We started looking for a holiday home in France as we both had high-pressure jobs and had had many holidays there and loved the gentle lifestyle, the landscapes, the food, and of course the wine.
When at last we could afford to buy our own place, we wanted somewhere far enough south for the climate to get significantly warmer than we were used to in England and, as our local airport is Luton, looked at its destinations.
Bergerac and Bordeaux both looked possible and we drew a 60-mile radius from Bordeaux and looked at Bordeaux, Libourne and latterly Casteljaloux with visits to properties.
We were beginning to think we were not going to do it when after a tiring tour the agent took us to one property and even as we drove through the gates we got that ‘wow’ feeling.
Here was a beautiful Landaise farmhouse with ancient beams, builders’ angle marks on the woodwork, wattle and daub walls, a séchoir where tobacco was dried years ago and, although parts were 200 years old, it had been restored in the last 10 years.
We love the fêtes and fairs, restaurants, warm summers and the calm pace of French life. We are still enjoying our wonderful adventure 17 years later and now spend long periods here in spring, summer and autumn.
It is on the edge of Europe’s largest maritime pine forest and we entertain both family and French friends with days by the pool, evenings with barbecues and dinners on the veranda – and lots of laughter.
Once we lay on sun beds by the pool to watch the stars twinkling in the night sky only to wake up at two in the morning. Well, the odd glass of wine might have had something to do with that.
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