Tony and Heather's holiday home in the South of France

A Good Year in the South of France: wine, vineyards and oodles of history…

Tony and Heather have enjoyed family holidays in France for several years. Before retirement, Tony worked in hospitality and brewing, looking after family owned restaurants and hotels.

In 2015 the couple decided to buy their own holiday home in South West France. Owning a maison secondaire has several attractions. It allows them both to enjoy regular trips to France and gives their adult children – as well as future generations – a place to stay for many years to come. The holiday home also earns its keep, providing rental income as a property let in the summer months. 

Discovering their holiday home

To help them find the holiday home of their dreams, friends shortlisted half a dozen properties for Tony and Heather to look at. They quickly fell in love with the area, with a bustling, strong local community in the Lot-et-Garonne. Some parts of the South West have a significant English-speaking population, however, Tony and Heather preferred a more authentic French feel. 

How Tony and Heather came to buy their holiday home – a typical French rural cottage of the Périgordian style, with a very sharp roof - is a nice story. 

After visiting the property, they knew they had found what they were looking for but wished to get to know the house a little more before buying. They asked the sellers if they could rent it for a short period. Although the vendors declined this request, they invited Tony and Heather to stay for a few days as their guests. During the stay the French couple showed them around the house and the local area; and seven years’ later, both couples remain great friends. 

The property itself is 3km outside of town, making it easy to visit shops or relax in the town’s bars, cafés and restaurants. The spectacular countryside, historic buildings and vineyards made the location an unbeatable choice. The area is accessible too, with direct flights from the couple’s home near Manchester. Door-to-door, the family can reach their home in four hours making short trips practical and easy.

The house buying process in France

Buying their property was straightforward although Tony offers some words of advice to potential buyers:

“In my view, it is really important to have a helpful Notaire. Our agent was also good. In terms of language, I can get by in French; but when it comes to anything complex I am struggling. So, understanding the legalities is crucial. 

“France is famous of course for its love of administration… To finalise the transaction, I had to sign all 120 pages of the documents sent to me in the post… later, I was then asked to confirm that it was my signature. I have never seen so much paperwork! Fortunately, my secretary at the time could speak French which helped a great deal.”

Tony also has some further tips, for example keeping an eye on exchange rates especially before proceeding with a purchase. Getting this wrong could end up costing a lot of money. 

Where there is wine….

In choosing the location for a holiday home, the quality and style of the wine was a key factor for Tony, who explained why:

“I love wines from France’s many vineyards, such as the Loire Valley and the Alsace; or indeed the champagne area near Reims.  I like to say wherever there is wine, I’m fine! However, for me the vineyards around Bergerac close to our holiday home are the best – and are hugely underrated."

“The climate and soil is similar in style and characteristics to the Bordeaux vineyards. The Bergerac wines are excellent in taste – and better value for money than a Bordeaux claret. One of our favourite destinations when we arrive in France is the Château de la Jaubertie, a historical monument since 2005 and a producer of great wines. We love to stock up and take advantage of their superb wine collection.”

Tony and Heather clearly love their visits to their holiday home.  For these avid Francophiles, Villéreal and its environs tick all the boxes due to their beautiful holiday home, the area, friends – and its superb wine. 

 

A great year in the South of France: wine, vineyards and plenty of history

Tony and Heather have enjoyed family holidays in France for several years. Before retirement, Tony worked in hospitality and brewing, looking after family-owned restaurants and hotels.

In 2015 the couple decided to buy their own holiday home in South West France. Owning a "maison secondaire" has several advantages. It allows them both to enjoy regular trips to France and gives their adult children, as well as future generations, a place to stay for many years to come. The holiday home also earns its keep, providing rental income as a property let in the summer months.

Discovering their holiday home

To help them find the holiday home of their dreams, friends shortlisted half a dozen properties for Tony and Heather to look at. They quickly fell in love with the area, with a bustling local community in the Lot-et-Garonne. Some parts of the South West have a large English-speaking population, however, Tony and Heather preferred a more authentic French feel.

How Tony and Heather came to buy their holiday home is a lovely story.

After visiting the property, they knew they had found what they were looking for, but wished to get to know the house a little more before buying. They asked the sellers if they could rent it for a short period. Although the vendors declined this request, they invited Tony and Heather to stay for a few days as their guests. During the stay, the French couple showed them around the house and the local area and seven years later, both couples remain great friends.

The property itself is 3 kilometres outside of town, making it easy to visit shops or relax in the town’s bars, cafés and restaurants. The spectacular countryside, historic buildings and vineyards made the location an unbeatable choice. The area is accessible too, with direct flights from the couple’s home near Manchester. Door to door, the family can reach their home in four hours making short trips practical and easy.

The house-buying process in France

Buying their property was straightforward, although Tony offers some words of advice to potential buyers:

“In my view, it is really important to have a helpful Notaire. Our agent was also good. In terms of language, I can get by in French, but when it comes to anything complex I struggle. So understanding the legalities is crucial. 

“France is famous of course for its love of administration. To finalise the transaction, I had to sign all 120 pages of the documents sent to me in the post. Later, I was then asked to confirm that it was my signature. I have never seen so much paperwork! Fortunately, my secretary at the time could speak French which helped a great deal.”

Tony also has some further tips, for example, keeping an eye on exchange rates, especially before proceeding with a purchase. Getting this wrong could end up costing a lot of money.

Where there is wine…

When choosing the location for their holiday home, the quality and style of the wine was a key factor for Tony, who explained why:

“I love wines from France’s many vineyards, such as the Loire Valley and the Alsace, or indeed the Champagne area near Reims. I like to say: "Wherever there is wine, I’m fine!" However, for me, the vineyards around Bergerac close to our holiday home are the best – and are hugely underrated."  

Tony and Heather clearly love their visits to their holiday home. For these avid francophiles, the local area and its superb wine tick all the boxes for their beautiful holiday home.