFiles episode 122 - click here to listen

Guest: Susan Hays

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Susan Hays has called France home for a couple of decades and after living all around the world, she agrees that she is living her dream life in the Charente Maritime.

Susan grew up in the UK living in an old farmhouse in her childhood. She attributes her love of old things and her appreciation for old buildings to that upbringing. Life in a small French village has given her children a similar slow childhood to what she experienced in 1970s England and the way she painted the picture of their current life for me was just so beautiful. I was transported to a French village momentarily as I listened to her. I suggest flicking through holiday snaps from regional France whilst tuning into Susan’s chat with me and if you don’t have any of your own flick through mine on Instagram!

In the Charente Maritime Susan loves the climate and the slow life, whilst still having a wonderful cosmopolitan feel. With her 5 children and husband they have a fully bi-lingual household and are completely immersed in French village life.

Susan works hard where she is but says that if you’re doing work that you love, it can still be a dream life. Susan has an online brocante store, a beautiful gite called La Cachette (The Hiding Place) and also runs a business connecting Francophiles to their own little slice of this dream life by helping them find their own French property. Susan gets such satisfaction from helping others match their wishes and needs with the perfect French property. With her eye for design and her ability to see the potential in a house she views, I imagine she would be a huge asset when planning to make the switch to a life in France. Susan also enjoys writing and has published a book of short stories of life in France.

Currently there is a canicule in France, a huge heatwave. I was there for a canicule last summer and it seems the same is occurring again. Maybe this is the new normal for summers in France? Susan spoke of her family’s plans for the afternoon after our interview where she pondered that they might head down to the river to the swimming hole with a picnic of baguettes, figs and other fresh pickings from her jardin, cheeses and a glass of champagne, whilst they cool off and perhaps take the paddle boards. It all sounds idyllic to me!

Susan’s links

Website – Our French Lifestyle

Instagram – @ourfrenchoasis


Susan loves simple food such as French Onion Soup in winter or a ratatouille with produce from the garden in summer.

Soupe à l’oignon


Susan’s kids have control of the radio in the car and whilst they seem to prefer music en Anglais, we have added a song from a fairly modern artist (she’s been around a little while but new compared to the old classics of Piaf!) whose songs are played on current French radio often!

Clara Luciani – Amour Toujours

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