QUALITY OF LIFE
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!”