Life has been ridiculously busy since 2011 started, and now I can finally tell you why: We are moving to France!!
Burgundy, to be specific. Summer 2011.
Inspired by the many artisans and farmers I’ve met through Beyond the Plate, the farmers’ markets in our area, as well as the French philosophy of terroir, we are trading technology for the life of artisans, selling our own cheeses and hand-crafted wines as Les Terroiristes from our 5,000 sqm (1.2 acre) plot near the town of Bresse.
It’s a half-hour drive away from Burgundy’s main wine route – which means being spared the tourist onslaught in the summer – yet close enough for a weekend jaunt. On the property is a 5-bed, 2-bath farm house, a 1-bed, 1-bath cottage and a barn/warehouse for farming tools and supplies. Dating back to the late 19th-century, the land used to belong to a prominent sheep-farming family whose patriarch had had enough of the picturesque French countryside and is in the process of moving to the beaches of Thailand for his retirement.
The house needs a lot of work; pipes will have to be replaced, toilets gutted, heating and insulation updated, but I’m already excited about what this building and land holds for us. There will be a yoga studio with wooden floorboards; a dedicated photography studio equipped with antique wooden boards and kitchen tools from the local flea market; a kitchen featuring an 8-burner range, two ovens and, of course, an espresso machine. M has started dreaming (literally) about building an underground wine cellar – also known as his ‘Man Cave’. His latest plans include recycling the wood from old wine barrels into racks and a communal table featuring a chandelier made out of old wine bottles. I can’t wait to see how that turns out. In 10 years.
This plan started with the first visit in a grey and wet December two years ago, where we instantly fell in love with the place. Quaint pre-war villages with their cobblestoned streets, spectacular vistas, and of course, the quality of wine and produce. Burgundy is France’s gourmet heart, a place where every meal is both an event and a tribute to the land. Two days into our visit, we started our search for the perfect home. It hasn’t been easy, as you can imagine. Dealing with spiffy phone connections, the bureaucracy – from the village to the county – and taking a leap of faith with our agent made for many sleepless nights. A tip for anyone about to embark on a real estate search in a foreign country: Find an agent you would trust with your life. Otherwise, don’t even start.
Our website is currently under construction, but rest assured that I’ll announce it when the site goes live in a few weeks. In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates about our recently-acquired dairy cow, Marguerite, and the flock of goats we’re about to bid for!