The Great French House Hunt – where to live?


Our house in the UK is up for sale. It may be some time before a deal is done, but in the meantime I’m going to enjoy spending some moments identifying what I’m looking for.

We’ve lived in town, countryside and in the suburbs. each has it’s own positives and negatives, and this great french house hunt is the opportunity to put together a wish-list for the perfect home.

The city is wonderful for it’s activity, it’s buzz and vitality. I love that everything is on the door step – theatre, museums, galleries, shops, school. It takes no effort to move around. The quartier we live in has the main-line station to Paris, the metro system to cross the city and numerous buses to take me to the nearby brocantes, the atelier de patisserie and the swimming pool.

The car can stay parked up in the courtyard and I can walk when the weather is fine, or relax in a cafe and watch the world go by.

Every sunday I amble down to our local market:

but when the last morsel of goats cheese  has been eaten,

and all that remains of the baguette are a few last crumbs,

and the bottle of wine is empty,

I start to hanker for the greenery of the countryside, for a few hours to potter in the garden, the trickling of a little stream tumbling over its rocky bed, the clear blue skies of the summer, and the autumn mists. And then I think how much the countryside has to offer!

Call me a romantic if you will, but the prospect of opening my shutters in the morning and waking up to a view of lavender, vines, or mountains fills me with enthusiasm. Perhaps I could wake up to all three!

Recently I read the blog of Victoria Corby and sighed wistfully at her tale of joining the locals to do the vendange (grave harvesting). Back breaking work though it is, the quality of local tradition and community spirit shines through her experience

But perhaps it’s just the idea of the vendange lunch that appeals, with a bottle or two of last years wine to finish the day.

My sister in law was telling me about her last few weeks bottling fruits and making chutneys, and I wistfully thought about how much i’d like a potager.

and when the jobs were done there would be time to go cycling

and lounge in the garden

looking at the beautifully tended potager that I worked on earlier in the day!

I like the idea of the fète midsummer just to finish things off!

This jury’s out where the children are concerned:

It was inevitable really!

Perhaps we can find a wonderful house in the city with a garden attached, or maybe we keep the apartment and buy a small country cottage for the weekends and holidays….

only time will tell!

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5 comments on “The Great French House Hunt – where to live?

  1. I sometimes think how nice it’d be to live in a town and not to have to get in the car when we want bread… All I can say after living in several houses here is remember how cold French houses can be in the winter!

  2. amelie88 says:

    American suburbs (where I have now returned to) you need a car to get everywhere because everything is so far apart and we lack public transportation (they just recently got rid of the public bus in my town because nobody took it and the hours were so sporadic). I’m not a huge fan of the suburbs because there isn’t much to do and I don’t like driving.

    You guys are so lucky to live in downtown Rouen. 🙂 Most of my father’s family lives in Mont-Saint-Aignan next door and they all have houses with gardens which is nice. And there is the bus that goes down into Rouen if they need it. I did miss greenery while I was in Madrid but now that I’m back, I miss the city! Always want what you can’t have!

  3. Sue Whatmough says:

    Yes, difficult to decide when there are children involved. Think your last idea might be the best, for the moment.
    We love waking up to a mountain view, the cows grazing, the trees across the ridge with their seasonal colours, and the quiet. But then we’ve enjoyed our city days and find anything more than the occasional visit too overwhelming – all that noise and all those people and not a lot of green. However, a day out in Toulouse can be a great pleasure.
    Whatever you go for, good luck both with the sale and a purchase.

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