Hey, and welcome to a brand new year and our brand new shiny blog. We’ve been desperate to get a blog started ever since we moved to France in 2019. And after a full house renovation that took over a year, a new baby boy joining the crew and two full summers of guests we’ve finally got the chance (and headspace) to put pen to paper.
We’ll be blogging every month about all things happening here at Manoir Beaulieu, letting you into our French life and showing you how simply special and wonderful it really is here. We hope you’ll come and stay to experience for yourself, keep an eye on our availability.
When we arrived back in June 2019 it was certainly a shock to the system. Manoir Beaulieu had always been a summer holiday home and although very much loved it needed an injection of life. The decor was tired, the electrics were dangerous and the grounds were overgrown. We had a few tasks ahead of us.
We can remember our first few days and nights arriving in France so vividly. James, Oscar and I arrived by car the day before. We had a wonderful first night at the local village B&B Chez Tuffin where Sue and Phil looked after us tremendously. And the morning after we set off to pick up the keys for Manoir Beaulieu. We signed the final papers and we celebrated with moules frites and a beer at La Gourmandise in Montmoreau. YIKES. We’d actually done it. Taken the leap and left our jobs in the UK to start a new life in France.
We arrived at Manoir Beaulieu (then just known locally as Beaulieu) and sort of just stared at it for a while, hardly believing that this beautiful house and space was actually ours. The first thing we did was throw all the shutters open and unpack our worldly possessions from the car and roofbox – of which included our blow up bed, duvet and pillows, Oscars cot, three camping chairs and a handful of kitchen equipment. Our sofas, tables, chairs and other belongings weren’t due to arrive for another two weeks so we had to get inventive and find what we could to sit at for dinner.
The first night we sat out in the courtyard, sipping some delicious French wine, waiting for the blanket of stars to appear. All the windows and doors were slung open (in our naivety) and it wasn’t long before a bat had flown straight into the downstairs bathroom! Helpfully James happens to be petrified of bats so it was up to Oscar and I to get the little fella out.
Nighttime came and we snuggled down for our first night in a very empty Manoir Beaulieu. An hour later the heavens opened and we experienced our first storm. The shutters were flying everywhere and James and I were running around frantically trying to shut them up again. “There’s a man, a man” James shouts – obviously referring to the little tiny black metal man that’s attached to the wall, cleverly designed to hold back the shutters and stop them blowing in storms. It was an eventful first night – to say the least.
But we picked ourselves up pretty quickly, there was lots to do and lots to get cracking on with and we were soon in full swing of renovations! We don’t regret for a second starting a new life in France, and we’re so excited to see what’s coming next for this beautiful house. We have a full 2022 summer of guests ahead, as well as four weddings in May and June! So we’ll certainly be busy.
Lauren & James