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Carpets, shutters: five things they don't tell you about French houses

Journalist Samantha David explains details that might surprise you when viewing and buying property in France

As a non-French person you might be surprised by the things you find in French homes Pic: Janice Storch / Ioan Panaite / Pshevlotskyy Oleksandr / ON-Photography Germany

Here are just five differences you might find in a French home.

1. Floors

Fitted carpet is rare in France because it is considered difficult, if not impossible, to keep clean. 

The further south you go, the colder the floors. In the very south, a marble floor is a luxury. Take the carpets away!

2. Shutters

They don’t just look cute – shutters are a real part of the daily routine. 

People do close them every night and open them every morning. They latch them half-closed during heatwaves to prevent the sun directly striking the window panes. 

Luxury is having solar-powered shutters that close themselves at dusk.

Read more: France’s fourth heatwave of the year forecast for this week

Read more: French law: Court case highlights rules for insurance and shutters

3. Loos

Macerator lavatories – a rarity in the UK – are often the cheapest and quickest way of installing an upstairs loo in an old French farmhouse. 

Will they work? Yes. For everything? Yes.

But what about the noise? You will get used to it. Are you sure? Oui, oui, oui!

4. Decor

How can I get an authentic French look in my second home? 

A waxed tablecloth, a stand-alone stove working on bottled gas and some large, dark wood cupboards should do the trick. 

But don’t sweat the decor. Invite people for apéros at the bar.  

5. Chain in your attic

If you find a rusting, clumsy chain and hook arrangement in your attic, just walk on by! 

The cast iron chains and casserole hooks that were suspended with a pot over kitchen fires – known as crémaillères – were considered lucky totems. 

When closed stoves were installed, the chains were removed to the attic to retain the good luck. 

What would you add to the list? Tell us at 

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