Born in Normandy, we were seated in the Yvelines, 50km away from Paris. There we had a very stressful pace of life. The company that we created, there was increasingly complicated to manage and we were more and more vulnerable. We kept constantly "our nose to the grindstone" and our worries were leading our lives. We felt the need to change the rhythm of our life for our children and our personal balance. It was the time for us to sell our business and move to the countryside looking for a healthier life. Actually, it was something that had been maturing like fruit on the tree as the sale has materialized in 3 weeks ! A documentary about the Dordogne valley, shown that week on the TV program, "Des Racines et des Ailes" completely seduced us and confirmed our desire to live quite differently.
Beginning of the adventure
The following weekend, we left for Sarlat with a list of properties to visit. We knew absolutely nothing and no one in this region of France but we were immediately seduced by this outstanding medieval city untouched by industry. Its beautiful scenery, small mountains called "Pech" is an ideal setting for relaxation. The climate was pleasant and life seems softer and yes indeed it was and it is. Instantly we knew this was the place we had to be with all ingredients we needed ; cute little hotel, secondary school for our 16 years old son, nice primary school for our 6 years old little girl. The first day we visited some of the listed properties but by a happy coincidence, we were driven to our actual property which, at the time, was a farmhouse owned by an English couple coming just there for holidays. We signed up the same night with the agency. Everyone thought we were completely "crazy". We are fortunate, my husband and myself, to share the same passions. In 3 months, everything was settled. The only one still confused and even reluctant was our son Alexander who had to leave his friends behind, but he was in the third French grade and had to go to a new school anyway. We new, by a close friend, that secondary schools in Périgord were quite renowned. He trusted us and quickly adjusted to his new life and was able to study, a few years later, at Savignac international school, very popular now. Our new life started under a lucky sky.
July 2004, we moved in Périgord in torrid heat. We met our new neighbors, by organizing a welcome drink which was very friendly. Everything was incredibly beautiful, starry nights, the calmness of the countryside. We took advantage of the summer and we are engaged in our project by early september. My husband, a food engineer, who created factory installations through his lifetime, launched this new project with enthusiasm, being at the same time, an architect, a super intendant and the one responsible for all administrative authorizations.
Local craftmens were all overworked and couldn’t meet our immediate needs. So we hired a parisian team that we knew before. Work began in January 2005. Our project was, of course, more complicated than we were expected! We created two adjoining cottages in an old barn building that was completely abandoned, have expanded and converted part of the main building to create a large cottage. We built another large pool, a playground and a parking lot for the cottages. All this in just 6 months !
Everything wasn’t easy! We had a year of madness, working tirelessly all trades in order to be ready on time to open summer 2005, but we were overflowing with great energy and enthusiasm. We were creative and free. Our website went online in March and brought our first bookings. Each reservation made us jump for joy. Our first guests arrived in July 2005, we were so happy !
Arriving almost to the goal
My epicurean husband opened his cellar to his new guests by offering local wine from Bergerac. On my side, i had the chance to become friend with my charming neighbor Simone, so happy herself to have next door a family settling full time. What unforgettable moments we shared, cooking the typical Périgourdine recipes (foie gras, confits, pâté, etc.) that i propose now in our cellar. The project was initiated and materialized; the adventure was only beginning !
Why "Le Bonheur dans notre Pre »
It was obvious for us and it will be for anyone who have seen Stephen Chatiliez movie "Le Bonheur est dans le Pré." The main actor, Michel Serrault, plays an entrepreneur who goes haywire and moves in Gers country to raise geese. Our personal history is somewhat similar and last but no least the other actor, Eddy Mitchell, has always been my husband' idol. Hence the name our property, "Le Bonheur dans notre pré."
Following the next number :)