Twist or stick

We arrived in France 8 years ago, almost to the day and our experiences have

been varied. Just like everyone we have known difficult moments. The outside world

is full of adversities and as we love the garden's glory the work which is attached to

keeping it so wonderful gets harder.

So it is twist or stick. The property is offered for sale but if a buyer does not come along in

spring 2016 plan B is twist further into adventure!

I am hopeless with anything technical and I am unable to follow sequences of any kind but I

like to get answers and find them myself as I unravel the info.

I have now traced the owner of the lonely looking chateau which is near to Vigier and have been

invited to visit. A toperie club would be great fun.....tea and Toperie.

But that would be something for the Toperie organisation and I might make a few suggestions

regarding tea time treats and music in the garden.

But my thoughts are lingering in the direction of an occasional school for those who want to run Gites or Chambre d hotes.

This envelopes all my interests and brings others to help with the idea.
Gardening, housekeeping, marketing, PR, interior design and finding the inspirational

furnishings and furniture and, of course the very special breakfasts which must outlive

the pale, underbaked bread, plastic pots of yoghurt and truly bad coffee.

More work.....yes.

More complexities .....probably.

The competition is massif!

So much has changed in the eight years since we came to our region.

There is only one way to let the media and the public know that you are

special and that is by telling them loud and clear.

Define initially what can make you stand out and then build on that strength.

We all need to focus on how important the income and life style is and if we can

manage the stress.

Barbara, we already give our guests vegetables from our garden and eggs from the hens. I have given recipes as well.
Because it is just us and we tend to attract families, we only do weekly lets.
The thought of a two centre holiday is still appealing and perhaps some of our fellow gite/chambres d’hotes owners would be interested in this possibility?
I can already offer patisserie lessons and cooking in the kitchen of a previous holder of a Michelin star. He only gave it up because of the toll it was taking on his family.

Well if you feel like it may I suggest that show clients how you can use

all that is in the garden to assist with country living. This is not exactly a

cooking course or a tutorial just a pointer in the right direction for those who

wish to re locate. So from there I Suggest that you link with a chateau vineyard

which has really nice accommodation and together you can create an 8/10 DAY

Stay. That would change your complexion without altering your life style.

From there I can invite my contact to stay here for a couple of days and to be with you one night and in the chateau one night.

This is not a key to instant success but it is playing at your trump cards. Cosy, the vines and a taste of the countryside.

I AM not a marketing person but I try.

As much as I know that I should sell and downsize I am driven on by the fact

that we are doing just fine!

I can offer a 3 hour pattiserie course( not here at the property)

A visiting English speaking lady Semmelier who is also a chef.For a wine


A visit to vineyards and picnic at a farm ......transportation incl 65

euros per person. A complete day out.

I am still looking for more activities for my clients.

That would be good Barbara.

Yes ....sorry Jane.

I agree.

I am a little slow today!

A good friend of mine is waiting to have an offer on her property today

and I am expecting a definite no re the viewing of mine ON Friday and I

can move on with plans.

A DUO stay vacation would be an idea.....lets say your place and a chateau which

produces wine and can explain the basics. One of my contacts writes for Decanter

and similar and his passion is burgundy and champagne. He loves to eat. He could be

persuaded to pay us visits and write a nice piece.

For me I see either a Yurt with a marketing expert or a gardening experience in

deep Dordogne cooking all the fruits and veges.

Barbara, I think you have misunderstood me.
I believe that there is room for a small group of people who offer the best in their own fields and in different parts of France coming together to offer a diversity of holidays.

Yes we are in different regions and have totally different styles and ideas

but this does not stop you doing something in your region within your comfort zone.Try to

fill those May and June weeks with 'mature students' who may want to re locate to Burgandy

and fill their cupboards with jams and pickles.

Barbara, I would be up for a programme that puts together properties of a similar standard but with a different slant and in different parts of France.
I think it would be a winner.

I do believe that there could be a small boom for country properties as

city people may need the tranquillity. That, however does not mean that

they wish to be bored! So learning about gardening in a large garden. Learning

about maintaining a pool, presenting a great breakfast, finding a style of your

own for interior design, shopping for these special finishing touches, housekeeping,

marketing etc and finally finding a good property.

I CAN provide my knowledge and experiences but there are experts out there who

may want to help in the hope that there are, of course financial awards.

So let me know if you are not too far away and interested.

Perhaps you have a property which could be suitable for a second week of the vacation?

What ever is to be will be!

I agree that people may well avoid too.

We are in the middle of the countryside.

Yes, I know about the rules and the hotels, if only the hotels raised their

standards just a little .....there is shabby chic and plain shabby!

I have bookings for 2016 and took the latest one 7 days ago.

People will not forget their love for France!

Barbara, I do hope you find a buyer.
We stayed in a Chambres d’Hotes in the Champagne region run by a Brit and who was offering courses, she could have come to me to see how to do it.
The problem here in France is the monopoly of the Hotel lobby. They do not want anyone else offering interesting things to do or imorove their accommodation or offer what they call ‘hotel services’. This especially applies to Gites, which seem to be their bête noire.
This government has been specially keen to upgrade hotel accommodation and provide a new museum in Paris, which must be a waste of effort now.
We had dinner with French friends from Lyon yesterday and they were saying that even the French were avoiding the large cities now. You might be experiencing thus with Bordeaux.
As we are advertised as a rural and relaxing holiday venue, we are hoping that our market will not be too badly affected and we profit by being favourite with the Belgians and Dutch.
We already have a few weeks booked for 2016 and we will be hoping that the Christmas holiday will bring more enquiries.

So good to hear of positive moves. Good idea Alex...... your new project.

I work with 2 very pro active companies which promote great accommodation

especially the quirky and the special.

These 2 companies are very likely to back my idea and they will possibly be interested

in other properties//venues which carry the same qualification.

So this does not stop at Dordogne 24/33 IT CAN be anywhere.

Hi Barbara,

Education may be the future for a few of us. In the new year, I'm going to start running one-day website courses that would tie in with your idea if you're interested. I'm not publicising it at the moment, but have put a website together with more details here.

Good luck with it all,