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Jane's St Flour story


I  have thoroughly enjoyed owning Rue Sorel and my relationship with it goes back many years.

My husband and I had just purchased a retail business in our home town in Victoria, our children were just preparing for their secondary education in 1999. A copy of Country Style landed on my desk at the same time featuring a story about an Australian woman who owned two properties in France and documented her journey in restoring these properties. Overseas travel in any form was so far off the radar for us at that time but it piqued my interest.

About eight years later the opportunity came to visit France. I went back to my saved copy of Country Style and contacted that same woman. We stayed a week in St Flour, canal boated for a week, stayed in Isle sur la Sorgue and I fell in love with Paris and France in general. On our return I informed my husband I "needed a piece of this". Not Mary Moody style, but I could see that owning a property in France was not not achievable.

Enter the Stratfords. Somehow I got on to Sharon's  book and subscribed to their French property buying guide. Plenty of internet trawling ensued and a husband that was not one bit interested. Then I discovered rue Sorel was on the market. I knew the house (it was also fully furnished and a had a femme de ménage), the village, accessibility with public transport and loved the area. After much nagging on my behalf I was permitted to make one offer, way below the asking price, it was accepted.

I could not believe it! After all of this, it turned out the owner lived half an hour away from me in Central Victoria. We negotiated the price between ourselves, notifying the Notaire in St Flour of our agreement. We set up a joint bank account that we both had to sign to release funds and I paid the deposit into this account. The bill of sale was probably the most difficult part as I dug my toes in with the prospect of having to pay for the "traduction". Naively I thought my French born French teacher was more than capable of translating but it had to be on a formal level. Ultimately I had to pay? The signing of documents was also a challenge internationally. When I arrived on French soil to sign the paperwork everything was very smooth and over in no time.

I love having the house in St Flour, my work commitments just mean I can't get there as often as I would hope to. We shipped our motor bike to Europe last year spending a week in the English Lake District and a week on the Isle of Man for the TT. We also rode the alps through Switzerland, Austria and Italy for five weeks. We didn't make it to St Flour so have planned on doing it again next year, basing ourselves in St Flour and focusing on the French alps and hopefully over the Pyrenees into Portugal. How good for a couple of sixty year olds!

Our time in St Flour will be next June. I have insisted we are there for the last week of June for the Fete d'haute Terre. One of many festivals they conduct in the village, dance floors are set up in many locations with roving performers, concerts in the cathedral and market hall, food markets and handcrafts, beer tents run by the local football clubs in the shade of the avenues of chestnut trees. Sensational!

In July le Tour goes through St Flour again, previously in 2011 and 2008. This should be some testament to the quality of the location The house is very easy to maintain and very secure when we are not there. It's also very easy to rent out as a holiday let. I have had three femmes de ménage and they have been sourced directly through people who know people within the village, of the previous femme.

Thank you Jane for sharing your story - she did say she hoped she did not sound as selfish in insisting she buy this house as Mary Moody did with her French adventures. It all worked out in the end for Mary and for Jane. If you think you might like to follow the paths laid down by Jane and/or Mary, Jane's place in St Flour is currently for sale.

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