|The Old Presbytery|
- Choose a property within an easy drive of a local airport.
- Don't let your heart rule your head. A 'Coup de Coeur', as the French would say, could blind you to the fact that you are miles from anywhere!
- Check if you are on mains drainage or a 'fosse septique' (septic tank). In 'Escape To The Chateau' their waste water went straight into the moat. It is not uncommon in some rural parts of France to find waste water simply piped to a river, in which case you would be liable for the cost of a septic tank.
- Be realistic about your budget and cost of works to be done! We had £20,000 left over and thought we would be fine, but this was not nearly enough.
- Do you want to be in a village or out in the countryside? In a village, we found integration much easier than our friends in the countryside, as they often only spoke to their nearest neighbour.
- Learn to speak French! Some knowledge is essential.
- Check out your nearest market town. A weekly market is an important part of French country life, both for fresh produce and for socialising.
- Locate the nearest city. It is helpful to have a city within an hour's drive at least. Peace and quiet is fine, but sometimes it is nice to visit the theatre or cinema and get in some serious clothes shopping.
- Think carefully if you need an income from your property and factor in the cost of renovating outbuildings etc. We created a very successful B&B, but if you decide to do the same, be sure you don't mind sharing your house with strangers! We also found the cost of renovating the house left nothing for the barn and had to forego an excellent source of income.
- Most importantly, pick the house that fulfills your dream and start your adventure. Good Luck!
The last episode of 'Escape To The Chateau', was screened on Channel 4 on Sunday 19th June. It is now available on Chanel 4 Catch Up.