Escape to the Chateau review: an inspiring fairytale about crumbling walls

(Mat Davies) #41

Our friends and neighbours Rob & Steve have had an excellent boost to the start of their French adventure by being on A New Life in the Sun.

They have been filmed for 2 seasons now and have given up a huge amount of their time for filming. They will be appearing on Season 3 of the show.

The number of people that having seen the TV show turn up out of the blue for wine tastings is astonishing, and they have received many bookings in their gites - the gites have not yet been featured on the show, but will be shortly.

(Barbara Deane) #42

yes I know.

(Barbara Deane) #43

I want to launch ON VACATION RE -LOCATION.
A holiday concept for people who wish to re locate to my region and
to be introduced to all the right people…or, at least many of the right people who
can offer answers and direction. Having been here more than ten years I have gathered
lots of local knowledge and keep my eyes open for all great and beautiful.Our own project is working well.
According to some local immobiliers there are lots of sales in my region and many
people escaping UK.
So off I go on my adventure which has been in my mind for some time.

(Elaine Hayden) #44

Yes, you do need to be brave Barbara to appear on TV. We were asked to do it when we bought our renovation project back in 2004. The stress of just getting through the project (a massive renovation that took almost 4 years to complete and a huge stressful budget) was bad enough. The thought of being filmed at any given moment made my toes curl so no, we weren’t brave enough I’m afraid. However, I truly admire people that are prepared to bare all on TV (so to speak) and love people who think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas and different marketing strategies Surviving in France is not easy and, as you say, people need to know you exist so why not use every opportunity and, if you are brave enough … use TV to get the message out there! We are selling up now but have been running a very successful boutique b&b and marketing was everything. We actually appeared on German TV (a surprise to us too!) and that brought in lots of bookings so never say never! :wink::blush:

(Elaine Hayden) #45

Why is British labour such a problem? We are encouraged to be open minded and multi-cultural in the UK and you can find every nationailty working there so why is it different in France?

(David Martin) #46

British labour isn’t the problem, its sourcing your non SIRET holding, uninsured workforce in Britain that’s wrong.

(Barbara Deane) #47

Ah so German TV is less stressful?
J and I…my other half have done bits on TV because we
had a restaurant in London…and, to be honest I found it scarry.
But before we came over to France in 2007 we were approached by
the BBC to be in one of their programmes and they came to see us
and did a screen test. We decided no.
We just did not want to go through any negative stuff.
We always did our best and were regarded as a good restaurant by the
guide books so we did not want things to change in our lives.
Bad builders or legal problems…we like to be in command of the situation.
And we do not gamble with our future…even though we are imaginative and innovative.
As I have said before I will never stop trying to bring adventure into my work.

(Paul Flinders) #48

Not a problem per-se it’s just that it is very noticeable.

(Elaine Hayden) #49

But can you be sure the British labour on this programme is as you suggest? Must all British labour be deemed suspect?

(Elaine Hayden) #50

There are enough British tradesmen living and working here in France so must they all be denied work simply because they are not French? My son lives in London, his neighbour is French. She prefers to use a French plumber because she doesn’t speak good English. No problem there? Maybe Dick had trouble finding French artisans interested or willing to help with certain tasks … it does happen?

(Elaine Hayden) #51

Ha ha, no German TV is just as stressful. They wanted to film our place for a travel programme. When they first approached us, we were delighted and they assured us they would only need to film the property. On the day, however, they decided it would be nice to film us going about our daily chores … a toe curling experience but it paid off ha ha! Good luck with all your plans. :+1::blush:

(Barbara Deane) #52

Thank you…and enjoy the next stage of your life…after you sell.

(David Martin) #53

Read my previous reply. Nobody is suggesting that any British labour is suspect it’s the bringing over of ‘mates’ from the UK instead of using the correctly registered and established local workforce (be they French, British, Polish, Spanish…) that is.

(David Martin) #54

Are you being awkward and confrontational or are you missing the point?

(Paul Flinders) #55

Elaine, I am not saying that Brits working in France should be denied work because they are not French. It is just very noticeable in the programmes that much of the help, paid and otherwise, is British; some local, some normally based in the UK. Neither is it all that surprising because it was mentioned early on that they had tried to organise things with French tradesmen only to find that things progressed very slowly. There are obviously many factors here including linguistic, cultural, social and economic influences.

It is not a problem but, as I said, it is something which sticks out when you watch the programmes.

(Elaine Hayden) #56

Sorry you feel I am being awkward that is certainly not the case and I am not trying to be confrontational in any way. Just trying to understand why, without knowing all the facts, people find the use of British labour on this particular TV programme an issue. Do you know all the facts or is it an assumption. It is the ‘assumptions’ I am querying.

(Andrea Kirkby) #57

For me one big issue would be the different regulations. For instance, any British sparky installing a ring main is doing it right in the UK, and breaking the law in France. A Brit living here and working as an electrician would get that right - a mate coming over from London might not.

Just starting my own restoration and I’m very much with David - I’ll be working with Maisons Paysannes, using traditional techniques. There are good engineering reasons for this - traditional earth based render on the facade allows the walls to breathe, while cement render keeps moisture in and eventually leads to damp problems, for instance - as well as the desire to be authentic.

What I find refreshing about the French attitude is that architects rarely seem to see a clash between modernity and authenticity. They’ll talk about traditional masonry techniques and building forms, and then introduce the subject of solar panels or the idea of adding a completely modern chrome and steel extension. So while the structure may be traditional, the two massive fireplaces certainly won’t be the only heating system employed!

(Elaine Hayden) #58

We too have used only local French architects and local French artisans on our 4 year renovation project. That was our choice and I am not actually arguing that point at all.

I am sorry I even asked the question. However, I just questioned why, because British labour was being used in this particular programme, did some people find that such a negative - especially, without knowing the full facts of the people involved. Like I say, sorry I asked but I like freedom of choice and I prefer not to jump to conclusions. If my question was confrontational then I am sorry. Just me being curious.

(David Martin) #59

As in an earlier series they said that they were bringing some friends over from England to do the work I think it is probably more of a fact than an assumption.
As I have said the programme is great entertainment but it is miles away from most other people’s experience of renovating in France. Reality TV without the reality perhaps?

(Elaine Hayden) #60

Thank you Barbara. :kissing_heart: