L’an­cien Tabac

French Property News - - Expert Advice -

Anne and Richard Nightin­gale run a cloth­ing-op­tional B&B from their home, L’an­cien Tabac, an old wine­maker’s house in a vil­lage be­tween the Mediter­ranean and the hills of the Haut-langue­doc, and a 15-minute drive from the pic­turesque town of Pézenas. Richard ex­plains more...

I got into na­tur­ism in the 1970s when I was liv­ing in Swe­den. My girl­friend’s cousin was an en­thu­si­as­tic na­tur­ist and she in­tro­duced us to the joys of skinny dip­ping, saunas and nude sun­bathing. Since then I have been a fair-weather na­tur­ist; be­ing naked when clothes are su­per­flu­ous is won­der­ful but there is no great plea­sure in sit­u­a­tions where cloth­ing is both prac­ti­cal and nor­mal.

I in­tro­duced Anne to na­tur­ism when we met, about 15 years ago. Af­ter the usual ini­tial ap­pre­hen­sion, she quickly came to love the life­style. I’ve spent hol­i­days in France since I was a child but hadn’t seen much of the Langue­doc un­til 2001, when my brother bought a house here.

Anne and I first started to think about buy­ing a house in the south of France 10 years ago and af­ter a cou­ple of years look­ing at prop­er­ties, we fi­nally de­cided upon our present house in 2010. It ticked many of the boxes on our wish­list; it’s a per­fect size for us, it has great charm and a very pri­vate gar­den and pool in spite of be­ing in the mid­dle of a vil­lage.

It was orig­i­nally in­tended as a hol­i­day home but af­ter our first sum­mer we de­cided to take the plunge and live here full-time. The house was pretty run­down and we have put a lot of en­ergy (and money) into bring­ing it up to a good stan­dard. We have re­placed the old pool, ren­o­vated the fa­cade, com­pletely re­built the kitchen and re­duced the num­ber of bed­rooms, us­ing the ex­tra space to pro­vide each bed­room with its own en­suite. Run­ning a B&B was at the back of our mind from the word go and once we

had ren­o­vated the house and gar­den to a suf­fi­cient stan­dard, we saw that an in­ti­mate, small-scale cloth­ing-op­tional B&B might be a re­al­is­tic propo­si­tion. Why cloth­ing op­tional? Be­cause we didn’t want to have to start wear­ing clothes in our own back gar­den and pool. We have al­ways en­joyed hav­ing guests here. Some are na­tur­ists, some are not. The im­por­tant thing is that they feel com­fort­able whether they are fully clothed or com­pletely naked. Most come from Scan­di­navia but we also have guests from the UK, Nether­lands and North Amer­ica.

If you are a na­tur­ist who is con­sid­er­ing buy­ing a prop­erty in France, you ob­vi­ously want a house that gives you the op­por­tu­nity to prac­tise na­tur­ism at home. Ex­plain the sit­u­a­tion to your es­tate agents so you won’t waste too much time look­ing at prop­er­ties that are com­pletely un­suit­able.

If view­ing in win­ter, con­sider the pos­si­ble ef­fects of fo­liage in sum­mer, which may make your out­side space much more pri­vate than it seems at first sight. Con­sider also whether there is a risk that those bliss­fully open spa­ces around the prop­erty might in fact be prime build­ing land, mak­ing the prop­erty less at­trac­tive as a na­tur­ist home in years to come.

We’ve loved our time here but we’re plan­ning to put the house on the market early next year. Anne, who is orig­i­nally from Nor­way, now largely works in Oslo so we in­tend to buy a house on the Swedish-nor­we­gian bor­der to make her com­mute eas­ier and be closer to most of our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren. an­cientabac.wordpress.com

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