No building work is allowed in central Belvès during the summer season. So time is very much against us as we wait for the folding doors that will replace the shop window in our soon-to-be cheese and wine bar.
The mairie wants the village to looks its best for visitors each summer – it is one of France’s plus beaux villages, after all. That’s why no building work may take place between mid-June and mid-September each year.
Our new folding doors were due to be installed in May, but production has, of course, been delayed by the coronavirus and lockdown.
This is what the building looked like when we were there last week.
We made a few frantic calls to the glazier. News eventually came that the doors would now be available by the first week of July.
This was both good and bad news.
Good that they’ll be ready – without them, customers won’t be able to come in – but bad that they’d arrive during too late to be installed before the ban.
A visit to the mairie was called for.
Initially, I got a no. But – and this is what I love about French pragmatism – later that afternoon, I got a call to say we could install them after all.
The mayor had promised us his support at the very beginning of our venture in Belvès. He knows that having a stylish new bar and eaterie open on the high street is infinitely better for visitors to see than a boarded-up shopfront.
Having a stylish new bar and eaterie open on the high street is infinitely better for visitors to see than a boarded-up shopfront
Hence the yes.
However, the installation must take place within a day, I was told. So, we asked our builder to prepare the stonework for the folding doors this week, before the ban came into effect.
By 10 o’clock on Monday morning, as were were packing up to return to Lille, this is how it was looking.
The work is dirty and noisy. It would be great if the doors can be fitted before we move into the property in ten days’ time.
Our new life begins on 1 July. Let’s hope the window isn’t still being propped up like by then…