Enough about me. Let me tell you about the house. It could be described as a small house, but to a poor New Yorker, it’s huge.
It’s on a small street off the town square, across from the Hotel de Ville, which I believe is the mayor’s office. Van Gogh painted a picture of the building in his final days. But there wasn’t much in this town he didn’t paint in his last 70 days here.
I saw this house for first time in the winter. It seemed like a cozy place, full of family memories. But what makes this house is the yard and the light and the sky, all of which I didn’t notice in winter.
There’s a huge lawn out back surrounded by all kinds of plants that are about to blossom any day now—peony, delphinium, wisteria, phlox, pansies, roses, hydraenga…The lilacs are in full bloom and the air really is scented with them. There’s a bench and a table in the center, which may be one of the most perfect places to sit in the world.
There are two sheds, one near the house which holds gardening stuff. The shed at the far end of the house is huge, open, supported by huge wood ivy covered columns. It’s basically a huge open soaring space. There’s a ping pong table in it and some old furniture as well as a lot of stuff like books, lawn chairs, cushions…I guess part of it can also be used as a garage of sorts, The space could easily make four New York City apartments (two apartments on two stories) It may actually be as big as the house.
Like many of the old houses in the region, it’s tall and skinny. On the first floor is a good sized kitchen with eating area (huuuuuuuuuuuuuge by NYC standards), a living room and a large bathroom with a shower. On the second floor is two bedrooms and a bathroom. The third floor is sort of a converted attic, with a main room with a desk and two beds (plus a trundle bed or two), and another bedroom.
This house has been in the Ledoux family for generations. Martine’s sister (Henri’s mother) was born here. I think their mother’s mother was born down the street (her father, or grandfather was the town pharmacist) The family is now scattered in Seattle, Italy, Los Angeles, Paris…, but photographs of family reunions, marriages and family moments are all over the place.
I’m already starting to have warm memories of Karen’s wedding. And everytime I see the picture of the grandfather and the young boy who died in his teens, I get a little teary. The truth is, I think I’ve adopted the grandfather as my own, since I was always a little afraid of the one I had.
I hope they don’t mind my borrowing their grandpa along with the rest of their house.
Filed under: france on a budget, travel | Tagged: Auvers sur Oise, budget France, expat, French real estate, lesley stern, Life in France, living abroad, old house, real estate, travel, visiting france |