Living France - - WHERE TO LIVE -

Lau­rent and Mélanie Baras are typ­i­cal of peo­ple go­ing or re­turn­ing to the area, who choose to give up city liv­ing in favour of down­siz­ing for a bet­ter qual­ity of life. As Tilly ex­plains, it’s not just the clean air and out­door ac­tiv­i­ties – many lo­cal peo­ple have opted for the ‘ re­tour à la terre’ life­style, em­brac­ing healthy eat­ing, sim­ple liv­ing and a co­op­er­a­tive ap­proach.

Tilly and her hus­band Do­rian run a restau­rant, Le Dragon Vert in Presles, serv­ing or­ganic, home-made food. She says many of the lo­cals helped them to dec­o­rate the restau­rant when they started. “They didn’t want any­thing in re­turn,” she says. “They know we will do the same for them when­ever they need help.”

Mean­while prop­erty in the area is still rel­a­tively well priced in com­par­i­son to the sur­round­ing ur­ban ar­eas, but prices are be­ing pushed up as the roads im­prove, thus at­tract­ing the com­muter mar­ket for nearby big towns. Tilly and Do­rian’s home is typ­i­cal of lo­cal farm­houses, and came with three barns, one of which they have con­verted into a gîte.

“We bought our stone farm­house al­most 20 years ago when prop­erty here was that much cheaper,” says Tilly. “When peo­ple ask us now what we paid for it, they are quite en­vi­ous!”

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