Living like Americans in a French house

My first memory of a French house is a feeling: cold. I wondered how the climate could be so temperate, yet the houses freezing cold.

When my oldest, now 24, was just a toddler, we were staying at someone's house. I told Gabrielle not to touch the walls; her hands were dirty. Our host said,"You'll do well here in France. Children are always taught to never touch the wallpaper." At that moment, I thought,"What have I gotten myself into?" It's one thing if hands are grimy. Wash them first. But never touch the walls? Ever?

Our house isn't that old. It was built in 1906. But we've have broken more stuff here than I have ever seen broken in the US. We've gone through at least two bathroom sinks. I have never ever remembered breaking a bathroom sink in the States.

Our staircase railing is wobbly too. How can you break something like that? OK I admit, I have 6 kids, but they are kids, not WWW brutes.

Oh and doors on cupboards. Lots of them. Is it us or are things poorly made?

Just while I'm venting. How about the fact that houses come empty? Naked. Nada. You're lucky if a lightbulb is hanging from the ceiling. That was a shocker for me. You too?

Oh and the fact that you have to buy kitchen elements. I love those spaces between appliances. Especially the one between the sink and the stove, where little spoons and shaker cup lids fall to their death.

I'm done now. Back to living like an American in a French house.

I think it's less of a shock for brits than for americans but I know what you are saying ;-)