Living a Dream: Our Search for an Old Stone House in the French Countryside

Bonjour! Thought I’d share my latest post for HipParis. Follow ParisDejaVu to see what happens next in our adventure to find the perfect country house…


Living A Dream: Our Search For An Old Stone House In the French Countryside

Buying a House in Burgundy, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Paige Frost 3It started on a whim. We were vacationing in the South of France near the idyllic medieval town of Roquebrun, about an hour’s drive from Montpellier.  Its sun-baked stone facades are built up into a cascading hillside; a smattering of cafes and merchants dot its central tree-lined street. At the foot of the village, the Orb River meanders through the densely green valley, inviting swimmers, fishermen and kayakers to partake. It’s a hidden gem in the Herault region of Languedoc-Roussillon, affectionately known to locals as Le Petit Nice.

Buying a House in Burgundy, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Nebojsa Mladjenovic

Nebojsa Mladjenovic

Glancing up the hillside at Rocquebrun’s ancient buildings — from my perch on a sunny cafe terrace — it was impossible to miss the sign hanging on a nearby iron balcony: A Vendre. The house faced the river offering what appeared to be an unbroken view of its lazy waters, arched stone bridge and the rugged valley beyond. It looked too good to be true. I had to see inside. Nebojsa Mladjenovic

Buying a House in Burgundy, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Andree & Edward

Andree & Edward

One phone call and two hours later, my family and I were standing on that balcony, gazing at the sun-dappled Orb River and those dramatic hills that carry on to the Mediterranean. The house was small; just two bedrooms, a living room and tidy corner kitchen packed into three tight stories. There was no garden, no place for an outdoor table. Still, I was falling hard. Andree & Edward

The house had been lovingly renovated by an Irish family who’d spent their summers there. Their kids were grown now; they were ready to sell. It was such a happy, cheerful home. In its sunny yellow walls and crisp interior, you could almost hear the laughter that had filled it each season. I looked at my husband and through a barely suppressed giggle, mouthed the words we were both thinking. “Coup de coeur,” as the French say, that handy phrase employed to justify all manner of passionate — perhaps unreasoned — choices.

Buying a House in Burgundy, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Paige Frost 4And yet few impulse-driven whims make for good life decisions. We’re an American family in Paris on a five-year contract! Roquebrun was a good seven hours away and virtually shuts down for nine months of the year. As much as we loved it — enough to begin crunching numbers and mulling a possible offer — buying a house in the South was, perhaps, not the most logical of choices. And so we walked away from Roquebrun, tanned and happy, our sunny memories intact, and returned to Paris with a new mission: to find a country house with a more reasonable, if no less enchanting, set of attributes….

Read the rest of the story here on the HipParis blog.


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