Sharing France with you
Every week you'll find new stories, local and national events, comments, recipes and advice on this page. Click on the Archive button to see previous posts full of interesting information and links.
The secret pleasure of space
In the UK, in my little urban garden, a pressure washer was out of the question. I could have cleaned the terraces of about 8 houses without leaving my doorstep.
But here in France it's another story and pressure washing has become my not-so-guilty secret pleasure.
Oh, the satisfaction as years of grime are peeled away in seconds.
I'm running out of dirt to blast and the dogs are looking nervous.
We get the occasional bluetit in the house. It sends the dogs crazy when they flap against the window trying to get out.
This week there was a kerfuffle and when we went to see what was going on we'd been upgraded! It wasn't your common or garden bluetit on the mantelpiece but a rather splendid and exotic-looking hoopoe!
These zebra-striped migrants come and go between France and Africa and we keep our lawn neatly cut to entice them to hang around. They wander around the short grass listening carefully and probing the ground with their long curved beak looking for crickets and larvae.
Shakespeare in a chateau
I confess that when I moved to France I had absolutely no idea that occasional summer evenings might be passed watching Shakespeare.
Last night we attended a magical performance of Much Ado About Nothing, conducted in French and English, in the grounds of a chateau in the heart of the gorgeous bastide town of Eymet, Dordogne.
The company Antic Disposition never disappoint. The performances are spirited, engaging and brilliantly acted. And so much easier to understand than written Shakespeare!
You just have time to try for a ticket in one of the other equally special locations...
For property in places likely to deliver a welcome surprise, click here.
Viewing trips, French style!
Keep an eye out for Montaigu de Quercy sales consultant, Edite Hill.
She's hard to miss as she whizzes around the Tarn et Garonne and Lot et Garonne on viewing trips in her snazzy 2CV.
Keys to the door, and so much more!
We bought our house from Jean-Marie, 'un homme d'un certain age'. Don't you just love that phrase. So much nicer than 'an elderly man'.
Anyway, he sold us this house that he had known since the 1960's and he wanted to pass on so much more than the simple ownership.
He asked if he could spend the day with us prior to the final signing so he could introduce us to our new village.
The tour started with a visit to the local medical centre where we were presented to the receptionist who then looked a bit perplexed as the three of us stood in line to gaze over her head at the main reason for our visit. Behind her desk was an old black and white photo on the wall. 'Look', said Jean-Marie, 'on the left, you can just see your house amongst the trees.' True enough, with a squint and a bit of wishful thinking I could see that that might be the house.Read more ...
Go on, make a cheeky offer!
Property in France is by and large negotiable but it’s not a free-for-all. Jacqui Reddin-Williams shares her experience of negotiating the best deals
We spend an amount of time disabusing our clients of the idea that they can follow the screaming headlines they have read imploring them to offer 30% under the asking price. It might very occasionally be true, but statistically it is a very long way from it. Most deals are agreed much closer to the advertised price.
You cannot apply a formula to the very individual and current circumstances of any property that tugs your heartstrings. You wouldn’t do it at home, and you can’t do it in France.
But where exactly are these headlines? Can anyone remember actually seeing them in print? There is something of the urban myth about all this.
For the purposes of selecting properties to view, by all means add a margin to your budget.
And be prepared to spend what you have to, to achieve the ‘right’ property at a fair price.
To be clear, if you have seen or heard that every sale is a fire-sale, it is bad advice.
Read on to understand why.
What is any given property worth?
As professionals it is difficult to draw comparisons between unique individual rural properties.
However, we will apply skill and experience in doing so.
As a buyer you will rapidly develop an instinct - and you will be of course be influenced by what you like.
The pretty 13th century town of Tournon d'Agenais in Lot-et-Garonne lays claim to the invention of a sweet pastry dish of apple and rum. Lots of rum and a little apple.
If you are tempted to practice your language skills discussing the contents, just be aware that ‘rhum’ is rum, whereas ‘rhume’ is a phlegmy cold....
For a list of properties for sale likely to be enhanced by an alcoholic tart for a neighbour, click here....
Where will you be watching from?
Stage 15, a gruelling hilly affair of 181.5 KM, is taking place on Sunday the 22nd of July where riders will be finishing in the historic fortified city of Carcassonne.
After departing from Millau in the Aveyron, famous for its record-breaking cable stayed bridge, the riders will reach an elevation of 1,205m at the Pic de Nore, the summit of Montagne Noire that borders the Aude and Tarn departments.They can expect fabulous panoramic views over the Tarn and Aveyron countryside.
Sounds positively glorious, aside from the thigh-burning slog up hill.Read more ...
I challenge you to be unmoved by the sight of sunflowers - even on a cloudy day.
These beauties were snapped just outside the cute market town of Montaigu de Quercy in Tarn et Garonne , though it could have been in many other rural locations.
I suppose one might be allergic. Keep taking the tablets, I say!
For a list of properties for sale likely to be enhanced (or blighted if you must) by Helianthus as neighbours, click here
Allez les bleus!
There were some thick heads this morning following the success of Les Bleus in the World Cup Final yesterday.
When the result was beyond doubt we took the dog up to the remparts of our local 13th century town for a quick trot.
The victory was greeted by roars from houses, tooting horns, and even a few minutes of church bells and it was a joy to stand there and share in the moment.
Our colleague up North also sent us this message "The pompiers were celebrating with the crowds by driving the fire engines up and down the streets tooting in Villebois!"
Success is great for atmosphere and well-being !
Photo: La dépêche du Midi
Let your inner author loose! If you have an experience to share about moving to, living in or simply visiting France then we'd like to hear about it. Write a maximum of 300 words, attach a photo and we'll publish the best here.
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