What’s down there?
Bill’s a curious guy and I mean that nicely. You do have to be careful here in French with some descriptors because your “inquisitive” friend might just be “odd” depending on where you place the noun and adjective. The house we’ve rented has plentiful and almost instant hot water and no apparent place to hide a huge tank or even a compact on-demand gas heater. Bill had been wondering about it since our arrival and finally asked the landlord where it was and her response was to simply point downwards. Ah ha, we have a basement and some place new to explore!
On a previous trip to France when we rented a château with friends, there was a dry moat surrounding the castle with warning signs of not to enter the trenched area. The more curious in our party paid the signs no heed and had a fun afternoon exploring the moat and the caves within it that had been carved out centuries before. With that experience under his belt, Bill was now anxious to investigate the basement that we had been sitting unaware above all this time.
In the picture you can see that the resident puzzle-solver made quick work of some of the tiles in our tiny courtyard to reveal a descending staircase. Can you guess which of us said “I wonder what’s down there” vs. “I’m not going down there”?
It should be no surprise to learn that Bill was the first to enter this hidden sanctum and emerged with the news that it wasn’t as creepy as I might have imagined. Like any explorer, he returned with tales of electric lights, dry stone floors and walls, a bidet (this is France, after all) and a giant electric water heater taller than he is. Christopher Columbus had found his city of gold!
A few days later, armed with a broom for the cobwebs and a camera to show you the treasures below, I followed Bill back down with some boxes to put in storage. What I found was pretty much what you’d expect to see in your grandmother’s basement, minus the bidet, except for the bricked up fireplace you see here. We don’t know much yet about the history of this house but I bet Bill’s curiosity will lead us to some fascinating results.