french revolutions

We're making the move back to France to open the best b&b in la france profonde

Petit Paradis


Sometimes the best things happen just by chance.

For example – I was browsing French property porn and found something a) in the price bracket (miniscule) and b) that could look great with a lick of paint and getting rid of the carpet on the walls and ceiling (why do the French do that? There’s an interior designer I’d like to slap). Figuring that location might be important I checked the map – about an hour from 2 aiports, check. Near(ish) a major Autoroute, another check. Next stop Google.

And I think I’ve found a little slice of paradise.

Montmorillon is known as the la Cité de l’Ecrit et des Métiers du Livre and has a thriving trade in secondhand books and book binding (need I tell you how perfect this is for a lapsed bibliophile like myself whose house is buried under the weight of books?). It has a gorgeous medieval quarter, old churches (I admit it, I’m a bit of an eglise queen) and the river Gartempe crossed by an exquisite old stone bridge. Hell, there’s even a very soft phyllosilicate group of minerals that typically form in microscopic crystals, forming a clay called Montmorillonite. I take this as a sign after having lived near Thouars (which has its own geological age, the Toarcian). Funny how these things stack up.

The Bridge at Montmorillon

And then it gets better. The house we like (read: can afford) is in the nearby commune of Lathus-St Remy which has a school, 2 boulangeries, a bar tabac, a supermarche (Montmorillon has a LeClercs did I mention that? I worship at the shrine of LeClerc and cannot live more than a few kilometres from one), a restaurant with a terrasse perched over the river offering a 12.50 euro menu and the charmingly named fete des voisins (aka Neighbours Day – I feel welcomed already). Oh, and did I mention the white water rafting, the fabulous equestrian centre and the outdoor activity centre? And I haven’t even got to the leisure lakes and the many kilometres of cycling trails in the area they call the ‘Lake District of France’.

I have never visited Lathus-St Remy – or Montmorillon – so it may seem strange to have decided to make my home there. But I know the Vienne and the Deux-Sevres like the back of my hand and local knowledge is a wonderful thing. I know all the cool tourist attractions – Monkey Valley, Serpent Island, Eagle Castle, Futuroscope – and I’m passionate about patrimoine and finding the little undiscovered nooks and crannies and planning itineraries and, and, and….

It’s 74 degrees in Montmorillon tomorrow – I want to be there now


8 thoughts on “Petit Paradis

  1. Like your comment on Leclerc, many hours of childhood holidays spent wandering round one. A family past time was comparing French chains to UK, think we decided Leclerc = Sainsburys, Champion = Co-op and Intermarche = Tesco (not sure if I remember that right).
    Best of luck with your project, based on your twitter feed I imagine you being a very entertaining host. Looking forward to further news!

    • Always think of Carrefour as Tesco, Monoprix as Waitrose perhaps? Wish that any of the supermarkets I visit in this country had the same produce aisles as any of them!

  2. Sounds adorable, like somewhere the Tour de France might pass through and prompt me to scrabble for a pen to make a note in my note-book entitled “Places I must visit in France”.

    • It certainly has a habit of passing nearby and there’s plenty of local racing including the Tour of Poitou Charentes where I’ve met riders like Tafi, Jalabert, Chavanel, Voigt and even Wiggins 😉 It’s also now top of my ‘places to visit’ list!

  3. Sounds wonderful. Even if you end up elsewhere it is now on my list of places to visit.

  4. From Melbourne Australia, this is my dream, alas it continues to remain one. Having organised trips to the TdeF myself, I have so much info, ideas and concepts for cycling trips I am still trying to find that certain “jerne ne sa qua” that ties it all together.

    Every success.

    • Thanks – I’m sure you’ll find that one thing that ties it all together and makes your own ‘big idea’ a success. Keep me posted – be interested in sharing some of your knowledge!

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