Monthly Archives: July 2009

Authentic France Travel Tips #39: French Addresses (or Lack Thereof)

Speaking of addresses, things at #1 route des chaumes are actually coming together. I’ll post some photos in a few days, but the colour red is turning out to be a common thread throughout the decor of La Maison des Chaumes.

Like much of my decorating, it just sort of happened that way. I went along with the flow (maybe because I don’t have the energy to do much else these days). I figure red ensures not only good feng shui, but also provides a clin d’oeil to Burgundy’s wonderful wine.

Anyway, back to the issue of French addresses and the fact that they are not always very precise.

When we bought La Maison es Chaumes five years ago we were not at all flummoxed by the fact that all of the legal documents stated its address as #1 rue des chaumes, whereas the street sign at the bottom of the street clearly states the road as being called “route des chaumes“.

This was, in fact, a huge improvement compared to La Maison des Deux Clochers which boasts at last count, 5 different addresses:

Route de Ladoix

Place de l’Eglise
Passage Saint Martin
Place de la Mairie
and, last but not least, Route de Villers

None of these street names had a street number associated with it.

MagnylesVillers, like so many small villages and hamlets in France, dispensed with street numbers entirely. The mailman just knows where everybody lives.

With the advent of Google Earth I am increasingly getting guests ask me for the exact address for our properties so they can locate them on their computer. For La Maison des Deux Clochers I am at a loss.

My advice to people staying in one of the multitude of no-street-number villages throughout France is to ask for directions in relation to the village church. There almost always is one, the steeple can generally be seen from far away, and it is a landmark that, like the Roman-built church across from La Maison des Deux Clochers, isn’t going to be moving anytime soon.

You may imagine how stunned we were last week when we found an enamel street number (#2, just in case you were wondering) in our mailbox at MagnylesVillers. We followed the instructions and installed it just above our mailbox on the cellar door at La Maison des Deux Clochers.

So we are now #2, but we nevertheless just have one last question – we are #2 on what street exactly?

Nobody seems to know.

Cinq Ans Passés

Moving is Hell.

I knew it before, and the past two weeks have confirmed it for me.

Yesterday afternoon when I was racing back from Beaune the digital temperature screen in LadoixSerrigny read 37.4 degrees Celsius. I knew Hell was supposed to be hot, but come on.

Moving is Hell because one’s house looks like this;

And because of all the mess and open doors and dangerous stuff lying around the babies have to be put in The Prison (a.k.a the play park) a lot.

Surprise, surprise! Babies don’t like being put in The Prison. And babies who don’t like being put in The Prison BITE when they are put in The Prison yet again.

All of that is really hard. The exhausting, overwhelming kind of hard.

But harder still is taking your girls to their last day of school in France and realizing that on their very first day of school in France they looked like this;

And that on their last day of school in France, they look like this;

There is nothing else that quite as dramatically strikes home the fact that we are closing a chapter on five years of our lives.

And…what a minute….who is that interloper?

Hold on…has somebody shrunk Franck, changed his gender, and put him in a red and white striped dress?

Nope. That would be Clem. A little person who wasn’t even around five years ago but who now takes up a Very Big Place in the Germain family (even when she’s in The Prison).

After I took these photos I cried all the way up to Dijon where we had to go in the 35 degree heat to buy linoleum.

It is ridiculous really, because we will be coming back often, and I am truly very happy about moving back to Canada. I feel in my gut that it is the right time.

Still, I look at the photos above, and I cry some more.