Where in France, and what type of property, you ask? Well let me tell you…
We are looking for a country house, with lots of space and privacy, in the central west region of – Poitou Charetens. The climate there is pretty much perfect with top temperatures of 28 degrees centigrade in the summer, and lows of 5 degrees centigrade in the winter …
Renting for a while allows us time to have a good look around and see if we do want to live there. If we do decide we want to move to France permanently, and we are pretty sure we do, then we will have had the time to explore and find the perfect property to buy.
So back to the beginning – A country house, or farmhouses is called a “Gite” in French. And there are a multitude to choose from. Most are beautifully refurbished large homes that sit by themselves, surrounded by rambling French country gardens, complete with a swimming pool, edged in woodland and surrounded by fields. Fields that farm mainly fruit … !
The exterior of these picturesque houses are adorned with wonderful wooden shutters, painted in uniformed pastel shades. Blue, or cream, often lavender … These serve to keep the heat out in the summer months. The original stone walls give the properties a fittingly rustic finish. And the inevitable climbing rose or wandering wisteria delivers the quintessentially romantic quality of the French.
Usually built over two levels, sometimes there is even a small balcony off the master bedroom. The interior flooring seams to trend in wood. Wonderful under bare foot. Easy to warm in the winter too. And softer on anything dropped … My preference is darker wood, depending on the amount of light.
French doors are a predominant feature that lead out onto the back garden patios, and paved eating areas.
Kitchens are fully fitted, and all modern appliances in attendance. But some have kept the old ranges giving even more character to the overall rustic feel.
Fireplace mantels are showcased throughout the houses. Quite often still used in heating, with at least one on each floor in working condition. Either through the installation of a wood burner, or the original fire place itself.
The stone finished walls are used as interior features too. Stunning in their creams and greys, and fusing beautifully into the wooden floors.
The larger of these properties have around 4 bedrooms, mainly all situated on the upper floor. Two bathrooms, one with a bath, the other a walk-in shower.
Quite often there are barns, or sheds that have been refurbished sitting close to the main house. These serve as fabulous guest houses, or home offices.
Well that’s a very general run down of the properties we are looking at right now. Hopefully we will be ready to make the move in a month or so, which is when we will be making a final decision on our first French Residence … So Excited !