Photographs by Elizabeth, unless otherwise stated. Do not reproduce without permission, please.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Realise Your French Dream- House for sale 49 000 euros

In the heart of France, midway between Paris and Zurich, within easy access to the rest of Europe is a "ready to move into holiday home in a glorious, rural location".  

If you are a lover of fine food, wine, sking, other outdoor pursuits, history or architecture, this region of 
France has it all on its door step. 

As well as the tiny asking price, 49,000 euros  (approx Stg 38,900) the current owners/ residents  are happy to act as your personal,  multi lingual (French, English and German) caretakers to watch over your French dream if required, and manage holiday lets if you want to make some money when it's not in use. 

Visit this website for further pictures and details or read the vendor's description below.

On a personal note, during the last 12 months the vendors of this house have helped us turn our French nightmare back into our French dream. My French Folly is getting a new lease on life and starting to look loved.
The garden is on the sunny southern side of the house
House consists of kitchen with large, traditional fireplace; sitting/diningroom with
double doors onto south-facing patio; office; bathroom (wc, handbasin and shower).
Upstairs there are three bedrooms. Cellar with arched ceiling (traditional for this area);
patio and lawn. House faces full south, pretty rural views, and garden is south-facing
and west-facing so collects all the sunshine.

Reason for selling: We bought this house 10 years ago as a holiday home. We and the
children liked it so much that within 4 years we decided to live here full time. Now we
need a larger permanent home, so we are selling this property to fund the restoration of
our new home.

This part of rural France is beautiful with its acres and acres of rolling hills, oak forests
(great walking or cycling when hot in summer), horses and speckled cattle, lakes
vide-greniers (weekend bric-a-brack markets), access to amazing gourmet foods, local
wine and champagne tasting, the national centre of basketry, and easy access to ski slopes 
in the Vosges in late winter/spring....... this might really take your fancy. 

The house has been restored by my husband, who specialises in the restoration of old,
stone buildings. Downstairs it has been completely refurbished, using natural, breathable
materials, undercoated in white, presenting you with a ready-to-put on your own stamp
on blank canvas. Upstairs we have left with the old French wallpapers intact as this
provides an authentic atmosphere. Flooring downstairs is traditional tiles and oak parquet;
upstairs grey lino. You can buy the house either furnished or unfurnished.

The house is situated in a small village (daily bread van) of about 40 people, who are
seriously nice, helpful and welcoming (our experience). It is green and rural, but within
10 minutes drive is the local market town of Jussey with Intermarche, Carrefour, Aldi and
Lidl, plus all the usual stores. In neighbouring town, 2kms distant, is a newly opened
health centre including dentist, doctor, chiropodist, phychologist and
physiotherapist/masseuse (have your weary shoulders massaged while on holiday!) and
chemist, post office, plus an excellent boulangerie and patisserie.

A farm road to the forest departs directly behind the house, and if you love nature, you
can experience balmy summer evenings, grazing deer, wild boar, raptors circling on hot
thermal currents overhead, owls hooting at dusk, nightingales. Safe for children and dogs!
Alternatively, lounging around in the garden, sunbathing or drinking an apperitif under
the cherry tree to escape the heat when necessary, and watching the sun set while letting
your barbeque cook dinner...... might be a wonderful antidote to sun-starved UK
residents? I speak from experience, as we so liked the life-style that we came to live here

For those who fancy exploring, the property is surrounded by really nice towns and cities
to visit. 
  • Nancy, (151kms), home to the dukes of Lorraine, World Heritage Site, art nouveau
  • architecture 
  • Dijon (119kms), think mustard, glazed terracotta rooftiles, International GastronomicFestival, Florissimo flower festival, crème de cassis
  • Vesoul (49 kms), local shopping town, excellent hospital, schools
  • Langres (42 kms), famous for its medieval houses, ramparts, Langres AOC cheese,birthplace of Diderot, really pretty walled town, shopping
  • Besançon (99 kms), known as a ‘town of art and history’, World Heritage Site, International Music Festival (classical)
  • Skiing at La Bresse (115 kms), the largest ski area in north-east France, 220 hectares of piste skiing situated in the Natural Park les Ballons des Vosges. 32 pistes, 1 black, 13 red,13 blue and 5 green
  • Paris (337 kms by car), or train from local station Chalindrey, 7 trains daily, 3 hours 15
  • mins to Gare de l’Est
  • Basel, CH (191 kms) international airport, gateway to Switzerland and high alpine
  • skiing
  • Wine tasting (organic wines and champagne) at Coiffy (18 kms)
This house has great potential for summer letting, so could make money when not in use.
We speak French and already help several people with holiday homes in the area, so
would happily help you with maintenence and keep an eye on the place in your absence,
should you so desire.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

French + Vintage….yes please

The bleak skies, strong winds and intermittent rain had me perplexed when Richard, ensuring that I was warmly clothed with a brolly in hand, unexpectedly bundled me into the car one Saturday morning. Destination unknown.
As we navigated our way past beachside cafes and through the vibrant inner city precincts, the favourite haunts and jaunts of this weekend flâneur were being rapidly eliminated as the possible surprise location. My mental guessing game came to an abrupt end when crossing the Westgate bridge. I was flummoxed. The mystery further deepened when the car stopped at the water's edge in Williamstown where Mr R produced my camera, which he had hidden from view.

A short walk and le voilà - a vintage French car show staged in a shipping yard. .…. shear ecstasy for a husband who loves tinkering with motors and bliss for this lover of French vintage - well almost bliss. The crowds proved to be a definite challenge for taking 'that perfect shot'! Despite this test of my patience, I was one very happy francofilly.

For more black and white photography please top by The Weekend in Black and White,  and if you appreciate images of reflections  reflections you may wish to visit Weekend Reflections. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Scart House, Ireland

All photographs in this post are courtesy of C & K Bohm

Have you an eye for beauty, a sense of romance, a love of history, and a desire to step away from the pressures of urban living – your own private, idyllic retreat for weekends, holidays or perhaps even permanently?

Do you desire a place with spectacular ocean and mountain views that is only metres from waves kissing a pristine, deserted beachMaybe you need a break from the public spotlight?

I'm home a lot. 
Because I live in Ireland, we can live under the celebrity radar. 
I might go missing for a whole year.

Then my friends' rare, lovingly restored, Georgian, 6 bedroom residence in South Kerry,Ireland, may be just the perfect place for you. 

Claire and Karlheinz Bohm purchased Scart House with a vision of turning it into their permanent, family home. 

Over a 10-year period Claire and Karlheinz had been meticulously bringing this Georgian gem back to life using Karlheinz’s professional stonemason’s skills as well as the skills of local craftsmen. 

However, life has unpredictably changed direction for the Bohm family. They no longer can be the custodians of Scart House so it has been put up for sale (at a relatively small price for this Georgian piece of history). Scart House, now in structurally pristine condition, is waiting for someone with a passion for decorating to make make it the glorious home it could be. 

For more images, information and benefits about Scart house you can contact Claire and Karlheinz directly, drop by the Scart House website or visit it in person. 

Irelands loss of this delightful family has been France's gain as the Bohm family now reside "just down the road" from My French Folly where they now look after a dependent elderly family member. 

If you haven't yet visited the above links to Scart house, you can see it by clicking here.

Please note that I do not stand to benefit from the sale of Scat House and I am not a real estate agent. I thought I would take the opportunity to share with you some Irish beauty (and perhaps be a catalyst for someone else's dream become a reality). 
Claire's direct contact details are:
May the sun shine, all day long,

everything go right, and nothing wrong.

May those you love bring love back to you,

and may all the wishes you wish come true!
An Irish blessing

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Man on the Ground = A Rat up a Drain Pipe

Before local friends came to our rescue.
Thank you to those of you who have contacted me for an update about the situation with our house in France. 

The renovations to My French Folly have been a farce. My Man on the Ground, an Englishman, and his "company" resemble something from a slap stick Laurel and Hardy movie, instead of the slick professional team that they claim to be. Unfortunately I'm not laughing.

It appears that this husband and wife team exploit the fact that many overseas buyers of property in France aren't on site, can't effectively speak the language or don't understand the French building rules and regulations. Their ability to look clients in the eye and repeatedly lie without flinching, is deserving of an Academy Award. 

Embarrassingly, I am one of many people who have been taken for a ride.  After the damage was done to My French Folly at the hands of my Man on the Ground and his wife, I read that this scoundrel was taken to court, but suffered no loss for his wrong doings, as he had arranged his finances so he was penniless.  Despite this court case, inexplicably, in this country renowned for its officialdom, he and his wife are still running the same business,  flouting the law and managing to scramble up the proverbial drainpipe with well orchestrated, emotive excuses when his clients become suspicious. 

Work is now in progress. Mr R is making our 
shutters and a French stonemason (one of our 
local guardian angels) has commenced 
repairing the stone work. The new external 
stairs were a welcomed surprise when we 
arrived last summer. 
Since the debacle at at My French Folly, I have learnt a lot about siret numbers, the French building system and French law -   and my language skills relating to renovation and legal matters have improved quickly.
Stairs being rebuilt last year by one of our friends - a true French artisan.

With the generous support  of the local community, we are now working with talented French artisans rectifying the myriad of problems with our house,  albeit slowly. There has been a temporary lull in my quest to make this couple of scoundrels accountable for their actions due to the unfortunate events of 2013, but the chase is not over………..

Friday, March 21, 2014

Weekend Reflections - Lac de Charmes, France

I always say that the times in my life when I've been happiest are the times when I've seen, like, a sunset. Chris Evans
SUNSET, LAC DE CHARMES, Haute Marne, France
When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator. Mahatma Gandhi
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky. Rabindranath Tagore 
Lost yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, 2 golden hours, each with 60 diamond minutes. No reward is offered because they are gone forever. Horace Mann

Another weekend when I'm joining  Weekend Reflections. Drop by Jame's blog  for some visual treats.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Reflections: Chateau d'Azay - le - Rideau

Do not worry if you have built castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. David Henry Thoreau
Once again, I am joining Weekend Reflections. Click here to see the reflections of others.

CHATEAU D’AZAY-LE-RIDEAU - Loire Valley, France

While meandering through the grounds of Chateau Azay-le-Rideau, absorbing the tranquil beauty of its gardens, a reflection of this charming renaissance castle framed by foliage, came into view. 

Built between 1521 and 1523, during the reign of Francoise 1, Chateau Azay-le-Rideau is considered to be the "jewel of the French Renaissance". Its interior  is dominated by the ornately  embellished grand staircase on which the influence of Italian architecture is clearly evident. Chateau Azay-le-Rideau may be a comparatively small chateau on the Loire valley landscape, but it is definitely worth a visit.

                         Click here to view all participants of Weekend Reflections. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Panama-mania in Provence …….Weekend Reflections

Panama-mania at my favourite provençal market.
Our Panama hats, purchased at this market hat stall in Provence, have finally gone into hibernation until our winter solstice, when they will be retrieved and whisked off to France to enjoy the summer sun. 

Although renown for creating and exporting distinctive, refined fashion since the the seventeenth century, the French also have "an eye" for spotting items of elegance, style and superb craftsmanship  from other cultures.  Fashion that is now entrenched in the French culture, such as Panama hats and bright provençal fabrics, have their origins far from the azure seas of France. 

The exhibition of the toquilla hat at the 1855 World Fair in Paris by the Frenchman Philippe Raimond, a resident of Panama, is credited for making this finely woven Ecuadorian hat - "the Panama", a chic, obligatory fashion accessory of the rich and famous. 

P.S. This is not my elbows in the mirror, but that of a person trying on a hat.  I have used a zoom and I am way off to the left of this image.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Harley-Davidson……..Weekend Reflections.

This week I'm again joining Weekend Reflections.

Weekends often see the bad-boy bikies being out numbered on our roads by the man-next-door, indulging in his Harley fantasy. Shy executives, compliant partners, responsible fathers and conservative neighbours will carefully preen then mount their dream-machines to zip along the highways and bank down winding roads, accompanied by the distinctive roar of the Harley's engine: a sound that screams "freedom", evokes envy and causes the inner rebel to surface.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Lazy Sunday afternoon on the Loire river, France

Strolling along the Loire river are some of my most treasured memories of France ….… a highly recommended past time.

Currently I'm finding it difficult to put "pen to paper"  and fingers to the keyboard. The inspiration for my post this week came from Virginia - thank you Virginia.  Please visit Virginia's addictive Paris Through My Lens  and also James' beautiful Weekend Reflections for some visual treats.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.     
Oscar Wilde

The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.
Blaise Pascal
Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting 2 bodies.
My florist's thought for the week

Happy Valentine's