This Tiny House Tour in France is a guest post by Chris Wenban of Tiny Footprint
On my last tiny tour (https://tinyhousetalk.com/tiny-house-tour-in-france/) I was disappointed to have missed out on a couple of tiny stops, luckily I had the chance to make another visit back to Paris so here we have Tiny House Tour France Part Deux!
Barrel Tiny House, La Brosse
I set off in my tiny red Fiat 500 to find the Roulotte (Caravan) in La Brosse, a tiny hamlet near the ancient village of Janvry, south-east of Paris. There are 3 ‘Barrel’ houses in the grounds of the Domaine de Marguerite and this idyllic place is certainly an alternative to the hustle and bustle of central Paris if you want something a little different. I had seen this tiny house in tinyhousetalk.com previously so thanks to Alex for the tip!
The unusual design drew comparisons to a Hobbit house of course and I am sure Frodo would have been pleased with the sunny deck overlooking 2 other barrel houses, the huge tiled shower and double sink – you don’t see many of those in a tiny house! The toilet was perhaps a little hobbit sized but I thought it added to the charm!
My highlights were just relaxing with a book on the deck listening to the neighbourly sheep, the small stream gurgling next to the house and the numerous birds twittering away. The grounds are large enough if you bring tiny people with you they will be able to keep themselves occupied as well.
If you are staying for a few days be sure to visit the village of Janvry close by. Versailles is not too far away so it is a good location for those not wanting to be in central Paris.
My other highlight was dinner at the restaurant on the property. The menu comes to you on a blackboard and the food was beautiful, typically French and so hearty I could not even attempt a dessert! The restaurant seemed popular with locals and the terrace was a great place to relax at the end of the day and of course there was an abundance of French wine to choose from.
Decisions, decisions for dinner (I had the snails and sea bass!)
Breakfast is available in the restaurant but the house comes equipped with a fridge, kettle, 2 electric rings and some basic kitchenware if you want to eat in the Tiny House. The restaurant in Janvry also seems to have good reviews and has an amazing setting in the old village overlooking the tiny chateau and village ‘square’.
Le Hameau de La Reine (The Queen’s Hamlet), Petit Trianon, Palace of Versailles
Many visitors come to Versailles as part of a trip to Paris. The Palace and gardens are huge and you can easily use up a day to see these. For those with a tiny interest though it is well worth planning your day to make it through the gardens to the Petit Trianon and onto Le Hameau de la Reine (The Queen’s Hamlet) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hameau_de_la_Reine.
The ‘Petit’ Trianon is itself huge compared to the houses in the Hamlet
This hamlet was built for Marie Anoinette and the hamlet may even have helped speed the downfall of the French Monarchy during the Revolution. It truly is tiny in comparison to Versailles though I think anyone with a view to creating a tiny house village would see a beautiful property and location like this as a huge opportunity.
The ‘Simple Life’ for the Queen
Marie Antoinette had this built in order to escape the pressures of court life, with almost a dozen buildings, including a decorative Mill, a farmhouse, as well at the Queen’s house for parties and relaxing. The rustic exterior hid a luxurious interior and her somewhat sanitised attempts at a simpler life led to resentment and rumours that helped fuel the Revolution. Interestingly it is reminder that history shows many people who ‘have it all’ yearning for something less complicated.
The Mill House – extravagantly non-functional!
The farm was a working farm and provided food for Versailles and was used for education for her children.
Tiny House Rosalie
The owner of Tiny House Rosalie, who was one of the first in the French tiny house movement, was kind enough to let me see her tiny house in a suburb of Paris. Sophie built the tiny house herself and her background in engineering would certainly have helped with this. She started with a trailer in October 2015 and she managed to complete this using a majority of recycled materials over 9 months of construction. As with any house it still has some things to complete. But it took her 1500 hrs of effort by her estimation. With a lot of learning along the way through friends and the internet she built up her skills and moved into Rosalie in October 2017 after spending about € 11,000 on the total build.
Sophie now has a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8x8XwdzKeJHrwoCPja2X_w) which she uses to give back to the tiny house community by showing some of the French tiny houses she has seen across France, in depth videos of her own Tiny House Rosalie, some of the building challenges she has had, and how she is cultivating her garden.
Tiny House Rosalie is very distinctive and I loved the very personal design with the Japanese shou sugi ban (焼杉板) wood treatment and the textured siding. http://shousugiban.com/
Sophie’s long-term plan has a familiar and idyllic ring to many of those in the tiny house community. She is looking to purchase a property with friends and family and create a farm. She already cultivates in the garden of the house she lives on and I am sure she will make her dream a reality. After all, if you can build your own tiny house it is not hard to believe you can do anything you set your mind to! Check out her website and facebook page http://www.tiny-house-rosalie.com/. Even if you don’t speak French there are lots of pictures to look through and google translate is an amazing thing when you need it!
When you look for it there is always something with a tiny theme to find. I found a gypsy style caravan painting from Van Gogh in the Musee D’Orsay, a Marc Chagall picture celebrating tiny cottages over huge mansions and lots of tiny pixel art in the streets of Paris.
An artistic beehive on the corner of a building and I managed to make the Eiffel Tower look a little bit tiny.
For more photos of the Barrel House, Tiny House Rosalie and Paris follow us on Facebook and take a look at the tour album and Instagram
Our big thanks to Chris Wenban of Tiny Footprint for sharing!
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