We dream of France

The Oldie - - ASK VIRGINIA -

Hav­ing just re­tired, my hus­band wants to buy a big house in France and do it up, so that it will be a lovely hol­i­day home for our grand­chil­dren when they ar­rive. We both love projects, and prop­er­ties in France are very cheap at the mo­ment, but what do you or your read­ers think? M Travers, by email

I’ve of­ten thought of buy­ing a house in France and prac­ti­cally ev­ery day I thank my lucky stars I never did it. First, you may find you’re never able to sell it – at the mo­ment, it’s an in­cred­i­bly bad in­vest­ment. Then who’s to say you’re go­ing to have grand­chil­dren? And if you do, why do you think they’ll want to come to you ev­ery year? You may find your­self rat­tling around in win­ter in a freez­ing half-ruin you can’t af­ford to fin­ish restor­ing, sur­rounded by grumpy French builders, and un­able to sell it to re­turn to the UK. You’re in­dulging in a fan­tasy – imag­in­ing lit­tle bilin­gual grand­chil­dren who’ll never grow up, pranc­ing through the laven­der in the sun­shine while you and your fam­ily quaff cider in the olive groves (I fear I may have got my re­gions mixed up, but you get the drift). If you’re very lucky, this might be true for a cou­ple of weeks a year – but then what?

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