We talk all the time with owners of properties in France. Often it seems to us that almost every owner has a story to tell about how they came to move to France or to fall in love with their holiday home.
This is certainly true of two of our owners whose stories and houses are so interesting and photogenic that they have become the subject of major ‘real life’ features in the October and November issues of French Property News magazine.
The first story is set in Brittany, where Eileen and Brian Welch came across Le Faouet, which had started life as a 19th century typically Breton farming hamlet, located close to a village in the Côtes-d'Armor region. “Although we had to virtually machete our way in, it was love at first sight. The former working farms were set in four and a half acres of beautiful land and the buildings were really derelict, but we felt ready to take on the job of restoring them.”
As it turned out, it was a further five years before Eileen and Brian were in a position to make the move - and to their surprise Le Faouet was still for sale. They moved into a caravan at the dilapidated property in March 1995 and set to work.
By July, the Welches managed to let out their first gite, then went on to renovate all the buildings and to create their own house and eight separate gites, which they let successfully for many years.
“Much as we love it here, we are both past retirement age now, so we have decided to put the property on the market and would love for somebody new to take over the reins and put their stamp on it.” Le Faouet is now on the market through French Connections.
Down in Corrèze, close to Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, the story of owner Chris Jubb is very much a tale of real life, with all its twists and turns of fate. About 14 years ago, she and her husband Ken found Moulin d’Arnac in an estate agent’s files.
This riverside period water mill in an area of outstanding natural beauty had literally just gone on the market and the owner couldn’t be contacted, so Chris and Ken jumped in the car to see if they could find the property. After driving around without success, they spotted a man coming out of the Mairie and stopped to ask if he knew of the mill house. “Actually, Moulin d’Arnac is my house”, he smiled. “Follow me”. The rest, as they say, is history.
Three years after the Jubbs moved in, they were feeling settled and very happy in their new home and were running two gites – but Ken, who had a heart condition, died quite suddenly. “Everybody expected me to go back to England”, remembers Chris. “But this is my home and I was determined to stay. Almost immediately, my neighbours and people in the village came forward with help and support.”
But now she feels it’s time to retire and move into a smaller house, so Chris has placed her beloved water mill on the market – although she doesn’t plan to go far, so devoted is she to the area. Moulin d’Arnac is now on the market through French Connections.
You can read the full stories of these two owners in French Property News magazine and see these and more features in our Press pages.