"Théâtre antique d'Orange is a Roman theater dating back to the early 1st century AD and is considered one of the most well-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world,” I read outloud from the placard that was affixed to the circular, semi-enclosed exterior hallway wall. Stepping back and turning around, I stepped through one of the many curved openings that lead you back outside and into the amphitheater's last tier of seating before the next level began. They were setting up for a show that night and from where we stood, the crew dressed mostly in black shirts and dark blue jeans, looked like small ants scurrying around the base, moving equipment and adjusting lighting. “Kind of wild that this thing still gets really big acts!” Andy said, pulling out his camera and angling it for a shot.
I stepped back, trying to take the space in wholly. Being from the United States, it’s easy to not have the same understanding of antiquities like they do in Europe. I remember thinking our home was old when we toured it. It was built in 1865, which is on the older side for the U.S., but that was nothing compared to some of the chateaux and structures found in and around France. I let my mind wander, sifting through all of my travels like a rolodex and considering if I had ever stood in something as old as this. It seemed like in Europe, no matter where you were, you were literally surrounded by ancient history and I liked that. When traveling, Andy and I enjoyed visiting antique stores and flea markets, inspecting all of the gathered artifacts from long ago and wondering how they ended up there. Were we standing among objects belonging to nobility or royalty that had been pillaged decades before, no one knowing what sits for sale on their dusty cluttered shelves? Or was it just the continents of an attic belonging to someone’s grandmother, cleaning the space and getting rid of items with no emotional attachment. The stories of objects had always intrigued me.
I looked around the theater, taking in the other tourists who had gathered in small clusters, taking in the beauty while also taking a rest on the many tiers of slab seating. We started our descent down the thick, stone stairs, making our way to the bottom and to the exit. We had an hour before we had to be in Vaison and, even though it was only a 30 minute drive, we had decided to leave early just in case we got lost or couldn’t find parking.
“I’m glad they could fit us in so last minute,” I said, as we crossed the street back to where our car was parked. “Yeah, it’s nice to be able to see different parts of Provence,” Andy said, getting in and adjusting his mirror. Hmmm, I thought. Perhaps he was coming into this with more of an open mind than I thought? We pulled up our map and started our half hour drive to Vaison. “I’m not sure if I am counting this right, but it seems as though this place has ten boulangeries!” I said, zooming into the map on my phone and using my index finger to count. “Wonder how big this town is?” I turned to Andy who shrugged. Finding a home in a location that was on the smaller side was important to us. We didn’t want to live in a city and we surely didn’t want to be in a town large enough to be found on one of those “best of” lists. We wanted something small, quiet and authentic. Ten bakeries gave me the sense that the town may be more populated than I once thought. Wait til you’re standing in it, I told myself, trying to take my own advice. See how it makes you feel to be there. “Should be coming up in the next minute or two,” Andy said, glancing at the map. We drove over a small bridge and passed a small organic market that was flanked by a tree-lined street and an old stone church. Continuing up the road, we passed small businesses mixed in with ancient homes that sat behind iron gates interlaced with ivy until we came to a stop sign at the end of the street. The road curved to the right or the left, but had metal gates in place stopping you from advancing forward, sectioning the area off into a pedestrian walkway and allowing the cafés to spill out into the blocked off space.“Hmm, we can either go left or right. I think right would get us closer to the agency,” he said, nugging his turn signal to the right. The small road wound us through town and past boulangeries and more small sidewalk cafes intermixed with a tabac and other small boutiques selling soaps and books. Fragrant bundles of lavender decorated shop windows, reaffirming you were in the south.
It was lively, but didn’t seem to be overrun with tourists. Most importantly, the language wafting through our open car windows as we drifted by seemed to be bits and pieces of French. “There are people everywhere,” Andy said nervously, inching slower and slower down the tiny road, “and nowhere really to park.” The road looped around the town and took us back across the bridge and out again towards the organic market. “Let’s just park here, there is plenty of parking for the market and the church and that way, we can see more things as we walk,” Andy decided, pulling into the church parking lot, glad to be off of the unfamiliar, tiny streets. “We’re only about a nine minute walk from the agency anyway,” he added.
We started our walk past the old stone church, making our way up the hill into town. When we reached the top, we stopped in front of the gated off section to admire the outdoor restaurants and the many people sitting back and relaxing, chatting over their chilled glasses of rosé. “What a leisurely lunch,” I said, dreamily picturing us sitting at a table after a busy day shopping at the market.
We continued past the terrasse and rounded the corner towards the agency. An old boulangerie painted in art deco browns and golds sat at the corner with patrons spilling out onto the cobbled street and snaking around the shop, ending around the agency door. “Well that’s a good sign,” I said to Andy, stopping outside of the agency and eyeing up the impressive line.
We lingered outside, drawn to the listings delicately hung in high end, all glass frames, suspended by thin wires behind the window. “Jesus christ, every one of these listings are 700,000 euros and up! No wonder we had to press to get a time. We’re probably small fries compared to these other clients,” Andy said, his eyes darting from listing to listing. “This one is located here in “haute ville” for 1.2 million euros,” I said. He walked over to my window and followed my gaze to the listing. I looked over at him. “Hmm, remember me saying this town is split in two? Maybe “haute ville” is upper-town?” We peered around the listing into the highly stylized agency. A well-dressed man sat at a minimalist teak desk, busily typing at his computer.
“Well, I guess, we’ll find out,” Andy said, grabbing the door handle. We opened the door and the man froze as if he’d just been caught, then raised his eyes from the computer slowly to see who had entered.
“Bonjour,” I started. “Nous avons une réservation avec Olivier.”
“Oui,” he replied, switching to English, “he should be back shortly. Please take a seat while you wait,” he pointed to the two empty chairs that sat in front of the windows and then went back to his task at hand.
We quietly sat down, trying not to disturbed his work and began to look around silently at all of the beautiful stills of luxury property lining the walls. Andy and my eyes met and I led his glance over to one particular property with a lush garden surrounding a tiered pool that sat off of a beautiful terracotta terrasse equipt with a summer kitchen, located on what looked like the edge of a craggy cliff. His eyes got extra wide. It resembled something out of a 5 star hotel advertisement. Everything manicured, everything prestinly white and clean, everything looking very, very expensive. I fidgeted in my seat, questioning if the agent behind the desk was wondering how these two backpacking American kids stumbled into his luxury real estate office. I didn’t get too far down the rabbit hole of self deprecation, though, as my thoughts quickly shifted to the stylish and tanned man who had just walked through the door. The agent again looked up from his computer to the man and then down to us as if silently saying, “these are yours.” We looked up at the man wide-eyed and hopeful then back to the agent sitting behind the desk. “You are…Rachel and Andy?” the man said slowly, as if thinking through his English. “Yes and you are Olivier?” Andy asked, starting to stand up. “Yes,” he said with a nod. “You are ready to go see the house?” He said opening up the door. I stood up, more than happy to get down to business, and followed him back out onto the street. Up until that point, it seemed like a lot of the agents wanted to take their time, discuss potential other listings, find out more about our situation and, a lot of the time, take their time getting you to the home you originally came to see. Looking back, I wonder now if that had a lot to do with how young we look. Perhaps they were feeling us out, wondering if we were serious buyers before getting too invested in the tour.
“We parked down by the old stone church,” Andy said, pointing in the general direction of where we parked. “Should we get the car and meet you?”
“You don’t need a car,” Olivier started, “we can walk to the house.” Andy’s eyes lit up. All of these restaurants and boulangeries and shops were within walking distance? While I think Andy was interested in the ways of rural French life, I don’t think that he was leaning as heavily into the concept as I was. He was a city kid at heart who wanted accessibility. This town, however, felt a little like the best of both worlds.
We rounded the corner, past the elegant boulangerie and onto another street that was gated off and made into a pedestrian walkway. Some people bustled from shop to shop grasping straw bags overflowing with baguettes and other market treasures. Others were stopped along their route, chatting with old friends and catching up in a flurry of cheek kisses. We passed a large pharmacy and I took a mental note of how fantastic it would be to have one so well-stocked in walking distance. I looked over at Andy who was excitedly looking all around the street. From the homemade soap store with its own washing basin right out front for those wanting a sample of the products to the sweet and colorful childrens store brimming with toys and books, Vaison had a small, hometown vibe to it. We passed an ally that was lined with small tables and a bright chalkboard sign advertising couscous and other Morocaine delicacies. A little further up, a gem and jewelry store cascaded down its stairs and around its front window with tables of trinkets and bracelets set in pretty pastels in all shapes and sizes. A little further past, an Italian restaurant caught my eye with fluffy squares of tiramisu dusted in cocoa tempting me from the window. Across the way, a shop with mosaic tiled tables in every color imaginable drew in your gaze through its floor to ceiling windows. Each business was unique and charming, oozing the character and warmness that only small, family establishments could.
We started down a small hill that led the pedestrian path to another main road lined with more little shops. Olivier veered us off to the left and wrapped us around the small bend, stopping in front of a small rum bar. The bar was at the base of a small flight of stairs, using each wide step to house a small table and few low sitting chairs. The place had a very bohemian vibe, with brightly colored pillows strewn about and food being served in carved wooden bowls. Here people were taking refuge from the hot sun under the canopy with their mojitos and snacks. A little further up the stairs, a man sat sketching in a worn leather-bound notebook.
“Here is the bridge from the first century,” Olivier said, pointing ahead to the bridge expanding the river below. Tourists stood below a placard, snapping photos of themselves with the bridge. “Is this a famous bridge?” Andy asked Olivier, squinting his eyes. “There is,” he paused to think about which words in English would fit the best, “ a line,” he drew a straight line with his hand, “from how tall the water was.”
“The water?” Andy questioned, now suddenly more interested than he originally had been. Natural disasters always put Andy on high alert, so I was interested in how this conversation was going to play out. “Yes, water was coming out of the neighbors….” he pointed to the windows. “Jesus!” Andy exclaimed. “But the river is very dry now. No worries of floods,” Oliver said, trying to sooth Andy’s racing mind. “The house is up here,” he started to walk across the street and into the rum bar, climbing the stairs before Andy could inquire further about the flood.We scurried across the road behind him and started up the stairs. Andy stopped before making it too far up, turning around to face me. His eyes got wide and he had a huge smile on his face. “It’s in the middle of town!” he gasped. I smiled. Olivier’s quick change of subject paid off and Andy's mind was miles away from any thought of the water.
I had to agree, the location was pretty exciting. We had seen other homes that were technically “in the middle of town,” there just wasn’t any town around them. We hadn’t seen anything quite this centrally located and the thought of it all being within a minute or two's walk was intoxicating. To me, this town embodied living authentically French… but comfortably. As we climbed further up the stairs, we were greeted with beautifully manicured potted plants nestled around each of the residential doors. The small staircase almost felt like a secret once you continued up past the rum bar. Halfway up the staircase, Olivier stopped in front of a door. “You really are steps away from everything,” Andy said, turning around to admire the bar patrons resting a few stairs away. See how you feel when you stand in the town. I kept thinking to myself, looking at Andy’s massive grin. Olivier grinned back as he inserted the key and unlocked the door. As soon as you walk into the home, you step down into the base of the steps that lead you up to the second floor and, around the staircase, directly into the living room. The room had large wooden beams that had been painted gray and, with the white tiled floor, gave off a very relaxed, cool vibe. Andy walked deeper into the living room, attracted by the large French doors that connected the space to the outside balcony. Olivier walked over, swinging the doors open so that he could take in the whole effect. Andy followed him out onto the balcony and brushed some wisteria away in order to gain a clearer view. “Oh wow, there is the river and the bridge,” he said, pointing below. Hearing all of the commotion, I sauntered outside to catch a glimpse of the view. The balcony was long, running the length of the house and offering access into the dining room further down at the other end. I put my arms out, touching the exterior wall of the house and the balcony railing. “It’s a bit of a tight squeeze, no?” I asked, trying to gauge Andy’s reaction. He was the one who wanted an outdoor space, so it was important to me that he was fully content with it. “They have a small table and chairs out here and you could easily get a chair for lounging,” he said, eyeing up the extra unused space in the corner. “What is that over there?” I asked, pointing to the other side of the river. “Is there a church up there?”Andy asked, pointing high up on the hill. “C’est le haute ville,” Olivier started. “There are two towns in one here. The house is in the young part of town. On that side, it is old town,” his finger traced the small road that hugged the hillside leading up. “There is…” he paused, searching for the right words, “pieces of old chateau up there.”
“Oh, chateau ruins?” Andy chimed in. “Yes,” Olivier confirmed. “The location is great!” I said, loving the idea of being so close to two very different feeling towns with so much history. Olivier walked down to the other end of the balcony and opened the other two French doors that lead to the dining room. “Here is the dining room,” he said, sneaking himself between the two large buffets and the dining table. The house was charming and had a very “South of France” vibe, but there was so much large, heavy furniture. It almost felt as thought the house was being swallowed up by it all. The dining room spilled into the kitchen which was long and narrow, but somehow felt as though it had more counter space and cabinets that one could ever need. It was recently redone in a soft gray, white and black color scheme that I found myself really liking, much to my surprise. It gave the feeling of a blank slate, allowing for almost any pop of color to be introduced without looking overwhelming or out of place.
“And here,” Olivier said, opening up a door in the kitchen, “Is a bathroom.” He held the door open so we both could take a peak in.
“This bathroom is literally in the kitchen,” I said, before I could hold back my ungartered opinion. I paused, wanting to give a beat before speaking again and not sound too reactionary. To my surprise, it was Andy who spoke next, defending the space. “But it is nice to have a second bathroom for when we have guests.” He was finding positives about the house…. did this mean???
Before I could let myself consider the idea of Andy falling for a place I thought he had already written off, we were whisked out of the kitchen and down the stairs to the beginning of a cool, dark basement. At the bottom of the first flight was a small room with a massive antique bureau built into the stonewalls. I walked over to it, running my hand over the wood, “this is so pretty,” I said, opening it up, “and huge! What great storage!”
“What was this room used for originally?” Andy asked, quizzically looking around at the long band of electrical outlets that lined both walls.
“I think an office,” Olivier replied with a shrug. He turned and continued on down the stairs until he reached the bottom and two doors. Andy stopped halfway down to admire the massive protruding rock that made up half of the wall. “It’s built into the stone,” Olivier said, pointing up at the jagged rock.
“Et c’est la cave,” Olivier added, turning to his right and opening up the small wooden door. I peeked into the musty, small room carved into the rock. Work benches lined the walls with rusty tools and bits of wood and metal strewn about. Andy shimmied past me, intrigued by the idea of having his own workspace. “This is great!” He said, eyeing up all of the obscure tools. “The man, le propriétaire, il est artiste, il travaille avec,” he pointed to the metal and wood. We nodded, showing our understanding. “I will show,” he said, waving Andy out of the cave and opening the other door. Bright light spilled in as it opened and we immediately found ourselves stepping onto the side of the main road with the bridge in front of us. He pointed down to the small wooden porch we were standing on and then up to the side of the home. Barbed wire looking material stuck out of the side, wrapping around different points and anchoring back into the wall. Next to it, a sculpted metal head of a man rested below with a hand protruding out and reaching above for the tangled mess of wire.
“L’art…” he started, keeping his fingers pointing to the porch and then to the decorated exterior wall, “all this will go. He will take the art.” Andy and I looked at each other quizzically. “He’s taking the stairs with him?” I said, pointing down to the porch. “Oui, l’art,” Olivier nodded. I looked back at Andy then back at him. “The stairs are art?” I questioned again, wanting to make sure I understood. “Oui,” Olivier confirmed. Feeling as though he had successfully conveyed his point, Olivier pointed off to the left to a parking lot in the distance. “Here you can park. You must pay, but it is….” he paused to think of the best word to fit, “it is cheap.”
“That is nice to have parking so close,” Andy said, peering down the road. Olivier turned his body in the opposite direction. “And down the road, there is another lot. It is free,” he pointed down the street. “Is it far down the street?,” I asked, looking in the same direction as him. “No, maybe, 3 minutes. Same distance,” he turned to look back at the other lot. “I like that we have different parking options so close,” I added. Olivier nodded, shuffling us off of the small, wooden porch and back up the basement stairs. We emerged into the hallway connecting the living room to the dining room. “Let’s go up the stairs,” Olivier said, only pausing for a moment before leading us through the living room and up the stairs. We stopped at the top of the stairs, taking in the incredibly large space. “I love the terracotta tiles,” I said, looking down at the worn, burnt-orange squares under my feet. “And the walls,” Andy walked over and ran his hand over the lopsided wall, angled and concaved in different ways, giving it an ancient, homemade feel. Growing up in an old Victorian, Andy had become accustomed to homes that didn’t have perfectly square walls with flat surfaces. To Andy, this was a sign of authenticity, before the cookie cutter, overly manufactured homes became the norm.
“This space is so big, it could almost be considered a whole other room to be used,” I said, walking over to the stair railing and looking back down to the living room and front door below. The white walls and high ceilings gave it a very airy, relaxed feel. I turned back to Olivier and Andy. “Yes, they used this as an office,” he said, pointing to a desk in the corner stacked with boxes overflowing with clothes and linens, the beginnings of packing away a life.
Olivier walked over to a door off the landing, opening it and stepping aside so we could pass through. “This is the guest bedroom,” he said, following behind us into the small, cavernous room. The terracotta tile continued into the bedroom and was illuminated by the small window against the back wall that faced the river and bridge below. “It’s small, but big enough for guests,” Andy said, moving around the room towards another door at the end. Olivier walked around the bed and exited through the door on the other side. “This room,” he started, “is the master.” The room was big, equipt with a large, built-in closet. Andy’s eyes rose to the ceiling. “I like the sky lights,” he said. “It really brightens the room.” I looked around the room for a sign of other lighting elements. “Are these the only things lighting this room?” I said, looking up and then back at Olivier. “Yes, but installing lights is no problem, very easy,” he assured me. To some, a room without lights may be an issue or even a reason not to buy, but to us, it was something we were used to. None of our bedrooms in our Pittsburgh house had lights. We lazily installed a few lamps, promising to install swag lights at some point, but still haven’t gotten around to it. Andy eyed up another door on the opposite wall. Olivier followed his gaze, walking over to the door and opening up. “Here is the bathroom,” he said, extending his arm in a gesture saying, “after you.” We both stepped up into the space with Olivier close behind. I turned myself around the massive and brightly illuminated space. “This bathroom is so big!” I said, looking up at the vaulted ceilings encapsulating another skylight. It wasn’t exactly the most unattractive bathroom we had seen on our visits, but it was definitely dated. A large, rocketship-type tube sat in the corner with jets and buttons lining the interior walls. “This is the shower,” Olivier confirmed. We nodded, unsure of exactly what we were looking at or if we were brave enough to step inside and find out. I looked down at the floors, a cushioned-cut, off white tile with discolored and stained grout. My eyes rose to the walls and ceiling, both encapsulated in huge, burnt red, dated tiles. “There’s a washer and dryer,” Andy said, walking over to the unit. “This will stay?” I asked, wondering if it was considered art. “I will ask,” Olivier started, “the couple, they are getting divorced. They will need appliances for the apartments they move into.”
“Appliances? Are they taking the appliances?” I questioned, wondering if I shouldn’t get too attached to the beautiful fridge and freezer combo downstairs. “I will ask,” he said, with a small shrug.
“Why is the toilet almost attached to the tub?” Andy asked. It seems as though he had clearly moved on from the appliance comment. I looked over to where he was standing next to a large, deeply set tub that sat against the wall. Walking over to it, I instinctively turned the nobs. Nothing. Hmmmm. “I’m sure an easy fix!” Olivier said with a hand wave. I looked over at Andy.
“It is kind of weird the toilet is next to the bedroom door and the tub,” I said, looking down.
“It is the only reasonable place,” Olivier said, waving his hand over the bathroom, as if challenging me to find another one. I remembered one of the past agents, Kerry, mentioning if you point out things you plan to change, you can add that as a justification of your offer being lower.
I followed his arm around the space and waited for him to lower it.
“Perhaps we could move it? The bathroom is quite dated, we wouldn’t keep it in this state,” I said, looking over to Andy.
“Yeah,” Andy agreed, “perhaps it can be moved if we rearrange things.” He slowly spun around the bathroom, squinting and reimaging a new layout.
“It’s usable as it is,” Olivier reassured.
“It is,” I started, “but, just aesthetically, it needs a facelift.”
He nodded, understanding this was a losing battle to keep fighting, and walked out of the bathroom back on the landing.
“I like it,” Andy confirmed, “I like the location and that it has two bathrooms and two bedrooms.”
“I agree, but the bathrooms are both kind of dated and dingy,” I added, trying not to sound too eager or interested. Andy took the cue, adding, “we have a lot to think about. We leave tomorrow, but will not be going too far away, only two hours. If we wanted a second viewing, is it possible?”
“C’est possible,” Olivier started, “I am very busy, but I am sure we can find a moment.”
We started down the stairs, all silently agreeing the tour had come to an end. At the bottom of the stairs, Andy took one last look around the banister through the French doors to the view.
“That would never get old,” he said, turning with a smile to Olivier. He smiled back and opened the front door, stepping aside to allow us to exit. Andy stepped back to admire the facade. “These shutters would look great with that color I saved in Avignon,” I said, pointing at the thick, wooden shutters that were sprawled open. “Yeah, against the sand-colored stone, it would really pop,” he agreed.
Olivier locked the door and started walking down into the rum bar seating and we followed. Halfway down he stopped, turning to the man scrawling in the leather notebook. “On est fini,” he said. The man nodded and Olivier turned to us. “This is Jim, he is the owner, he is American too.”
“No way! How cool! We really like the house,” Andy said. Jim seemed to be a man of few words, nodding again and setting his notebook aside.
“They may want a second visit, but will let me know soon and I will contact you,” Olivier said, waving us along, down the stairs.
“D’accord. Merci et bon journée,” Jim added with a small wave, picking up his notebook again.
When we reached the bottom of the stairs Olivier pointed towards the small road winding up to old town. “Have you been around town yet? Le château est là et les antiquités romaines are that way,” he pointed in the opposite direction.
I squinted to show that I didn’t understand. “Les antiquités romaines? Roman antiques?” I translated, still unsure as to what I was saying. “Yes, that is it,” Olivier nodded. “The town is named Vaison la Romaine because it was inhabited by the Romans. A town has been uncovered. You can tour the ruins,” he said, pointing back in that direction.
“Wow, that is really neat!” Andy said, a little in disbelief that the town could keep getting better and better.
“We haven’t wandered into old town yet,” I started, “and we have a little time, so why don’t we walk around up there for a little.”
Andy nodded, agreeing with the plan.
“Ok, then,” Olivier said, extending his hand. “Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions about the house.” We shook hands and parted ways, starting across the first century bridge, excited to embark on our tour.
Winding up the hill, we passed a few touristy restaurants selling boles of ice cream and hot dogs and an art gallery before following the sharp left turn that takes you under the ancient bell tower. Taking our time in order to take it all in, I looked down to the slabs of stone that lined the path. There on their smooth faces were tattered and worn books. I moved closer in order to read the sticker that was attached to them. “Thank you for adopting me,” I translated to Andy. “That is so incredibly precious!” I said, picking one up delicately. They seemed to be second hand books, once loved by someone else, but now ready to find a new home and ready to take someone else on the adventures found within its pages. I glanced at the other books, laid out side by side, vying for each passerbyers attention. They all seemed to be older titles, all in French. Andy, getting antsy, grabbed my hand to gather my attention. “We should keep going,” he said, pulling me up the hill and through the bell tower’s rounded pass through. After exiting the other side, we turned around to face the back of it. A small staircase wound up to the top of it, stopping at three different sized doors, all located at different points of the tower. To the right was a door to a home that was connected to the tower itself. “Can you imagine living here!” Andy started, “I think this is all a part of the bell town!” His finger traced from the home door up the wall to the top of the tower. “Wonder how old this thing is?” I asked, looking around for a plaque. Past the tower was a small hill that took you either right to the beffroi or the left to the old church. Andy, loving the old architecture of churches, immediately turned left. Winding up the cobbled hill, past a few grand homes built along the path until we reached the small church with a small overlook. Andy walked to the edge and immediately pointed down. “Hey, there’s the house!” I came up behind him and perched myself against the wall, looking down in the direction he was pointing. People walked alongside the road next to the river, stopping to point at the house and take photos of Jimr's metal sculpture. “What do you think of all of this?” I asked, turning to Andy. “It’s definitely more lively than the chic home we’ve been debating,” he said, looking a little sad at admitting the faults of the beloved home.
“This home seemed to have taken us by surprise,” I said with a nod. “Let’s get back to Avignon. We have a lot to think about,” I grab his hand. He nodded and we started our descent out of old town.
**Above is our journey from the Spanish boarder through the whole south and all the stops in between. You may notice Vaison is not marked, it was a totally by chance we ended up there!
Bonjour, Ciao, Salut! I'm Rachel and this is my story documenting our experience buying a home in France. If you are looking for advice on home buying, feel free to e-mail me or check the bottom of the home page for a link to a basic guide.