Finding dragonflies & dreams in a 300 year old maison!

Finding dragonflies & dreams in a 300 year old maison!

We don't often think about the wildlife in France, but I'm discovering some like this dragonfly at Lindy's pond, are just exquisite!

Loulabelle's FrancoFiles episode 43

Guest: Lindy Viandier

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Lindy  Viandier chatted to me about her journey from being a nurse in Wales to renovating a 300 year old maison with her French husband in Burgundy.

Lindy recalls her mother wearing ‘Evening in Paris’ perfume when she was a child. It came in a tiny midnight blue flacon. The label had the French translation, ‘soir de Paris’ and the name ‘Bourjois’. Lindy said, “To me this was the height of glamour and fuelled my desire to visit Paris, so when I had the opportunity to visit aged 17, I was thrilled and immediately fell under her spell.”

Skip over a lifetime in between and Lindy’s daughter requested to have a French exchange student come stay. It turned out to be a cultural exchange with both the teenager and her father who Lindy ended up marrying!

They now live between Paris and Burgundy, although Lindy is spending much more time in the country house these days. Lindy has called the house ‘Les Libellules’ in the ‘Cote d’or’ region of Burgundy, midway between Paris and Lyon. Les Libellules means ‘The Dragonflies’ as the house has a pond, known as a mare, with an abundance of wildlife including spectacular dragonflies along with frogs, toads and endangered ‘Crested Newts’.

Lindy has also named her upcoming book for the experience of nature at the maison, Damson Skies and Dragonflies.

Lindy chatted to me about her experience renovating her 300 year old home. As an avid viewer of Escape to the  Château DIY I was hanging on every word! Lindy said, “let’s just say insects feature heavily, as do crumbling walls, and some interesting discoveries.” Lindy felt connected to the house straight away, love at first sight, right from when she saw a photo on a property website. Quoting from Lindy’s book “I feel like I’m part of the fabric of the house, I know that I’m now part of her history as much as she is part of mine. We are bound together for a brief moment in time.”

Lindy’s suggestions for choosing a property in France:

List your priorities when choosing an area. France is quite a big country with a wide range of terrain, so you need to decide if you want to be near the coast, in the mountains, near to a city, or in the countryside like us. France also has a range of climates, with very cold winters and a lot of snow in the mountains, very hot and sunny on the Mediterranean and southerly Atlantic coasts, and a lot of rain on the Brittany and Normandy coasts.

Transport links are also a consideration if you need to be within reasonable distance from an airport, train station, motorway or any particular city, eg Paris.

Visit during the tourist season. Visit the area during August, especially if you have chosen a popular tourist destination such as the Cote d’Azur or the Dordogne, as it can become very crowded with lots of traffic congestion. Likewise for the Alpine regions where it is best to visit them at the height of the ski season to ensure the peak occupation is not too much for you!

Listen to my wonderfully warm chat with Lindy to hear more about how her life has changed from a very fast-paced existence in a major city jumping on and off metros and jostling crowds, to living in a sleepy little hamlet where one could walk from one end to the other in ten minutes! The friendships she has made, the sense of strong community in the French countryside, the living without almost all mod cons a whilst renovating the house, living an almost entirely French life married to a Frenchman with three grown-up French step-children, working in France since 2009, and with French nationality now, her journey is fascinating and beautifully familiar at the same time. Maybe that’s just because I’ve dreamed about such a life in my own mind!

Lindy’s tips for learning the French language in this article:

7 tips for improving your French that don’t involve language books

Lindy’s instagram pics here!


Coquilles St Jacques


La Mer – Charles Trenet

Lindy’s fave is La Mer as she danced to it at her wedding but she also recommends the music of former tennis player Yannick Noah!

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