On the way home from our journey, Rhonda and I prepared a presentation to show Neal that had each city’s pros, cons, pictures, and our summaries. It was interesting to compare our pre-trip impression with post-trip. Before we went to Bordeaux, what we liked most was the location and the wine. But once there, the feel of the city just didn’t seem to match our personalities. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely enjoyed the wine…but off the list it went. Next was Toulouse, which from our pre-trip research seemed like an interesting, vibrant medium-sized city with a thriving economy. When we got there, we found just that. And in addition a warm, bustling population of people, beautiful architecture and canals, as well as some amazing food. It felt like a place we could really settle into and call home. OK, on to Montpellier. We were most excited about it’s climate and being right on the Mediterranean. Well if you read that blog post, we weren’t too impressed with the seemingly constant begging there, and so off the list IT went. Next…Lyon. Our impression of Lyon from our online research was that it was a large city full of art, culture, interesting industries, and a mix of old and new. That also held to be true. Lyon was full of opportunities for great food, housing, culture, and had an outstanding public transportation system. It had beautiful architecture and parks, and is in a fantastic location for traveling to other places in France and Europe.
So the two finalists were Toulouse and Lyon. Without much discussion Neal and I knew what the right choice was…Toulouse! I really fell in love with Toulouse and it was hard to leave. It seems like the perfect size and personality for us to settle right in and start our new French life.
So what’s next? Well that’s exactly what we are working on this weekend, and the list is quite extensive. Overwhelming even? It can be. But being the queen of lists, I have started a massive checklist (including little check boxes to indicate completion, of course), and we have organized folders and are coming up with a plan to tackle visas, insurance, housing, new business plans…
So stay tuned for weekly updates on how the list is coming. There is so much to do and it is SO exciting! We are thrilled to have everyone follow along and love to get your comments. And of course we will be excited to have visitors once settled in to our new apartment in Toulouse.