Perfect bolt-holes for life en famille
plus have been on a holiday with their parents, children or grandchildren within the past five years.
Such family gatherings require homes that meet the different needs of varying age groups. Whether it is splashing in a paddling pool or snoozing in a hammock, the challenge is to find a holiday bolt-hole that works for everyone.
For Bourchier, the answer was found in France. With its diverse countryside, appealing climate, gastronomy and excellent transport links, France works for many second-homebuyers. Depending on the region, generously sized homes can be bought often for a fraction of their equivalent price in Britain.
Bourchier’s pretty fourbedroom farmhouse in Gorges in Normandy, just under an hour from the ferry terminal at Cherbourg, has two reception rooms, a kitchendiner and a converted gîte that is “very popular with teenagers,” she says.
The house is surrounded by 15 acres of garden so there is “plenty of space to go away and read”. Their holidays often include rambles around local markets, the nearby beaches, which include those from the D-Day landings, as well as cultural outings to see the Bayeux tapestry.
Now that her grandchildren are grown up, and at 78 she is able to visit less often, Bourchier has put the house on the market with French Entrée for €149,000 (£131,702).
House prices in Normandy are far lower than their equivalent across the Channel: a typical two to three-bedroom stone farmhouse or longère with large fireplace, exposed beams and land goes for around €200,000. Smaller two-bedroom farmhouses, with the potential to convert the attic, vary between €100,000 to €150,000. An alternative is the “roses-round-thedoor” colombage-style timber-framed house, which can be picked up from €150,000 – or less, if inland.
One of the ingredients for a successful multi-generational holiday home is one with a converted outbuilding such as a gîte, says James Maughan, the founder of rental website Group Accommodation. “It allows a family to have fun together, but also gives people separate space to take time out,” he says.
There’s room for everyone when their family come from around the world to stay with Kath Watson, 52, and her husband Roger Prior, 70. The couple put the visitors up in their two gîtes adjacent to their creamy stone farmhouse in St Remy-sur-Creuse, a
The swimming pool at La Berlardiere in PoitouCharentes
Jill Bourchier’s grandchildren in Normandy