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It has been over five years for us already in beautiful France. And it took five years to find a place to call own own. At first we traveled around to get to know various regions better - Normandy, Provence, Alsace. The regions that we knew from previous travel to France as tourists, but now we were looking from a different angle. We were looking for a home.

Then the pandemic happened... with numerous travel complications and "confinements".

A view of our little village from one of the walks we can take in the immediate area

Two and a half years later and the real estate became scarce. The houses that were available before were bought out during the pandemic. The real estate prices increased. But we soldiered on.

We narrowed our search to the Burgundy region. I combed through the internet daily. I looked for a small village with some shops accessible on foot. I wanted the charming elements of an old French house - the fireplaces, the beams, the tomettes... And enough land to have a garden. Some peace and quiet. What I saw was either a complete ruin, or a house that was changed so much that you could call it an advertisement for IKEA.

Yellow fields of "colza"

The real estate listings rarely have good quality photography here. The images are blurry, the descriptions incomplete, and the calls to the agents were many times unanswered.

After we travelled to see a few disappointing homes, one day I stumbled upon another listing. We just came back from vacation, our suitcases, still unpacked, cluttered the hallway. The images were hard to read, and the house was over three hours from Lyon, but I made a call and made an appointment to see it.

I arrived at a small train station on a spring Saturday afternoon. There was noone around. The agent, who agreed to pick me up and show me the house, was almost a half hour late, making me think that I would have to turn around and come back to Lyon wasting the day.

But she showed up, apologizing. The road was closed, and there was no cell phone reception where she was stuck. We drove among gentle hills, covered in "colza" (rapeseed) in yellow bloom. Part of the way the road was going under a cover of forest trees. This was the part of Burgundy we didn't venture to. A few kilometers to the west and you're out of the region.

A canopy of trees over the road leading to the village

The road bent and followed a gentle slope down to a small village, with a church steeple making the first appearance. We stopped at the gate of a house just across it.

I looked at the pretty house, with it's pleasant "cour" (front yard) covered in gravel, rows of windows with wooden shutters, and a tiled roof. Two elderly people came out to greet me, suddenly the language barrier didn't matter. As we walked through the rooms, and I saw the open doors onto the garden, I felt that I have arrived - the house seemed to say "welcome home".

Our house as we saw it for the first time, with the church steeple behind it

What happens next in our French adventure? This is an ongoing story, and the next chapter is coming soon!



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