Thank you for being interested in this story and taking the time to read it.
My name is Sebastien, some call me Seb. I am born in France, near Saint-Etienne, close to where the river ‘La Loire’ sprouts. It was in January of the year 1971, born from a French father and a Dutch mother.
They married one year before and divorced one year after my birth. Cultural gaps and misunderstandings helped their social break-down. I grew up with my mum in Holland, never far from Amsterdam. As a child, I would go to my father in France during the school holidays. Thus I grew up in between two almost incompatible cultures.
Empty and lost as a young disillusioned adult, I stopped my classical piano studies at the Utrecht Conservatory, hoping to find a better environment in my birth country. Only there, after arriving in France, an interesting social and cultural learning process began.
Through my mother-country education, I am closer to the Dutch-Anglo-American make-up than the French one. I’ve lived in Holland, Germany, Belgium, England, and Spain, and have spent some time in the US, and am drawn to the Irish culture. I understand these countries quite naturally. They have each significant qualities to offer.
Arriving in France, where I was born and had often been since childhood, I struggled for many years to come to understand the general behaviour. Being able to entirely integrate into French society, even after 25 years, I still haven’t fathomed. Growing up under -20°C snow winters, it still took time for me to adapt physically to the French climate, seasons & fauna.
Although French people have always been welcoming, generous and hospitable to me, in some of the core layers of social connections, an unattainable reservation remained. It seemed to be reserved for some authentic elite. Though I’ve always been accepted and appreciated for what I am, I remain a stranger.
I would describe it as a sense of having all one needs in life. I merely touch the feel of it: being all-sufficient. And honestly, I envy it. I still wish to incorporate the general habits of peace, inspiration, freedom and well-being, as I’ve seen it in what I call the French maturity (Not majority!). It is not about wealth or fortune. It is about a way of life., a path, a way to do things. Rich people all over the world do not have that path of life. Some poor, hard-working local people do have this particular sense of dignity and quality of life.
I don’t know how many people in France actually live the authentic French way. And how many are only trying to integrate a culture that is not really their own? The original blueprint might be rarer and rarer. Many may not even be aware of its existence. Pride, arrogance and selfishness make people blind, even among the French nation. But my fascination for the blueprint remains. What is the origin of this French fulness?
The expression to live like a king or a god in France has a deep cultural and historical significance. It is not about money and wealth. It is not about power or fame. There is a lot of that as well around, but that is not the blueprint. It’s about the country, the people and their history, their native way. A place and a history of events created a special path of life.
Many have desired to conquer France, collectively and individually. Even today many, from lots of different nations, flow into the country, trying to make it their own. Trying to be accepted and integrated. France helps a lot of them. But most will never understand the nature of the local people.
Coming from an artistic and musical background, I discovered something in the air. Magic is in the air. Artists succeeded once they came to this land, especially the south. Why? There is fulness, sufficiency, beauty, harmony, simplicity, inspiration, riches, colour, flavour, style, in many ways and many areas. Mother nature, human culture, landscapes, people. Even simple food is different. Cheese, bread, wine, sausages, spices, tomatoes, peaches, … everything seems to have a different taste in France. Try and bring it back to your home country, it will taste differently. Not always, but often. Not for everyone! But for the sensitive and cultivated.
France owns the art of living. Know-how to produce excellence and dignity, know-how to appreciate it, know-how to recognize and appreciate qualities in people. They have a natural feeling for timing and rhythm. Of course, in the restless Monday morning traffic of Paris, it will be hard to imaging this. But it is there also, in the midst of horning cars and yelling drivers. Unless that’s all you can see.
And of course, obviously enough, there is also the complete opposite of excellence and dignity. We can be easily blinded by the somewhat chaotic, arrogant, and insensitive national tendencies, especially when we are used to a peaceful and well organized, comfortable country. But this only confirms the mystery. It took me time to understand that fineness and cultivated beauty are deeply related and rooted in primary bruteness and wholehearted insensitivity. One calls for the other.
I am aware that unfortunately, globalization and mixed cultures make old forged quality and tradition disappear, blending into one multi-national society. Most people want to copy the modern lifestyle, looking for luxury, fortune, and success, thus accepting to miss out on struggle, merit, and meaning, which in my eyes are the true lessons of life, worth more than material riches.
Many big get bigger, many small disappear or are forced to conform, speaking about culture. But let it be, while the big get bigger, that those who desire to express another way of life, would be able to preserve that freedom, and still express what they have. I will try to put the spotlight on whatever I find worthy of the label: “French-Authentic-Quality.”
How the site works
I am a writer, with a love for artistic expression and creativeness. I am not a program-driven touristic information database. You won’t get a list of 24,000 results on a search. In France, there is simply too much to do and discover to put everything into one website and give it proper attention. I will try to do things the French way, meaning on the feel of it, with a sense of balance and harmony.
I will make selections, and write about places and events I suppose are worthy to be spoken of. Parallel to that, you will have the possibility to look for nearby villas to rent if you are interested.
You may want to look through:
Looking at villas, going through pictures and descriptions.
Looking at different places, to discover.
I present regions and places.
This also includes an agenda of important events.
3. TOURISTIC ACTIVITIES
Or you may want to look through a list of touristic activities to stimulate ideas for your stay.
I work together with partner companies. These partners offer the service of villa renting. Our cooperation is commission based. If you get to book your holidays with one of my partners, connecting to them through this website, I get 5% commission on an eventual booking, when you return from your stay. The price of your booking will by no means be any more expensive. Partners simply share 5% of their income with publishers, whenever it leads to sales.
I want to work hard to facilitate your research on holidays in France, and desire to provide you with the most accurate information possible. The website will be more and more complete. In the future, I will also create ebooks that will contain technical and practical local information, in order for you to make the best use of your precious time and investments. And hopefully, you will want to come back another time. If you’re happy, we’re happy, and we all profit.