THOUGHTS from the PIGEONNIER
Coucou! As well as a friendly way to say hello in French, this is also the call of that herald of spring, the cuckoo. After the Siberian-style weather we’ve had recently (it snowed on the Côte d’azur!) I for one am eagerly listening out for its cheerful greeting, a sign of warmer days to come. It turns out the French countryside is not all peace and quiet. Braying donkeys, preening peacocks, scuffling stone martens and enthusiastic cockerels are among the noises you might want to listen out for when hunting for a rural retreat as we discovered on page 34. Speaking of retreats, I was fascinated to read this month about the recent renovation of an old mill near Paris where Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson sought refuge after the abdication crisis of 1936 (p48). Incidentally, the couple honeymooned at the Ritz Paris and the famous hotel is now auctioning off thousands of pieces of furniture and accessories for as little as €100 (p10). Perhaps Anna Ryder Richardson, of Changing Rooms fame, will snap up something for her new French home in Lot-et-Garonne (p42). Or maybe you will find something for your cottage in Brittany (p26), your hunting lodge in the Sologne (p62) or your holiday home on Occitanie’s Riviera (p30). For more ideas, come and join us at the French Propery Exhibition in Wetherby in May (p78). A bientôt!