Differences to note between the U.S. and France if/when you decide to buy here (or most European countries):
US: Old is 50 years; new is 5 years or less.
France: Old is 300 years; new is 50 years or less.
US: Central heating means (normally) forced air through ducts, which allows you to also have central air conditioning.
France: Central heating means a furnace that circulates hot water through radiators attached to the wall; usually one per room.
Air conditioning is closing the shutters on all the doors and windows during the day to keep the heat out and opening them all up again to let the cool evening air in (before you close them against the evil night air).
US: All plumbing and wiring is carefully hidden within in the 4″ thick plasterboard walls.
France: All plumbing and wiring is on the face of the 24″ thick solid stone walls.
US: There are closets in the bedrooms and cabinets in the kitchen.
France: There are no closets…anywhere. There are no cabinets in the kitchen and there may not even be a kitchen; but always a fireplace.
US: ‘On a nice lot near a secondary road’ means that the house sits in the middle of a plot of ground, usually square, all of which belongs to the house. Said plot is adjacent to a road.
France: “On a nice lot near a secondary road’ means one wall of the house is sitting on or so close to the pavement that if you stick your hand out the window (if there is a window) you run the risk of having it snapped off by a passing lorry. There may be a yield sign painted on the side of the house.
The plot of ground that comes with it could be all on one side or the other, and may not even be contiguous. One may have to go out of the house, cross the neighbor’s property (or the secondary road) to get to part of it. It could be in another village.
US: Partially restored…..HUH?????
France: Partially restored…. Ranges from:
‘There’s a roof’ to
‘The roof no longer leaks, there are doors and we got rid of most of the bats’ to
‘There is actually a room you can safely sleep in and a working toilet’ to
‘There are actual plans which are partly implemented’.
US: Realtor photos show views of the entire house and every room from every conceivable angle.
France: Estate Agent photos are so cleverly taken that, the fact that the neighbors piggery shares the wall with your potential bedroom and the local sawmill is less then 5 meters from your only door are not known until you’ve driven 45 minutes to see this ‘charming, rural location’.
House hunting is hard.
We may be done with it though……
We may have found something…..
Negotiations in progress….
One of the things I try to do in summer is to cook ahead, particularly when it starts getting warm.
And, one of my favorite ways to do that is to make a Pilaf, then turn the leftovers into a salad.
This week I used quinoa as the base grain for the pilaf. I love the nutty taste, and the fact that it’s an almost perfect food.
This is the second time I’ve contributed a quinoa recipe to Weekend Herb Blogging.
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1 stalk celery
2 tsp olive oil
6 – 8 cherry tomatoes for garnish
Put quinoa and stock in a small saucepan, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until done, about 15 minutes (or whatever your package says).
Chop celery, carrots and shallots. Heat oil in a small skillet and sauté shallots, celery and carrots for 5 minutes. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. When quinoa is done, stir in sautéed vegetables. Spoon into a bowl and serve, garnished with tomatoes. Refrigerate half of the Pilaf (or whatever is left but without tomatoes) for the Salad.
Quinoa and Lentil Salad
1 – 1 1/2 cups leftover quinoa pilaf
3/4 cup cooked small green lentils (Lentille Verte du Puy)
1 tbs fresh, snipped chives or garlic chives
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
2 tbs olive oil
2 tsp sesame of walnut oil
Snip herbs. Combine lentils and quinoa pilaf in a medium bowl. Put ingredients for vinaigrette in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Immediately pour over quinoa/lentils and stir to combine. Add chives, stir and serve.
And a final house hunting hint: Take your digital camera. Some rooms in some houses are so dark, the only way you can see them is to take a flash photo, then look at the photo to see the room.
Be prepared to back out fast…..