Romanesque Church Hunt Looking for churches and other France adventures.

February 22, 2008

Our very first house in France – 1997

NOTE: I have tons of photos from this expedition, but I will have to find them and scan them in — Apologies!

I want to tell the story on how our little group began renting in France 12 years ago. My friend Becky casually asked me if I would be interested in going to either France or California during the summer. Back then I always thought of a European trip as way beyond my means. But all of a sudden I remember seeing a brochure at work for a company that did France budget flights and accommodations, but also had a page on renting a French farmhouse. So I threw this out to Becky–How about renting a farmhouse? It was only a month or so before we would go and this was the time when the internet was just beginning. So I went to this company and the French lady just said ‘Oh you must have a pool!” and fished out a few grainy black and white pictures with descriptions in French from a catalogue from Gites de France (more in the future on Gites de France)   I picked one out and the rest is history! The arrangements were made by this company, although every house since we have booked directly or through an internet agency.

The house was in Domessargues in Garde, right next to Provence and about 20 miles north of Nimes. I was dragging four other people along with me and we did not know what to expect. The rent was $500 a week – seven nights Saturday to Saturday and we wondered if the pool would be icky or tiny.  With our group of five that made each person’s share $100 for a whole week.

Driving from Nimes, the countryside became very verdant with grape arbors glowing with a purplish hue framed by green.  I was very nervous because  I had recruited all these people and what if the place is a dump!  I think I tried to absolve myself of all responsibility as we drove.  Domessargues was a tiny town atop a hill  surrounded by vineyards. We found the owner and his wife who escorted us to a barn on the other side of the village. From the instant we entered the place we were thunderstruck. It was huge and immaculate. There were four bedrooms and a salon for gathering that led out to a patio. But most astonishing of all, the pool was 10 meters (30 feet) and a sparkling, pristine oasis surrounded by carefully tended flower bed and recliners and umbrella-ed tables. There was a second unit in the barn that was not taken during our stay, so we had this marvelous place all to ourselves.

The town was not big enough for commerce, but each morning a little white truck drove through the village honking and you could buy your absolutely fresh French bread and croissants from a friendly delivery man.   There was an equestrian center across the road and in the evening we could heard gypsy-type music waft over to our place while we were having a barbeque with the gnarled dried roots of grape trees as our briquets.

We roamed all over Provence and marveled at the food, the friendliness of the people.

All my photos from this first expedition are not digital and at some point I will scan them in.  I tried to find the unit at Gites de France, but I couldn’t find it.  I would still recommend it and I know several years ago, it was still just 500 euros.


  1. I got to your blog through Your postings fit my personal interest, and therefore I am looking forward to your further writings. Thoughtful and well written.

    Comment by Adi Arifin — February 28, 2008 @ 8:36 am

  2. Dear Adi,
    Thank you so much for your comment. Looking at these churches has led to so many wonderful things for me and my group of friends. One beautiful adventure after another and it’s totally my pleasure to share.

    Comment by Karen — March 4, 2008 @ 12:27 pm

  3. Hi Susana,I understand that benmoicg a teacher in France, even of evening classes, can be a bit of a challenge if you don’t have qualifications that the French deem to be equivalent to their own and they are very protective of their qualifications. I’m not sure if this would be a problem if you informally start teaching a few art students, perhaps, perhaps not.Likewise selling art at fairs and markets I have been told that some markets are very protective of existing stall holders if their current trade is likely to be threatened, others less so. But this sounds in principle to be quite possible, and most markets would not have traders already selling paintings.Quite a lot of tourist towns’ have art galleries and shops, perhaps in your position I would try to reach an agreement with some of those to sell paintings on your behalf?Overall I think that at first you will find challenges you hadn’t anticipated but sooner or later will get round them and all will work out well!Let us know in a year or two

    Comment by Hasegawa — November 14, 2015 @ 8:09 pm

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