Day Four

P (edited by K) – Unfortunately, the sun most definitely did not have his hat on today. He had his umbrella up and sou’wester on.
But the rain didn’t deter us on our quest, so eastwards we went to the Tarn and Aveyron (both very different looking areas) for a packed morning before having to head to Toulouse airport to pick Kev’s mum and her boyfriend up. We started the morning in the Tarn with house number 32 on our map which is situated on the outskirts of a lovely little village called Fayssac, quite high up on a hillside, with amazing views of the countryside. We parked in front of a beautiful rustic church where a craggy old man was setting up stalls for a cross-stitching exhibition on the weekend. Ooh this town knows how to live, i thought. And then i spotted a really trendy looking bar bedecked with vintage furniture, so you can imagine I was drawn straight there like a magnet, for a gander, and I wasn’t disappointed. It looked lovely and the garden was well groomed and planted. I lost myself for a moment in a daydream of sitting with chilled glass of rosé in awe of the view in front of me. Back to reality I quickly joined Kev to meet our agent Laurette, a really lovely lady. I thought she was French, but she greeted me with a very pucker English accent. Now, this was one of those last minute addition properties – see it cos we’re passing by, but surely will come to nothing. Can you guess what happened next?!?
She swung the iron gates open and in we marched to be greeted by a grand looking house and large garden which in fact turned out to be huge as it has lots of pasture land slopping down from the back of the house, perfect for walking Barnaby Pickles. Kev and I looked around the exterior whilst the house was opened up for us, the views were really beautiful and we had already started to plan the garden in our heads. The house and adjoining buildings didn’t disappoint, in fact they really excited us with possibilities of what we could do with them, although the cash signs were also ringing in my ears. Laurette told us she thinks the house is overpriced at 318’00k for the market and had had to rein the owners in as they wanted to put it on for 600’000k, so room for movement we thought. We quickly worked out how much we thought we would need to spend on it and gave here an amount we could afford to buy for just for here to sound out the owners. We left her with a possible second viewing time and to come back to us with news about what the owners would accept.
K – before we move on, those of you who’ve had to suffer our (surely) annoying banter about our dream house at Gayraud (how appropriate), also pre-named Maison Maurier, ref 12 – see Day 6 blog – will be happy to know that my passions have moved on to this property. Especially after the agent slipped another house under our noses – an identical Maison de maitre in another village which had been completed, and renovated to a high standard. Now on the market for 4 times what she thought it was worth!!
So, on we travelled, north slightly, to meet Steven, who was going to be showing us 4 properties. In brief summary, 2 were no-goes, not even worth a mention. One, ref 42, was utterly mesmerising, but on a scale I couldn’t even imagine. It was more of a commercial property, and one day it will be opened up as a boutique hotel with about 15 rooms, and be a huge success. And I will willing pay an extortionate amount for a night there. The last, ref 41, was going to be ditched in an effort to get to the airport in time, but thank goodness we didn’t. The conversion had been started by an English family, and the workmanship was excellent. The price was good, and the potential for the remaining accommodation was exciting. But something didn’t work. And we’ve since worked out that it’s the area. Twice now we’ve been to the Aveyron, and decided it’s just like home. We want more French.
So, our viewing over for the day, we got to the airport just as mum arrived, we battled some storms on the motorway on the way to Carcassonne, and turned up at what is hopefully going to be the worst hotel of the trip – the Ibis. Quick relax, then out to find out why it was a Unesco heritage site. We turned left out the hotel. Please don’t make the same mistake we did and wander for an hour round the new part of town wondering what all the fuss was about. Turn right!!!!

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