We live in a beautiful little village in the East of the Vienne, a little known area where the community spirit is alive and well. This is true countryside where people are still growing their own food from their 'potagers' and where everything is produced locally. Whether it is beef, poultry, lamb or even cheese, the food on our plates comes within a 10 km radius. And for those, like us, who haven't got round yet to growing their own fruit and veg, an organic farmer is delivering fresh seasonal products to our doorstep. We may be in the rolling countryside but the towns of Poitiers, Limoges and Châteauroux are within easy reach with their restaurants and shopping centres. The Futuroscope, the frescoes of St Savin Abbey (which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site), the Brenne Natural Park, Angles sur Anglin (which has been voted one of the most beautiful villages of France), there is enough around here to cater every need may it be cultural, leisure or outdoor activities. And if the draw of Oxford Street in London get too much, one can easily reach it from Poitiers airport or even the Eurostar via Lille or Paris, which itself is only 90 minutes away from Poitiers train station.
In 2008 we went to visit a couple of friends who had moved to France with their two children. They traded crazy London for a small town in the Poitou, and felt the better for it. Gone were the crippling mortgage, the long working hours and the stress. They welcomed instead time with the kids, the cheap quality food and wine and their beautiful house paid in full. In was work to live, out was live to work. After a tour of the house, the grounds and a bottle of wine we were sold on the idea. It didn't take much convincing mind you. We thought about our full-time and part-time jobs we both had, our tiny flat, our constant commute, the incompatibility of our time-off, my frustration of not doing more photography and his not spending more time at his studio painting, our craving for personal space (see commute)... I could picture us, strolling down our massive garden in the morning to feed the chickens and collect the freshly laid eggs before picking our lunch straight from the vegetable garden, spending our evenings reading and drinking wine by a crackling fire, entertaining friends from England around a big farm table in the kitchen… then with the morning and hard on the heels of the initial enthusiasm for the dream came the very real question: could we really do it? We made the jump in 2009 and haven't looked back. We bought an old school in a lovely village and started renovating in earnest. There is still a little way to go, like having our very own chickens and potager but on the whole France has delivered on its promises. The renovation is at times slow but we are getting there nonetheless. Our pace of life has thankfully slowed down, we enjoy those lovely evenings by the fire we had dreamt about and long walks with our two dogs. And interestingly we are seeing more and not less of our friends and family now, they take the time to come and see us and enjoy a slice of the good life with us.View Loire Valley Information Homepage
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