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.