It’s not at all uncommon, especially in rural areas, for houses to have a plaque above the front door with a name; not of the owners but of the house. Examples we’ve seen include “Long Weekend”, “Good Times”, and “My Dream”. We were invited for lunch to a small village outside of Carcassonne with precise directions and the reassurance of “If you get lost just ask for the Tile House; everyone knows where it is”. We arrived without incident to discover that our hosts lived in a former tile factory, hence the name. With that inspiration, it’s time to name our new place and we think we’ll call it “Modération”.
If you read a previous post entitled En-tiley ours you would be justified in saying that our house could be called Tile House, but that name’s taken. From our upstairs balcony there’s a tip-toe view of the Pyrenees but that would literally be stretching things to include the mountain range in a name. We imagine that our neighbors, the mail carrier, and other delivery people who regularly visit us just think of it as the “Americans’ House” but we need something more French. Something with an accent mark.
Advertisements here for all kinds of food and drink are often accompanied with the phrase “à consommer avec modération” advising you not to overdo the intake of the product being promoted. We’ve seen it on ads for butter, cheese, cured meats, candies, soft drinks, and wine. Even in the bakery there’s a small sign indicating that you shouldn’t eat too many baguettes, croissants, or pastries. Quelle horreur! In general we find the French to be pretty balanced in what they eat, so I’m not sure how necessary those warnings are. However, we figure that by choosing this particular house name we can always say that the extra slice of cheese, bite of baguette, or glass of wine was consumed in Modération!
Website note: If you’re interested in learning more about house names, their history, and how to choose your own, here’s a website devoted to this fascinating topic: http://www.housenameheritage.com/default.asp