This is the first blog of a journey which started in July of this year! We went on holiday to St Martin, Ile de Ré, not with the intention of buying a house! It was just the two of us for a romantic break, driving in our vintage Merc from Newhaven to Dieppe, stopping off half way there to stay in a gorgeous Chateau. No kids, no responsibilities.
So why have we now got a French mortgage, a French house and embarking on several months of renovation? Because I think we are bonkers and completely in love with St Martin. The house is 17th century on 2.5 floors with a large sunny courtyard positioned on a corner end of terrace in the Unesco heritage site of St Martin. The house needs rewiring, replumbing, a new kitchen, repainting and a new heating system and of course just been told it needs a new roof! Oh and a few new windows here and there!
We signed our contracts on 29th October with nine people present in the Notaires office. It took 2.5 hours with a translator and had been preceded by 3.5 months of endless form filling, medical tests and financial investigations by the bank into our affairs. We survived and met some wonderful, charming people along the way. Every French person who we have dealt with has had a great sense of humour and kindness.
The work starts on 4th November with 7 artisans. We could have of course decided not to go ahead with this purchase, but everything just slotted into place it became almost rude not to have done so! We negotiated with the successors on the price of some furniture and we now have lots of gorgeous brown furniture, glass, mirrors, china etc. Our French estate agents have become friends and our neighbours are very excited to have met us! The hotel opposite gave us a bottle of champagne the day we exchanged contracts and the young girl Alice working for the summer has become a family friend.
I now have a foot in France and a foot in England – how wonderful!