France, House Sitting, Pet sitting

Provence, France – two cats (and their many friends!)

Sommieres, Provence

Provence in France is a very beautiful area and we were excited about this house sitting location.

Our home owner collected us from Marseilles Airport, while his wife, Marolijn was at home cooking us a scrumptious meal.  A delicious start to this house sitting assignment.

Their pet cats, Lola and Pedro, were not as excited to meet us, especially Pedro who ran away at the sight of us.

Lola – The Queen

Pedro was described by the owners as being half-feral and is very nervous of all visitors. As the days went past, Pedro slowly came to trust us and I felt a great achievement when he let me pat him.

Lola (aka The Queen) is a different story. She accepted us very quickly and slept on our bed on the first night after the home owners had left for their holiday to Holland.

Besides feeding and caring for Lola and Pedro, I would like to say we gave them lots of cuddles, but they were not those kind of cats. We were required to maintain the beautiful 10 x 6 metre pool and water the garden and many pot plants. An air conditioner technician visited three times and this gave Glenn an opportunity to practice his high school French! We also had to liase and pay the gardener that came to mow the lawns and prune the trees as well as the cleaner for the house who both came weekly.

One of our assigned duties each night was to have both Lola and Pedro inside overnight and ‘lock’ the cat flap so none of the cats from next door (about 20 of them) could come inside to sleep or eat Lola and Pedro’s food.

Lola was no problem, but Pedro was a different story. He generally only came inside to eat. So when he would come in late in the evening, we would quickly run over and lock the cat flap. Pedro was very unhappy and made his feelings clear by meowing loudly.

Pedro relaxing in the Olive tree

We were quite successful in keeping the neighbours cats out during our two and a half week sit, there was only 2 mornings where we were greeted by an ‘extra’ pussycat sleeping on the sofa!

Our home owners were wonderful and encouraged us to go out and explore the local area. We had use of their cars and they also provided us with lots of brochures and information about places to see and recommendations for restaurants. This is one of the fantastic ‘benefits’ of house sitting – the local knowledge they share with you.

Some of the things we did during the many days exploring the surrounding area were:

  • For the very  first time we saw Pink Flamingos in the wild at the Camargue.
  • French bull fighting (Course Camarguise). It’s not what you think and the bull does not get harmed (here’s a link to our travel blog about it).
  • 2000 year old Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard
  • Seaside resorts Le Grau-du-Roi and La Grande-Motte
  • Nimes Amphitheatre, built in 70AD and is much better preserved than the Colosseum in Rome (it is still used for concerts and entertainment)
  • Aigues Mortes a well preserved medieval city that you need to add to your bucket list
  • Avignon (here’s a link to our blog about this visit) plus many more interesting places.

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There is also an expat group called BritsNimes that hold activities all year around and we got involved with a lunch meet-up and a guided walk through the countryside, on an unseasonally hot day in June – 33 degrees Celsius.

Beautiful French countryside for our walk with the BritsNimes walking club

I can’t end this post without mentioning the food.

I love bread, especially baguettes, and the French do this the best. We found many reasonably priced restaurants and we had a delicious 3 course lunch for $20 pp.

Oh, and I almost forgot the ice-cream – a double thumbs up from me.

We had a lovely time house sitting and explore this region and look forward to hopefully returning next year.

What the home owners said“…They take on the responsibilities very professionally, are fully trustworthy and were the perfect house guests….”

Click here to see the full reference

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