When my love affair with the Languedoc region of France began 25 years ago I never dreamed that someday I would be living there. We traveled to France often, and although we loved every part of the country, the southwest coast near Spain was our favorite. We loved swimming in the crystal clear Mediterranean, visiting the quaint villages, basking in the sunshine, and eating freshly caught seafood. Our travels abruptly ended when my husband began his valiant five-year fight with brain cancer.
During one of our last conversations, he told me he hoped I would have a happy rest of my life after his passing and that I should go back to our favorite places. Following his advice I spent the first anniversary of his death in the seaside town of Collioure gazing out at the azure blue water, toasting his memory with rosé.
When I returned home to San Francisco, I advertised my home on a house trading website. Almost immediately an American couple, living in a small Languedoc village contacted me. We agreed to trade houses for the entire three months of summer. The happy result is that I not only fell back in love with the south of France but also with one of my neighbors. We now split our time between his home there and mine in San Francisco.