For the love of France

and chateaux

Whatever happens to us in the next 18 months, wherever we end up, I will always hanker after a life in France, I'm sure. Yes, Scotland would certainly do, I mean it's in my blood and on my birth certificate. Nova Scotia was a pipe dream and I left a little slice of my cold, cold heart in Germany! Italy can cope with the celiacs disease, BUT France has chateaux!


Chateaux everywhere, around every corner and I'm utterly hooked. I doubt very much given the financial climate, that we will ever buy one and that's okay. He wants to still. I'm not sure he really has the time to faff. Still, I can't recreate rounding a corner on some godforsaken country back lane anywhere else in the world and come face to face with a French Chateau! Such a treat, be it a Wreck or Reno! I mean, they take my breath away and I am instantly transported to a long gone era of floaty dresses, horses, carriages and the life of the landed gentry, aristocrat's and royalty.


Duchess Donna....rolls of the tongue well, now doesn't it!


I remember the second chateau we ever viewed, I think it was late 2017? Yes, I'm sure it was. I had the flu from hell! In fact it was the lurgy from Saudi Arabia, a gift from my husband returning home for Christmas. Gotta hand it to him, his gifts are rather unique! I nearly coughed my insides out that winter, it was a serious flu, but it was Christmas and there were guests and so I kept going, slave to the rhythm and all that.


I have to be honest with you, as I pretty much aim always to be and tell you, it was the first time I had to resort to big human nappies! I would just cough from my nether regions and well, well, well...waterfall everywhere! It was an interesting experience and one I've never had to suffer since.


Please, no advice on how to train the under carriage, mine is sweet normally, promise. I know how to work the girl muscles in the undercroft to keep the mechanics oiled. Shushhhhh! Hey ho! It really was just the most vile flu ever, which feels odd now given flu, has since been joined by a bigger winter beast called COVID.


I digress.


That winter we viewed not one but two chateaux, one was more of a modernised Manor House with the chateau title and was the favourite of the family, the AGA, games room and baby Grand piano probably got them, for me it was the orangery. However the land and cellar were water logged and so that was the end of that! The other was a really old chateau called Le Rosel.


Le Rosel and I met and fell in love. It was instant and it was painful. Chateau love at first sight. I remember driving up the odd, side on tree lined drive and arriving, right in front of the imposing building. It was really damp, murky and misty that day, spooky even, there was a keen frost and the chateau loomed large above us. I got out of the car and slammed the door, turning away from the chateau to view the land in front, disturbing the deer quietly grazing on what was once a man made lake.


Sigh.


The chateau long abandoned, needed a lot of work, as most of them do. Since then, we have viewed a few, more than five less than ten and realised that actually, in the end that one wasn't all that bad! The land got me first. There weren't the much wished for rolling hectares, not any more, as the farm owned most of it, but there was enough for us. A small wooded area, a stream and old coaching house and hunting lodge. For me it was the perfect match. Nice even double frontage, handsome and a rather nice staircase to boot, towering front porch pillars to add to its pompous facade. It would certainly do! Despite the love at first sight thing, he wasn't convinced and really I don't believe he was ready for the challenge back then. We did make an offer in the end, but we were out bid by a family even more nuts than us, end of that story. It was a rather paltry 200k!


The very first ever chateau we visited, in I don't know? 2012/13 was an ugly edifice. Not at all pretty or handsome and was silly money, but it didn't put us off did it? Last year we found what we thought was the one! We both liked it a lot and I do wonder if that will ever happen again? Him and I agreeing on anything bar the news is unheard of! This chateau was more of a Scottish castle meets Manor House. The original part from the 100 years war which explains the style of build. It was a semi wreck. livable if I could stand it, with the most bizarre hobbit like kitchen. It had everything, barns, other outbuildings, wrecked pool, gardens, wood, land.........it was bloody perfect or would be. Huge monumental fireplaces, drippy, twinkly chandeliers. The whole ensemble had a lot of potential and bonus, it was smack bang in the middle of a village! Not rural, not isolated, who knew!


In the end we procrastinated for too long and sadly hadn't done our mortgage homework. We lost out due to not realising we needed to have had the company three years. Bugger! It was a measly 300k!


Oh and let me tell you about the weird zoo one before I forget! The one with the heating boiler in a front salon, an apartment you had to go through a loft hatch to get to, so confusing. The menagerie though! Duck poop everywhere inside and out. The meadow full of cotton tails and sheep! Goats, swans, geese, cats, dogs, a donkey, all run by two rather eccentric Middle Ages folks with feral kids. It was bar none the more bizarre place but again it had potential, if one had another 500k floating about.


The couple appeared to live in the kitchen mainly and one large bedroom. The house had the most interesting proper wine cave under the house accessed from the middle of the garden! Again it was in a bustling village and the gated, walled entrance was something to behold. We didn't make an offer mainly because if it doesn't come to me almost instantly how I would live there, I'm out. Even though most chateaux don't appear to open out on to a back terrace, this one did! That, I do like, a lot!


More soon


Gumption


D x









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