If there is a line, we have crossed it. Our plans to move to France in a few years’ time have taken a huge leap forward: last week we went and viewed a house to buy.
It all came about by chance. An amazing, tardis-like property has come up for sale in Castillonnès, the village we often stay in, in Lot-et-Garonne.
We’re too young – and, sadly, not wealthy enough – to stop working, so our plan is to move and set up our own business. The ideal, they say, is to do something you’re passionate about.
Cheese and wine it is, then.
So we would need a property that would work as a shop-cum-bar, and home. The house we saw is ideal in many respects. Firstly, it is situated on the central square, so would be spotted by any visitors to the village.
Outside there’s a covered arcade, where people can sit. Inside, there’s a front room, which would work well in the cooler seasons – the big fireplace would make it wonderfully snug in winter.
In the middle of the building, there’s a large atrium, which would be good for the bar and cheese counter. Behind that, there’s a dining room and a kitchen, where we could run cheese-making courses.
Upstairs, there are umpteen generously proportioned bedrooms over a couple of floors, so we could offer chambres d’hôtes too.
“The front room would work well in the cooler seasons – the big fireplace would make it wonderfully snug in winter”
It all comes at a price that many Brits would consider a bargain. Even when you factor in that we would probably have to spend as much again to make the house habitable and suitable for a business, it still seems good value.
A few snags stand in our way, though.
We need advice on setting up a business in France – after all, we wouldn’t want to lose our home if the business failed. We should also look into our tax options, as we would have incomes in both Britain and France.
Plus there’s the issue of location. Although Castillonnès is on the circuit of bastide towns in south-west France, it is one of the quieter ones. Would there be enough business to be had? Certainly, it is ripe for gentrification – and we’re not the only people with an interest in turning round its fortunes.
There’s a lot to consider. Watch this space…