Friday, January 20, 2012

Deciding on the property

 Weighing up the options

So having decided we want to stay in Labretonie, our lovely tiny village here in the Lot-te-Garonne department of France, we had to find a property. At our age the most sensible move would be to buy one of the small plots of land for sale on the main road running through the village and have a new house built. We did consider this - but not for long - to be honest the idea just bored us rigid. We thought of building on part of our land too but I wasn't too keen on driving past Peyrenègre every day when someone else lived there and in the end our outline planning demand was refused so that settled that.

There was an empty old house not far from Peyrenègre. The previous occupant had lived there all his life but had now died and the house (Frénaula) was for sale. We gave this a lot of serious thought as it shared the same fantastic view as Peyrenègre and had some land with it. The picture below was taken just by Frénaula on our Christmas day walk so you can see the stunning view.

The view from Frenaula
 Then we heard of another property for sale.

Going back 10 years

When we came here 10 years ago another couple had just arrived in the village. They had moved from a small apartment in Paris and had bought a small property with a good piece of land.  Both couples were looking for a change of lifestyle and we had a lot in common with them as we set up vegetable plots, got our own chickens and learned the mysteries of charcuterie from a shared neighbour. We spent very happy evenings on their terrace eating our home produced goodies and discussing everything under the sun as the sun set over their lovely little plot. We were busy renovating our own house but were willing to lend them a hand whenever we could and when a surprise little baby came along (they were both over 40 at this stage) we child minded her for a while.

As time went by

Sadly the rural life didn't seem to fit them so well after all and little by little they let things go - first the animals, then the potager, and any plans for work on the house until eventually they parted and the house had to be sold. It was all very ,very sad. However knowing we were looking for a house and that we loved their property, they gave us 'first refusal' and in January 2011 we became second home owners. 
Champage on the terrace the day we signed
In the heart of the village but still with land and fields around us


Wendy Wise said...
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Wendy Wise said...

At least your Parisian friends gave it a go. I'm sure you will turn around the fortunes of their former home. It is odd though living close to a home that now belongs to someone else, we were very sad to see what the new owners of our gîtes did and now they've given up too and gone to Switzerland.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your new home, I hope you will be happy there. It's sad that it didn't work out for the Parisians but happy ending for you. I can relate to living in the countryside with a small baby, far away from family - we moved to the country last year and it can be very isolating at times.

Enid and Kevin Wilson said...

Our current house is off the beaten track a bit - anyone coming here is looking for us or is lost so we won't see any new owners changes by chance. I do think a house should evolve and I would love to sell to someone who will love it as much as we do and who will take it onto the next chapter of its life.

Enid and Kevin Wilson said...

Yes I can see that you could easily feel isolated in the country - but in this case problems ran a bit deeper. We miss the little girl very much.