Country Living in France

Country Living in France

Posted by on Sep 11, 2014 in Europe, France

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Out of the blue an online friend who I had met through a family travel Facebook group offered her house up for housesitting in the middle of France. We hadn’t planned our trip beyond the first 5 days in Paris and when our dates aligned it was a bit of a no brainer! We weren’t really sure what we were up for as it was all very quick and easy, but we were keen to try as many different lifestyles as possible … so off we went!

Another online friend Ruth from Exploramum and her son Louis were housesitting before us. So when we arrived we had a lovely family dinner together. It was great to catch up with another family who are doing the same thing we are. The kids got along really well and hopefully we will meet up again somewhere else around the world.

The French Farmhouse was divine. It was about 120 years old and looked like it came out of a calendar. In fact the whole area looked like pictures from a storybook! It was 3 stories with 6 bedrooms, although we only used two as our boys didn’t like sleeping apart. I guess that was to be expected as they have shared a room since we left Australia. The house was made from solid stone, including the floor and on the ground floor level the low wooden beams were displayed. I felt like I was in that pub from ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’. The kitchen was large and farmhouse style with a long table in the middle.

One of the highlights was all the animals we had to look after. There were 4 chickens, 3 sheep, 2 beautiful cats and one gorgeous dog. The kids adored all of them and so did we. The first thing they did everyday, sometimes before we woke up, was bolt out to the chicken coup and check for eggs. On our first morning I woke to to find a pooey chicken egg about 3cms from my face held by a beaming Tom. He was so exited I thought he might burst! However, despite having 4 chickens we only ever got one egg a day. Apparently efficiency wasn’t their strong point! The eggs though were absolutely amazing! Bright orange centres with the best flavour I have ever encountered (I love poached eggs) and this is after having chickens on our farm in Australia for years!

If we ever forgot to feed the chickens they would come up to the back door and wait patiently for us to ‘remember’! It was very subtle and quite amusing, especially if we made them wait more than about 15 minutes, then they started to cackle a little louder until we got the message.

The boys also LOVED the 3 sheep. This was a bit of a one-sided relationship, however Milo did turn the electric fence off and let them out on 2 different occasions, so I am guessing their might have been a bit of return love. For the first few days the sheep managed to escape 17 times. It was amusing at first however after Scott zapped himself with the electric fence (courtesy of Milo turning it back on while he was still handling it!) he finally managed to find a way to stop them from escaping, thus avoiding touching the fence!

The vanilla slice has nothing to do with the farm, but it was just sooooooo good I had to post it! I love Vanilla Slice or “mille feuille” as they call it in France. This one was a particularly good one! If you are coming to France makes sure you find one that is soft and oozing with vanilla custard cream.

One of my most amusing moments was coming into the kitchen to find Milo sitting on the kitchen table looking at the Microwave. We don’t have one in Bali, so I guess this was the first time he had ever really seen one. It turns out they are as amusing as TV!

The kids also loved to play the piano. Milo in particular would often sit and tinker away by himself. It was so lovely to hear him enjoying the music. I used to play to him when he was a baby (we had a piano back in Australia) but haven’t since we left and he appeared not to remember it. When I played my first song, he came running to me with the most incredulous look on his face, totally amazed that I knew how to use his toy! We had lots of good times playing together and it was lovely for me to be able to play songs and sing with him.

Another perk was the fire place. Despite signing up for a European summer vacation, I think my request must have gotten lost in the mail as for the majority of the time we were in France it was absolutely freezing! Well freezing for this Bali/Aussie girl! Most normal people might not have gone to the length of lighting a fire, however we were cold and it was a novelty (plus I bought some marshmallows) so one night we did. The boys were fascinated and Milo (again, he hasn’t really seen too much fire in his little life) was drawn to it …. like a moth! The kids had a great time going kindling and log hunting with Scott along the roads nearby and really enjoyed hanging out with their dad and getting dirty! I bought a packed of the largest fluffiest marshmallows and we toasted them on the end of long sticks. It was so good!

All in all we loved our time in the middle of the country. The isolation was a bit hard in the end as there was no one there – it appeared as if the entire area had picked up gone on vacation for all of August. I had heard about this happening but honestly didn’t think it was this literal! I am not sure if I could live there forever, but we sure had fun and it was so great for our boys to get a nice little taste of French country life!

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  1. Given the fact that I’ve been country living in France myself a couple of years back, this article has just brought me so many good memories. Itchy to come back! Thanks :)

    • You are Welcome! It certainly is a lovely lifestyle! I love the fact that everything is slower and more localised. Where we stayed there were different markets on everyday which meant there was not a lot of need for many trips to the supermarket! The kids really enjoyed that kind of lifestyle as well!

  2. I love that you had this moment with the kids. France is not my cup of tea, but the countrylife is growin on me. This looks so peaceful.

    • It was so lovely to slow down for a week or two and just relax. We were very lucky and the kids had an absolute ball. Thy spent the majority of the day chasing the chickens around the yard (quite possibly why they only laid one egg a day) and trying to get into the sheep pen!

  3. My brother and I have been talking about taking a summer, slowing down, and going back to the French countryside for a while.

    • Oh it is such a lovely place to slow down and unwind. The food is good and it is so pretty! Enjoy!

  4. This was my dream for awhile in high school, living in the French countryside. It looks beautiful! Hopefully I’ll experience it one day

    • Good Luck! There are so many housesitting opportunities in France if you need to stay somewhere for a decent amount of time but don’t have the budget!

  5. I’m off to France next summer! This looks awesome

    • Ohhh definately try and squeeze in a few days in a little farm house somewhere! It is the stuff that dreams are made from!

    • Ohhh definitely try and squeeze in a few days in a little farm house somewhere! It is the stuff that dreams are made from!

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