Would you like to know about the house we are renting in France? It’s a house with a name instead of an address — which makes me smile every time I think of it. I’ve never lived in a house with a name! It’s called La Cressonnière and it means “watercress”. (Incidentally, to honor the name of the house, I have been looking up watercress recipes — if you have a good one, please let me know.)
The house is in the Normandy region, about 1/2 hour from Caen. (In Caen, you can catch a ferry to the UK.) It’s big enough to fit our family, it has an artist’s studio and a beautiful garden. There’s even a piano — so my kids can continue their music studies while we’re there. There’s an older part and a newer part of the house. The older part is 17th century. The newer part is 18th century. : )
Ben Blair visited the home a few weeks ago to check it out in person, see what the countryside is like and how easy it is to access Paris. He loved the house and brought us lots of video so we could get to know it too.
Everything about the house is beautiful and interesting. The home owners have excellent taste. The husband is an artist, and he’s taken great care with every detail in the house. In one room, he uses salvaged wood paneling from a 17th century church on the walls. On the doors, he scouted authentic period locks. And his wonderful artwork makes appearances in every room.
Finding this home felt like a gift. It was the right size in the right price range. It was close enough to Paris — so I could see my sister. And it’s beautiful. Moving to France is a treat, and getting to live in such a special residence is equally a treat.
Some practical notes:
1) One of the reasons we took this daydream-of-moving-abroad seriously was our difficulty finding a house we wanted to buy here in Denver. There are lots of amazing neighborhoods here, but after looking fairly intensely for almost a year, we hadn’t found the right one to purchase. So we decided to consider that circumstance a blessing, and make the most of our flexible housing situation. We still hope to return to Denver after our time abroad and find a place to call home.
2) We looked into several different countries before ultimately deciding on France. When my sister, Jordan, made plans to spend a year in Paris with her family, that definitely influenced our decision. We think it will be fun for both of us to be in France at the same time. She can play city mouse and I’ll play country mouse.
3) Another factor that assured us La Cressonniére was the right place, is that the wife is Australian. So, while we’re working on our meager French, communication is still easy — hooray!
4) We found La Cressonniére on SabbaticalHomes.com — my favorite source if you’re looking for a long-term, furnished rental. But there are other great sites as well.
If you’re considering your own adventure abroad, I hope these notes about our thinking and sources will help you.