Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rustic France

The entrance of our next door neighbours potting shed.

It's been another fabulous day here, although very humid, a few rumblings of thunder in the sky, and dark, ominous clouds lingering over the mountains.  I think we are in for a big storm tonight, I love storms, one of the beauties of living here, on a ridge, close to the mountains is you can feel and see the weather coming in, you can smell it in the air, see the change in the wind, and plot the course of the storm and we have some spectacular one's, forked lightening, sheet lightening, very loud thunderclaps, followed by a torrential downpour, I love to watch them, from the safety of the covered  balcony, usually with some rousing Italian opera music on in the background, storm watching is one of my favourite things.

On the balcony, storm coming in.

The eerie but beautiful sky

I have digressed, I was supposed to be writing a post about rustic France, today has been a productive day, I have got round to doing things, that I have been meaning to do for ages! I went into the local town, booked a check up, scale and polish with the dentist, booked a colour, cut and blow dry with my hairdresser, deposited a huge number of clean but wrinkled sheets at the dry cleaners for ironing, went to the supermarket.  On the way back home, driving through one of the local villages I spotted a wonderful sign for a new beautician who has just set up shop, I screeched the car to a halt outside, popped in got on very well with the beautician and promptly booked a full leg, bikini wax and pedicure for Saturday, God by Saturday night I should look like a Goddess!

Apologies, still not sounding very rustic! Feeling smug and happy I decided to take a detour through one of my favourite villages, there is a house here that I covet, it's an old auberge, that is now derelict, someone started to renovate it about ten years ago, then stopped.  Reason, inheritance fallout, there are literally thousands of potentially beautiful, derelict properties in France, that are crumbling, because of archaic Napoleonic inheritance laws, up to forty members of the same family can own a single property in France, they cannot come to an agreement on what to do with it, so the house just crumbles and eventually nature reclaims it.

(French inheritance laws, were designed to keep families together.  In France it is impossible to disinherit your children, which in principle is a good thing, however more often than not it drives families apart).

Imagination and vision required.

This was probably the old mill house for the auberge, it would make an excellent guest house

This property is one of those, when we first saw it, we found a way in through the garage, you should have seen the bats that flew out, very cross that they had been disturbed, we looked round and saw evidence of renovation, it has the potential to be stunning, we were interested in it as a renovation project, we went to visit the local mayor, he confirmed it, not for sale, a complicated inheritance situation, that could take years to resolve.

The view opposite.

Looking left outside the entrance.

Looking right outside the entrance.

This land at the back, also belongs to the property.

A river at the bottom of the garden.

Same village, another property.  I was attracted by the roses growing through the gates.

Just want to slide that stone back into position, though at the same time I quite like it like that.

Lovely tree lined driveway.

 Now, safely back home and waiting for the storm.


  1. You do see marvellous places just going back to nature...like the Walter de la Mare poem...thanks to heirs who can't agree.
    When I first came to France I saw a wonderful house...which had been unsaleable due to inheritance problems for ten years.
    It is still not sold..the roof has gone, vandals have set fir to the interior, and still the heirs can't agree.

  2. Wow I love the area ..it is stunning you are very lucky x

  3. So much goodness here, that I don't know where to start! How wonderful to treat yourself to the whole spa treatment this weekend!
    These properties are gorgeous- I feel compelled to illustrate the entrance to that potting shed-it's sweet! I hope that you got your storm and that no damage was done- they can be cozy and wonderful this time of the year!

  4. Ironed sheets! What decadence! My favorite part of college was the ironed sheets. What a good memory you brought back. Thanks!

  5. I am speechless,what a stunning post this is...reminds me of our days in Ireland!! Lovely!!!

  6. You live in such a stunningly beautiful area Dash. Oh, I have a serious case of wanderlust after this post! K xx

  7. I wonder if the outdated inheritance laws will ever be revised.

    It seems unjust that a child could behave despicably towards his/her parent and still receive the fruits of his/her labour. If it were me, I'd sell all and go and live on a cruise ship spending every last cent on having a good time.

  8. Yes, we have the same thing around here too - shades of Bleak House and the law suit everywhere around.

  9. Oh...a spa day....I want a spa day! You're photos are beautiful, Dash. But to watch these beautiful old places crack and crumble makes my heart hurt. I see them and know I can only imagine what I could do with them, if given the chance.

  10. Love all your photos - I can almost smell that storm coming in! Your area of France just looks beautiful right now. How nice to be getting some pampering too ;)

  11. I love these photos and this post! Wonderful! I am going to go back right now and read the post again and stare at all those gorgeous photos.

  12. The view from your place is stunning! I love a storm!! That is the loveliest potting shed I've ever seen! Wonderful pictures, they're really making me want to come to France. The area is very similar architecturally to where our friends place is, lovely.

    Have a brilliant day getting pampered. I bet you were glad to see that beautician! I always get the lot done in one go every month and feel so much better for it. xx


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