Thursday 8 October 2009

September 2009

Signing the Compromis de vente
We returned home at the end of July, and after several weeks of anxious waiting and negotiation, we finally agreed on a price for 'La Maire' and excitedly arranged another brief trip back to the Ariege to sign the Compromis de vente, pay the deposit and open a bank account. These things could have been done in our absence, but we wanted to be there for the experience - and were very glad we did! It was good to meet David Prax the owner, and also his parents who still farm the land near the house, and will be our nearest neighbours.
It was great to have the chance to spend a few more days in the Ariege - as the Pyrenees gradually got closer on the drive from Toulouse airport to Pamiers in our hire car, it really did feel as though we were 'coming home'!
So things were moving..and very smoothly so far!
We were also able to visit the house for the third time - it was great to be back there and have some time to wander around and start making plans...coming away with a list of things to do in order to get the house and grounds ready to receive chambres d'hotes guests and running watercolour painting holidays. The list is a very long one...grounds to clear, swimming pool to put in, landscaping of the garden, balconies, pati0s, veggie plot - and that is just the outside!!
Next year will be a busy one!!
Now all we need to do is wait for the 1st December when (all being well!) we will return to sign the Acte Authentique, which will finally make us the new owners of 'La Maire'.

July 2009

House hunting

It was about 5 years ago when we first decided to make the move to France after Dave retired from the police. Like so many others before us, we watched one of those 'relocation' programmes - and it seemed like a good idea! We felt we would be ready for a new challenge and lifestyle, and have always loved the French way of life.

After much research and discussion, and a few more holidays spent in France, we decided that the ideal area for us would be somewhere south of Toulouse!! We love the climate that far south, the secenery is beautiful, and the Pyrenees just a short drive away.

19th July 2009.
Our first house-hunting trip! We decided to start our seach based in the Ariege, so set up camp at a very friendly campsite just outside Pamiers. We had already been in touch with several agents and had a folder full of properties that we were very much looking forward to seeing. Seduced by glorious sunny weather, fields full of sunflowers and spectacular views of the Pyrenees, we set off for our first day of house-hunting in the Gers, about 2 hours to the west of where we were staying. Lovely houses...beautiful scenery....a promising start!!
However, on the second day we met up with Sue and Kay from to view a number of properties in the Ariege.
Having had lengthy email correspondance with Sue before arriving in France, she knew exactly what we were looking for, and sure enough, we knew that the first property she showed us was 'the one'!! An old farmhouse - mostly beautifully renovated, but 'to be finished' such a lovely spot with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside and glimpses of the Pyrenees - so we would be able to see when the snow arrived! We spent the rest of that day and the next hurtling around the Ariege countryside viewing a number of other properties - all so interesting and different - but we had already made our decision! We knew that the Ariege was where we wanted to live, and that 'La Maire ' was the house that we would like to buy!