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  • Writer's picturemebesidethesea

Right Ada, let’s go!

We’re leaving on Friday’ those were the words James had been waiting to hear. My hospital appointment hadn’t gone quite as planned and I would have to fly back again in a months time but another delay was out of the question for both of us. We needed to get going, Ada was packed and we were eager to start our adventure.

There was no big send off, it already felt like we’d been saying goodbye to people for months so we got up at the crack of dawn on Thursday 16th January, hugged a sleepy Daddy Cool goodbye and set off for Dover. Originally, we had planned to cross from Plymouth to Roscoff but Storm Brendon put paid to that.

Before we knew it, we had boarded the Eurotunnel train and were travelling under the English Channel to Calais. Old hands by now at finding somewhere to spend the night, we settled on an Aire in Wotten, Nord, Hauts-de-France, found on Search for Sites.

I’ll never forget our first night in France, we’d had days and days of rain but we stepped outside Ada to the most stunning sunset and headed to the nearest bar to toast the beginning of our grand adventure!

From Wotten, we made our way down through Normandy and Brittany towards Angouleme.

A highlight for both of us was a brief interlude in Montoire-sur-le-Loir. The joy of travel is discovering a new place and falling in love with the landscape or architecture. We had a day to explore this beautiful town which spans the River Loir. Renowned for its Romanesque Chapel and ancient stone houses, we wandered around in bright sunshine under the bluest sky which I’m sure added to the Romanticism!


We also used an Aire in Saint-Ybard where we met Salim and Aileen who own Le Saint-Y-Bar , a cafe bar with small supermarket attached. Salim, on finding out we were on a vegan diet offered to cook a special breakfast for us before we left which was a real treat; pan fried mushrooms and tomato’s on a fresh baguette with little batons of local fresh apple on the side. It was wonderful and we will definitely be making a return visit! If you’re passing that way, we thoroughly recommend Le Saint!

Our superb vegan breakfast cooked by Salim at Saint-Ybard

Our travels were to be briefly interrupted by a week of investigating Nouvelle Aquitaine, specifically Limousin to view some properties and decide whether it was an area where we might want to invest in purchasing a French home.

We had been looking online for a couple of years and had travelled to or through most other regions of France.

With a modest budget, we knew compromises would have to be made, we viewed some incredible houses but most required a level of renovation that would have taken our focus away from travelling. It wasn’t an entirely harmonious week either, compromises also had to be made between me and Mr. B about what we each wanted from this French Idyll. Our ideal was somewhere habitable and comfortable to return to with family and friends during the next couple of years, with potential to renovate or extend when we eventually settle down. It appears I was naive about how much work was required in some properties whereas in my opinion Mr. B is by nature a pessimist and thinks that even though a house has stood for 300 years, the day we move in, it will fall down! Fortunately we are used to dealing with each other’s little foibles and usually agree to disagree!

By the end of the week we had fallen head over heels in love with the wild, mountainous Correz region but had all but given up on the house search when at the last minute we viewed a four bedroom Renovated stone house near Bugeat. That feeling we were waiting for suddenly struck both me and Mr. B. We had found our French home!

The rugged wild beauty of Correz

Everything happened pretty quickly, our offer was accepted and we are currently staying at Égletons, which will be our nearest major town while we begin the purchasing process.

Both me and James feel grounded and at home here. That’s a strange thing to say after such a short while but there is a ruggedness in Correz that reminds me fondly of growing up in North Cornwall. Everywhere we have been, there has been a palpable sense of community and we have been genuinely and enthusiastically welcomed. We have, typically for us already found a local cafe bar in both Bugeat and Égletons, we will fit in just fine, I have no doubt, now we have to seriously hone up on our conversational French!

our local cafe bar in Bugeat ...


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