Starting a new life in France

Bonjour Mes Amis


First, let me introduce myself, I'm Lisa Wills, a British born Australian, former Chief Finance Officer and public servant from Melbourne. About 18 months ago me and my partner Richard decided that we'd like a new life and are now living the dream in St Antonin Noble Val, South West France running a bed and breakfast called La Résidence.


In the months before we moved to France we did a lot of research about life and business and to be completely honest we were overwhelmed. Now that we are here it’s still sometimes overwhelming but we’ve had some great advice and support along the way and life’s slowly getting easier.


In my blogs I'll share our experience of moving to another country and running a bed and breakfast business, the good and the bad, condensed into manageable bite size pieces.


To start with, let me tell you how we came to make the decision to turn our lives upside down. Full credit must go to Fidel Castro. In November 2016 while we were on holiday in Cuba, the revolutionary leader and former President of Cuba died.


Out of respect for their leader Cuba went into a nine-day period of mourning and everything closed. This included museums, shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs; the sale of alcohol was banned and even internet access, already scare was hard to find.


We were in Santa Clara, Cuba’s most revolutionary town at the moment his death was announced. Apart from watching locals scurrying about painting the town in anticipation of Castro’s final journey through Cuba to his resting place in Santiago de Cuba there was absolutely nothing to do.


We managed to ‘hire’ a private taxi back to Havana thinking that there would be something open for tourists. A few bars close to the cruise ship terminal were allowed to stay open but they soon ran out of beer and rum. We spent the last few days of our holiday with lots of time on our hands and, relaxed from an extraordinary trip we began to reflect on our life and dreams for the future.


Faced with returning to work with often long hours, too much office politics and not enough time for each other we started to think about what else we could do for the next ten to fifteen years to see us through to retirement. We’ve always loved those TV shows about starting a new life so selling up and moving to Europe was soon top of the list. The rest is history… or at last the subject of future blogs.


Hopefully if you’re planning to do the same, just curious about how we go or have already made the change, you’ll find our story interesting. We will be truly grateful for your support and advice along the way and of course we'd love to see you at La Résidence.


Just one more thing, social media is completely new to me and I'm learning more each day. Please be patient and I'll get better as I go.


Best wishes




Write a comment

Comments: 6
  • #1

    Sammi Bulmer (Wednesday, 22 August 2018 23:25)

    I am looking forward to coming along on your new journey.
    I hope it is a huge success with loads of wonderful memories.

  • #2

    Robyn Gilbertson (Thursday, 23 August 2018)

    I am so envious Lisa! How fantastic to make your dream reality in less than 2 years. I look forward to future blogs from you xx

  • #3

    Dave Childs (Thursday, 23 August 2018 09:47)

    What a great read, you are doing what so many people want to do, talk about, but never do. Well done guys.
    La Residence looks amazing and we cant wait to visit next month x

  • #4

    Lola Langhtaler (Thursday, 23 August 2018 10:13)

    I have dreaming to do something similar, looks like a great experience. I am seriously thinking about taking a sabbatical and come to see you and go wherever the freshair takes me. I wish you all the best.

  • #5

    James Streckfuss (Thursday, 23 August 2018 18:00)

    Based on our all-too-brief stay with you last month, you’re certainly learning the ropes fast and making it look very easy.

  • #6

    Kylie Pearse (Friday, 24 August 2018 12:24)

    Hello you two!

    How amazing Lisa and Richard. I am so pleased for you both and I can't wait to read all about it.

    I remember with such fondness our bus commute Lisa and you telling me all your plans... And now you are there - Congratulations!! I wish you both success and happiness.... xxx

Suivez-nous sur les médias sociaux pour en savoir plus sur notre belle région de France.

Follow us on social media to learn more about our beautiful part of France.

Lisa Wills and Richard Lane, La Résidence, 37 rue Droite, 82140 St Antonin Noble Val, France

Tel: +33 (0) 5 63 67 37 56