07 March 2015

Noyers houses (7) and renewed optimism

The days are getting longer and the dollar is getting stronger. Springtime and optimism are in the air. As for springtime, it's inevitable, I guess. But the nice streak of sunny, clear weather we are having is anything but. It's something to relish after the gray, rainy days of winter.

And as for the dollar, maybe it sounds crass to go on and on about it, but the fact is that the level of prices for everyday necessities here in France would certainly justify having the dollar and the euro at parity. In other words, 1€ with a value of $1. The value of the euro has been as high as $1.60 over the past 10 years.


The southern gate into the old town of Noyers-sur-Serein, in Burgundy

This morning, the euro is worth $1.09 or so, which is what the exchange rate was back in the spring of 2003, when we bought our house in France and were optimistic about being able to live here on our meager resources. As Americans, our visas didn't give us the right to seek employment in France back then, and we were still too young to collect retirement pensions. For years, we lived on the proceeds of the sale of our house in California, and we had next to no income.


Carved wooden beams decorate the façades of houses in Noyers-sur-Serein.

I can't really say that life here has been a struggle over the past 12 years, living on (weak) dollars as we have been obliged to do, but I can say that it has been nerve-wracking. Some days and weeks I felt truly pessimistic about even being about to stay here. I became very price-conscious and strict with our monthly budget, and we didn't do nearly the amount of traveling that we thought we might be able to do. Now I've almost lost interest in traveling. It's too stressful.

The low euro might be good for the economy in the Eurozone countries. It will mean that exports from Europe to other markets, including but not only the U.S., will be more attractive in terms of price. A European car priced at 20,000€, for example, will only cost $20,000 instead of more than $30,000. That could help European exports, and it will certainly help us American expatriates.

16 comments:

Susan said...

Good for us too, since we largely rely on Americans with dollars for our income :-)

Tim said...

Ken, that gateway is very much like one of the York ones... but slightly smaller...
Do the steps beside it lead up to a wall, or remnants thereof?
I like the fact that the shops are still very present inside the gates...
despite what you were saying the other day about it being the tourist money allowing Noyers to survive.

Most fascinating is that carving... I'm wondering if it was a merchant's house?

Ken Broadhurst said...

Good for you then. I hope the new rate will be good for everybody.
the eurocurrency has been overvalued for too long.

Jean said...

The exvhange rate with the £ is good for us at the moment. Not quite as good as when we bought the little cottage in 2007, but it's a good time to be investing in a new kitchen and other large items. It makes a big difference to us.
Good luck with your trip to the US. I hope the journey goes smoothly.

Stuart said...

We visited Noyers several years ago and it was a photographer's paradise, at least it was for this one. And for two people living on retirement income in dollars, we couldn't be happier with the exchange rate (unless it continues to go in the current direction).

melinda said...

yes indeed, I am so happy the euro is coming down........every time I have gone to france in the last few yrs the euro has been the highest ever up to that point.....just my luck....now it's time for payback!!!

Ken Broadhurst said...

Stuart, I agree with you about Noyers and the dollar. Living in Chapel Hill must have been pleasant. I'll be landing in New Bern Monday afternoon.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Thanks Jean. See you two soon, I hope... in April or May, maybe.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Hope you have scheduled a trip to France in 2015.

Diogenes said...

The exchange rate may continue to improve for you. Right now the European Central Bank has a main rate that is -0.2% to fight deflation. Meanwhile the US Federal Reserve is preparing to raise interest rates. This could take the euro below parity...anything's possible.

Gosia k said...

spring is great season and full of happy days

Ken Broadhurst said...

That makes me even more optimistic. Thanks.

Ken Broadhurst said...

That makes me even more optimistic. Thanks.

Stuart said...

Interestingly, we had lunch in New Bern on our way with friends going to Beaufort in January. Both towns were just charming... and good eating to boot.

Ken Broadhurst said...

I was born and grew up in Morehead City. Then Durham for college and on to Illinois, France, DC, and the SF Bay area before coming back to France in 2003.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Good outlook.