When we first decided to spend the winter in France, we played with the thought of staying for good if we'd like it enough.
You know, find a country home, garden, pool, some space for rent to holiday makers and lead the dream french life we read in books such as a Year in Provence, or read on Blogs about.
Well after having looked at dozens of those country properties over the course of three month, both renovated or still in their raw stages, we quickly realized that in the end, life for us is in town, not down some country lane, 5 miles from the nearest grocery shop.
Many people do like it though and I have to be honest, Victoria realized it way before me. And like a good commercial she kept chipping away at my subconscious mind with her "Let's look at town homes" comment almost daily.
One day, after looking at yet another acreage property in a big field with a realtor who's office is based in Jarnac, we walked the streets of that town discussing the last miss of a property. Will we ever find one we can agree on? What if not? Back to Canada?
At which moment Victoria pointed out a For Sale sign in a shop window in the middle of town. But I am not looking for a shop, I am not looking for a townhouse, I want a pool. Keep walking.
Women have a tendency of being persistent to an annoying point, but what the heck, the listing realtor's office was only a few hundred yards down the road.
A french Realtor....who as if waiting for Victoria, happened to have the keys for the property. Yes, he even would have time to show it to us, if we want. The rest is history. We told the realtor we'd get back to him soon if we would want to see the property again.
The ride back to Villenouvelle was unusually quiet for the first 30 minutes, normally we'd quarrel about Victoria's refusal to see my point on the last property she'd refuse to even consider, though it was a perfect place for me.
Could it be, that a four story townhouse with a commercial space and an attic to develop into holiday apartments is what we'd want? Yes, the floors are amazing, 10ft ceilings are nothing to sneeze at, potential upside at an attractive price? But where am I going to have my afternoon swim with Isabella? In the public pool with my Speedo?
We decided to lay low for 24 hours and then go back for a second look later in the week. And yes, it turned out to be the property it shall be for us.
So as of today, March 15th, we own a property in France. Exciting times, plus plenty of stuff to blog about.
Renovations and all it's pitfalls, a new kitchen for experimenting, an apartment for you to visit and eat gluten free dinners with us.
THE FACADE FROM 1849 IN THE SUMMER
THE SHOP DOWN BELOW
THE ALLEY WHEN WE HAVE LUNCH OUTSIDE
WITH A DIFFERENT DECOR
A CRYSTAL BALL TO PREDICT THE FUTURE
GREAT ORIGINAL TILE WORK
LOCK THE DOOR, OPEN THE WINDOWS. PERFECT AIR CONDITION
ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP FLOOR
VIEW FROM THE TOP
WELL SIZED ROOMS
WOOD PANELED DINING ROOM
WE KEPT THE ORIGINAL CLAW FOOT TUB
STAINED GLASS WINDOWS
ORIGINAL FIREPLACE FROM LATE 1800'S
COMING IN FROM THE OFFICE
ONE OF FOUR WORKING FIREPLACES
NOW WITH A COZY WOOD BURNER (IN THE DINING ROOM)
THE KITCHEN DOORS
THE KITCHEN BEFORE RENOVATIONS
THE KITCHEN DURING RENOVATIONS
A SMALL COURTYARD OUTSIDE THE KITCHEN
BIG ENOUGH TO HAVE DINNER AND RELAX IN THE SHADE
OLD AND NEW
1877 LINEN INVENTORY LABEL INSIDE A CABINET
MY FAVORITE ROOM
LOTS OF ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS
FESTIVE AT CHRISTMAS
WALK IN CLOSET EMPTY
WALK IN CLOSET FILLING UP
LE TUB POUR MADAME
AND THE SHOWER
VICTORIA FOUND A BIG SINK
SO MUCH LIGHT IN ALL THE ROOMS
AND A VIEW FROM THE TUB
LANDING FIRST FLOOR
LANDING SECOND FOOR
THE LIGHT SHOW COURTESY IKEA
WE USE THE SPACE AS AN OFFICE
BEDROOM FOR THE OTHER KIDS
A FAMILY WITH 8 KIDS LIVED IN THIS HOUSE 100 YEARS AGO
THE GUEST SUITE
PERFECT FOR TWO
IT'S ALL THERE FOR INDEPENDANCE
GUEST BATH ROOM
VIEWS ACROSS THE ROOF TOPS
AND MORE VIEWS
LOOKING TOWARDS COGNAC
LOOKING OUT OVER THE PEDESTRIAN STREET OF JARNAC
THE CHARENTE RIVER
THE HEAD OFFICE OF COURVOISIER IS IN JARNAC
130M2 ATTIC SPACE TO BE CONVERTED
FLOOR PLAN PARTERRE
1ER ET 2ÉME ÉTAGE
NEW SHOP WINDOW FACADE TO MATCH ORIGINAL FROM 1910
THE HOUSE, 100 YEARS AGO
8 KIDS IN THE FAMILY
ALL THE ADVERTISING ON THE ALLEY SIDE
IT WAS A HARDWARE STORE
ALMOST 1000 SQFT OF RETAIL
90M2 UNFINISHED BASEMENT
WOULD MAKE A GREAT WINE & COGNAC TASTING ROOM