There are just five days to go until we open our cheese and wine bar – and make real the dream we’ve been working towards these past few years.
Our arrival brought the village to a standstill. We had to get special permission from the mairie to bring our removal lorry up the medieval high street.
Since then, getting ready to open has been a rollercoaster of emotions.
We nominated this Thursday, 30 July, as our opening date and have done our best to hit it. There have been days when we’ve thought we were being unrealistic about what we could achieve in the time, but it all seems to be coming together.
In the past three weeks since arriving in Belvès, we’ve created the company for the business, set up a professional bank account and sourced suppliers.
And sanded and painted like our lives depended on it.
Sourcing suppliers has been fun,as you might imagine. For example, this week we visited a local vineyard, la Domaine de la Tuque, which overlooks the beautiful Château Biron (see photo). We’ve taken several IGP Périgord wines from them for our list.
We also spent several hours with, first, renowned winemaker Christian Roche from Domaine l’Ancienne Cure and then local wine expert Julien Montfort from Julien de Savignac. (More about those visits another time.)
We’ve also worked our way around numerous local brocantes and depôts-ventes to get furniture and other items for the bar and the guest bedrooms.
Replacing the old windows with folding doors was a big moment for us. I know it seems obvious, but the huge amount of extra light has really changed how the place feels.
We’re now on the home stretch. The bar floor is drying as I type this, and from Monday, we’ll be able to set up the tables and chairs in there. Then it will really start to feel very real.
Our opening weekend starts Thursday evening, when we’ll open the doors to the curious locals. They’ve shown great interest in what we’re offering and we’ve been assured that the people of the village will come and make our first night a success.
Ten days later, we’ll hold the official launch evening. The mayor will come and cut a ribbon and say a few words.
Later that week, our first B&B guests will arrive. The bedrooms aren’t quite finished yet, so the timing suits us fine.
We’ve called the place Planches et Plonk. We chose it as it’s half-French and half-English. A planche, if you aren’t sure, is a platter. And plonk, well, you don’t need us to tell you what that is!
In the meantime, please wish us well and raise a glass to us on Thursday. Even better, if you’re in Belvès any time soon, come and raise a glass with us!