Moving back to France

As the end of the year is fast approaching so is our time to leave …Buying 2 one way tickets to France for January 6th made it very real. This is happening and it is coming up fast . We wanted to thank all of you who were so kind to invite us for a glass of wine or out to dinner; it was very touching but we just never got a minute and are running out of time.

When we closed our business end of September we thought we would have plenty of time to pack and then enjoy a vacation or take a road trip, visit friends in Oregon ….But it took us already 2 weeks to completely empty the shop before we even started at home. As organized as we were, we packed for 2 months straight, until the night before movers came…and then it was the week before Christmas ! This is our very first year not working so we appreciated this time very much … but we miss seeing you all ! Christmas in our shop was always our favorite time ; there were no more boxes to unpack or new displays to move around, just taking care and spending time with our customers. Last Christmas was the most special because we knew it was our last… Covid made it challenging but having only 3 persons maximum allowed us to have real conversations with everyone, no rush handling 12 people at the same time…it was wonderful ! You didn’t know it yet …we could not tell yet but it was a really special Christmas to us . On the night of the 24th ,when I turned the key to the front door and saw people in the street looking at our window lights , decorations and how magical our little place looked like, it hit me like a rock … this had been our last Christmas. I took some chocolates to give to the hard working staff at Cardellino restaurant , they gave me ice-cream and that made me totally melt. I jumped on my bicycle and cried all the way back home my heart full and aching at the same time . Wishing you to have a full heart this Holiday Season 💖🎄✨

Christmas Eve 2020

I will spare you all the details but this move is not just moving from house to house , it is a lot more complicated. Each day was totally overwhelming us. The load of work was huge , so much to consider, to think of, plan …not only before to ship but how we would handle it on the other side when it arrives in France ( and there are still a lot of question marks on that matter ) It was like trying to put together a giant Rubik’s cube which gave us many sleepless nights and anguish mornings. Sorting ,making sure all was well packed, safe from handling, humidity on the long boat ride in winter , possible mice…inventory it all for French customs, file paperwork…. We had saved all the packing material we received for a year, a room full of heavy duty cardboard boxes, bubble wrap in all sizes, foam, heavy crushed paper, rolls of paper…it looked pretty crazy to have that much but 127 Costco boxes later and 30 more cardboard boxes, we had used almost everything!

What ever could not fit in a box would either go in our old VW Bus or in crates we had specifically made. Pascal is rebuilding engines in his spare time… we joked that it would have been much easier if he had been collecting stamps !

Moving day …Friends came to help movers and emptied the storage in 35 minutes !

Max and his guys from San Diego Premium Moving were incredible and we highly recommend them if you ever need movers . They were not only everything we would expect from great professional movers but also upfront, responsive and more than fairly priced. They had come the day before to take care of our furniture, protecting them with cardboard shields, corners we had prepared plus blankets and shrink wrap. But moving those heavy crates was no small task .

Two trucks full later we were heading to the shipper’s warehouse in Long beach…

Looking at Pascal’s mom old bicycle, representing our shop , our reason to move to San Diego , 25 years flash back in a second and an immense feeling of achievement and gratitude filled us up 💖 Our job was done and we felt as light as feathers !

As the guys in LA were helping unload the trucks , Pascal told them it was his stamps collection 😉

I guess we are so organized we fitted a lot in a small 1450sf home with a 2 car garage that had 2 cars in it! But as French, we buy nice things we keep and take away with us so we never had a garage sale. What we would leave behind made many friends happy !

Driving back in LA traffic jam was so different than usual … we felt like we had just landed at LAX and were on vacation in So Cal ! It was incredible and happy . We stopped to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean , hold hands , kiss to a beautiful day and celebrated with a wonderful dinner at Campfire in Carlsbad …Enjoying California life !

You have asked us if we were opening up a store in France. Answer is “not for now “, maybe when we turn 75 and do not want to travel anymore, just open the door of what once was my dad’s car showroom and socialize with clients , have a shop dog to greet people , close when we want to take a few days off , 2 hours for lunch plus 1 more hour for a nap! So we are not sure what we will be doing after renovating our house…maybe write a book “Back in Provence” ( hopefully things have improved since Peter Mayle wrote his story and speaking French should help too ) But if you want to know please follow this blog !

Here is my family home with my grand parents and my dad in the front . Not much has changed

No, it does not have a view of rolling hills but a nice private garden just big enough to enjoy gardening and grow our own vegetables, space to spread , a barn for future projects and best of all a couple of bakeries, farmer’s market at walking distance !

Turning the page on 2021… 2022 Here we come !

Wishing you all the best for this new hopeful year !

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7 thoughts on “Moving back to France

  1. I was so happy for you, reading on your new journey , going back to France. I was sad for me.. I will miss you, your lovely shop and all the prettiest you brought to so many…


  2. The best of luck , good health , love , joy and happiness for you in the new year ! God Bless !

    On Wed, Dec 29, 2021 at 11:25 AM Maison En Provence San Diego wrote:

    > Maison En Provence San Diego posted: ” As the end of the year is fast > approaching so is our time to leave …Buying 2 one way tickets to France > for January 6th made it very real. This is happening and it is coming up > fast . We wanted to thank all of you who were so kind to invite us for a > gla” >


  3. You will be missed, but I know that being home in France will bring you both the most happiness. Sylvaine Lang (Joie de Vivre) moved back to France a few years ago to restore her grandmother’s country house where they now live. They were in Modesto CA for 30 years, much like your stay in San Diego ~ and she wrote a book, Moments Parfaits in Paris.

    Nous vous souhaitons un agréable voyage et du bonheur dans la belle France.

    A bientôt,



  4. Pascal and Mariel,

    You shall be missed (and already are!). Christmas was not the same even though I had your window lighted stars. Every time I pass by your empty shop I feel a pang of missing you both. You were always so positive, open, upbeat and fun. I felt more like a friend than a client. You have left your impression upon me after these 25 years and I shall miss you. I wish you only the best in your move and new chapter of life returning to Provence. You deserve nothing less!

    Bon chance et profitez de votre “retraite”!

    Sue Johnston Eaton


  5. Dear M & P, You have been such a lovely inside and out addition to the Mission Hills neighborhood and we will all miss you. Seeing Pascal mothers bike and all the hydrangea flowers in bloom was a delight to all passers by…….

    Enjoy your retirement and making your new old home just as you like it!!

    Fondly, Linda Hotchkiss

    Sent from my iPad



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