In a hastily scribbled down, romanticized journal entry from my first week living in France, I wrote, “The vibrant flowers make me feel like Vendôme is abundantly alive, like there’s something constantly growing and flourishing all around me. ‘Charming’ is the only word I can think of to encapsulate the city.”
Flora aside, Vendôme wasn’t known for much. Because it was near the Bosch factory, it did attract a small handful of young professionals. But for the most part, the population consisted of young families, teachers, and retired empty nesters. Its eponymous chateau was more ruins than it was castle—but then again, the town was tucked away in the chateâu region of France, just a short drive away from some of the country’s most opulent displays of architectural grandeur, namely Chambord and Chenonceau. There were a handful of idyllic, but not-quite-noteworthy, vineyards nearby. And you could easily take a day trip from Vendôme to larger cities like Tours, Orléans, Amboise, and Blois.
It struck me that the town where I had been assigned to live was routinely framed in terms of its proximity to other, more noteworthy cities where I’d probably prefer to live. But I was far too occupied by the novelty of it all to pay the thought much attention.
To have a French library card, bank account, and cell phone number. To sit at a café and have the pages of the French novel I was slowly making my way through stained with drops of chocolate chaud. To wake up everyday and remind myself that I *live* here. In a sleepy, charming small town (village, really) that I soon grew to love—goats and all.