39, HAUTE-VIENNE Remember that running a chambres d’hôtes is a lot of work
When Paul and Laura Blew (both 39) moved from Taunton to France in 2013, it was with the hope of adopting a simpler life and spending more time with their children Imogene (now 6) and Melody (now 5). They now run a in Peyrat-le-Château in Haute-Vienne. ch
Even though Laura and I had done our research – with the help of Laura’s parents who already live in France – we still found ourselves wading through a lot of bureaucracy when we arrived. We now know that some of the websites and forums don’t necessarily have accurate information on them. In fact, in France, we found that even the official channels can be inconsistent.
We opened our chambres d’hôtes in 2014, so 2017 will be our fourth season, and we feel a lot more confident about everything. The biggest problem a lot of new proprietors face is underestimating how much work actually goes into running a B&B. In peak season, you are working 12-hour days, seven days a week.
It’s easy to run yourself ragged trying to meet individual guests’ demands, but I’d recommend deciding on the service you are offering, the breakfast menu and the house rules and sticking to them. Being upfront about what guests can expect means that you can provide a good service without spreading yourself too thin.
We love our life in France, and our B&B is doing very well, but it was a steep learning curve at the start.”
Above: Paul and Laura with daughters Imogene and Melody; the couple have run the chambres d’hôtes since 2014