Property 2 street view

Property hunting: if at first you don’t succeed…

When you’re greeted at the mairie by crossed arms, you know you’re off to a bad start. And when local officials use the word ‘non’ more often than General de Gaulle, it’s probably time to rethink your plans.

That’s how we felt a couple of weeks ago when we were property hunting in south-west France.

To say we were disappointed would be an understatement. The final property we viewed on our trip has lots of potential.

Property 2 street view BW

Firstly, and most importantly, it is on the medieval high street of a busy, beautiful village. Unlike so many French villages, this isn’t a street of abandoned, boarded-up shops punctuated by a pharmacie, a hairdresser’s and an insurance agency.

Instead, every property is a functioning business.

Except this one, which had been operating as a haberdashery-cum-gift shop. That unusual combination stopped pulling in the punters a while back.

Mind you, I reckon any customers would have been hard-pressed to squeeze through the front door.

Property 2 shop

We would want to replace the front window with some bifold doors and turn what is currently the shop into an inside-outside seating area. We would have some tables out the front too, of course.

The room directly behind it, which the current owner has been using as her salon, would become the shop and preparation area.

Property 2 salon

Upstairs, there are four bedrooms. We would turn one into a space to run food experience breaks, working with guests to make dishes using ingredients they had bought in the market.

As you can see, ahem, no work is needed in any of the bedrooms…

Property 2 bedroom

The attitude of the staff at the mairie meant we scrubbed this property off our list.

However, when the estate agent told the owner about our experience there, she stepped in. Having lived in the village for 40 years, she knows the mayor and officials well and has been able to intervene.

Suddenly, the alcohol licence they told me we couldn’t have seems to have become a possibility after all. And replacing that shop window with bifold doors? No problem.

“This property is now back in the running and is one of two very strong contenders”

So, in short, this property, which we dismissed, is now back in the running and is one of two very strong contenders. Although the building itself isn’t as well set out as the one I wrote about last week, it has an advantage in terms of location.

Now we have to decide between a great space and a great place. What would you do?

This entry was published on Sat, 9 Feb 2019 at 09:30. It’s filed under Places and people and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

26 thoughts on “Property hunting: if at first you don’t succeed…

  1. …am lovin’ Da murial! This one looks interesting ..seriously… the building itself looks great…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the first lessons you learn about living in France is that ‘non’ does always mean no. As for the choice, I’d say ‘location, location, location’ — as long as you are willing to do the needed work!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with everything Mel says. Where we live, while people aren’t unfriendly, newcomers are treated with a certain wariness. However, once people realised we were in business, attitudes changed hugely. Good luck with whatever you decide.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brilliant both property’s look great

    Liked by 1 person

  5. very nice indeed location location location will do best of luck

    Liked by 1 person

  6. where in the south west are you planning for?


  7. Buy both!

    Take care —

    Neil Scheinin

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Location every time. No good having a swell looking place if there is no footfall!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’d take a medieval village any time, especially if there are already going concerns next door. I can’t wait to hear the outcome and exactly where your dream come true is located!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Choose the village that has the most tourists and year round business.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Looks like a great space, much as I’d like to watch Mary Portas deal with the haberdashery shop. It always amazes me how much the French like to cover surfaces with fabric, wallpapers, murals, in an attempt to modernise what are clearly lovely, quirky spaces. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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