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

Living France - - Lifestyle -

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

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