A renovation (especially in another country) is challenge. We bought the property in January 2018 and was the “wild card” property shown to us by Beaux Village Immoblier. To be honest, the pictures on the property information pack hid its appeal (to us anyway) as they say - Location, Location, Location - and it has it in spades ! There have been times when the project has seemed over whelming and jobs seem never ending. Our advice….stop and look outside. A walk to the bottom of the garden as the sun goes down on the right day…or a catch up with friends you’ve met along he way…and you’ll soon be reminded why you did this…after all, the words…“how do fancy and adventure Kimbely ?” were used for this very reason…..
Las Vignes - Lauzerte
“Las Vignes” is our property renovation project located in the commune of Lauzerte In the northwest corner of the Tarn et Garonne department, in SW France. Lauzerte lies between the foothills of the Massif Central and the Garonne river plain in the region known as Quercy Blanc and Pays de Serres because of the limestone which predominates in the landscape. The hill town rises above parallel valleys and rivers, the Barguelonnes, the Lendou and the Seoune which feed into the Garonne River.
The property is a French stone farmhouse built in 1799. A 4 bedroom property in much need of renovation and modernisation and had been empty for a number of years. It sits on an acre plot of land on a hillside with views of the Bastide town of Lauzerte. There are 3 outbuildings, including a barn, and a well.
Our hope is to capture the renovation of the property and tell a few stories along the way as the project and website grows and hopefully reflects what it’s like to take on a project like this.
We love travel, so the decision to settle and buy a renovation project and in particular this one, was born out of many discussions, mostly starting with questions along the lines of could we, should we, dare we, and…where ? Internet property searches within the proximity to an airport with an operating budget airline was key and close (but not too close) to a town with all amenities was also important. How we arrived at Las Vignes is a story in itself…bit it ticked all the boxes we’d prescribed ourselves…..and Oh, how Kimbely loves a list !
The things that we couldn’t put on this list were the hope that we met some great people in the area we’d chosen to shape our future home in (French and ex-pats). As it turned out we’ve met people that offered us the warmest welcome, have helped us in many ways and share the dream of living in the South of France. We’ll save them the embarrassment of naming names, suffice to say - Merci and “prochaine sortie….convoi exceptionnel, mes amis”
Seasons change - well, they seem to be marked in South West France ! The Summer as you would expect is spectacular, although it can be spectacularly hot…40 degrees has been experienced and the need for shade and managing heat inside the house is something you have to do . Opening all the doors and windows in heat like this just makes your house hot, quite a change from UK habits. As for winter…yes, it happens and below zero temperatures are frequent, despite the belief it’s always sunny in S W France. Spring and Autumn see the landscape change as do the crops (being in a primarily agricultural area) and experience the best weather in our view.
Wonder what’s its like to live in S W France ? Have we done the right thing ? There’s always time to reflect as life runs at a different pace here - this was the plan all along for the avoidance of any doubt !
“Las Vignes” is project for us and for family. We are are sure, and hope, that we can share this journey with all of the family. There will never be a shortage of visitors we’ve been assured ! We are very thankful to the offers of help and even though we’ve not been able to accommodate in the early days of the project, family staying close by and offering their time and assistance has been greatly appreciated.
The project has grown from a “make do and mend” with temporary kitchens, a mattress on the floor for a bed, the bathroom of “iconic” status and a garden that grows things the moment your back is turned.
Most of the work has been done without the assistance of trades - for economic as well as stubborn reasons (the desire to do it ourselves). Other than electrics and some plumbing aside (done by some excellent local French Artisans) the renovations you’ll see on this website have been done by a us (a retired Fire fighter and an Accountant).