We live in the Vienne in the small hamlet of Thenet surrounded by farms and midway between Le Blanc and Montmorillon and about 10 kilometers from our nearest town of Saint Savin with its stunning 11th century Abbey, (a UNESCO world heritage site known as the Romanesque Sistine Chapel) great cafes, restaurants and boulangeries as well as a weekly market. It also has the best tasting pizza I have ever had; hand made by Jean-Luc and cooked in a real wood fired oven. The community spirit is amazing, we were welcomed with open arms by all our neighbours, and Haims (which is our local village) has just had its fifth annual fete attended by over three hundred residents. Montmorillon, known as the "City of Writing and Book Professions" (Cité de l'Écrit et des Métiers du Livre), is a charming town located on both sides of the River Gartempe. It is a popular destination thanks to its pretty riverbanks, Gothic bridge, old houses and the 12th-century Octagon, other monuments include the Notre-Dame church with its Sainte-Catherine crypt which contains magnificent frescoes. Nearby is the medieval district of Brouard where bookshops and craft workshops abound. The late legendary French chef Joel Robuchon’s plans to launch a cooking academy in Montmorillon are still in progress and will undoubtably add yet another dimension to this already fascinating town. The medieval city of Chauvigny is about a twenty-five-minute drive and as well as a bustling market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, in the upper part of the town the high ruins of the Baronnial Château become the setting of The Giants of the Sky, a flying bird show with birds from all over the world skimming over you at break neck speed – a truly stunning spectacle. We moved to the area because we were still regularly working in the UK and needed quick and easy access; we are midway between the airports of Poitiers and Limoges with regular flights to the UK. Poitiers station provides TGV access to Paris and Lille with connections to Eurostar.
On our small farm we live with our three horses (my wife is an avid dressage rider whilst I am still very much a beginner) and seven cats. Comparing my life now to what it used to be in the UK is like a dream; no long commutes on overcrowded trains surrounded by sullen people (myself included), life filled with monotony and regularity and somehow never seeming to have the time to just stop and look around. Even after nearly five years I still stop the car when I am driving to see varieties of birds of prey such as buzzards, kites, harriers and falcons flying or sitting on the telegraph wires. Red squirrels are always a delight as are the deer and boars. The language was a challenge at first (but an exciting one), I had schoolboy French - the peak of my skills was during a French oral exam when I translated “Très élégant“ as “very and the gloves”. However, my experience is that if you just say a few words in French most people will meet you more than halfway and going to French lessons is a great way to meet other people. Everyone here is so friendly; walk into any shop and everybody will say “bonjour” and smile. I still have daily routines (at the time of writing we are in mid-summer and experiencing beautiful weather) and each day starts with taking the horses from their stables to the fields, I started this at 5.30 today and the temperature was already in the high 20’s. Whilst I am cleaning the stables I am entertained by the flying display and songs of the swallows which nest in our barn every year and herald the start of spring with their arrival and the end of autumn with their departure. These are all “routine” things but how very different from those I experienced in the past. I can truly say it is a dream come true.View Poitou-Charentes Information Homepage
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Region: Poitou Charentes
2421 M2 land
Region: Poitou Charentes
523 M2 land