Are there benefits to living in a 17th-century building in France? Of course, there are, even though I tend to ignore them from time to time. Let’s begin with what I call our 17th-century thigh master—the stairs.
17th Century Thigh Master: The Stairs
Our home in Arizona was one level, and I got my exercise by walking around the house (not that it was large; three-bedroom, two-bath, three-car garage, you get the idea), BUT it was enormous compared to our abode here). We live on the second floor, which is the third floor in the US. Confusing, non? The stairs are stone, and at times they test my stamina. Carrying suitcases, market bags, pretty much anything up the stairs is a workout.
Several times I made the mistake of leaving something upstairs that I needed, and of course, I went back up to fetch it (or sent Ray- hehe). By the time I was back inside, I had talked myself out of venturing back down the stairs. If Ray went back up and didn’t return in ten minutes, I knew I probably needed to retrieve Ray and the left item.
Now, I have a mental checklist that I tick off. On the rare occasion that I DO leave something behind, it stays behind.
I can tell you that going up and down the stairs is excellent exercise. Who needs a gym when you have a 17th-century thigh master?
Nothing is Square—Rooms Run On an Angle
Our flat is quirky. I’m not sure if all the other flats in the building share the quirkiness, but they may. It took a bit of getting used to (initially I was horrified), but now I see it as cool and very different. The rooms aren’t square but run on an angle. The lines are straight; they just don’t make a perfect square or perfect rectangle. They’re something in-between, which makes furniture placement challenging (the flat is furnished, BUT we shipped a lot of our belongings in preparation for our future life.)
It’s Not As Bad As a Funhouse: Sloping Floors
The floors slope. Now, in some areas, you can barely tell, but in other areas, it is noticeable…and ‘feelable.’ The slope of the kitchen floor is unnerving; You know it slopes when a ball rolls downhill quickly. Every time I open the fridge, I brace myself to keep from stumbling headfirst into it. We’ve been here seven months, and it still trips me up.
Cold stone: A Way of Life
Our flat is COLD. Now, remember we moved from the Phoenix area, and 31 years in Arizona and a decade-plus in Los Angeles thinned my blood. I don’t have a thyroid, so that contributes to being chilly as well. Folks have pointed out that I grew up in Michigan. I haven’t lived there since I was a kid, so it doesn’t count.
One enters our building via a large stone courtyard with a cobbled floor. When you step inside from the street, there is a remarkable change in temperature — Fab for summer, not so fab for winter.
The stone walls in our flat are thick and hold the weather. Occasionally, Ray gets chilly, but he has more insulation than I do. Come summer, he is dying, and I can often find him standing in front of our fan. The summer weather is like a humid midwest summer without A.C. Moi? I’m okay due to body size and lack of insulation.
Bijou Kitchen: Less to Clean
Our kitchen is considered ‘bijou,’ which sounds much better than small. Definitely less for Ray to keep clean- hehe. I’ve gotten used to the size, and I’ve learned that size doesn’t determine whether or not a meal will be delicious.
Our Forever Home: What and Where will it be?
Our flat is a one-year rental, and the lease is up in June. We decided to stay for another year, which gives us time to renew our visas without added stress, and also allows the opportunity to look for a larger place (we have two bedrooms, but the spare room is being used as a closet.) We will probably stay in Pezenas, but we are open to other areas.
Will it be in an older building…17th, 18th century? Although Ray cringes at the thought on occasion (he’d like an elevator), I love the quirkiness of an older property. I know the right place is out there waiting for us. Fingers crossed it’s a bit quirky.
The Benefits of Living in a 17th-Century Building first appeared on Chasing The Next Chapter.