Husband and I have recently begun our first house-hunting adventure. We, or maybe I should say I, know what we want. City center, 19th century or before, yard. That's about it, in terms of absolutely essential things. All of which make husband cringe because something in the suburbs built about 50 years ago would be a lot cheaper. But jeez, it's so nice that they have liveable city centers, and old houses are cool, and kids need a yard.
So we've visited a few houses. One was very nice but the first floor was really narrow. And entertaining is already really limited in the house we have now due to small spaces so I'd like to move on to something a little more accomodating in that sense. Another, my favorite so far, is charming, very nice first floor with lots of space, smallish bedrooms on the second and third floors, small but cute yard, 4 blocks from Boys' school. The downside, the bathroom needs some major work. A third, neither one of us really liked the house, but we both loved everything else about the place. A great yard, a guest house (!!), and a green house.
All the places we have seen have one very terrible thing in common. And it is something that seems to contradict one of the cornerstones of French culture. They love food and all things about food. And yet, the kitchens are ridiculously small. What is up with that? Why are all the kitchens here so small? Why? Why?
In all the years I have been here, I've seen two kitchens worth notice. One was in a château and one was in a hôtel particulier (a mansion). Nothing similar will fit into our budget so I'm left facing the reality that I'll probably never get my dream kitchen. All the other kitchens I've seen are like little food laboratories. You have everything you need to get the job done and no more. No corner benches, no desks, no window seats, no reason to stay once the job is done.
Maybe that's why. There was a time when guests were limited to certain rooms in France. They didn't go into the kitchen, they stayed in the living room or dining room or sitting room and that's it. Closest friends and family might have access to the guts of the house, but that's it. Socializing didn't happen in the kitchen. Which still baffles me because at home, correct me if I'm wrong, but, at a party, where does everyone end up hanging out? In the kitchen.