Our little stone maison is but a petite house. It is most certainly not a grande maison & definitely not a chateau. Alas, no escape to le Chateau for us 😀 😀
Here we are looking out the back from the dining area & down to the courtyard space ensconced between the back of the house & the small stone barn.
How I love those old clay tiles, Roman roof tiles.
These images are not mine of course; We haven’t been to France yet. The owners have shared some from their collection. When we get to France, to la maison, I’ll pull together more pics along the way.
Weathered, old, rustic. Looking back at the little old barn from the other direction, from the narrow back garden area, you can see the roof of the maison is also clad in the same tiles. The house is tallish & narrow.
While the sellers use the little barn as storage we are told it could be converted to a living area, an office, bedroom & bathroom, even a gite, if we so wanted.
Obviously, the rear garden area is not in any way formal or particularly planned. By necessity it’s a free & casual space as it’s just not possible to establish let alone maintain a garden when you are at the house for, say, 3 months of the year. Suits me as not only am I not a gardener, I have no desire to pay somebody to garden for me! Weeds? Ugh! Inefficient use of time & so, so repetitively monotonous 🙂 The sellers say, as soon as they arrive every year, they throw out seeds & annuals, start watering & the sweet garden is soon blooming.
One of the dining areas. Of course the art, the trinkets you see around will be taken by the owners. Furniture stays.
A landing area.
A peek into the kitchen area which, while very functional, is not large. The second dining table & chairs are on the left.
We will, of course, review this space with a view to perhaps adding, removing &/or changing things around. More on that later & after we have been there obviously.
Looking back down past the barn to the outdoor wisteria covered pergola space. There is another smallish storage shed further down beyond.
As you know, we haven’t actually seen the property yet. We are very fortunate that the owners are local, from Adelaide, which allows the 4 of us to discuss the maison & associated issues in great detail. Because the owners have worked with the local Notaire before & have been going to France, as part time residents, for the 10 years since they purchased the place, & because they have purchased another place in the Charente region, they are quite schooled in the workings of the French Notariat. It sure helps given Australia has a somewhat different system for buying & selling property.
The Notaire is not like a Notary in Australia. Not at all. While the Notaire is a lawyer he/she is not an avocat & does not go to court. The Notaire conducts the real estate transaction. They are “public officers” & private professionals. Public because the state designates them, relying on them to receive & preserve the required instruments & contracts required. Yet notaries, unlike most public officers, keep the proceeds of their services, compete with other professions to perform services beyond their monopoly, & guard the clients’ confidences against the state. More at Notaires de France.
I’m also under no illusions as to what we are doing in buying this property & the commitment it requires. The plus for me is that I have lived overseas before – in the USA for 17 years where I bought property. Yes I was an Aussie ex-pat. Of course the major difference with France is communication. I’m under no illusions as to the language & am preparing as best I can to deal with that.
I’m also under no illusions about being in & around ex-pat communities which, in the USA, was not due to a language barrier, but more for our Aussie sense of intimacy & understanding, a sort of down-under social & cultural camaraderie. Of course we had plenty of UK folks as well as Americans & other non Americans who loved socialising with us Aussies. We were all friends. Many of us were married to Americans. Everybody loves Aussies especially the Americans.
I suspect one would easily gravitate towards English speakers in France if one did not try harder, did not try to assimilate. While it is a great thing when you are in a foreign country to have English speakers around, I can see it being quite isolating. We all know or hear about the many English speaking folk living in France who don’t learn the language & get by quite well with basic French words. I hope NGE puts some effort into learning enough French to at least get by, to go to the market/supermarket, to get petrol, eat out, to come with me to the brocantes.
My goal is to associate with the French as much as possible. Mingling, talking, listening, learning & being sociable has never been hard for me. Of course this is France, a non English speaking country. I know it will be challenging at least for a while, more so if I don’t try. If you don’t challenge yourself, you just stagnate. And being older, it’s high time I did something new, something major.
And I have bigger plans than just getting by day to day or being limited to supermarket shopping, dining out, putting petrol in the car etc. I need a much higher mastery of the French language to fulfil my plans, certainly my desire to fully experience things like the brocantes & associated pricing & bartering. I want to see the legal system at work. How am I going to speak with les avocats or understand court hearings if I can’t understand the language? I want to see & talk French politics & history. How can I chat with the locals, the community, the public, if I can’t speak French or don’t try?