Finding your dream home in France is all well and good, but what do you do then? Unless you have retired, you need to generate an income. Running a gîte business seems a popular choice.
On paper, it looks easy – and fun. You buy a sprawling property with barns to convert and spend several months with a hammer in one hand and a paintbrush in the other. Then you sign up to a holiday rentals website, and sit back and relax.
All that needs doing is to change the sheets and whip round the place with the vacuum cleaner once a week. The rest of your time can be spent quaffing Sancerre and sampling cheese.
The reality, I suspect, is somewhat different, however.
Experts recommend that if you plan to rely on gîtes for your income, you’ll need several. Three or more would be good. They’ll all need to offer some privacy – people don’t want to escape to the country to find it’s just as crowded as the city.
And you’ll need a swimming pool, or a lap pool at the very least. Without one, your accommodation may well get filtered out of the search results on that holiday website you rely on for your bookings.
The season can be short too, if you’re unlucky. While you should be able to fill the place easily enough in August, getting people in from May to October is more difficult. A Christmas or New Year booking would be good too.
Given that my thoughts on the future involve, at least in part, running a gîte business, these are all things I’ll need to bear in mind.
How realistic is any of this? I’ll have to wait and see.