Thanks to House-Sit-Match I was able to experience my dream of living on a farmhouse in the French countryside.
I always loved the idea of living close to nature in the slow-paced back country of France—far from traffic, congestion, noise and pollution—but still enjoying joie de vivre and the simple pleasures of good bread, good cheese, and good wine. The only sounds you hear are the chickens clucking, the church bells ringing and an occasional tractor. Such was my experience house sitting for Susan on her small farmhouse about an hour’s drive from Paris, taking care of her lovely dogs and a flock of chickens.
I took on the assignment when my friend Janine Marsh, editor for The Good Life France, mentioned this alternative way of lodging. Instead of staying in hotels or bed & breakfasts, why not house sit in the French countryside and enjoy exploring the towns and beautiful outdoors while saving money? What a great idea! I immediately enrolled in the program and gained access to listings of homeowners searching for reliable animal-loving people to watch their homes and pets while they traveled. Seemed like a win-win situation.
Some gigs were a few days, others a few months. Luckily, Susan, a British lady living in France, needed me for the exact dates I was looking for a place to stay. She posted pictures of her lovely cottage not too far from Paris, her two border collies and about a dozen chickens that needed tending to while she visited family in Great Britain. It was a perfect match for both of us! I instantly fell in love with it all!
The company was very helpful in facilitating our match and added a personalized touch that ensured both parties were comfortable taking the next step.
While at first Susan and I had a little difficulty establishing communication, Lamia, the owner, and Wendy, the online assistant, were very responsive and helped us connect. I understand they overhauled the website in early 2015, but the personal touch will still be offered and this aspect of operations sets this company apart.
When I arrived at Susan’s petite farmette, the dogs, Duke and Flea, gave me a warm, wet welcome and we instantly became best friends. They made me feel protected and secure and, since I travel alone, this is important to me. The chickens left me daily gifts of beautiful, free-range eggs, which I used to make delicious omelettes. The neighbours were very friendly and welcomed me in their homes. It was truly an experience I could never have had staying in tourist areas.
I explored the medieval towns of Troyes and Provins, shopped at farmers markets and took the train to Paris. It was a great way to see France! I enjoyed visiting the cities, but coming back home to my peaceful country retreat was the best.
I highly recommend house sitting as a great alternative to lodging while traveling. You have a chance to explore the area in depth, make new friends, and live like a local rather than a tourist. Check out www.housesitmatch.com for listings and email Lamia, the owner/founder at: [email protected]
Alecia Caine, founder of Find Your Self in France, creates bespoke experiences with the help of her French Connections to offer you a wide range of luxury services in Paris, the South of France and the French countryside. Your private chauffeur brings you from the airport to your luxury accommodations and can remain with you for the duration of your trip. Do you love Monet? Perhaps a personalized museum tour and an excursion to Giverny to see the gardens he planted that inspired his masterpieces. For a French inspired wardrobe, consult with a lifestyle professional and enjoy a couture day with beauty experts and fashion designers. In the countryside, stay in a private chateau with your very own chef, improve your golf with a world class pro on the Côte d’Azur, or curate your own collection of art and antiques with our experts, shipping arranged as well. Taste wine in boutique vineyards and dine on unforgettable regional delicacies. To discover more, contact Alecia at [email protected].