After that Tuesday afternoon and seeing the house at la Renaudière, things got a little blurred. Logically, we should have been more clear-headed, as jet lag abated. Walt still had his sinus problems and wasn’t sleeping much. I had no excuse except that the pace was wearing me down.
If you want to read this series of postings in chronological order, start here: Quitting California. It's the story of leaving California and buying a house in France. Click Next at the bottom of each article to jump to the next one in the series.
On Wednesday morning we saw four more houses. Here’s what I remember.
One house, near Montrichard, had a little swimming pool. That wasn’t anything we particularly wanted (though a hot tub might be nice). A pool seems like a maintenance headache, and this one wasn’t very attractive. It was too small, to start with. The house itself had a lot of small rooms off a long hallway. It was right on a road, and crowded by other houses. Crowded was the way the whole place felt. Let's keep going.
Another house in Montrichard was completely without character. It was fairly big and completely empty. It was carpeted throughout in beige, and the walls were beige. The front yard, or what passed for one, was a large plot of gray gravel. The exterior walls were beige. There was a little yard/garden on one side. The environnement was dull. We took a pass.
A house in the village called Bourré, near Montrichard, was one of the nicer ones we saw. It was modern and well maintained. There was a mother-in-law apartment downstairs, with lots of built-in furniture and wood paneling, all in knotty pine. The man selling the place -- he and his wife were moving back to Brittany, where they had come from -- was very proud to show us the electric front-gate opener he had recently had installed. He played with that little genie remote control unit the whole time we were there, showing us how the gate would open and close at the touch of a button. He must have thought we had never seen such a thing, but our the garages in every house and apartment building we lived in in California had them. The back yard of his house in Bourré was huge but went straight down a steep hill. The nextdoor neighbor’s yard was a construction zone -- piles of concrete blocks, bricks, and other building materials were everywhere. His house appeared to be about half finished. We moved on.
Back in Montrichard, along the river banks, we saw what might have been the nicest and best-maintained house we saw all week. The subject of flooding came up, since the house’s back yard ran down to the riverbank. We went downstairs into the garage and basement, where the owners had had a nice guest bedroom/bathroom suite put in. They pointed out to us that the water had only been about two feet deep in that room and in the garage during the flood two years previous. This house was down and across the street from one we had seen on Monday, and the gypsy encampment was still down at the end. Too bad about all that, because it was a very nice house. It was listed at a price over our stated budget, but Bourdais thought they might accept an offer at the lower price, if we made one. They were ready to move on. So were we.
Finally, we saw a house in the town of Pontlevoy, just 5 miles or so north of Montrichard. It was owned by an older couple who were there to take us on a tour. It was very old-fashioned and needed a lot of updating. There was a lot of unfinished space that the man used for various workshops. The garden was not huge but was beautifully planted with espaliered apple and pear trees. Unhappily, there was a big warehouse of some kind right across the street. Again the setting wasn’t what we were looking for. Au revoir.
That was Wednesday morning. At noontime, Bourdais asked us if we would like to see some houses in Amboise, which had been our original idea, that afternoon. We said yes, of course. He told us to go to his office in Amboise at 2:30. One of his agents there would show us three houses in our price range. That’s what we did.
One house was brand new. It was on a small lot in a suburban development. You got the impression that it was sitting in somebody else’s front yard, since there was another house facing it from behind, and there was no privacy whatsoever.
The second house was enormous and fairly new. It had a huge living room with very high ceilings and a big mezzanine. There were four big bedrooms, and the kitchen was very nice. But there was no land whatsoever. The driveway was an easement on another property, and there was no garage.
The third house was smaller and darker. On the top floor, it had two studio apartments that the owners rented out to students from a language school nearby. We couldn’t see ourselves living there with renters overhead, and again, there was absolutely no land. The dog wouldn't like it.
We had asked Bourdais if we could go back to la Renaudière Thursday afternoon and spend a couple of hours there looking at the place and taking pictures. He agreed. I think he knew we had made up our minds.
Next: Where do we sign?