Sunday, June 5, 2016

Love from the Lozere

I still remember the first time Florian told me about the Lozere.  We had been dating for about two months when one night out of the blue he said to me "there is somewhere that I want to take you, somewhere that is really special to me, somewhere that I have never taken anyone before... the Lozere."  Although I had studied French geography in high school and college I had no idea where this seemingly "magical place" could be.  I remember Googling the Lozere that night and learning that it was a small department located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southeastern France.  Although the pictures on Google looked beautiful, I couldn't quite understand at the time why Florian wanted to take me there of all places.  It wasn't until later when he told me, "in order to understand who I am, I need you to see where I come from" that I understood the importance of visiting this little department that Florian often referred to as le paradis.

Broom Shrubs in Full Bloom

Although my husband was born in Paris and raised in Bordeaux his entire family comes from the Lozere and surrounding region.  Ask Florian where he is from and he will proudly tell you that he is "Lozerien."  After all, the Lozere is where his ancestors lived.  It is where he spent his summer vacations hiking, swimming, and grilling with his extended family.  It is where he first learned to fish and to drive.  The Lozere is where Florian created some of his best and fondest childhood memories.  So naturally, when in June 2014 (almost three years after he first spoke to me about the Lozere) I got the chance to go I was so excited.  I felt like I was discovering a side of Florian that I had never been able to discover before.

View of the Village

I'll never forget that first trip to the Lozere because it was truly magical.  We spent two weeks in a beautiful former one-room schoolhouse turned second home (now owned by Florian's parents) which is nestled up on a hilltop in a village of only nine houses.  The whole experience felt like something out of a Marcel Pagnol novel.  With mountains, and rivers, and streams, the Lozere was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.  It was also during this trip that I came to understand where Florian had developed his patient and gentle manner and where he had cultivated his love for nature.  It was also in the Lozere, up on a mountaintop at sunset, that Florian asked me to be his wife.  A place that I had never heard of a few short years ago was now a place I would never forget.

Celebrating our Engagement in June 2014 with Champagne

Due to our American wedding last June using up all of Florian's vacation time, we didn't get a chance to return to the Lozere in 2015- something that was very hard for Florian.  Therefore, it was essential to both of us that we made the time to get out there this summer.  Although a mandatory appointment with the Office of Immigration cut my time in the Lozere short, Florian and I didn't let that stop us from enjoying every second together. We woke up every morning and enjoyed our coffee on the front steps overlooking the hilltops, we spent lazy afternoons reading in the sun and hiking in the nearby woods, and we spent our nights cuddled up by a fire drinking mint tisanes made with leaves fresh from the garden.  It was sheer bliss.

Former School House turned Second Home

Although I was sad to leave it wasn't until I arrived back in Bordeaux that I realized that I, too, had fallen completely under the charm of the Lozere.  I miss the fresh mountain air, the slow pace of life, and the feeling of being able to completely "disconnect" as wifi and cell phone reception up there are nonexistent.  Although I've only been there twice I find myself longing to go back. I dream of bringing my friends and family members to the Lozere and I find myself wanting to share this little slice of "paradis" with all the people that are special to me-- much like Florian did when he first took me there.  So, if you ever find yourself in Southeastern France, take a detour through the Mountains and visit this little department that captured my heart.  Just don't forget to send your love!


  1. Thank you for sharing your little slice of paradise with us. It read like a true love story...

    1. Hi Catherine,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed reading about my little slice of paradise. I had a lot of fun writing this post and already can't wait for our next trip out there next summer! :)

  2. What a romantic story! It must have meant a lot for Florian to propose to you in a place to which he is so connected. The Lozère is not that far from us (three hours' drive maybe), but we barely know it. Something we must rectify.

    1. Hi Vanessa!
      Thank you so much for your comment. The Lozere most definitely is, and always will be, a special place for me and Florian. If you ever get a chance to check it out I would highly recommend it. Florian's family is from near Florac, but I can highly recommend the Gorges du Tarn, Mendes, and Cevennes National Park. :)

  3. I love how most French have a place they feel they come from more than the place they were born or grew up. Lozère looks lovely, I don't know it at all but I can relate to how romantic it must be for you. Thanks for sharing this with #AllAboutFrance

    1. Hi Pheobe!
      Thank you so much for your comment. I, too, love how the French identify so strongly with their family heritage even if it's not necessarily a place where they were born and raised. The Lozere is such a lovely department. If you ever get a chance to visit it I would highly recommend it! :)