16 February 2012

Our hamlet, La Renaudière

The hamlet where we live near Saint-Aignan is made up of 9 houses located between vineyards and woods. It's a hamlet in French — un hameau — because it is a group of houses without a church. If it had a church, it would be a village — un village. Most villages also have a shop or two and maybe other businesses in them, but hamlets usually don't. Ours doesn't.

The hamlet is just two miles (3 km) from the center of Saint-Aignan, and it is also two miles from the center of the village whose territory it is administratively a part of. The paved road ends at the hamlet but continues as a gravel path for tractors, cars, and trucks that drive into or through the vineyard. The gravel road is a mile long and gets almost no traffic. At the other end it joins two paved roads at their intersection — one of those is the Route Touristique that winds through the local (Touraine) vineyards.

The paved road comes in from the right, through some woods,
and ends at the pond. Our house is no. 6.

I like the feeling of being out in the country without being isolated at all. We have several supermarkets within three or four miles' drive, and there are outdoor markets nearby on Saturdays and Sundays. Saint-Aignan is close, and the comparable towns of Montrichard, Contres, and Selles-sur-Cher are just 10 miles from us. They all have supermarkets and weekly open-air markets too, as well as central business districts.

Click here to see house no. 5 on the map in a photo that I took a week or two ago out our kitchen window. It's the same house that you see on the right in the banner photo above. When I took the banner photo, I was standing just a little ways south of the no. 5 on the map.


  1. So are you ready for the onslaught of visiting readers now you've pinpointed your location :) ??

  2. S., we've been feeling a little lonely lately.

  3. does anyone live in that other house or is it one used only sometimes

  4. Ken - here in Australia, a town/village is not a town/village unless it has a PUB.
    In fact a PUB can be a town/village without houses.
    Weird huh!

  5. Duuuuh, how funny that, though I've seen this perspective many times, it seemed unexpected to me to see that same house close to yours from the perspective of the banner photo :))

    Yup, you'll be having visitors! Amy H. said that someone from her blog reading world once stopped by out of the blue at her house!

    (Holy cow, there's a double word verification image now -- and I can't even read the first one!)

  6. The new word verification scheme is pretty awful. I'm going to turn it off for my blog and see what happens.

  7. I love the idea of feeling that you are in the country without being at all isolated. That's the best of all, I think. The "borrowed landscape" that makes up your immediate world is so satistying in all seasons, it seems to me. I would say you and Walt are very lucky, but I think it is more than luck.

  8. There's a forrest on the right! Who owns all of that?

    Love the bird's eye view.

  9. Living out in the country, what is the source of your water? Also, are you on a sewer line or septic tank?

    I like the new banner photo. The neighbor's stone house with its patio and pediment over the upstairs window looks so French. You picked a good neighborhood.

  10. New poster here. I read your blog first thing every day (and Walt's). Love reading about your life in France. Question: If you took the photo while standing to the south of house #5, why don't I see a road between your house and #5?

  11. I have pictures of my wife and I standing outside your house in January - around about the 8th 0r 9th - not too sure exactly. You don't need a map; just an ability to read signs. La Renaudierie is quite clearly signed as you drive west out of St Aignan. Oh by the way Ken, I don't think you were at home.
    I always wanted to see the place that you write so eloquently about every day.

  12. Hi Ken,
    What's the number of the house you thought might be for sale?

  13. Thank you for your decision about the word verification, Ken. There have been times that I have had to attempt the decipher three times before I got it right!

    Brave new world you have now, with your home pinpointed! Susan has a point!

    So now I know why it was called the Hameau for Marie Antoinnette!

    Mary in Oregon

  14. Is house # 1 still for sale/

  15. glad your weather is warming, but from yesterday's road picture it looks as if you're soon to experience what New Englanders call the Fifth season. Mud season. I'll trade you the mud for the 24/7 campaign politicking already ongoing.

  16. Melinda, that house is the one where our friends from Blois come and spend the summer. Otherwise, we keep an eye on it for them.

    Judy, we've had people just stop by, at least once, and others have told me they drove by to see where we live but didn't dare stop and ring the bell.

    Leon, I'm trying to think what the equivalent of that pub or church would be in the U.S. A McDonald's, maybe.

  17. I forgot that I had turned on Comment Moderation, which meant that I had to approve every comment. Now I've turned that feature off and I will read all your comments that I missed yesterday.

  18. It's house no. 1 that is for sale. The man who owns it doesn't want to list it with an agency, so he's depending more on word of mouth to sell it I guess. He says agents' fees are too high (but it's the buyer who pays the fee in France, not the seller). With all the cold weather, the owner hasn't been around, and I don't know how to contact him to get more information. I'll see him soon, I'm sure.

    The road between our neighbors' summer house and ours is hidden by hedges in my banner photo.

    We have city water, and we have city sewer mains too now. Before 2006, we were not on the sewer mains, and we didn't have a real septic system either. That was not a good situation. Our toilet flushed into a sealed tank that of course gradually filled up and had to be pumped out every 2 or 3 months. We had to go stick a long pole down into the smelly tank to see how full it was. Thank goodness the village had the funds to get us hooked up to the sewers six years ago.

    We don't worry much about uninvited visitors or burglars because we are at home nearly all the time. Or one of us is, not to mention Callie, who makes a lot of noise if she hears anything unusual.

    And yes, it is mud season. But we have mud rooms at each doorway.

    The forested area on the east side of our place is along a deep ravine with a stream at the bottom. Our neighbors own a lot of the woods. On the north side we have a forested ravine too, with a smaller stream running through it. Both streams dump into the Cher River, about half a mile (1 km) down the hill from our front gate.

  19. It's way too "country" for me.


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