Expats Ann and Steve Jordan took on a 14-bedroom hotel in Dordogne in 2003 and transformed it into the ideal wedding venue in France
Steve and I are delighted with our 11-year transformation of the auberge, and the excellent reviews on TripAdvisor are testimony to its success. We continue to find the most rewarding aspect of our ‘métier’ is the pleasure of meeting and working with so many people who are supportive and appreciate what we do. Underlining this are the number of advance bookings by returning clients – we have many who regard us as a resort hotel and stay for 2-3 weeks to really absorb the peace and tranquillity of both the auberge and the Périgord.
With 14 bedrooms and large restaurant and dining terrace, the location is perfect for weddings – a market that has seen a huge increase in recent years. Many families now want the ease of being able to book accommodation and dining at one venue for smaller, more intimate ceremonies – usually arriving on a Friday to start the celebrations and departing on Sunday after brunch on the terrace. France, and the stunning Dordogne in particular, has become a very popular venue for getting married, and there are many wedding planners working across France the UK who take care of everything for the big day. They plan and oversee the detail, and we offer the sublime rural venue and restaurant facilities. As Bergerac airport is only 30 minutes away, we are very accessible for wedding guests. In hindsight we could have concentrated more on this market earlier.
Bureaucracy continues to be a challenge and, yes, it is painstaking, but with perseverance, politeness and humour one can work with it! Our one big piece of advice is to learn French and think ‘France’. The French view of le mondeis not the same as the British view so one must respect the local take on world (and European) affairs.
However, business to one side, during the last four years since my 90-year-old mum had a stroke, life here for us personally has changed a great deal. Upon returning after a long period in England during my mum’s convalescence, I also have the day-to-day organisation of carers, finance and health issues to deal with alongside that of a busy hotel and restaurant. Thank goodness for high-speed internet! Both Steve’s parents are also 90 (all good genes there then), with all the health issues involved.
Additionally, our youngest son and his wife are expecting their first child and that again is another draw towards retirement and enjoying more time with family.
After a lot of soul searching, therefore, we have decided to place the hotel on the market. So if there are any readers looking for a small hotel or wedding venue business in a beautiful area of Dordogne, then look no further! We, however, are still in love with la belle France and in particular the Périgord Noir, and plan to share our time between family visits to the UK and here.”