Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Towards the quiet life life in the countryside

After fifteen wonderful years spent here in Lyon I have decided to move out to the countryside. I still very much enjoy living here, but as I'm nearing my sixties some aspects of what the city has to offer - bars, clubs, rock concerts etc - have witnessed a steady decline in my presence over the years and I have been spending more and more time in the country at friends' places because I appreciate the serenity of being out of the city.

And so it is that I am buying a house just outside a small village not far from the Alps with a very good friend I have known for many years. In fact it's not really 'a house', but two houses and several outhouses on a fair-sized chunk of land. 5,250m² to be exact. Neither is very big but we will be able to live our own lives whilst both looking after the animals we intend to have as well as tending to the land. There is a lot of renovation to do but we both know enough tradesman to get most of the work done at a reasonable price. Scheduled move-in date is next August.

Here are some photos of it all taken on two separate occasions, starting with a couple of views from the lane outside.

My place, with hers to the left in the background

Both houses under a beautiful cerulean sky

A view of the mountains with the houses behind me

Here they are again, this time taken from within the garden.

Hers, complete with balcony, and..

..his. No balcony this time, but a lot of weed-clearing to do!

The views from the windows are great. There are almost no other houses in sight and the only thing which breaks the silence is the birds chirping away and someone's donkey braying. That is going to make a change from Lyon, where as I type these words I am looking at an apartment block just over the street from my apartment. The road is busy all day long.

Once cleaned up there's going to be a table and chairs in the shade out there

From a bedroom window

This view takes in some of the extent of the land, which goes down to the trees, although there is more to the left with a couple of ponds and a henhouse. It's separated into a garden, then what will be a vegetable garden, and then a field for two ponies and, when needed for grass-cutting purposes, the neighbour's sheep.

Oh, and there's a functioning well too, on the left. That'll need building up

 My place is going to be a three-room affair basically, with a salon-american kitchen and a large walk-in-shower-cum-WC-cum-dressing room downstairs. There may eventually be a bedroom in the loft. It used to be the farmer's abbatoir and as such will need a fair bit of work, but although it looks in a hell of  mess right now the work won't take that long.

Half of the living room

Half of the bathroom
The surrounding area has several nature trails and bicycle tracks. Not surprising really because it is very pretty indeed. Here are a few views from within a two-kilometre radius.

A tributary of the river Rhône, looking upstream...

...and downstream

Looking over the fields towards the nearby village

Finally, I found a lovely wild rose growing on top of a wall where it meets my house during my last visit. I hope to be able to leave it untouched during the renovation work in the hope it will come back next year.

Simple, and beautiful

 Meanwhile, off I pop to get on a crowded metro network for a meeting. Ah well, not for much longer...


  1. The location looks wonderful - and the happy choice of land with two houses. I think I'd prefer the one with the balcony!

    I love your optimism about the renovations to yours - been there and not done that. After swapping a perfectly good renovated Normandy property for an old barn with potential some years ago, we still have a ruin despite tons of money thrown at it. So good luck with yours!

    BTW are you near enough the alps for ski-ing?

    1. You'd want the one with the balcony? Great! It'd be one less thing for me to clean. :)

      Yeah, I suppose I may be seeing things a little overly-optimistically, I realise that although, funnily enough, I wouldn't mind if the work dragged out a bit as I don't mind roughing it (camping, sleeping in mountain and other refuges etc) and happen to be someone who doesn't need a lot of creature comforts.

      That said, lots of money invested for so few results after a long time would disappoint me too.

      In fact I'm reasonably confident about the renovation side, but I do sometimes feel I may be being overly-optimistic about the day to day work needed to look after everything - The animals (ponies, chickens, 2 dogs and 2 cats, one of which each of us will be nominally the master, the garden(s), the vegetable garden, chickens, ponds, bushes and trees, and the list goes on. Both of us work during the day too, although I'll be working from home, so the amount of time we shall have to do the work outside will be limited.

      Oh well, I like plunging in at the deep end and seeing where it takes me.

      Tell you what, I'll post again in 2 or 3 months to let you know how things are going on the 'am-I-being-over-optimistic' front...