Sunday, February 4, 2007
We Looked all Over and it Was Just Down the Street
The day we backed out of the house in Magrie, the weather turned nasty---cold and misty. Maybe we had offended the gods. Our hearts were glum for a few days, but then something quite ironic happened. We happened upon a house about 10 doors down from where we are staying now on Rue du Four in Leran. It is an old village house, date unknown as yet, and has been refurbished by a local teacher/handyman. He's selling because he's bought a house in the country where he can keep his horses. Two of these pictures show the second floor, and the third picture shows the back door out onto the unfinished courtyard. A far cry from the cramped feeling of many of the village houses, this village house has open space, lots of original stonework, original beams, georgous plastering and limewash. We were smitten by the craftsmanship, taste in furniture, and ultimately the fact that it was staring us in the face all along.
Our budget, however, is not without obvious disadvantages. We cannot have everything, and must make choices. We put having a boulangerie, a bar, an epicerie, an outdoor seating area and Internet access at the top of the list. Outdoor seating seems to be the biggest "if" in the equation in France and at a dear price. This house at 14 Rue du Four has a petite cour (small courtyard) out back, but from an American perspective that would be generous description. With vision and sweat and potted plants and vines, I know we can make it a welcome outdoor retreat, but it won't ever be like sitting on our deck up at our cabin on O'Rea Creek Road. There will be tradeoffs wherever you are.
On the plus side: the kitchen/living room are quite beautiful and open and uncluttered; it now has three floors and if we wanted we could add a fourth, or possibly a roof top terrace; the entire third floor is unfinshed and we would be able to do with it as we please; it is in Leran which we have grown to appreciate; we know some people in the village already and the Simmons' are just down the Rue.
Click on the pictures to enlarge them and read the post below for more information.