La Cressonnière

Would you like to know about the house we are renting in France? It’s a house with a name instead of an address — which makes me smile every time I think of it. I’ve never lived in a house with a name! It’s called La Cressonnière and it means “watercress”. (Incidentally, to honor the name of the house, I have been looking up watercress recipes — if you have a good one, please let me know.)

The house is in the Normandy region, about 1/2 hour from Caen. (In Caen, you can catch a ferry to the UK.) It’s big enough to fit our family, it has an artist’s studio and a beautiful garden. There’s even a piano — so my kids can continue their music studies while we’re there. There’s an older part and a newer part of the house. The older part is 17th century. The newer part is 18th century. : )

Ben Blair visited the home a few weeks ago to check it out in person, see what the countryside is like and how easy it is to access Paris. He loved the house and brought us lots of video so we could get to know it too.

Everything about the house is beautiful and interesting. The home owners have excellent taste. The husband is an artist, and he’s taken great care with every detail in the house. In one room, he uses salvaged wood paneling from a 17th century church on the walls. On the doors, he scouted authentic period locks. And his wonderful artwork makes appearances in every room.

Finding this home felt like a gift. It was the right size in the right price range. It was close enough to Paris — so I could see my sister. And it’s beautiful. Moving to France is a treat, and getting to live in such a special residence is equally a treat.

Some practical notes:

1) One of the reasons we took this daydream-of-moving-abroad seriously was our difficulty finding a house we wanted to buy here in Denver. There are lots of amazing neighborhoods here, but after looking fairly intensely for almost a year, we hadn’t found the right one to purchase. So we decided to consider that circumstance a blessing, and make the most of our flexible housing situation. We still hope to return to Denver after our time abroad and find a place to call home.

2) We looked into several different countries before ultimately deciding on France. When my sister, Jordan, made plans to spend a year in Paris with her family, that definitely influenced our decision. We think it will be fun for both of us to be in France at the same time. She can play city mouse and I’ll play country mouse.

3) Another factor that assured us La Cressonniére was the right place, is that the wife is Australian. So, while we’re working on our meager French, communication is still easy — hooray!

4) We found La Cressonniére on — my favorite source if you’re looking for a long-term, furnished rental. But there are other great sites as well.

If you’re considering your own adventure abroad, I hope these notes about our thinking and sources will help you.

90 thoughts on “La Cressonnière”

  1. Hi Gabrielle, I am so jealous of your upcoming move. My daughter and her family lived in London for 4 years and in Frankfurt for 4 years so I was able to visit often and totally fall in love with Europe. It will be a lovely experience and one you will always be glad you decided to do. When I retire in another year or so I am commited to make the same move. Good luck with all your future adventures, I enjoy your posts so much and can’t wait for them to start coming from France………

  2. Beautiful place! We are currently stationed in Italy and you have given me an excellent idea! We are already adventuring living the Italian life but how about making something even more exciting and renting a place for a whole month?!!! Mmm Florence? Venice? Somewhere in Germany? If we are going to do it we might as well do it big! Enjoy your time!

  3. What a beautiful home!
    I love to eat watercress sandwiches
    First a little cream cheese (or some such) then some watercress, perhaps some cracked black pepper. Ta da!

  4. Hello there! Just wanted you to know that I am a close personal friend of the owners – have known the wife for 25 yrs. She called me last week to say how excited she was to have such wonderful tenants for their very loved home. I first stayed in this house 12 years ago after they first bought it. The work they have done is unbelievable!! Really hope your new life in Normandy is wonderful for your family.

  5. Enjoy! SO very jealous…a dream come true…something your whole family will always treasure and remember fondly :) Plus, such a beautiful house/home!! Bonne Chance!!

  6. The house is beautiful! Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together. It’s so amazing that you are living out your desires. I wish you and your family all the best. Happy Holidays!

  7. Gorgeous. I just WISH. But, neither of our jobs is moveable. The time I lived in Europe growing up and later studying were my favorite times.

  8. I’m so excited for you! My husband is in the Air Force and we are moving to Europe in the summer as well. We are going to Germany and I could not be more excited!! I look forward to following your adventures on your blog as we have our own.

  9. Love the new digs! I think one of the best ways to use watercress is the simplest…fresh picked on a sandwich with bacon and some herbed mayonaisse, so simple to make yourself. My father in law and I pick it in the spring and fall here in Pennsylvania and make sandwiches for days on end! Just imagine, some good countryside bacon and crusty French bread (toasted is even better)…seems so simple and fitting for your new French lifestyle!

  10. Great opportunity and beautiful house! We’ve taken the boat/ship ride from Caen to the UK. Pretty easy 5 hours and then another 2-3 train ride to London. You will love the Noandy region, beautiful! I’m jealous of tour adventure! Enjoy!!

  11. you’re house looks so charming! what a great experience this will be. :)

    definitely take the ferry to the u.k. i’ve done the eurostar and the ferry. both are fun but there is something about being able to see the english channel rather than being under it!

  12. For those of you wanting a foreign adventure in a gorgeous home somewhere, we’ve had great luck with house swapping. Had a great Spring Break holiday in Mont Tremblant, Quebec at a ski chalet while the other owners enjoyed some city living in New York. Congrats on your new serendipitous adventure, Blairs! Looks like a magazine spread already.

  13. I am green with envy! I hope that you and your family have a wonderful experience. I’m looking forward to discovering France through your blog.

  14. I’m green with envy….I’m certain you can see this in my typing! France holds a special place in my heart for several reasons. I’m excited to re-live the excitement by reading about your adventures. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Wow! Breathtaking and I’m sure you will all have a magical experience there.
    It’s definitely a bonus that the wife is Australian. Yay! Australians are good peeps. I’m an American living and now calling Australia home.

    The photos are fabulous and that garden is something else! Love all you are sharing.

  16. What a dream come true. All the best with your move, this is so exciting and wonderful! Especially for the kids! You are such an inspiration! Merry christmas and happy new year dear Gaby, Ben and your beautiful children!! Yanyan

  17. So excited for you!

    I took the train from Caen to Paris and it was definitely do able! I think it was about 2 hours. We did a Day Trip to the D Day sites — how amazing that your kids will be able to learn about that part of history.

  18. When I opened the page for your blog and saw the picture of this lovely house I just said “Ohhhhh!” to myself. So incredibly beautiful, and the gardens too. Thanks for sharing your experience with us so we can live vicariously! Love it!

  19. This sounds like such a fabulous adventure for your family! You are so fortunate to be able to pull it off. My family lived in Germany for a few years when I was young and there are so many fun memories I retain. I think it’s a great experience for children. And how great to have your sister there too!

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