The flights over were the smoothest international trip I think I've ever had. Both left approximately on time and landed approximately on time, my one layover was short but not stressfully so, none of my luggage was lost - it was as enjoyable as long, overnight travel can be. Figuring out how to get to Marnay via train in Charles de Gaulle airport was a little harder, but I had scheduled myself a couple hours of leeway time to arrange it so I had time to sort it out. I ended up needing to buy a train ticket into Paris, and switch lines once before taking a separate train out into the provinces. There were a lot of stairs involved, and with my two fully stuffed bags (the biggest one weighed 49 pounds, and the smaller went unweighed but I'd guess approximately 35-40) I was a bit of a sight. Luckily that meant that for most of the stairs (though sadly not all) I was helped by very nice strangers because on the few staircases I had to manage on my own I had to take the bags one at a time, one stair at a time!
Waiting for my last train involved sitting in an open-air atrium, and I couldn't help but notice it was quite cold. Surprisingly cold, given that I've been in the region before - earlier in the year, even - and also had looked up the weather as an added precaution when packing. I'd decided to only bring two long-sleeved shirts, a light jacket, a light cap, and four pairs of socks to go with a pair of sneakers; the rest of my wardrobe is filled with tank tops, shorts, skirts, and sandals. Locals have confirmed that it decided to be unseasonably cold, but that that may continue so I might be buying some more cold-weather clothing while here.
One of the people who created and runs the residency, Patricia, was waiting at Nogent-sur-Seine to pick me up. Nogent is a nearby town (about an hour's walk but a 7 minute drive, apparently) big enough to have a couple grocery stores and the train station. We stopped to get groceries, and then after getting locked out of the car and having a nice stranger help us get back in, we headed to La Maison Verte in Marnay-sur-Seine.
La Maison Verte lives up to its name, literally - it is painted dark green - and the ground floor has a large studio work space, a living room, the kitchen, and the bathroom. The second floor contains three bedrooms, one with a desk inside and one with a separate small desk/studio space as an attached-but-separate room. I was given the bedroom with the attached-but-separate small studio space, which is quite nice. I am a little saddened that the bathroom is on a separate floor, though!
Typically residencies here run exactly one month, so there are two artists here for the rest of May - a married, retired couple named Adrian and Paula who are actually in the process of moving permanently to Marnay from Oxford, Mississippi. Their daughter is one of the artists coming in for the June residency period and she's a pescetarian.
I'm a little odd in that I requested to stay a little longer (five and a half weeks); I did that because the closing exhibition for the residents is on the last friday of each month but since that's June 24th for June 2016 residents, that would only give three weeks to prepare!
I was supposed to go with Patricia to check out Le Jardin Botanique later in the afternoon, but after sitting down I was pretty sure I was done with learning new things until after I slept so I pushed it off until the following morning. My next request would probably have rendered that visit unaccomplishable anyway - I wanted to turn my heater on since it was very cold in the house. This request seemed simple, but the radiator didn't want to work. Patricia called on some colleagues to help figure out how to get it on again, but after turning on the main heat in the house (no luck), learning there was a gas tank responsible, turning that on (no luck), checking on it, learning it was out of fuel, and then telling me that getting fuel was not possible due to strikes, they found a portable electric heater somewhere in the town for me! That all took around two hours, and after that excitement I fell asleep for the night.