French prop­erty dreams

So­phie Gard­ner-roberts is in­spired by the suc­cess story of this gîte com­plex in the Périg­ord Noir

French Property News - - Contents -

A gîte com­plex in the Périg­ord Noir

With such an ex­cel­lent work/life bal­ance, clement weather and beau­ti­ful coun­try­side, France has al­ways at­tracted peo­ple want­ing to es­cape a busy sched­ule to en­joy a slower, more ful­fill­ing life­style. Own­ing a beau­ti­ful prop­erty bathed in sun­light most of the year, with a cou­ple of gîtes to rent out, en­cap­su­lates the dream life in France for many ex­pats. And this im­pres­sive prop­erty, with its beau­ti­fully con­verted barn and five charm­ing gîtes built from pretty stone houses typ­i­cal of the area, re­ally has it all.

Easy liv­ing “We’ve owned the prop­erty since 2007 hav­ing bought it for a change of life­style,” say Sue and Jon. “We wanted to be able to live and work in beau­ti­ful sur­round­ings and at a re­laxed pace of life, some­thing that we wouldn’t have been able to do in the UK given the rel­a­tive price of sim­i­lar prop­er­ties and ar­eas.”

Not only does the prop­erty of­fer a peace­ful set­ting, it has his­tory. Sue and Jon tell me the prop­erty used to be one of the rich­est farms in the area with the old­est build­ing be­ing ap­prox­i­mately 350 years old and the new­est dat­ing back to 1876.

The main house is a con­verted barn in which the cou­ple cur­rently live. “Our pre­de­ces­sors ren­o­vated most of the build­ings but there was still a beau­ti­ful stone barn which was one of the big at­trac­tions for us. The barn was to­tally ren­o­vated and con­verted to liv­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion in 2012,” the cou­ple says.

New own­ers will ap­pre­ci­ate the qual­ity of the ren­o­va­tion which has pre­served the orig­i­nal char­ac­ter of the build­ing while adding mod­ern fit­tings such as un­der-floor heat­ing, dou­ble-glaz­ing and a mod­ern kitchen.

The house is very spa­cious and full of light and char­ac­ter. The mas­sive open-plan kitchen/ lounge/diner is the heart of the home and the ex­posed stone walls and wooden beams add a def­i­nite wow fac­tor. An oak stair­case leads to a mez­za­nine with the mas­ter bed­room suite, which has an en-suite bath­room.

The barn has been de­signed to max­imise rental in­come and Sue and Jon cre­ated three fur­ther self-catered stu­dios – each with a lit­tle kitchen and shower room – which have their own sep­a­rate en­trances. These can be used as hol­i­day rentals too but the whole barn would easily make a large com­fort­able fam­ily home.

The five gîtes all have their in­di­vid­ual char­ac­ter, from the larger house with pretty blue shut­ters, to the cute cot­tage with a vine-clad per­gola. Thanks to oil-fired cen­tral heat­ing and wood burn­ers in three of the gîtes, the houses are cosy and comfy all year round, in­creas­ing the po­ten­tial for win­ter book­ings. Guests share the ac­cess to the salt-wa­ter swim­ming pool and there’s even an out­door bar and ter­race. In to­tal, in­clud­ing the stu­dios, guest ca­pac­ity is 28 peo­ple.

“We have lots of happy mem­o­ries of our time liv­ing here. It’s hard to pick out a spe­cific one but we’ve loved the time spent chat­ting to guests, many of whom have vis­ited a num­ber of times and be­come friends over the years,” the cou­ple says.

Law of at­trac­tion Set in the heart of the Périg­ord Noir in the south of Dor­dogne, nestled in a val­ley be­tween the Dor­dogne and Vézères rivers, the busi­ness at­tracts a steady stream of vis­i­tors want­ing to ex­plore the re­gion, a po­ten­tial which Sue and Jon saw from the start.

“We did look at sim­i­lar prop­er­ties in north­ern Dor­dogne and Char­ente which were in pretty coun­try­side but with lit­tle to at­tract vis­i­tors other than the set­ting,” the cou­ple re­mem­bers. “When we came to the area we quickly re­alised that it had a fan­tas­tic lo­ca­tion in terms of be­ing in the cen­tre of a huge con­cen­tra­tion of tourist at­trac­tions, and there­fore per­fect for a gîte busi­ness.”

The area is in­deed hugely ap­peal­ing. Tourists are kept busy ex­plor­ing the many Plus Beaux Vil­lages, sam­pling lo­cal gas­tron­omy and wine, and tak­ing in the gen­tle rivers, the dra­matic land­scapes and the his­tor­i­cal towns. For in­hab­i­tants, life year-round is vi­brant and

pleas­ant, with an em­pha­sis on spend­ing plenty of time out­doors.

“On a per­sonal ba­sis we also wanted to live in a com­mu­nity with things hap­pen­ing and some­where where we could walk to a boulan­gerie, post of­fice, restau­rant and bar – some­thing which is greatly ap­pre­ci­ated by our guests too,” Sue and Jon say.

Set within a me­dieval vil­lage boast­ing a weekly an­tiques mar­ket in the sum­mer, the prop­erty is just six kilo­me­tres from the towns of St-cy­prien (which has a lovely Sun­day mar­ket) and Les Eyzies with its his­tor­i­cal cave paint­ings. The ever pop­u­lar town of Sar­lat-la-canéda is also nearby. It’s very con­ve­nient to ac­cess as Berg­erac and Brive air­ports are about an hour’s drive away.

Sue and Jon’s favourite place is a trib­ute to out­door liv­ing: “Our favourite spot? Sum­mer evenings out by the pool bar, look­ing out across the or­chard and meadow.” If that doesn’t sound like the dream then I’m not sure what does.

Sue and Jon have reached re­tire­ment age but want to travel the world, par­tic­u­larly to Aus­tralia where their daugh­ter lives. They are putting the com­plex on the mar­ket for €899,850.

For more in­for­ma­tion: Tel: 0033 (0)5 55 28 46 40 Allez-français

Tourists are kept busy ex­plor­ing Plus Beaux Vil­lages, sam­pling lo­cal gas­tron­omy and wines, and tak­ing in the dra­matic land­scapes

22 Take a dip in Dor­dogne

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.