May 25, 2014. We are Homeless No More …and now the dream begins!

It is our 22nd day of our dream trip to France and Italy. We have been looking for a home to rent in France for six months. We decided to not book from the U.S. over the Internet because the Internet can make anything look good. We wanted to see the houses in person before making our decision. So, we came to France with high hopes of seeing homes up close and personal before making our decision. Well, that did not happen. It sounds easy, but it is much harder than you think. In addition, we found that by the time we started looking in France most of the better houses in our price range were gone. We were feeling pretty depressed about the house hunting, but Rita continued her research for countless hours and located one home she really had to have. But, the owners were not available to decide whether they wanted to rent their house for this season. At the last minute, about four days ago, the owners became available, decided to rent their home, and we took it sight unseen.

The front of our new home.

The front of our new home.

And here is our backyard, the pool cover is ON, the doors open to a large barn with ping pong, darts, fusseball table.

And here is our backyard, the pool cover is ON, the doors open to a large barn with ping pong, darts, fusseball table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The home has four bedrooms, four baths, a kitchen, living room (which they all call “the salon”) and a heated swimming pool. It is located in the village of St. Leon-sur-Vezere in Dordogne, France. The village is very tiny. I think 400 people live here. It has a church, is located on the Vezere River, a bread depot, a small grocery store and maybe three restaurants. Our neighbors on one side are farmers who have cows and bulls in their fields right outside our gate as we exit our house. The neighbors on the other side are our landlords. They live in a CASTLE with walls and turrets and everything your mind can imagine from Cinderella!! Yes, it is called Chateau de Clerans and our house next door is called Maison de Clerans.

Our landlords castle, at least what we can see of it!

Our landlords castle, at least what we can see of it!

Our neighbors on the other side! For real!

Our neighbors on the other side! For real!

“Clowns to the left of us,

Jokers to the right…”

“Here we are…,

stuck in the middle with      you!!”

Anyone remember this  song?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen

Kitchen

 

The "Salon"

The “Salon”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the 4 bedrooms

One of the 4 bedrooms

Dining area

Dining area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got possession of the house last night. To prepare for possession, we went to the market in Sarlat to buy groceries. It is a very large market selling fresh farmer produce, cheese, meats, poultry, fish, pate, foie gras, and flea market arts and crafts. We bought cheese, wine, pate, jambon (ham), baguette (bread), and stuff like olive oil, red wine vinegar, butter, eggs, etc. It was fun shopping in Sarlat. But, it did take awhile because each merchant specializes in primarily one item. So, we stood in line for cheese. We stood in a line for pate, we stood in a line for fresh produce, etc. We also had to practice up on our grams and kilograms because that is the way the food is sold. Rita and I asked ourselves what happened to the American initiative many years ago to convert ounces and pounds to grams and kilograms???   In any event, we ended up with more of some items and less of others that we wanted until we got the system down. (You have guessed that our system involved our thumbs and forefingers squeezed closer or farther apart to indicate the quantity we wanted!!) You also have to appreciate that shopping in France is a “social event”. It takes a long time because shoppers and shopkeepers kibbitz (I don’t think that is a French word) about the day, weather, politics, kids, quality of the produce, etc. It is sheer happiness to watch the shoppers and shopkeepers smile, laugh and actually enjoy shopping.

Heres a few of the sites we saw on our way, via Brantome, (because we left a key fob there from a few days ago) so we had to go back and fetch it.

This is a private home we are driving by, so we stopped to take a few pictures of it.

This is a private home we are driving by, so we stopped to take a few pictures of it.

 

Isn't it gorgeous?

Isn’t it gorgeous?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With food in our Renault, we drove to our village to see our home. Of course, we got lost. But, we were only lost for about 10 minutes. When we arrived, we couldn’t believe that the house was exactly as represented on the Internet. Everything is perfect. Rita did a great job. Our host Beth O’Reilly showed us the house and how to use all the appliances and gadgets and then we were alone, in our house, and not a hotel for the first time in three weeks. We immediately did a closer inspection of the house and confirmed again that we could not have done better. We unpacked for the first time in three weeks, because the hotel rooms have been too small to unpack in and put our things away. And, then we headed off on foot to the village for dinner. The village is really quaint.

 

Yes, this is a truck squeezing through these buildings on this very narrow road in our village.

Yes, this is a truck squeezing through these buildings on this very narrow road in our village.

Our beautiful village.  St.-Leon-sur-Vezere, France

Our beautiful village. St.-Leon-sur-Vezere, France

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is Sunday morning. Rita has figured out how to use a French press coffee maker. We are sitting at the kitchen table while I write this post and Rita is checking airfare and train schedules for family and friends who may want to visit us. We are comfortable, relaxed, and ready to start living the dream. French lessons begin this week for me. We will start looking for a local person to teach us French cooking also.

Thanks to everyone who helped us get to this point in our travels. A special thanks to the Desmadryls, Alki who encouraged us at our lowest emotional point with sage advice to be patient and everything would work out, and family and friends too numerous to name here.

More to come. BTW, the West-Kardashian wedding was wonderful. It was great seeing all our friends Anjoelina, Brad, George, Harrison, Julia, Lindsey. We will send photos as soon as we find a place to develop the film.

Oh, and just a quck picture of our littlest granddaughter at her first dance recital!  (These were texted to us on our drive up to the house)

She's the one in the middle with the PERFECT arms!! (of course, LOL)

She’s the one in the middle with the PERFECT arms!!            (of course, LOL)

Her favorite part was when "everyone clapped for me!"  Uh oh, look out Hollywood!

Her favorite part was when “everyone clapped for me!” Uh oh, look out Hollywood!

 

 

8 thoughts on “May 25, 2014. We are Homeless No More …and now the dream begins!

  1. Hi, Norm & Rita!
    I read a few of your entries this morning and really enjoyed them. I have read some from your last trip and wish I had followed you on that blog. You two are so good at descriptions, I feel as if I am there.
    The house is absolutely beautiful and I agree with Alki’s comment–maybe you won’t make it to Italy on this trip. I love that you have cows for neighbors–are there any horses?
    I just realized today that when (if) you return to Indianapolis, Angela, Jada, & Fuzz will be in Portland. How strange that will be for everyone!
    If you have the opportunity, ask someone how they handle programming for Special Education students in France. My boss just had a Chinese professor shadow him for a day and Fen Fen told him that in China, the students are sent to separate schools and there is no inclusion like we have in the states.
    Be safe and enjoy living the dream!
    Kathy Mahalek

    Like

    • Hey Kathy, Great to hear from you. We are glad you are following us. We do have cows as our next door neighbors. We have seen some horses. There is an equestrian center near us. We will have to check it out. Yes, when we return, Angela and Jada will be Oregonians, not Hoosiers. That will be very strange. We hope to visit them in Oregon when we return in November or December. I will ask for French friends about special education in France and let you know their response. I bet the French will have a program for the special education students.

      Like

    • Right John. I did downsize when I sold my house at Geist from 6000 square feet to 800 square feet in Carmel! We got the extra room in St. Leon sur Vezere so that you and Jody could come and visit us. So, when can we expect you?

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  2. Airfare for 3 plus lap child? We want to come for a visit!!! I wish!
    Annabelle wants to come live in the castles. 🙂

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    • Steph, you are always welcome to visit us. I will provide the house, food and red wine if you can come up with the airfare. On the other hand, airfare may be cheaper than red wine!

      Like

  3. Dear Norm & Rita,

    This is fabulous. The dream did find you. I am so happy for you. Let me know your schedule so I can determine if I can meet you. Perhaps with this French home, you may not go to Italy.

    Love, Alki

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

    • Hello Alki, Thanks for your email. We are settling into the house in St.Leon sur Vezere. We are working on a place to stay in Tuscany every day. Tuscany is very expensive in season, but we are sure we will find something suitable. It looks like we will be in Tuscany all of August. Don’t know about September. But, we will plan on you visiting us or we will visit you which ever is more convenient.

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