French dreams do come true


Making dreams come true does happen but it’s about being bold and adventurous. Most of all, it can be about taking risks – and that’s what we did.

Our dream turns into reality when idle Internet browsing segues overnight into booking a plane ticket. Destination France – and buying a little old French farmhouse.


We are by no means the first to do this; what makes our dream different is that we work full-time in Australia. Renovating has been the pattern of our married life and now this encompasses working vacances to bring our petite maison back to life.


This is not what everyone’s dreams are made of – a house with just a sink and old wood stove as the kitchen, the last update, tartan 70s wallpaper and a bathroom that resembles a box without air or light.


Then there are the sixteen hour days, stripping wallpaper, knocking down walls, installing an Ikea kitchen, and in the land of fabled cuisine, eating mere bread for diner as we are simply too exhausted to prepare food or even drive to an enticing cafe. No, owning a French home is not all Champagne and boules.


There is no way possible that the truffle farmers who once lived here could have ever imagined that one day, Australians from afar would reunite each year with their old farmhouse. In many ways, it is like returning to two homes.


When we gather with our new friends, Jean-Claude and Françoise on their terrace for an apéritif, and gaze at their glorious jardin, there is also a real sense of homecoming. When we have dîner with Gerard and Dominique, we renew our shared bond of renovating and searching for second-hand treasure in the weekly vide-greniers, the ‘clear-out-the-attic’ markets. We soak up the warmth, both of the summer evenings and renewed friendship.


I share the unfolding story of our beloved corner of rural France through long emails and photos. And then, I start another dream. On our second trip, I take a notebook and whenever I can find a precious moment, I start to frantically record the details of our frenetic French renovating life. Somehow, magically, my scribbling grows into a book.  Then another wand is waved in the kingdom of dreams and ‘Our House is Not in Paris is published.


Dreams are not always just merely that.

This is a guest post by author and expat, Susan Cutsforth. Thank you Susan, for sharing your experiences with MaVieFrançaise®.

Stay tuned for your chance to win a copy of Susan’s book!

Would you like to see more? Click here to browse Susan’s photo album.

All images by Susan Cutsforth

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  1. Milja Kaunisto Mar 12, 2013 at 7:55 PM - Reply

    How wonderful! Glad to have these lovely people in my neighborhood – we’re living our our little French dream, judging from the pictures, not very far in Aveyron 🙂

  2. Ian Shephard Mar 12, 2013 at 8:20 PM - Reply

    Hi Susan, a wonderful and uplifting story for me, with a similar, but as yet unrealised, dream. Well done to both of you following your passion, and to all the hard work in the process of realising it.

  3. cakewmn Mar 14, 2013 at 10:30 AM - Reply

    Wonderful story! It’s always uplifting to read of plans realized, even (or especially) given enormous amounts of very hard work. Warm congratulations! I nurture a dream of growing something similar in the environs of Aix en Provence, where I could also teach cooking classes.

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