When we lived in France before (February 2011 through July 2013), we rented a house in the countryside, about 15 minutes from the small town of Argentan where we live now.

The house we rented has a name: La Cressonnière. And it’s a special place. It’s currently being rented by an artist from England, and her husband who is a writer. The owners of the house are also a creative and artistic couple and it’s a place where creative people can really thrive.

The artist who lives there now, Kathryn Holford, had an Open Studio a few weeks back, and we got the chance to visit La Cressonnière. We hadn’t seen it for six years. What a treat to be there! Those were truly magical years for our family. So many memories came flooding back:

Watching this lavender being planted in the front yard.

Seeing our vintage Renault 4L parked outside these red barn doors.

So many meals and celebrations on this lawn.

Admiring the roses out front. (I believe they are Pierre de Ronsard, which is easily my favorite rose variety — that perfect shade of pink with just a touch of peach in it.)

Jumping rope by the front door.

Filming Olive Us episodes in the big walled yard, and watching the stone wall be repaired by a mason.

Eating grapes from the vine.

Celebrating Flora June turning one year old in this courtyard.

The photoshoot in French Greys that was all shot on film.

Stacking fire wood in this barn.

Picking apples, and pears, and cherries, and walnuts from the trees in the garden.

The huge artist studio stocked with a giant stack of oversize paper that my kids made good use of.

The visit was emotional and a bit overwhelming — in a good way. The home is still so beautiful; still providing its occupants with so much magic, joy, and peace.

Living there changed the course of our life, and changed my philosophy about what I want in a home. I’m so grateful we got the opportunity to live there. (For those who are curious, our rent at La Cressonnière was 1200 euros each month — at the time that was about $1600.)

Have you ever been able to visit, years later, a home you used to live in? What was it like? Were there major changes? Did it still feel the same? Was it a happy visit? Or did it make you sad?

P.S. — More from when we lived at La Cressonnière.