THE JOURNEYHappiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present
I have been going to the South of France since I was born. The climate, the beautiful countryside, the food and drink, the relaxed way of life all keep drawing me back. Clearly, I am not alone: over 85 million foreign tourists visit France every year, much more than visit any other country in the world. I have always wanted to have a house there, but never had enough money to own the house I would want to spend my holidays in, nor ever had enough time to utilise it properly. It was within this context that I started my search for a fractional ownership house en France.
After extensive online house-hunting across the whole of the south of France, I narrowed my house search down to the following criteria:
- a minimum of 6 beds (I wanted plenty of space for 2 families, possibly for 3 to holiday together)
- characterful building aesthetic
- large outdoor space (but easily maintained) and beautiful pool area
- close (walkable) to local amenities
- within 60 minutes to an international airport
- within 60 minutes to the nearest beach.
Naturally, some of you would amend and reprioritise some of these criteria, but I hope you now understand my approach.
Having cross-checked all of the above with numerous agents, some of whom felt able to unilaterally ignore some criteria at first, I eventually narrowed my search down to about 20 beautiful houses. I then set off in my car from near the Italian border, driving across Provence then Languedoc, all the way towards the Spanish border, weaving my way across the stunning French countryside, stopping every couple of hours to look round a shortlisted house. An amazing few days.
En route I added a few criteria:
- (semi-) rural and private but not isolated
- not an old water mill or house situated on a floodplain: sounds obvious, but there are so many beautiful water mills but equally so many accompanying horror stories that practicality had to override aesthetics on this one
- fantastic value for money
Le Mas du Figuier is the result of this deliberate and thoughtful process. It was the house that had an instant wow factor, ticked all my boxes and more, had the size and flexibility (9 bedrooms, 4 living areas) for what I and other new owners would want, had the pedantic current owners who had maintained Le Mas beautifully, and had the added bonus of being perfectly located: not only walking distance to Vezenobres, a ridiculously fabulous medieval village, but also only 30 minutes from Nimes airport, and within 60 minutes of Montpellier and Avignon too. And critically it offers great value: 6000 square feet of luxurious living for the price of a 600 square foot 2-bed London flat. I bought the house at the end of summer 2017, and have spent subsequent months refurbishing it…to be sold into fractions in 2018!
I fell in love with the house. I hope you do too.