Interview with an agent in Poitou-Charentes
PUBLISHED: 11:30 25 May 2015
Susan Dixon of Papillon Properties explains why this traditional farmhouse, on the market for €267,000, gets her vote
Why does this property stand out for you?
I fell in love with the location of this property when I first saw it 15 years ago, but the house itself is very different today. Back then it was a basic, almost mud-floored farmhouse, with the first floor reserved for the storage of grain and three main rooms downstairs. The only toilet was housed within the attached bread oven at the end of the building. Today the property has been well converted into a five-bedroom house with two bathrooms, a fitted dining kitchen and two reception rooms. The current owners have used one of these as a snooker/piano room and the other as a comfortable sitting room. The house has retained its traditional features, with pointed stone walls and oak beams adding character to the whole.
Why is it a great buy?
That dreaded word ‘potential’. Yes, I know potential means investment, but the work already done on the property plus its track record of gîte earnings inspires confidence. The house now needs a partial refresh and the second cottage renovation awaits completion, but the pool is a huge bonus, as are the grounds and gardens. The outbuildings are impressive and with imagination could be converted into further accommodation without overcrowding the whole site, if that is the direction the new owner wants to take.
What’s the wow factor?
Peace, tranquillity and birdsong: quite simply, the location. It’s the one thing you can’t change about a property.
What is your favourite room or feature?
I love the kitchen with its family feel and wood-burning stove – great for those winter Sunday lunches – and in the summer it spills out into the garden, again ideal for social gatherings. But it’s the garden itself that’s my absolute favourite feature.
What is the immediate location like?
Surrounded on three sides by fields and bordered on the fourth by a totally detached neighbour, the house enjoys a very rural situation. It’s part of a hamlet of about eight properties but is only a very short drive (under 2km) to a small village with church, mairie and boulangerie. Close by is the historic village of Charroux with its range of services and restaurants, 9th-century abbey ruins and 16th-century covered market.
What is the appeal of the area?
Situated at the heart of the Poitou-Charentes region, it has immense rural charm with a unique and special microclimate as a result of the shape of the Bay of Biscay and the Gulf Stream. The relaxed pace of life here, and the inclusion of newcomers into village life by the local families, makes it a very comfortable place to live.
How easy is it to get to?
The area is well served by the TGV but Poitiers airport, receiving cheap flights from the UK, is only around an hour’s drive north of the property. For those driving the whole distance, the autoroute network is straightforward to access and provides easy links with the Channel ports.
Who would it suit?
Certainly someone looking for a gîte project to finish, or a family seeking a country existence with which they can enjoy a warm, welcoming house and plenty of space.