Friday, 25 December 2015

Renovation project - Merry Christmas 2015

Renovation project - Merry Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas everybody, wherever you are


Sunday, 20 December 2015

Renovation project - House viewing in France

Renovation project - House viewing in France
Picture courtesy of http://www.logis-sg.be/logis/index.php?Page=Pages&Action=logavendre
We have 4 properties to view, one only came on the market last week so we will be one of the first to view it.

The properties are quite different and we both have our favourite, mine is actually across the road from our old house and Johns is the house that has just come on the market.

We go to view my favourite first and I don't think I have ever been so disappointed, it is tiny and not in good condition (which would not be a problem) but the problem is that there is no garden at all.
It is advertised with some outside area and there is a door from the cellar to outside, we say that we would not be interested at all in a house with no garden and the notaire explains that we may be able to have a little bit of the space and one of the out buildings that are attached, but the owner wants to keep the rest as he uses them!

Number 1 is a total no go!

We go too view one further down the road very close to the little house we are using, this one is great with a large garden, it was emptied whilst we were still living here, the owner had died and the family came and fumigated it, this house has lots of potential and is quite large, but the garden is very long and narrow, there are also 2 very yappy dogs that live next door (we remember them well) John rules this out quite quickly.

Number 2 is a no go!

The next property neither of us were very keen on, it was advertised as having 3 rooms, and no garden, it was not what we wanted at all, but we still go to view as property descriptions can be misleading, it also has a terrace off the main bedroom so some outside space.
We are so shocked when we get there, the house at the front is very pretty (or will be if we get to work on it) there is a drive way with a gravel patio area, but the big surprise is the extra house in the back garden, we go in and there are 2 rooms downstairs and 2 bedrooms upstairs, there is a larger rear hallway with separate toilet and bathroom and then a door way into a smaller house that will be easy to separate, this also has a terrace off the upstairs room.

The only downside is that there is a large garage that belongs to the owner (their house backs on to the property and there is a door leading in to the garage, so it is not very private) we speak to the notaire and the owner who is present and ask if there is any chance of selling the garage as well, there is, this makes this property a definite maybe as then we will have a garden area and 2 terraces.

We say that the property is much bigger than the description led us to believe and the notaire explains that a lot of local people do not want big houses, so will describe them as being smaller to get people to view them. We struggle to get our heads around this information, it just goes against everything you would expected.

Number 3 is a definite maybe
we view the final house and from the outside it does not look that special, when we go inside I fall in love with it, this is definitely my favourite.

The house is enormous inside, it has a very strange layout, as in there is a shower room and toilet downstairs, not unusual you may think, until I tell you that is has been installed in front of the main front door!

There are 2 rooms on each floor with a bathroom on 2 floors, the attic is 2 large rooms which could easily be a master bedroom with the other room as a master bathroom.

On the ground floor here are also another 2 rooms at the rear,, the garden area is very small but once cleared could be big enough, it also leads directly on to the forest.

The big problem is that it is riddled with woodworm and all the wood (floors. Beams etc.) will need replacing.

We also chat with the neighbours who tell us there is a problem with the chimney that leaks in to their property, we look at this and then see that it needs work,, but John would not be able to access it as there are electric cables running past it to the main pylon, we would have to get somebody in with specialist equipment

Number 4 is definitely a maybe

So now we have 2 properties to choose from, one will be reasonably quick and easy the other will be far more time consuming and costly.


We decide to sleep on it.

Tips for buying a property in Brittany

  • Be open minded about what you view. Often property descriptions are not the same as what you find when you view!
  • If you have spoken to your agent/notaire and they know what you are looking for. They maybe able to recommend other properties that you have not seen on line.
  • Do not let your heart rule your head. If you find the perfect property, but it is in the wrong area or does not have your other requirements, walk away.
  • The perfect house is out there.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Renovation project - We are back in Huelgoat, Brittany

Renovation project - We are back in Huelgoat, Brittany

We are on the final drive back to Huelgoat, the car has been fantastic with no problems.
As we arrive it really does feel like coming home, I think wherever we end up, a little bit of my heart
will always belong to Huelgoat.

We arrive at the little house, which our friends have kindly said we can use for as long as we need, and the sun is shining, I really do think this is a good omen. Our viewing trip is booked for tomorrow.

Tonight it is catching up with our friends, having dinner, going for a walk through the forest and of course watching the football.


We have a great night but make sure we do not leave late, we have a big day tomorrow.

Huelgoat Forest, Brittany

Huelgoat Forest, Brittany

Huelgoat Forest, Brittany

Huelgoat Forest, Brittany

Huelgoat Forest, Brittany

Huelgoat Forest, BrittanyHuelgoat Forest, Brittany


Sunday, 13 December 2015

Renovations required for TV series (Spain and Italy)

Renovations required for TV series (Spain and Italy)



 As you all Know, we bought our derelict house in Brittany in 2012 and by 2014 we were a successful B&B.

I have again been contacted by a TV company that has just started production on a new series for a British Terrestrial Channel.

This time they are looking for people in Italy or Spain who have just started or are about to start or who are even near the end of a similar project to Jenny and John (renovation of a derelict house in Brittany, France). 

This is the ideal opportunity to showcase your work and think of all the free advertising for your B&B/hotel

The company are looking for:

Renovation work on what will become future accommodation. This could range from boutique hotels and guest houses to larger, more ambitious projects, and the aim is to follow the renovation right up to the ‘hotel’ opening.

The company would love to hear from anyone at any stage of their project, whether you have just got the keys or even if you think you are only weeks away from opening.

Buildings don’t have to be complete renovation jobs either – change of use is always good, or a style overhaul.

The only stipulation is that your project must be in either Italy or Spain.

If you think you fit the bill, or would just like to chat to the company send me an e-mail at the address below and I will forward your details.

jennyandjohninfrance@gmail.com

or click on the about us page for more contact details

Please don't send all your info just name and a very brief outline and a contact e-mail address

Good luck everybody and I look forward to seeing you on the TV!

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Renovation project - Driving to France

Renovation project - Driving to France

The weather is still sunny but no where near as warm as we have been used to lately, this is a bit of a shock to the system, we are going back to the cold and a winter!

We have to drive through the Pyrenees, this is not as nice as it normally is as the weather is so bad, the mist is covering everywhere and the rain is a relentless drizzle.

Every so often there is a break and you can see the drop at the side of you down the mountains, maybe the mist is better, as at least you can not see the drop that you face if the cars skid in the rain!
Pyrenees

Pyrenees

Pyrenees

Pyrenees

Pyrenees

Pyrenees

We make it through and we are once again in France, we have a favourite little beach bar in a place called Bidart, so we plan to call in but because we are going along the toll roads we do not get to go. I so much prefer driving on the normal roads, yes the toll roads are clear and quick but you miss so much, this is how we have found some of our favourite places by driving along the mountain roads.
Still we arrive in Bordeaux, this time we are not staying for long we find somewhere to park and enter a different part of the city, you really could be forgiven for thinking you are in the middle east, all the shops are oriental or Arabian, the buildings are the same, but it is not as touristy or as well kept.

We find a square and look for somewhere for lunch, we end up in a Thai place and it really is the most amazing Thai food I have ever eaten!

As we sit and people watch, we realise this is so different to the other side of Bordeaux, it really is quite bohemian. We could almost be sat in Chorlton, in Manchester, the cafes and shops are so eclectic.

I think I actually prefer this side.
Bordeaux, FranceBordeaux, France

Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux, France

We come back that evening for dinner and sit in a french cafe and watch a group of students do a Halloween show (at least this is what we assumed it was) the cafe owner had no idea who they were either, but hey, this is one of the great things about being here.
Bordeaux, FranceBordeaux, France

Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux, France

Friday, 4 December 2015

Renovation Project - Zaragoza, Spain


Renovation Project - Zaragoza, Spain

We have booked a night in Zaragoza, we have not been before but the photos on the web look really nice.

From Alicante (southern Spain) it is not an exciting drive and the scenery is very similar for many hours, but apparently this is where many of the old western films were filmed,

The plains stretch for miles with mountain ranges all around, you can just imagine the cavalry coming over the tops or seeing the smoke signals from the Indians. But this is just imagination, what you do see is thousands of wind turbines and solar panels, at least we know when we are back too Spain the electric will never run out!


We did pass a very strange mountain range, that reminded us of elephants feet, we did forget to take the name of it though, but it looked very good.



We arrive at the hotel in Zaragoza and the view from the window is spectacular.

We are next to the river and the cathedral can be seen in all its glory, we do not have long here so we go out to explore.


We say how similar (but on a much smaller scale) Zaragoza is compared to Salamanca, which for us is good, as we only have this evening to view it.

So please enjoy this photo blog

Zaragoza, SpainZaragoza, Spain


Zaragoza, SpainZaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, SpainZaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain


Zaragoza, SpainZaragoza, Spain


Zaragoza, SpainZaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, SpainZaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, SpainZaragoza, Spain



Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Renovation Project - Back to Brittany

Renovation Project - Back to Brittany

Our car has now been at the garage for almost 8 weeks due to waiting for parts, wrong parts being delivered and parts not being available in Spain, John now knows all there is about fixing the Volvo and today it comes home.

I am so happy to see it again and to get rid of our little hire car.

The time was cut very fine as I have an appointment with a specialist in France at the end of this week, if the Volvo had not been fixed we were going to fly and buy a new car there, but it is fixed and we can set off soon.

We have had some serious conversations about what we are going to do next, we are not staying in Spain (well not this time anyway) we have looked at different areas in France but have decided we are going to go back to Huelgoat, we have friends there, we know the Mairie and how things work and we also know that houses at the right price will sell, we also now know that accommodation there will give us an income.

So with all that knowledge I have been looking on line and have found 3 properties that we like, one is actually across the road from our old house!

We are setting off tomorrow morning to go and view them, I have to say that I am feeling very excited about going home, John is not feeling the same and this was a big discussion point, he feels that we are going backwards.

But as I pointed out it is not a step back it is a logical course, we can make it work there and hopefully we will be able to work again and I can still remember a lot of my spoken French (not all) but it will be a lot easier to learn french than it has proved to be to learn Spanish.

We are going to get to France with 2 stops, as the car is only just fixed we are going on the toll roads.

This means the journey is not as good but it is safer if the car breaks down.

We are ready to find our next home wish us luck!