A vendre

Would you like to buy a house in France? Ours is for sale. It’s a new build, bright and modern, overlooking a lovely view of the lake and mountains.

It’s what we call in French ‘une maison Γ  ossature bois’. A timber structure or a wood frame house. It’s designed to let in the light, and the views, which perfectly suits our location near Lake Geneva. We fell in love with the idea after spending a summer holiday at a cottage in Canada. It had a similar structure, and when it came time to look for a new home, we discovered a builder in our area who specializes in this type of structure. And then we lucked into our lot. Just the right size for us, big enough to have a pool and a garden but not a massive amount of land to look after. And those views!

What did I learn after building this house? You can have too many windows. As beautiful as the views are, sometimes it feels like a fish bowl. And we’ve spent a fortune in window coverings. Also, with the rising temperatures, there is a definite greenhouse effect. Last year we had air conditioning put in upstairs.

And then there is the location. I truly love living by a lake, and in the country. That is not up for grabs. But as I work from home and we are at least half an hour from the city, it does feel isolated at times. It would be nice to be nearer a bigger town with a few shops and services.

Also, I realize that I could happily live in about half the space. And that if I have access to greenery nearby, I don’t need my own garden. In fact, there is little point in having a garden if you don’t want to spend your time caring for it. Which neither of us really does.

I never imagined we’d leave this house. It was just ten years ago that we decided to sell our first home near Lyon and move to the Haute Savoie. Back then we were both working in the Geneva area and commuting back and forth each week. But things change. I got laid off from my former full-time position in pharma communications just as we were breaking ground. Husband now works on the other side of Switzerland in Zug, a 3-4 hour drive. He’s away most of the week while I work freelance from my home office. As much as I enjoy having space around me, this house is too big for one person.

So, we’ve decided to sell our house and downsize. The breaking news is that, after almost 30 years in this country, I will be moving away from France. We won’t be far. Just across the lake, a few hundred kilometres east. Where they speak a different language, and a funny dialect to boot.

But first we have to sell our house.

A suivre.


  1. CompassAndCamera · February 27, 2020

    Wow, what a gorgeous home! No doubt you have many happy memories there. I can so relate to your thoughts. We’re next to Lake Tahoe and although it is beautiful, I often yearn for a little bit of city energy and convenience. I work from home too and it can feel isolated at times ~ especially in the dead of winter, buried in snow. Good luck with the sale! With those views, surely it won’t take long. πŸ™‚

    • MELewis · February 27, 2020

      Thanks, glad to hear someone else who can relate! Many happy memories indeed, but not as many as our first house. And hopefully many new ones to come elsewhere!

  2. Ally Bean · February 27, 2020

    Your house is beautiful, but I can understand about all the windows. We have quite a few and it can get fishbowl-y. I hope that the house sells quickly and that you find your next home without any stress. How exciting to be moving to a new country. Best of luck.

    • MELewis · February 27, 2020

      Thank you! We will need luck on both ends, as it’s a buyer’s market where we are and a seller’s where we’re going…🀞

  3. margaret21 · February 27, 2020

    Bonne chance. Yours looks a lovely home so let’s hope others think so too.

    • MELewis · February 27, 2020

      Thanks! We will need a bit of luck, I think. 🀞

      • margaret21 · February 28, 2020

        But just one single bit is enough!

      • MELewis · February 28, 2020


  4. Caffe · February 27, 2020

    I would like to buy it!! But I don’t know French, so i ts not good idea to live there:)))) Beautiful house and place!! I hope that the happy people buy it!!

    • MELewis · February 27, 2020

      Living here is the best way to learn French, although there are probably more economical approaches than home ownership. πŸ€“ Thanks for your wishes!

      • Caffe · February 27, 2020

        And economical maintenance of this house after buying it πŸ™‚

  5. midihideaways · February 27, 2020

    Wow, changes are afoot πŸ™‚ It seems that your house will tick many boxes with location being probably the most important one, so you may soon be on the move – to Switzerland I imagine?? Good luck with it all!!

    • MELewis · February 27, 2020

      Thanks, Andreas! It’s a buyer’s market in our area but I’m hoping that the location will be a draw. One step at a time, but Switzerland is the interim destination. Hopefully I will keep you entertained during the transition!

      • midihideaways · February 29, 2020

        I’m sure you will!! πŸ™‚

  6. pedmar10 · February 27, 2020

    Ah yes best of luck. Well it is a bit too far into the country for me ::) The Swiss do speak with a different accent and meanings of words too even if it is French similar to but not the same as French Canadians.. I have French friends in Geneva and Basel who are happy and me well did not came up with the right salary I asked for a post in Geneva a while back. Anyway best wishes and at least you will continue with the blog in another angle lol!

    • MELewis · February 27, 2020

      Geneva and Basel are both lovely places to work but you do need a good salary as they are far more expensive than France. As for the French, the accent is okay for me but I hear that Swiss German is a tough nut to crack. Thankfully English is the unofficial 4th language of Switzerland!

      • pedmar10 · February 27, 2020

        Yes indeed many frontalières friends there ! they coach me well! I can imagine, yes my friends there manage with English and French. Best wishes.

  7. francetaste · February 27, 2020

    Good luck with your move. We also are selling our house, for different reasons. There is no way I can deal with the big yard and pool, or even the size of the house. It was wonderful for 15 years, a great place for a family.
    Transitions are difficult. Good luck with yours. And I too work from a home office and sometimes don’t see anybody but my husband and kid for days. Would love to get a job in an office, with other people.

    • MELewis · February 27, 2020

      My whole working life I’ve been back and forth between office jobs and freelance. Both have their advantages, and I am past the point of going back full-time. But there was a time not so long ago when I was thrilled to be part of a team in the corporate world, and it was an enriching experience on so many levels (including income). So if you wish for that I do hope it happens for you. As for transitions, this year is a big one for sure. Best of luck with your house sale!

  8. Fingers crossed for you.

  9. paul · February 27, 2020

    A stunning house in a beautiful.location ! I was considering it as tI has always been at the back of my mind to own a property in France. The area is not quite where I wanted as I often travel to Spain and i would like it situated en route. It’s a fantastic buy, really. Whoever buys it will be very lucky especially with views like that.!

    • MELewis · February 28, 2020

      Thank you, Paul! It’s an area that has a lot going for it if you like mountains and skiing. But it’s also one of the most expensive in the country given its proximity to Switzerland. I will miss these views for sure. Hopefully we can find something to rent or buy that is similarly inspiring. πŸ™πŸ»

      • paul · February 28, 2020

        Yes I know I have driven through the Haut Savoie on the way to Italy. It is one of the most beautiful places , You are very lucky have lived there. What can I say about Switzerland which I assume you are moving to ? it does not have the awesome history of France but I think most people would envy you never the less. Good luck on your move !

  10. paul · February 27, 2020

    sorry” it should read it has always been at the back of my mind”

  11. nessafrance · February 27, 2020

    A lovely house in a beautiful location, so I’m sure you will find buyers who fall in love with it. It will be a wrench to leave it, no doubt. I do understand about those windows – they must be a trial to keep clean, too! One of my least favourite household jobs. Best of luck with your planned move. You can entertain us with anecdotes about Swiss life.

    • MELewis · February 28, 2020

      We can’t possibly attain the heights required to clean all of the windows, so it’s another expense of upkeep that I will be glad to leave behind. I will be sad to leave the area but who knows? Maybe in a few years we’ll be back. For now, with retirement on the horizon, it makes sense to streamline. In the meantime I will be happy to regale you with new frustrations on the Swiss side! πŸ˜‰

  12. Susanne · February 27, 2020

    Big changes afoot, MEL. You lead a brave life learning new languages and navigating new cities. Imagine the positive effects on your brain! Good luck with all that comes next.

    • MELewis · February 28, 2020

      My brain will definitely be abuzz trying to learn Swiss German! I don’t know if it’s brave, or foolhardy, or just moving along with life. But I definitely feel blessed at this point to be able to choose. Thanks for your wishes, Susanne!

  13. Becky Ross Michael · February 27, 2020

    Wow, huge changes coming up for you! Good luck, and I hope you’ll be very happy in your new surroundings, as well. How will this affect your blog, I wonder…

    • MELewis · February 28, 2020

      Thank you, Becky! I’m thinking about that. Maybe the same as ever for the blog in terms of observations but instead of life in France, life beyond borders? One thing is sure; when you change countries and languages, there is no lack of material!

      • Becky Ross Michael · February 28, 2020

        I’m sure that will be true and look forward to reading all about it!

  14. Dale · February 28, 2020

    I visited Zug when I had a long layover in Switzerland (and met with a fella who brought me around town…)
    We never know what lies ahead, do we?
    Good luck with the sale and finding new digs!

    • MELewis · February 28, 2020

      Hah, Dale, you are one of the rare people outside of this area to know Zug! It’s not my favourite city but it does have a lot to offer. A lake for one thing, and being halfway between Zurich and Lucerne is another! You can get to either bigger city by train in 30′. Thanks for your wishes! πŸ€—

      • Dale · February 28, 2020

        Go.figure! The lake is lovely and the area around it is as well (pretty much all I saw πŸ˜‰)
        Hope it goes well. Your home is lovely. The next peeps to live there will be so lucky.

  15. Katherine Wikoff · February 28, 2020

    Good luck with your move. Looking forward to hearing about your new adventures!

    • MELewis · February 28, 2020

      Thank you, Katherine! I will have a lot more to say, methinks, before we get there. πŸ˜‚

  16. Garfield Hug · February 28, 2020

    Sorry about the job scene as nothing is buoyant these days on the economic front. That is a lovely house and agree that when a house gets too big, it becomes chore too to clean and it gets echo-yy as no one else is around to fill the space. All the best on your move and may the house find a lovely new owner! Cheers to your next adventures!

    • MELewis · February 28, 2020

      Thank you dear Garfield for these wishes! The job situation could have been worse, as the farewell package enabled me to go back to working freelance and to be honest, I much prefer the lower stress levels and pressure of working from home. But we need to favour the major breadwinner so husband’s job decides it for now. Here’s hoping we find a buyer! 🀞

      • Garfield Hug · February 28, 2020

        It is ideal to find a job that pays enough without too much time investment. All the best to your husband in his new role too. πŸ€—πŸ’•

  17. acflory · February 28, 2020

    It’s a lovely house, Mel, but definitely too big for one person. Best of luck with the sale and the move. Are you planning on buying a new house or a nice apartment?

    • MELewis · February 28, 2020

      Thanks, Meeks! We’re open, but leaning towards an apartment. I’d love to have everything one floor but with a patch of garden and a terrace. And of course a view! We’ll see though. It’s a tough ask in pricey Switzerland.

      • acflory · February 28, 2020

        True. But at least anything you buy is likely to be a good investment for the future.

  18. Colin Bisset · February 28, 2020

    Love the house (always a sucker for a big eave) but I understand your ambivalence. We’ve been in our less-than-perfect house for far too long and with much more travelling on the horizon we certainly don’t need a big garden any more. But moving on is daunting, if exciting at the same time. I can’t help feeling that you got it so right with this house that you’ll do the same with the next. Awaiting the continued with interest…

    • MELewis · February 28, 2020

      I only wish…but we are not up for another building project and the Swiss market is very tough. Expensive and little offer compared to demand. And even renting is a challenge with pets! 😺🐢 Glad you like the house: coming from someone who knows architecture, I am truly flattered!

  19. awtytravels · February 29, 2020

    Good luck with your move to (Switzerland?)! Don’t get fined for putting the green glass in the brown glass recycling box like a CERN-scientist friend of mine did.

    Your soon-to-be-former house is absolutely gorgeous. Super jealous.

    • MELewis · February 29, 2020

      Ha ha…you truly need an engineering degree to recycle in Switzerland. I’m sure it will be one of many culture shocks to come! Thanks for the compliments on the house. Hope it will sell quickly or I might change my mind!

  20. Joanne Sisco · March 10, 2020

    Wow – this is huge news for you! I would move in a heartbeat so I’m really excited for you πŸ™‚

    That is truly a spectacular view you have, but spending so much of your time alone, I understand why you’d want to downsize … and I’m guessing move closer to your husband’s work?

    Good luck with all the planning and decisions that have to be made. Looking forward to hearing about your experiences. I get to live vicariously through you πŸ™‚

    • MELewis · March 10, 2020

      Thanks, Joanne! It feels like the right decision to regroup closer to hub’s work, and the area in and around Zug-Lucerne is also beautiful (if expensive!). Our timing is terrible with the current market reeling from coronavirus-induced psychosis. So it may be a few months before we sell and find a new place. It’s unsettling, but also exciting. Glad to have you along for the ride! 😎

      • Joanne Sisco · March 10, 2020

        I think we are going to see some long-lasting impacts from this virus. There is just so much unhelpful hysteria. I hope things start to settle down soon 😦

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