(00 33) 2 98 39 62 25
Fax (by appointment) :
(00 33) 9 50 04 32 70
Contact Headquarters : 5 Hent Meneyer, 29 950 Gouesnac'h, France.
Postal address : 2 impasse de Kervégant, 29 350 Moëlan sur mer, France.

Our Experience in Brittany, buying and renting beautiful thatched cottages.

Have you ever dreamt of living in a chocolate box pretty, stone built, thatched cottage? It would only have remained a dream in England, but in France….. well, we have three of them!

Whilst we were both busy at work in the materialistic rat-race that  we’re in, in England we had talked about another dream of moving to France in later years, for an easier pace of life and potentially running a holiday cottage for some income. Redundancy struck early; following the repercussions of the 9/11 terrorist attack in America. We realised that this was giving us the opportunity to bring forward that dream, so we spent a number of months researching the implications of a move, how to move and importantly, where to move.

Architecture, climate and ease of access to the U.K. both for potential clients to arrive and for us to return on family visits, resulted in us narrowing down the desired destination as Brittany, preferably Morbihan –with its positive micro-climate. We decided to rent a property for an initial 3 months, over the winter season, to see properties in the ‘worst’ season. We found a suitable cottage near Redon, where we could arrange phone and internet connectivity, on the Morbihan border. With accommodation and ferry tickets booked, we started organising property appointments with estate agents (immobiliers) ready to hit the ground running our first week in France.

We duly packed our car to the gunnels with all the necessary kit and clothing to both search for a new home and prove to ourselves that we liked the new lifestyle. The latter took very little time to confirm!

We were taken around 3 properties on our first working day. We approached property three, down a lovely wooded road, drove round a series of bends and were greeted by a small hamlet of stunning thatched cottages, set amidst beautiful landscaped gardens. The estate agent turned off the road and into this very hamlet. Wow! And the inside of the main house was just as stunning as the outside.


La Chaumière


It transpired there were 3 cottages available, all of which had been re-roofed with thatch and finished externally. The owners lived in the main house, a second had yet to be renovated internally and still had the traditional earth floor and the third had long-term tenants so was not available to view that day. Suitably impressed by the tour, we arranged a date to come back for a 2nd viewing and to see the third cottage in full.


La grange



Les chaumières


Meanwhile we viewed many more properties with other agents, but saw nothing that compared either visually or in quality to the thatches. Our second visit, of all three cottages clinched it and “Les Chaumières” was the site for us.


Les chaumières


Even before we moved in, we were invited to a village twinning function – the local village being twinned with a village in Ireland. We were introduced to some other English villagers and a whole set of French villagers who made us extremely welcome.

We finally moved in, in July 2004. We started having French lessons – from the baker’s daughter! Although we both had school level French, these lessons proved invaluable and made the transition much easier for us – and probably for our neighbours too! In fact, all our neighbours are French and without exception, they have all made us extremely welcome and we often socialise with them in the evenings and help each other out whenever needed.

Our tenants decided to buy their own house so moved out earlier than expected. This meant we had to get our holiday cottage business up and running a lot quicker than planned. We started our business, with just one cottage available, from the summer of 2005.

By chance we became aware that three other buildings in the hamlet were being prepared for sale by the previous farming family – although farming had ceased there in the 1990’s. We were given first option to buy, before they were formally put on the market, which we jumped at! This doubled our land area to 3 acres and gave us all the buildings in the central courtyard. We quickly put in plans for a large heated swimming pool, with telescopic cover, in the new orchard area which was completed in time for the 2006 season.


Les chaumières


Meanwhile, we had an architect draw up plans for the renovation of the second holiday cottage, to be done to the same standards as the existing two. Despite our architect ‘doing a runner’ on us, our second cottage started receiving guests from April 2007.


Les chaumières


Since then, we regularly exceed 25 weeks bookings, per cottage, per year, with 30% or more return guests per year. The majority of guests are British, or certainly English-speaking, but we regularly have guests from France and Germany with others from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, U.S.A., Finland, Russia, even as far away as Singapore and Bolivia!

In 2010 we had our first ‘inspection’ by tourist authorities and we were very pleased to be awarded 4 stars by the French Tourist office and 4 ‘keys’ by Cle-vacances, a leading French tourist accommodation advertiser. The awards were re-awarded in 2014 from a follow-up inspection, giving  both guests and ourselves,  reassurance on the quality of the cottage and site facilities.


Les chaumières


Any regrets? - none at all. We thoroughly love the life-style here. We find everyone really helpful and informative, welcoming ‘strangers/foreigners’. . It’s the first time we have lived in what one could call a real community and it’s a great feeling.

Brittany itself is a lovely place to live. The climate is better than the UK and southern Morbihan has its own micro-climate (warmer and drier). Trees are abundant and there appears to be a wider selection of plants and wildlife.
As for the culture, there is a strong influence in keeping traditions so there are a lot of music and dance festivals which are shared by all ages together with old trade fairs. There are some major festivals e.g. the Quimper ‘Fete de Cornouaille’ and the ‘Lorient Interceltic Festival’ involving international artists and thousands of participants which are amazing to experience.
All that said, we are now looking to sell and move on. We are now looking to properly retire but most definitely remain in Brittany. We are looking to buy a property which allows us to host our ageing parents in ground floor accommodation with time to spend with them and look after them as their health is deteriorating. We are also looking to have more time to ourselves and less commitments, to enable us to travel to visit family as needed and to see more of Europe.

So, if you fancy taking over a successful, thriving business, but still with potential for on-site development, then come and have a look. Meanwhile, if you fancy a holiday in a detached thatched cottage, you will be welcome to come and stay.

Neil

 

For more information, please contact us, to buy the Hamlet, or to rent one of those properties, La grange or La chaumière… or both of them