When you rent a house in France you tend to have much more memorable, and even unusual experiences, perhaps it’s because you are actually living amongst the locals and encountering what their daily life is like.
The first time I rented a house in France was certainly the most memorable, not just because it was a gorgeous 3-story home or that we had perfect weather almost every day. It was memorable for the unusual experiences that happened during our three weeks.
House In La Rouvière
My friend Laurie and I had the good fortune to find a home located in La Rouvière, France, which is located 70 kilometres north east of Montpellier. The owners had spent much time and money restoring the village stone house, which they named, “Les Arches”. THIS is the kind of house everyone dreams of renting when they travel to France.
When you opened the gate, you were presented with a beautiful courtyard. We had dinner out in this private area most nights. It was dead quiet, except for the odd scorpian hanging off the wall. Harmless….I think.
The well equipped kitchen was constructed in the original “cave” and this is part of the house that was over 200 years old. The third floor had another bedroom and it opened up into a private sun-terrace with loungers. The second floor had 2 spacious bedrooms and a bathroom, and on the ground floor, the large living room had a timber beam ceiling and a wood burning fireplace. After visiting some neighbouring towns, this living room was a marvellous place to hang out with a glass of wine.
One week into our trip we sat in the living room enjoying a glass of wine before dinner. All of a sudden a gust of soot came out of the fireplace. A minute later a sparrow flew out, hit the French doors to the courtyard, and tried frantically to get out. It finally escaped through the kitchen door. This was our first welcome to Provence and scared the daylights out of us!
In this very small down, they did not have door to door garbage pick up. In fact, many small villages do not have this. One is required to dispose of one’s garbage at the depot….if you can find it. So, after one dinner, we decided to get rid of our garbage. We walked and walked and walked all through the (small) town and could not find one garbage bin. Sadly, we returned home with our stinky garbage. We discovered later that the bin was located just outside of town.
In the early 1990’s, cell phones were not as common and we were not able to make long distance calls from the house phone, so late one night we decided to go to the sole phone booth in the town to call our families. As we proceeded down the road, a bat started swooping down and tried to attack Laurie (not me), so there we were, 2 screaming Canadians being hounded by a little bat!
Unusual Experiences With Bugs
So, if you’ve read another one of my posts, I do not like bugs [How To Travel With Friends And Remain Friends]. While this house was very clean, it was old and being over 200 years old, there was no way a bug or two wouldn’t get in, particularly when there weren’t any screens on the windows.
So of course I found the odd daddy longlegs in my bedroom which I scooped up and threw out the window. But it was the bug (can’t remember the type—-I try to erase bug incidents from my memory) in the kitchen cupboard that traumatized me. Fortunately, our eyes didn’t meet until later in our stay and even though Laurie killed it, I refused to open that particular cupboard for the rest of our rental.
Another unusual experience that made this trip so memorable was the sudden attack (poor Laurie, again) on Laurie. Half way into our trip, Laurie noticed that she had been bitten during the night. Each night it got worse, so bad in fact that we had to visit the pharmacy and try to explain her dilemma to the pharmacist. She needed some kind of ointment to soothe her itching. Picture French actor and mime Marcel Marcel acting out “itching”. That was Laurie and me. Our French just didn’t cut it. We finally decided she had had bed bugs. I was lucky…..they stayed in her room.
On Route N106
We were very fortunate to have rented the house for 3 weeks so some days we stayed in and other days we would site see. And it wasn’t just ruins, chateaux, and museums that we saw. We also saw prostitutes. Yes, prostitutes, on the highway—-route N106 to be exact. I had to do a double take and confirm with Laurie that I wasn’t seeing things. No, they were prostitutes sitting on the side of the road while cars and trucks whizzed by at 110 km/hour. Only in France?
I’m not saying these things will happen to you, but then again, it’s France. And while these were unusual experiences, they were certainly memorable. In case you’re curious about how to rent a home or what it was like renting a house for the first time, check out these two posts: