My name is Allison and I have just joined twitter as I thought it a good outlet for keeping everyone up to date with our family life and our new business venture in France. So many people have said to us, we so envy you and what you are doing, but we do not have the courage to do what you are doing, good luck!
I hope we are not making a huge mistake, but my husband and I are determined to put in maximum effort and hard work to ensure our success. However, only time will tell what life we manage to make for ourselves, I am sure we will need a lot of luck!
Bit of background first - We have been planning a move from rural Southern England to sunny South West France for over two years. The TV programs make moving abroad look relatively straight forward and show you lots of lovely properties, believe me it is not straight forward and certainly not something I would recommend for the feint hearted. Valium and plenty of alcohol are pre- requisites when embarking on something as big as moving your whole family and all your possessions to another country to start a new life and business.
We seem as a profile, to follow alot of others making a big move in that my husband now 51 was made redundant at the start of the credit crunch from the IT industry and I had to pick up the reins being in sales and start bringing in the main income for the family. Dont get me wrong, I was not a stay at home mum in the first place, but ran my own small business from home selling cosmetics and beauty products which was very successful but did not bring in the income we needed to pay all the bills on a regular basis. After 2 years of struggling we decided enough was enough, the country was going to the dogs the weather was terrible and we wanted out!
Anyway, after choosing France as our preferred country, we set our expectations high and had a list of things that needed to be available either at the property or in the local vicinity.
I have a reasonable grasp of French but my husband is currently only able to order a beer, which he seems to think is all he needs - rude awakening on the horizon, me thinks!
We wanted the following for our new life.
A property that was within 1 hour of Toulouse
Close to major road and rail access points
Rural and quiet
Close to a restaurant
Close to a pretty village with shops and restaurants
Warm and sunny for more of the year than we got in the UK (not hard!)
Within a reasonable drive of the sea and the mountains
The property had to be old and full of character
It also had to have the wow factor
Ideally 5 bedrooms in the main house
Space for at least 3 large gites
Potential for B & B too
Space to conduct training courses
At least 3 acres of land
A swimming pool
Not major renovation work to be done
And not too expensive, as we did not want to commit to a huge mortgage
As you can see the list made it almost impossible to find the perfect property, but as we were adamant we wanted to make the move and it had to be right so after hours of scanning the internet, we embarked on a mamouth tour of the Toulouse region.
We viewed over 100 properties in 4 day stints driving hundreds of kilometers a day to maximise the time we had available to us. Finally last autumn we came across our dream home, a stunning stone complex of buildings built around 1800 and set in beautiful grounds and close to lots of amenities.
Getting carried away now, feels like I am writing a book. Better stop and get on with packing as we move on Sunday 28th March! If you would like to know more let me know!