Will We Be Neighbours?


From time to time I view houses for sale on behalf of friends who are looking to buy in the area. It’s purely for fun, nothing more than being able to offer a helping hand and the ability to impart a little local knowledge. It’s easy to rave about beautiful manoirs set amidst rolling parkland but rarely do I come across somewhere that I simply can’t stop thinking about. Something that really strikes a chord.


Earlier in the week I had the pleasure of looking around this gorgeous little house in a village about twenty minutes from us. It is positioned right in the centre of the small village on a quiet side road that perhaps sees ten or fifteen cars pass in a day at most.

Now before you get too excited and imagine a mass of stunning photos to follow of a perfect move-in ready luxury abode, I must tell you it needs a lot of work – I mean a vast amount! You’d easily spend at least what you bought it for again plus some more, but then that’s just the point as the asking price is only 75,000 euros! And imagine how it could be. For me this is just like a small-scale manor house, perfection in miniature with a host of original features and traditional touches that shout out loud how serious this building both used to be, and could be again. This is why I can’t stop thinking about it, my imagination is running wild with what I would do.


Just look at the patina, the colours, the old stone and the proportions. It stands proud and bold and yet it is not at all out of place. It is not large or grand, but it takes its place in the village with confidence.


Entering through the front door there is a small entrance hall


to the right hand side is a well proportioned room that I would make the sitting room.  Whilst the work needed is immense there are also plenty of features to preserve, the original wooden floors, the ceiling rose and of course the fireplaces.




In the hallway, someone at some time went to great lengths to hand paint three murals. I think the artist  was someone with exceptional talent too.




Also on the ground floor is a small cloakroom and this large kitchen, with plenty of room for an island unit and a large table! Do you note the hint of jealousy in my words!! This room has doors leading out to the garden and it would be perfect for long lazy summer days and al fresco dining, but equally suited to cold winter days warmed by the fire.


Going back into the hallway we head up the original wooden staircase.


to two really good-sized bedrooms and a bathroom.




Heading back downstairs and then outside we find a perfectly adequately-sized garden and some outbuildings.



Plenty of landscaping would be necessary of course, but that’s relatively easy when everything is on a small scale and it shouldn’t be too expensive.

Once one had turned the smaller building below into the most fabulous summer kitchen, you could dine under the stars; I’m already tasting mouth-watering food, and the pungent smell of food cooking on a barbecue punctuating the warm summer air.


To the side is the barn, it will house your car and lawn mower with plenty of space for sun-loungers and garden equipment.I kept feeling the stone on this building, so deftly cut and aged by centuries of life.




There’s water connected and this sink which I would preserve at all costs.


There was also an ancient Massey Ferguson tractor with solid rubber tyres that made the men drool.


Of course the electrics have to be completely redone, but I would keep this junction-board just for the memories!


So I wonder, has this captured your imagination as much as it has mine? I want to go back and spend longer looking around but I know I would just be wasting the agents time. But I’m intrigued, there has to be a cave, ( a cellar), because look, there is this small window right at the level of the pavement, I didn’t see or notice an entrance, but that surely leads to something and I’m now curious, I want to  know more!


[EDIT: and then, just before publishing this I read it through again as normal and for some reason something caught my eye in the photo of the hallway. Look! By the door at the foot of the stairs, there is a wooden trap door and it’s hinged. Why had I not noticed that when I was there? It has to lead to the cave. Now I really want to go back, I want to go down there and investigate (with Roddy of course because I do get seriously spooked in dark places). I wonder what we might find!]

198 thoughts on “Will We Be Neighbours?

    1. I totally agree with you, the ideal solution is of course for someone who is a builder because it would cut the costs enormously. But it is nice to dream a little and I still love it! xx

  1. Loads of potential. I hope someone with lots of energy and respect for what still remains, buys it and turns it into the beauty it could be.

  2. Oh, I wish…
    I wanted to retire to France in a few years time, but the Euro is now so bad, & who knows what will happen with Brexit, my cousin & her husband have just returned from a few years living in Normandy & said a lot of ex pats are also leaving, as everything is now practically double the price. But this house would be perfect for me, not too big, not too small, I’m already decorating it in my mind so thanks for the daydream Susan! x

    1. Hi Janet, who knows what will happen with Brexit, I am quite sure it is going through, it’s just a question of what the deal will be. So much has changed. However, I think a little day dreaming does us all good, and this house could be such a beauty with some careful renovation, as you say neither too big nor too small. Le your imagination run wild! xx

  3. Like you, I see possibilities in every old house I see. Doesn’t matter if its large or small when I get home I draw it and decorate it, ofcourse to my taste and dream about decorating it for Christmas. This has been a lifetime pleasure for me. I think I missed my calling.. Love your post.

    1. I know exactly where you are coming from Alice, I can dream about how I would do this or that, I love looking at houses, I find it quite inspirational, now if only I won the lottery I would love to buy some and do them up and either rent them out or sell them on, as it is I shall just stick to dreaming! xx

  4. Oh wow, we bought a holiday home further inland from you in the Charente a couple of years ago. If this had been available the. I would have snapped it up in a heartbeat, small enough to lock up and leave but so classically perfect.

    1. I agree with that Lisa, once renovated it really could be a lock up and leave as the garden is quite manageable but big enough to be able to enjoy. Where did you buy in the Charente? Do let me know when you are next over. xx

    1. Hi, yes it is a lovely little village, there is no shop or bakery, but a small village school and a really nice feel without any main roads passing through. I actually spoke to someone who spoke to one of the neighbours, it is indeed a cellar, apparently there is a pump for the well down there and everything! If only I had known. xx

  5. I so would love this house, I’m even showing it to my husband, maybe I can tempt him, we have often talked of a second home but Brexit halted our plans a little. Now we could be tempted again, thanks so much for sharing this.

    1. Oh Amanda, Brexit really does have a lot to answer for doesn’t it. If you do decide to come over and look again, not necessarily at this house but anywhere, let me know, would gladly show you around xx

  6. Would love to know more details, I am going to send an email to your contact email and perhaps you can give me the agent etc. It looks so lovely.

  7. There’s definitely something satisfying in looking at old properties and wondering about the people who lived there. More important too is retaining the original features for future generations. I would hate to see places like this get lost.

  8. Beautiful house with lots of light and terrific proportions. But oh, my. Total rewire and replumb, of course, but also thermopane windows and the space-age (super-thin and super-expensive) insulation, the better to preserve the moldings and all. Is that damp rising to the chair rail? Is that a structural crack in the sitting room wall? You’d be lucky to get through that list for 75K. It would have to be a labor of love, a forever house. Not a bad place to wind up, though.

    1. Ha! I was making the same calculations. I think it would cost even more (count on €2K per window). But better to do it all over yourself (well, to have professionals do it over, but you know what’s being done) rather than to buy something that looks to be in good shape, but it’s just cache-misère–with big problems that have been papered over.

      1. have to barge in here and say I totally agree, I would far rather start completely afresh with everything and then know at the end that everything was done correctly. When we bought our house the rewiring alone took over a month, and the windows and doors we replaced took even longer, local artisans don’t work very fast but at least now we know it’s all done properly! xx

    2. I agree entirely, we had to rewire, replumb and insulate with the special super thin insulation our house from top to bottom when we bought it, yes it’s a costly and long process! There is damp, there is a crack, to sure if it is structural as I am not a surveyor, I think it would cost around 100,000 to 150,000 depending on how much work one was able to do oneself, a clever husband certainly saves a few thousand! But as you say, I could happily retire there after all the children left, nowhere near enough room for us all at the moment! xx

  9. I think the small window on the street is where coal was previously delivered to heat the house. . . at least that is what it would be here in Austria!

    1. That’s actually a very sensible suggestion, I didn’t even know I had any followers from Austria so firstly hi and thanks for commenting! Actually I spoke to someone today who spoke to someone else who knows the house and it is a proper cave (cellar) and the trap door is the entrance! Apparently there is a pump down there for the well and proper standing room etc., if only I had known. Hope you have had a lovely weekend xx

  10. Wow. No telling how many hours I have spent online looking at houses in France. but never seen one so compelling…you are definitely better at crafting the story than the average realtor! I dream of selling everything and buying a lovely old jewel like this, so if you can locate my fairy godmother to help my figure out some kind of employment, then I am in! 😉

    1. Ha ha Julie, I am so glad you agree with me, there is something about this house that just completely draws me in, it’s the proportions I think, it is just everything one dreams of when thinking of a classic French house but on a smaller more manageable scale! So if you find your fairy godmother and figure everything out then I am here to help you!! xx

  11. Oh my Susan, I love this little gem. In fact…it is just such a house that we are traveling all the way to France to see – this summer – I know about not being able to get a house out of your head…oh yes I do. Maybe we will be neighbors. 🙂

  12. My imagination often outweighs my pocketbook but it is always great fun to look. Plus time and money are always a factor in any renovation. Still when you fall in love…..things can happen.

    1. I agree Lisa, this is one expensive renovation for sure, but for anyone who is a builder and able to do much of the work themselves this is quite an opportunity. Love conquers all, isn’t that what they say?!! xx

  13. It does look like a lot of work but for someone able to do much of it themselves I can see this being a dream home. Perfect reno for a builder.

  14. I think I would have fallen in love the moment I saw the shutters, that aged color is exquisite and hard to replicate. Trust you to come up with such a find, hope it soon gets a lovely new owner who will breathe life into it once more.

  15. Looks wonderful! You have done such a good job at selling, will you do another blog on our French house we have for sale please?!! ☺️😘

  16. How wonderful! I have always had the want/need to move to France, but I do have issues with leaning other languages, its never come easy for me.
    Regarding the basement enterence, I think you may find its in the floor as you enter the house, its a pull up and ladder. Please see the first picture of the small enterence hall. I could be mistaken of course. I do hope someone purchases that will love it and bring it back to life.

    1. Hi Sue, I do think languages certainly come easier to some than others, my husband certainly has far more of a gift for languages than I have. That is indeed the entrance, today I spoke to someone who had spoken to someone else who knows the house and I am told that that is the entrance to the cave, there is proper headroom down there, it is quite possible to walk around and the cave also houses the pump for the well. Like you, I hope it finds a lovely new buyer who will preserve it well and renovate it sympathetically. xx

  17. what impressed me most is the huge kitchen with the fireplace. Must be a nice challenge to change this old house
    in a jewel box. A lot of potential . Personally I like old real estates rather than new ones and I would put all my
    imagination in each room (at least in my dreams) to make it cozy. Hope Millie arrived well with lots of unforgettable

    1. I totally agree, the kitchen would be fantastic in my mind, with the fireplace and the doors out into the garden, I love old houses like this, it could be perfection in miniature. Millie arrived home last night after a long day of travelling. She loved every minute of her trip and wants to go back there with all of us, soon! Her Spanish correspondent whom she stayed with comes here to stay with us for nine days starting this Friday and it will be such fun to be able to repay her some of the wonderful hospitality her family showed towards Millie. So looking forward to it. xx

      1. enjoy and who knows perhaps to pick some Spanish words? When you come to my part of Spain please let me
        know.Would be a pleasure to have the best Red and some secret advices where to go and what to see.

        1. Thank you so very much, I know Millie is really keen for us to come to Spain this summer so if we do I shall certainly ask you for some advice if I may. We have your warmth today and tomorrow it is meant to be 17C and sunny, what a strange winter! xx

    1. I know, I can picture everything I would do if money was no object, I would keep the existing rooms and preserve all that there is to preserve, but I just think it would look so incredible. Dreaming of course!! xx

  18. I’m wondering about the walls inside the main house. Is that Sheetrock on them? I’d want to tear all that off. I’d love to hear what you think about that!
    Also, how about taking the suggestion posted earlier and buying it yourself and doing a Tv show around the renovation??

    1. Hi Sally, I think it is far more likely to be straight plaster on the walls, a local render. I think exposing some of the original walls would be lovely if they were stone, who knows, but I love to dream a little. Love the idea of a tv show around the renovation, sadly I don’t have the funds available to buy it! But I can just see the renovation as one of the popular tv shows, let’s face it, most of us love watching these, I know I do! xx

  19. How exciting!! Yes, my imagination is running will, too! Such lovely scale and proportions. Hope that you will spark someone to take the plunge and we can all follow along.

    1. Gosh wouldn’t that be fantastic, I cannot think of anything more fun than knowing who buys it and following along with all they are doing. I hope whoever does, renovates it sympathetically, it is such a grand old dame. xx

  20. Oh how I loved reading your post! I’m addicted to house renovation programmes, and I also often look at random houses for sale worldwide, especially the falling down ones. The exterior of the building is similar to Greek village houses, made of stone and with coloured shutters. How lovely to get a look inside. It would be a perfect renovation project. I won’t let my husband see this, as he will be drooling. We are looking for a house to do do up in the south of England, if I can sell my present one, which is currently on the market.

    1. I love looking at properties too, I often look at Spanish olive farms and day dream! Fingers crossed you will sell your home and then you can start planning and dreaming, it’s always rather fun, I don’t think I will ever get bored of looking at houses and imagining how they could be, I cannot tell you how many I have bought and renovated in my mind!! xx

  21. How fortunate for us that you had the opportunity to wander around the property. Curiosity and creativity are powerful when combined – thank you for this magically inspired post.

    1. Thanks so much, they are indeed a very powerful combination, even if it is just a day dream it’s still great fun. I was so happy to be able to share my little dream with everyone! xx

  22. Thank you for the post. Oh it is a beautiful old property. Sure makes me wish I lived in France. It would be so nice to live there. Makes me think of the previous owner and their lives they lived. Boy, if walls could talk. It is so important to modernize but retain the original features for future generations. Would be so sad if it was lost.

    1. I totally agree Brenda, I simply adore this old property, everything about it. I just hope whoever buys it restores it sympathetically and keeps the original features and the essence of the house as it is. Imagine if walls could talk. I would love to know who painted the murals for a start, someone with a lot of talent. xx

    1. Under the Tuscan Sun, I loved that movie, I haven’t seen it for years, thank you, you’ve made me think I must find it online and watch it again, a perfect winter evening film. xx

  23. C’ est une belle maison de village typique de votre belle région de la Charente-Maritime. Votre oeil , Susan, qui nous offrent de si belles photos, a découvert une maison avec beaucoup de potentiel : parquets en bois, belles cheminées, une énorme cuisine, deux grandes chambres, un jardin sans vis-à-vis, une cuisine d’ été et une grange. Certes, il y aura beaucoup de travaux à faire ( 150 000/ 200 000 € minimum ) mais cela pourrait être une très bonne affaire si le village est bien situé avec des commodités dans les environs. Vu les travaux à faire, un prix de 65 000 € à 70 000 €. pour cette maison serait correct. Et vous avez raison Susan, le soupirail ( avant de la maison ) et la trappe dans le hall d’ entrée indique qu’ il y a une cave ou un cellier à vin au sous-sol.// This is a beautiful typical house of your gorgeous county of Charente-Maritime. Your Eye, as always Susan, which offer us so many nice photos, found out a house with big potential : wooden floors, nice fireplaces, a huge kitchen, two large bedrooms, a courtyard no let one see, a summer kitchen and a barn. For sure, there will be many renovation works to be made ( 150 000 / 200 000 € at least ) but it could be a very good bargain if the village is well located with some amenities nearby. With all the work to make a 65 000/ 70 000 € value for this house would be correct. And you are certainly right Susan about the basement window ( in front of the house ) and the trapdoor in the entrance hall which seem to indicate a cellar or a wine cellar in the basement. Hope you have had a great week-end with mild temperatures and sunshine.

    1. I agree with you Philippe, it will be an expensive renovation, perhaps better if the purchaser is a builder who can do the vast majority of the work themselves, but what a gorgeous house it could be, the proportions are so good, the village is gorgeous and the location is great. I spoke to someone today who spoke to someone else who knows the house and apparently that is indeed the entrance to the cave, there is full headroom and it also houses the pump for the well. I wish I had been able to look around. Very mild yesterday and today, 12C and plenty of sun, it felt nice to be warm again! Hope you too have a lovely week and a respite from the cold. xx

  24. Susan,

    I am tempted to board a plane and come and look at this!!!! I’ve dreamed about renovating a property abroad. Would you please keep me posted as to the status of this? I am wrapping up the restoration of my project here-hopefully we will be finished in 4-6 weeks. I think spending spring in France working on this sounds dreamy.

    Hope you and your family are well!


    1. Hi Mary, I certainly will keep you informed, and once you have finished your project do send me a message and I will let you know if it is still available. If you come this way, will gladly meet you and show you around. The family are all in excellent form thank you and I hope you have had a lovely weekend xx

  25. Oh how can you tease me like this, already I yearn to live in France but I know it will never happen and now you show me the house of my dreams. Sigh, I shall spend happy hours day dreaming about and planning my perfect French home! Thank you so much

    1. I am sorry Peggy, but day dreaming is also good, I think we can all enjoy spending time whiling away some moments just dreaming a little, it certainly doesn’t do us any harm! Hope you have had a lovely weekend xx

  26. Perhaps we shall look at this if it is still for sale in the summer. We plan to spend a week in Paris and a week in the Dordogne, but we might do a detour to the Charente Maritime on our way south. Beautiful mini manor house as you so rightly said

    1. Do let me know if you do decide to detour to the Charente Maritime, it would be fun to show you around or at the very least invite you here to share a glass of wine. Let me know when you are due in France and I shall keep you posted as to the position with the house. xx

  27. Oh, very exciting! Yes, imagining all sorts – how to retain those frescos, how to make a proper cellar door rather than a trap door, what sort of kitchen, that ceiling rose…. and the garden, small, but with some small trees planted around to soften the edges, making the most of the stone, well, I can envisage a pretty home. But only a lottery win would do it!! But I still yearn for more chicken space!!!! Like yours, fenced off with trees and plenty of room for them to range happily. We are already re thinking our hen run space and how we might incorporate a little more at the end of our small garden, without spoiling it!!! Hooked on Chooks!!

    1. Imagining all sorts of things indeed including how to win the lottery! Now far more attainable is probably the chicken space! Our neighbours have the same problem, they don’t have a large garden and they are trying to give the hens plenty of freedom whilst also keeping the garden pretty and a place for spending time in during the summer, a place to eat outdoors and entertain. I hope you succeed, I am sure you will, hooked on chooks is such a brilliant phrase! Love it xx

    1. I quite agree, it could be gorgeous, a great fireplace, doors to the garden for the summer, an island and a large family table, oh what fun to dream! Hope you have had a lovely weekend xx

  28. Oh, Susan…
    Were it not for the small garden!
    Hope you and all of your family are doing well. In the fury that the last half of last year became I likely missed it; but was curious whether your peanuts ever grew and produced?
    Hoping to see you this year.

    1. Ahh, but I have a solution, across the road, there is a large vegetable garden etc etc. all apparently a part of the property but for sale separately! I thought of you, I was going to email, just needed to find a spare five minutes. There’s plenty of work to be done on the house but it is a grown up house, if you know what I mean, I can picture you there, and the kitchen could be fabulous! The peanuts grew but need produced and I don’t know why! We shall try again this summer! Hope we do see you this year, we must email, would love to know how everything is and what your plans are now! Love from us all xx

  29. I love a look round an old house too. We are just embarking on a rather large project in Normandy of our own and I am constantly day dreaming about the interior decor….some way to go before we get to the soft furnishings stage!!!!

    1. How exciting, when do you think you will be at the soft furnishings stage, by spring, summer? Where about in Normandy are you and is this a full time home or holiday home. Sorry, so many questions, but I do love hearing about people’s lives here, why they moved here and how they are renovating their houses, it fascinates me, everyone seems to have such interesting stories and everyone is always so optimistic which is just as it should be. Good luck, enjoy every second of it, even the really tough parts, because then they will be over and you can laugh about them! xx

      1. We are just inland from Portbail, it will become our home. My husband leaves the military this year and will move over to do the work himself (he’s just headed off to start a two week roofing course!). We are lucky enough to have a house 40 mins from the port each side of the channel so I will keep working to bring the money in and head over at the weekend to help out (or at least not get in the way!). We have planning permission for 2 Gite’s and want to create a lovely, relaxing place which is within cycling distance from the port for guests. Yes I agree, we definitely want to enjoy the ‘journey’ and have had some adventures already with septic tanks and architects! It is so exciting and we have taken the decision we will not let Brexit worry us, we will work round whatever that may bring! I love the simple and back to basics image that your blog depicts of French living.

        1. What a lovely area, we looked at houses around there when we were seriously considering Normandy, for just the same reasons, for proximity to the UK and also for us Alderney, which is home. I love your attitude, who knows what will happen with Brexit in the long run, but keep going with your dream, it sounds as if it is going to be lovely. Having run our gite here I can tell you guests do love most of all being able to relax, being able to cycle here and there etc. There is something just a little bit simpler about the way of life here that really does make it special, it is a little bit more back to basics and I think we do benefit from it. If you find yourself wanting to head south at all, do let me know, you are always most welcome here and would love to chat more about your renovations, they sound like great fun! xx

        2. BRAVO Julie; that’s the spirit! Good luck and the best of handymen to you (when and if you need them!). Hugs from ‘nr Paris’…. Kiki

      2. Thanks Susan, I can’t work out how to reply to your last comment! Thank you for the offer, we may stop by to admire your lovely kitchen if down that way…. And same applies if you are heading back to Alderney do stop off to see the predicament we have got ourselves into!

        1. Thank you so much. I think you have a fabulous predicament, I just know you are going to really enjoy it, let me know when they are finally up and running, I shall come and visit and write about them for you!

  30. Dear Susan; I have just returned from our concert we gave today and haven’t read any comments yet. I’m afraid I’m gonna rain on your parade…. As lovely and potentially exciting this old house is, I reckon it would cost closer to 1/4 mio € to renovate and redo than your optimistcal number of 75k! What nearly killed me was seing how cables and stuff were nailed on those murals, just as it had been done in our house here…. What were people thinking? We had even paint splattered (It looked like a Sunday afternoon play, with the children and parents on ladders, paint-Shooting over those lovely, beautiful paintings…!) What a waste! I spent days on end on the top of ladders with crayons in my hands and it tipped over the many paint splashes, filled nail holes and many of the ‘bostich’ holes I had to leave as they were because it would have changed the soul of the paintings too much to do more. The previous owners nailed cables all across them and then put up textile-covered boards over them. The ‘advantage’ of this ‘treatment’ is that the colours stayed beautifully muted a they were when they were painted….. The next point would be the total re-wiring, the drying out of the walls (there is a serious crack in one wall), the insulation, probably a new roof the way it looks. Our many, many, many hidden problems we had with this house have ‘healed’ me from too much dreaming of ‘Dream stuff’ – which might be a good thing, given my love for ‘Old, lived in, authentic’, or, as my family would say ‘ falling down, rotting, ruins’. I WOULD buy this house IF I had a ‘artisan’ who was totally reliable, one who would be able to think quick and cost effective and would be available. Our roof alone (with a beam to be replaced too, insulation and completely new guttering) was over 85k.
    Apart from all that I LOVE IT 🙂 There you go!
    Seem to have overlooked another post – shall look at it tomorrow. Need to go to bed – I’m knackered!

    1. Kiki, you are probably right, I was actually thinking in the region of 150,000, but if it were to be bought by a builder who did the work himself then around 75k. I know all about the rewiring, we had to rewire here completely and it took over a month, and I agree, why and how could anyone tack cables straight across those murals, it’s criminal. But most of all about this comment, I love “I’m knackered” after your years in Devon you have become totally English, one of my favourite expressions!!! xx

      1. It’s one of my faves too – I have ‘imported’ as many as I can possibly squeeze into my daily English speak because I just think that the English have maxed out the ‘making of a point’ come easily across in the least words to the greatest effect.
        You couldn’t have offered me a greater compliment. If only the Devonians would agree with you – I gladly would wear a double nationality of Suisse/English !

        1. I am trying to think of other real English expressions that are never understood anywhere else. The word I really got in trouble with in the USA is ‘twat.’ Now in British English this just means someone who is a bit silly, it’s a fun word we use all the time, it’s like saying, your stupid whilst laughing about it. I call my children twats all the time, every English person I know uses the word, but when I first called my, then 6 year old, daughter a twat in front of a teacher in the USA, I was regarded with more than just a few raised eyebrows. But no one said anything! I went on making a complete fool of myself for months, little did I know it’s meaning in US English!!! I’ll think of some other good ole English words for you! xx

    1. I agree Libby, what stories it could tell if only the walls had ears and could talk. I hope whoever buys it restores it sympathetically and keeps the true essence of the house just as it is. Hopefully I shall be able to see the renovations! xx

  31. I love the trap door. I bet it was used to hide people duing WW II. During the war, some kind people hid my father for a short time until he could find his unit. i am very grateful to those unknown people for without them I would not be here.

    1. It’s fabulous to hear about the kindness of people towards strangers, especially in these very troubled times, to remember that there is and was so much goodness in the world as well. I now know that the trap door does lead to the cellar, having spoken to someone who spoke to someone else who knows the house! If only those walls could talk, imagine all the secrets they could tell us. xx

    1. I agree Jennifer, there is just something about this house that I knew everyone would love, it is so typically French and yet it is small enough to feel attainable and not totally beyond reach. I shall do my best to follow what happens with the house, hopefully in a couple of years I can feature it again and see what happened! xx

    1. The old beams are gorgeous, I would love to win the lottery too, I would buy it, renovate it very sympathetically and then rent it to guests, it would make the most perfect place for a holiday. Oh well, we can all dream! Have a lovely week xx

      1. Maybe we could start an alternative lottery – and we could all buy it together!!!! Having said that, I don’t even know how to buy a lottery ticket, lol…

        1. Winning the lottery is easy, Kiki. You just need to decide how much you want to spend on trying to win it, and then send me the money. I’ll then buy the tickets and contact you via e-mail if you win something,

          Of course, e-mail not work where I am so it may be a postcard. I’m sure this arrangement will work well for at least one of us.

          I should add that they’re doing a special this week on the €5000 ‘special’ ticket – there’s 10% off a book of ten.


      2. sure Roddy; shall I post details of my bank account (with zero € on it mind you) on this post or shall I send a cheque? It might arrive before Christmas next year, as did some three greeting cards from last year’s Xmas…. Or shall we daydream a bit more?

        1. Just the bank details, Kiki, please. I will send you my address by PM. It is a bank address in Lagos, Nigeria, but you are not to worry as my uncle worked for the bank before he died and my bank account will be very useful to us both when you win the lottery.

    1. I so hope someone does buy it too, I would hate to see it just sitting there for years, unloved and slowly falling apart. It needs to be sympathetically restored with much attention to detail and I hope whoever does renovate it keeps all the original features. If I won the lottery I would buy it tomorrow! xx

  32. I hope this wonderful place finds an enthusiastic and sympathetic buyer – probably thanks to you. Too many treasures languish unsold, quietly rotting away, for years and years.

    1. I find it so sad when I see something sitting unloved and rotting away as you say. It doesn’t happen quite so much here as in the more remote parts of France as we have a lot of Parisians who buy second homes in the area as we are close to the coast. In fact we have very few British and most of the old houses are bought by French and renovated by them which I think is fabulous to see. In our village, which is a reasonable size, I don’t know of a single old house which is empty or un-renovated, there are several in the process of being done up slowly, but always by French, it’s good that here they have chosen to do this rather than to build a modern bungalow in the garden whilst the old house falls apart which used to so often be the case. xx

    1. Ha ha, I don’t particularly like spiders but I am not scared of them either, so long as they stay where they are! But I wonder apart from spiders, I wonder what we would find, probably mice and I am terrified of mice, so definitely best that Roddy goes first!!! xx

  33. But mind you, I’d put up with them if I lived there. Those murals are just wonderful. Two of the look as though they should be hanging in an art museum. Wow!!!

    1. I agree, and against a pale grey or white wall as opposed to the orange, they would look so wonderful, I hope whoever buys the house doesn’t just paint over them without a care in the world. xx

  34. How magnificent if only we were younger and still had the money, all those original features are just magical and I do hope whoever buys this property will keep them, I do hate it when they rip such things out, it would be lovely to see it when done, x

    1. Yes I agree entirely, if I had the money I would love to buy it and renovate it and then rent it out, I think it would make a lovely holiday home. Let’s just hope whoever buys it does renovate it sympathetically and retains the magic. xx

  35. This reminds me of last years holiday. We are very determined to buy in the Normandy area and actually went into an estate agent this time. It really made us think about how much we want to spend and what we want in a house. The photos of farmhouses made you dream of what could be.

    1. Sounds really exciting, I think you are certainly going about this the right way, slowly! Taking your time to decide exactly what you want in a home, I know it’s one thing to dream and quite another to actually then have to do all the renovation work! I am sure you are going to find somewhere fabulous and if you are ever further south in the Charente Maritime let me know and come and have an apéro. xx

  36. I couldn’t live that much away from it all – a village without a bakery – in France?! Non non non…. That’s probably why all those lovely places go to waste-no trade, no business, no life. The number of times we drove between Switzerland/France (both ways) in the early night hours and whole villages with not a single window lit…. it broke my heart every time. But then, no shops (apart from real estate dealers and stuff nobody wants…), no life. Hero Husband calls them villages dortoirs = villages where people leave in the morning, and just come home, fall in bed and that’s that… In Paris they say ‘métro/boulot/dodo’ (Metro/Work/Sleep). It’s so sad and although Paris never sleeps it’s still very, very true. I praise the proximity of two wonderful bakeries within a 150m of our house – one of the two is always open, a great butcher very close by, several small shops, ‘cafés’ and the market less than 15′ on foot …. THAT makes villages live not houses where you need a car per person to go anywhere at all.
    I DO admire people greatly for their courage and I can only offer the explanation for ‘This wouldn’t work for me’ that in my country you can easily live a whole life and never need a car because our public transports are so great. So pls forgive me 🙂

    1. I remember when we bought our house, or rather when we first found our house, absolute paramount on our wish list was a house in a village, we did not want to be isolated and right up there also was that we wanted the village to have a bakery. Seems we got lucky! There was once a small shop here too but it closed down several years ago, we are well located and as we have two good supermarkets both within ten minutes drive I think the competition was too much and the small shop could not compete with the large chain prices. However, the children love walking down to the bakery at the weekend to buy a croissant for breakfast or bread for lunch. We were actually discussing just this on Saturday night with friends over dinner and they were saying that this is a village where we really do need a car, it would be hard to live here without one. Perhaps because I grew up in the middle of nowhere I am just sort of used to it!! xx

      1. Susan, you know what – i’m really sorry as so often I seem to rain on your parade with my views…. and some of your faithful community of readers must hate me. I’ve even given it some more thoughts and the literally ‘deserted’ village you speak of could offer me the most beautiful house for nothing, I wouldn’t take it… It HAS much potential and just to give you my final ‘call’ on this, it made me think of what my son said on the phone when he heard of our buying this house (and after hearing of How we were ‘had’ by the previous owners): Mami, you will never learn… You will go to yet another place and will just buy ANOTHER RUIN! And dear friend, I swear it was HERE in France that I finally learned a lesson of great impact on my well-being: Sometimes (rarely) your brain MUST rule the heart…. All my life and in my daily existence, it’s my huge heart which wants to be good for everybody, everything, I wish nobody any bad, but I couldn’t and wouldn’t tackle another project of this magnitude.
        And now I’m going to read all the comments…. with a nice espresso, followed by a huge mug (a pint-sized Christmas mug of very good taste, and a present of my son many years ago!) of warming tea.
        And it’s REALLY HUGE FUN to be a tiny wheel in the commenting machine of your fabulous blog who has, in no time at all, become my favourite reading. I also do love your family and your pets – with a special mention of your dogs…. Love, Kiki

        1. Oh Kiki, I think everyone loves your comments and your input, I know I do! But you made me think too, you know I could do it again and I would!!! I surprised myself, I thought after we had done this house that I would think, never ever again, it was tough and long, but I just love the challenge. Not that I intend to move, or do anything, but if I had to I would or, if I won the lottery (yes it’s that lottery thing again!) I would buy a ruin and renovate it, but then that would be pure luxury because I would have a decent roof over my own head!! Thanks so much for everything Kiki and I hope the espresso was good and the tea even better! I’m enjoying a glass of wine by the fire as I reply to these! Xx

    1. Hi Paulita, definitely worry about large cracks, if you can’t find a structural engineer I would certainly have an expert check out any large cracks like this in any house you find in the future. You are going to have so much fun, so many adventures ahead of you xx

    2. Paulita; I too pushed a BIG sigh when I saw that big crack – and I second Susan’s warning – this screams big trouble and very big expense. I have seen one house with a huge crack when we were looking for our house and it was an instant and definite NO.
      But by all means, we dream on, all of us, with a wide open heart and hopefully with a bit of involvement of our reasoning too (I was going to say ‘brain’ but it sounds so harsh…)
      Good luck, the important thing is to take your time! You WILL find it, when it’s time. It might not be what you have in mind now, but give it the time it takes and you’ll be ‘good’.

  37. WOW! What a fun thing in general to do for someone, but to go through that! I hope you know the person that embarks on that project…I would want to follow it!

    1. Hi Avery, I think it would be such a fun project. I shall keep a close eye on the house and if I see it has been sold and that work has started at some stage I might just go and introduce myself and follow the work, it would be so nice to see what someone does to the house! I will keep you informed, but this is France, it could be a long time! xx

  38. Oh my goodness what a glorious blog. I am just reopening my blog and changing its focus entirely after an absence of many years. It is not really ready to do anything yet. But my wife is French and I wanted to add your blog which is the very first of my new links ! Best wishes. I shall return often. 😉

    1. Welcome back to the world of blogging and thank you so much for both the compliment and the addition of the blog to your blogroll. I hope you have lots of fun, this is the best part, the interaction with everyone, it’s what makes it so special for me. Have a great week xx

    1. Oh I agree, hopefully it will be someone who restores it sympathetically. I shall keep an eye on it and if I see it is sold I might just go and introduce myself so I can follow along with the work they do, it would be fun! xx

  39. This my dream…my obsession…a home for the “Holidays” where I can “recharge” and “nuture” my soul. A place where my family can make “endless” memories. I can’t tell you Susan how many times I have thought about owning a home like this ANYWHERE in France. Living by you would be a definate “plus.” I can only imagine the “secrets” and “gems” that lie within her walls and beneath her floor boards. From the beginning I would give her transformation the historical respect the house so richly deserves. I would study and restudy all of her surviving “links” to the house origins and reinstate her “glory” days! Meanwhile …I will continue DREAM…because in every dream there is ALWAYS that “Fairytale” ending that pounds at my heart: it can happen…it can happen! Happy Monday!

    1. Fairytales can happen, it’s all in the power of positive thinking. Roddy’s godmother firms believes this and I have tried to follow her lead ever since I first met her over two decades ago. This would be a perfect holiday home and oh the memories and the parties in the garden and the long dinners by the fire on cold winter evenings, a bottle of wine breathing on the mantel, good friends, good food, good times. You see I am already imagining you are here! Back to the power of positive thinking I guess! xx

    1. No never be sorry, because we are all entitled to our own opinions and each to our own and that’s what keeps this real. You are right about the years of work, there is much much work, but I didn’t find it sad, it felt happy, the atmosphere was lovely. However, today I looked at a house, with the same friends, they are staying with us and seriously house hunting. Today’s house was sad, it smelt damp, on the surface it had been patched up, it looked ok, but there was just as much work needed! It’s funny as I read and write this I am watching Grand Designs and just drooling over a fabulous property that has been built entirely from recycled products, it just happened to be in France, perhaps that is the way to go! xx

  40. The wall paintings would be fairly easy for a professional to restore, and probably cost a lot less than you think. They look early 19C to me, and are the most interesting thing about the house.

    Like a few of your other commentors, I would be put off by the lack of a boulangerie in the village, unless there is a delivery service. Having to get into the car to do any sort of errand gets a bit tedious.

    1. The paintings were really pretty, I just hope whoever does buy the house doesn’t just get rid of them along with all the other work without even giving them a second thought. We have a boulangerie in our village and the children just love being able to wander down at the weekend and buy a croissant. I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere, the nearest house was over a mile away and shops much further so I guess I am so used to having to always drive everywhere for everything. For me it just feels fabulous to be in a village with neighbours, the fact that we have a bakery is an added bonus! So mild here this week, hope you are enjoying some good weather too. xx

    2. You could always think about a bread machine, Susan. We live here miles from a shop but still wake up to the smell of a warm loaf everyday – and to be frank, it’s much better for you than the tasteless white flour many french shops use for their baguettes. Even in France I will always try and stay away from the baguette and buy something else. A boulangerie that makes wholewheat bread, or something else with nutrients is a rare find I seem to remember. I find cheese always tastes better on something with a little substance.

      A Panasonic bread machine has been a part of our lives for many years now – easy to operate and wonderfully comforting, even if you just do your dough in it and then cook the bread in your oven or on a flat stone in the BBQ.

      Croissants, of course, are another matter – but I admit to staying as far away from them as possible. I sometimes think you can put on weight just by looking at them!

    1. I agree, now I just have to work out how to buy the lottery ticket here in France! I know they sell them in our local bar, I will just have to be brave, buy one and make a complete fool of myself trying to work out how to fill it in!! Have a great week xx

      1. Susan, maybe Roddy could involve you too in his fire-proof, certain-to-win lottery scheme?
        Or is he proposing this only to NON-Family members? 🙂 Or maybe he could give me learning-at-distance short course? (See former postings…)
        I’m a bit hesitant because the one time in my life I bought lottery tickets was in Zermatt on a short winter holiday, and then I returned home and for months the big winner was searched for and I still think it must have been me because I somehow lost the tickets with the washing of my Ski-Jackett……… 😦

        1. Well then I am sure it was you! I am not sure that Roddy has ever bought a lottery ticket either, actually, I remember, we did buy one in Devon, we won 10 pounds!!! So of course, he is an expert!!! Xx

      2. A few years ago an advertising motto by Française Des Jeux ( FDJ ) was saying : ” 100 % of the winners played LOTO ( or EUROMILLIONS ) “. If you are unease to make a Ticket Lottery,( LOTO or EUROMILLIONS ) ask for ” un jeu FLASH ” at your local bar. Nothing to do at all ( just order and pay for it ) as random choice for numbers is made by the computer. For the results go to the website ” fdj.fr ” or check at your local bar ( Lottery editions on monday, wednesday and saturday). Bonne chance !

        1. Thank you so so much. I had absolutely no idea what to do or how to do it. Our village bar sells tickets, I see people buying them all the time when I go in to pick up the tennis court keys. So next time I shall be brave and I shall buy un jeu Flash and sound as if I know exactly what I am doing! Merci Mille fois

  41. Isn’t it wonderful, if only I could afford somewhere like that instead of my little mobile home. Never mind. I’d definitely keep the sink and the tractor, the kitchen is magnifique and look at that armoire! You’ll have to befriend the buyer just so we know how it was restored.

    1. I did think exactly the same that I must keep a close eye on it and when it is eventually sold, introduce myself! But just think how much less upkeep your mobile home requires and I am quite sure it allows you to go out and have fun whilst you are in France rather than looking after an old proeprty! Xx

  42. I know what you should do with the house Susan – find a dozen (or 24 perhaps) buyers here amongst us all, and each contribute a share to the purchase and renovation of the property in return for 4 weeks per year of ‘residence’. It would be a communal time-share, but done with love and romantic detail. Everyone chips in to pay you a manager’s fee and they can all live the French dream in a wonderful way.

    Just in case you go ahead with the idea I’m running out to buy a handful of lottery tickets – but tell Roddy I am not sending them to him 🙂 ; that’s a sneaky number he’s thought up there!

    1. Ha ha, I had thought of just the same, but who gets the four weeks in February and who gets the four weeks in July or August, it wouldn’t seem quite fair to me! But I like the idea of the manager’s fee!! xx

      1. Ah, I was thinking more of two weeks and two weeks, and perhaps on a rotation system so everyone gets a summer season and a winter season. I did buy a lottery ticket just in case….

        1. Ah well that goes to show that you are far more on the ball than I am, that makes so much more sense. Now kind Philippe has told me how to buy a lottery ticket here, I shall go and buy one also! xx

  43. I’m sure that whoever buys the house restores it sympathetically. I don’t think you would look at that old house and not want to bring it back properly. When we bought our 1730’s farmhouse in New Hampshire, people said we had vision. They were being polite, instead of saying we were crazy, but we did have vision. We hired a specialist who only worked on homes built in the 1700’s and he and a crew spent 5 years restoring it to museum quality before we moved in. As to cost, I agree with Kiki. The house has beautiful features but you can see the warning signs that there is more needed than bringing it up to date. Someone with “vision” like many of us will bring it back with love.

    1. I totally agree with everything you say Karen, the cost will be huge, but the rewards will be well worth it, so long as it is restored with great attention to detail. If I had the money I would do it, I think it is a fabulous project and the house is not too big, almost unusual for this type of house. Your New Hampshire house sounds absolutely fabulous, what a wonderful place to live knowing that it has been restored so well. Xx

      1. It was a wonderful place to live, we were there almost twenty years. It was hard selling it last year but after 100 inches of snow, we decided it was time to head to warmer weather. That and taking care of a three hundred tree orchard was a lot of work for me.

        1. I can imagine the difficulty and I can also imagine only too well the hard work with a 300 tree orchard and so much snow. Whilst we long for snow, just a tiny dusting I do know how hard it is to live with all winter, completely different to the odd day. xx

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