Poitou-Charentes Escape to the Continent


Poitou-Charentes

Property show. Anita Rani crosses the channel to the Poitou-Charentes region of France with a couple from Gloucestershire who are seeking a new start.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to Poitou-Charentes. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

The highly decorative stonework on this historic building is celebrated

0:00:020:00:05

as some of the most beautiful Romanesque carvings in the world.

0:00:050:00:07

But where could I be?

0:00:070:00:09

Join me in a moment to find out.

0:00:090:00:11

Today, we're helping a couple from Gloucestershire,

0:00:300:00:32

who are seeking a new life on the Continent,

0:00:320:00:34

though not everything goes to plan.

0:00:340:00:36

This hasn't got an old farmhouse feel.

0:00:360:00:38

And it hasn't really got a cottagey feel.

0:00:380:00:40

-You're just not feeling it.

-No.

0:00:400:00:42

But the vibes elsewhere are trying to win them over.

0:00:420:00:45

-I can't not see myself in here.

-Yeah.

-I'm thinking...

0:00:450:00:48

Welcome to Escape To The Continent.

0:00:520:00:54

I'm in Poitou-Charentes

0:00:540:00:55

in the southwest of France

0:00:550:00:57

and that wonderful building is the Notre-Dame la Grande,

0:00:570:00:59

here in Poitiers.

0:00:590:01:01

Now, it's been a place of pilgrimage for centuries

0:01:010:01:04

and the carvings first began at the beginning of the 12th century,

0:01:040:01:08

and they can still be read like a picture book of biblical stories,

0:01:080:01:11

including Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the Nativity.

0:01:110:01:15

An extensive restoration project began in the 1990s,

0:01:150:01:19

so Notre-Dame la Grande

0:01:190:01:20

can still take pride of place in the capital of this captivating region.

0:01:200:01:25

A 90-minute flight from British shores, the Poitou-Charentes region

0:01:270:01:30

in south-west France stretches out

0:01:300:01:32

across 10,000 square miles of countryside.

0:01:320:01:36

As the second sunniest French departement,

0:01:360:01:39

it offers some of the country's most impressive topography.

0:01:390:01:42

Head west and you'll find 280 miles of sparse, sandy beaches

0:01:420:01:47

leading up to La Rochelle, the historic port city.

0:01:470:01:50

Look east and you uncover swatches

0:01:500:01:52

of undulating countryside that continue all the way

0:01:520:01:56

over to the foothills of the Massif Central,

0:01:560:01:58

taking in a patchwork of grain fields and fruit laden vineyards.

0:01:580:02:03

The vistas draw attention to the intense seclusion here.

0:02:030:02:06

On average, there are 160 inhabitants per square mile,

0:02:060:02:10

placing the Poitou-Charentes

0:02:100:02:12

amongst France's most sparsely populated regions.

0:02:120:02:15

And there's the cognac, the brandy appellation of choice

0:02:150:02:18

for over 400 years.

0:02:180:02:21

Traits of this area are reflected in this complex beverage,

0:02:210:02:24

with subtle and intense flavours,

0:02:240:02:27

discernible from a single grape variety.

0:02:270:02:30

And it's the perfect blend of coast, country and calm

0:02:300:02:33

that attracts 10% of all Britons making the permanent move to France,

0:02:330:02:36

to this appealing corner of the country.

0:02:360:02:39

So how much would a slice of this beautiful region set you back?

0:02:410:02:44

Well, the average price of a property here in France

0:02:440:02:47

is currently just over £126,000,

0:02:470:02:50

which is £51,000 less than in the UK.

0:02:500:02:53

And when you consider that here, in Poitou-Charentes,

0:02:530:02:55

it's even cheaper at £110,000,

0:02:550:02:58

you can get a whole lot of house for your pound.

0:02:580:03:00

But will any of them tempt today's buyers?

0:03:000:03:03

Because there are plenty on the market.

0:03:030:03:05

Pursuing a new life abroad are duo Bill and his wife Sarah

0:03:050:03:09

from Gloucestershire.

0:03:090:03:11

Bonjour. Je m'appelle Guillaume

0:03:110:03:16

et ma femme, Sarah.

0:03:160:03:18

Between them, they share four boys,

0:03:180:03:21

three Labradors and 21 years together.

0:03:210:03:23

They currently live in an old cottage in the village of Frocester

0:03:230:03:27

that they restored and are constantly maintaining.

0:03:270:03:30

The property was first built, we believe, in 1492

0:03:300:03:33

and was going to be our final property, but now we feel that we

0:03:330:03:36

would like to retire somewhere smaller

0:03:360:03:40

and easier to keep up together.

0:03:400:03:43

And after dedicating years to building up a successful

0:03:430:03:46

removals business, amongst others, the couple are ready for a change.

0:03:460:03:50

If we stay here, we will always be involved with

0:03:500:03:52

the remnants of our businesses.

0:03:520:03:55

We are carrying a huge burden around with us at the moment.

0:03:550:03:58

I want to take the backpack off.

0:03:580:04:00

Hoping for time to try out new things.

0:04:000:04:02

We've got three Labradors and we don't have as much time

0:04:020:04:05

as we would like to spend,

0:04:050:04:07

maybe an hour or two hours a day, out walking with the dogs.

0:04:070:04:10

That would be a lovely thing to be able to do in France.

0:04:100:04:13

We also enjoy bird-watching and we would be able to do that.

0:04:130:04:17

I play the guitar in a very amateur way and I would like to have more

0:04:170:04:21

time to try and learn to play, you know, a little bit more.

0:04:210:04:25

I am not a great guitar player, by any stretch.

0:04:250:04:27

I work on the principle that the more guitars I have

0:04:270:04:30

the better guitarist I will be.

0:04:300:04:32

I think, if I stick at it,

0:04:320:04:33

I might well be able to prove that hypothesis.

0:04:330:04:35

But there's one aspect of French culture that does

0:04:350:04:38

worry them a little.

0:04:380:04:40

I could see a slight problem in that we're both vegetarian

0:04:400:04:43

and eating vegetarian meals in France,

0:04:430:04:48

if you want go out to eat, is not always easy,

0:04:480:04:50

-so it may mean me doing more cooking at home.

-Yes!

0:04:500:04:54

And when it comes to their future property,

0:04:540:04:56

it's as much a case of knowing what they don't want

0:04:560:04:59

as it is of having a precise sense of what they do.

0:04:590:05:02

We would really like somewhere that is a complete contrast

0:05:020:05:05

to our cottage that we live in at the moment,

0:05:050:05:07

just something simple and modern.

0:05:070:05:09

I wouldn't mind how much land or garden there was,

0:05:090:05:12

provided that was low-maintenance as well.

0:05:120:05:14

If I can sit on a ride-on mower and cut some grass,

0:05:140:05:17

round the small orchard, down by the little stream

0:05:170:05:19

and the pond that the dogs can swim in, that's absolutely fine.

0:05:190:05:23

And they fully appreciate how big a step it is they're about to take.

0:05:230:05:26

I would consider this a big risk.

0:05:260:05:28

All the time you're growing up, you always think,

0:05:280:05:31

"Oh, one day I'm going to do such and such."

0:05:310:05:33

Well, I think that now our "one day" has come.

0:05:330:05:37

Sarah and Bill have targeted the Poitou-Charentes

0:05:430:05:45

as the place to rectify their work-life balance.

0:05:450:05:49

They'd like to focus their search in the triangle between the three

0:05:490:05:52

major towns to the east - Limoges, Angouleme and Poitiers -

0:05:520:05:55

although they're not adverse to venturing further towards the coast,

0:05:550:05:59

should the right property crop up.

0:05:590:06:01

I'm meeting them at the Chateau de Verteuil

0:06:010:06:03

to learn more about their proposed move.

0:06:030:06:05

Bill and Sarah, here we are.

0:06:050:06:07

-Welcome to Poitou-Charente.

-Thank you.

-Thank you very much.

0:06:070:06:09

And welcome to my home.

0:06:090:06:12

-Beautiful.

-Yes.

-You're lucky girl.

0:06:120:06:14

So, tell me, why do you want to move to this particular region?

0:06:140:06:17

There's some lovely inland waterways, the canal system is nearby here,

0:06:170:06:20

there are some lovely cities,

0:06:200:06:23

so we thought it would be quite suitable here.

0:06:230:06:25

-And it's beautiful.

-Why now?

0:06:250:06:27

Because we've been working really, really hard for the last 20-odd years

0:06:270:06:31

and we feel that now is the time

0:06:310:06:33

to make a move so that there's still some time left

0:06:330:06:36

for us to enjoy our retirement,

0:06:360:06:38

rather than waiting until the very last minute,

0:06:380:06:41

when we're too old to get anything out of it.

0:06:410:06:43

Are you really the sort of people who are ready to kick back

0:06:430:06:45

and put your slippers on?

0:06:450:06:47

For a while, it would be really lovely to do nothing,

0:06:470:06:49

but then we know that we would probably get a little bit bored.

0:06:490:06:52

So we wanted something... Just a small activity or project to keep us

0:06:520:06:56

occupied for some of the year, but not the whole time.

0:06:560:06:59

So what are you thinking?

0:06:590:07:00

We thought maybe a campsite, caravan site.

0:07:000:07:02

There are a lot of mobile homes travelling up and down through France.

0:07:020:07:06

A very small campsite, possibly.

0:07:060:07:07

A small music festival would be nice.

0:07:070:07:09

-Yeah, wouldn't that be great? I'll come. For free?

-We'll...

0:07:090:07:13

Are you a bit of an old hippy there, Bill?

0:07:130:07:15

He had very long hair when we got married.

0:07:150:07:17

SHE COOS

0:07:170:07:18

And how's your French?

0:07:180:07:20

-OK.

-Pas mal.

-I would be fully aware that

0:07:200:07:22

-we would need to integrate, certainly.

-Yes.

0:07:220:07:25

Describe your dream property in France.

0:07:250:07:27

I actually haven't dreamt of a house in France.

0:07:270:07:30

We don't know until we've seen it.

0:07:300:07:31

We live in a very old house at the moment.

0:07:310:07:33

We're looking for something completely different,

0:07:330:07:35

something modern, maintenance-free, two bedrooms would be adequate.

0:07:350:07:40

-And you have three dogs?

-Yes, we do.

0:07:400:07:41

-So you'll need space for the dogs?

-Yes.

0:07:410:07:44

A little bit of land but not a huge amount.

0:07:440:07:46

We don't want to have do a lot of work on it.

0:07:460:07:48

And I'd like some space of my own.

0:07:480:07:49

I wouldn't mind an older property, particularly if it had an

0:07:490:07:53

adjoining barn or some extra kind of free space.

0:07:530:07:56

But you're also thinking about running a campsite

0:07:560:07:58

because that's going to be work.

0:07:580:07:59

Yeah, but that's only for sometime during the summer.

0:07:590:08:02

That wouldn't be year-round.

0:08:020:08:03

-Any big no-nos?

-A restoration project that somebody's done badly.

0:08:030:08:07

So let's talk budget.

0:08:070:08:09

-If you set a maximum of 200.

-£200,000?

-Yes.

-OK.

0:08:090:08:13

-All right, well, let's go and see the first property.

-OK.

0:08:130:08:16

Follow me.

0:08:160:08:17

Cash buyers Sarah and Bill have up to £200,000 to invest

0:08:190:08:24

in a whole new way of life.

0:08:240:08:26

There is one overriding property pre-requisite -

0:08:260:08:29

anything but what they have in England.

0:08:290:08:31

That translates into an easily maintainable,

0:08:310:08:34

recently renovated or new property.

0:08:340:08:36

With no idyllic home in mind, their desires are simple -

0:08:360:08:39

a couple of rooms, space for the dogs

0:08:390:08:42

and some kind of business potential.

0:08:420:08:44

Over the next couple of days, I'll be taking Sarah and Bill to

0:08:440:08:47

view a selection of four diverse French properties,

0:08:470:08:50

but I won't be revealing the price until the end of each tour.

0:08:500:08:54

Our final offering will be the mystery property,

0:08:540:08:57

with the one single aim of surprising our couple with an option

0:08:570:09:00

they might never have chosen themselves.

0:09:000:09:03

Our first house is a stones throw away from Melle,

0:09:090:09:13

a former mining town just 30 miles southwest of Poitiers.

0:09:130:09:17

The decree major airports of the region are all

0:09:170:09:20

within a 90-minute drive and yet Melle's ancient town centre

0:09:200:09:24

is just a walk away.

0:09:240:09:25

And this melange of modern practicality and French charm

0:09:250:09:28

reflects the story of the property.

0:09:280:09:32

Melle itself is home to France's

0:09:320:09:34

oldest publicly accessible silver mine

0:09:340:09:37

and it's smattering of houses and churches pay testimony to

0:09:370:09:40

its heyday in the Middle Ages.

0:09:400:09:42

The surrounding farmlands now evoke a serenity barely impacted

0:09:420:09:46

by a handful of useful amenities

0:09:460:09:48

and even a language school that sits nearby.

0:09:480:09:51

Hopefully, this first offering could be the ready-made slice

0:09:520:09:55

of rural modernity that Sarah and Bill have been looking for,

0:09:550:09:59

but they'd also have to put up with some stunning views

0:09:590:10:01

right from their doorstep.

0:10:010:10:03

OK, have a look.

0:10:030:10:06

There it is.

0:10:060:10:08

-That looks gorgeous.

-It's beautiful, isn't it? It's very, very, very pretty.

0:10:080:10:11

The other thing is it looks, externally, in good condition.

0:10:110:10:14

-What's that?

-Is that part of it?

0:10:140:10:16

No, that is a barn that belongs to the farm,

0:10:160:10:19

but it's only got tractors in it.

0:10:190:10:22

There are no animals that will be bleating through the night,

0:10:220:10:24

-or mooing, or whatever.

-OK!

0:10:240:10:27

Now, when you were describing the house that you wanted,

0:10:270:10:30

you said modern but something French.

0:10:300:10:33

It's not what I had pictured in my mind. I'm not adverse to it, but...

0:10:330:10:36

Not what you'd been dreaming of.

0:10:360:10:38

-What were you dreaming of?

-Yes.

-What is it?

0:10:380:10:41

Quick, this is what I want to know. What is it? What did you imagine?

0:10:410:10:44

Well, something more modern and single-storey.

0:10:440:10:47

-However, we're happy to look.

-Let's do it.

0:10:470:10:49

That could have gone better and pretty, though it may be,

0:10:490:10:52

the cottage is going to have its work cut out wooing Sarah and Bill.

0:10:520:10:57

In spite of that barn, there's plenty on offer outside...

0:10:570:11:01

with half an acre of land, vistas,

0:11:010:11:03

a neatly decked out veranda and a stunning extension

0:11:030:11:06

to the rear, which we'll get to a little bit later.

0:11:060:11:09

First, I hope the interior will put them back on side.

0:11:090:11:12

-This is really lovely.

-Lots of light, that's nice.

0:11:140:11:17

And the fire, that's gorgeous.

0:11:170:11:19

-Good taste.

-Yeah. I love the tiled floor.

-Yeah, very pretty, isn't it?

0:11:190:11:23

-And it's got a high ceiling.

-Yeah.

0:11:230:11:24

-It's a very comfortable room.

-Yes, excellent.

0:11:240:11:26

-Excellent. Shall we see the kitchen?

-Yes, please.

0:11:260:11:30

The property fights back.

0:11:300:11:32

Maybe this isn't so far from Sarah's dreams after all.

0:11:320:11:36

Fingers crossed the sizeable kitchen comes up to scratch.

0:11:360:11:39

I'm really taken aback by that.

0:11:390:11:41

It's so different, it's not a colour scheme or anything that

0:11:410:11:44

-I would ever have considered, but it works really well.

-Brilliant.

0:11:440:11:47

-Yeah? Who does most of the cooking?

-Sarah.

-I do all of the cooking.

0:11:470:11:50

-Yeah.

-Now, picture Christmas.

0:11:500:11:52

Yes, with the fire and the dining table. Yeah, it's...

0:11:520:11:56

-With all the boys here.

-It's more of the living room.

-Yeah.

0:11:560:11:59

It's retained a certain amount of farmhouse charm

0:11:590:12:02

and yet it's been brought up-to-date so well.

0:12:020:12:05

Yeah, it's so attractive that I wouldn't change anything.

0:12:050:12:08

All right, well, let's show you the bedroom. This way.

0:12:080:12:10

A-mazing!

0:12:100:12:11

Downstairs has now got Sarah and Bill imagining a future

0:12:110:12:14

in this sprawling, four-bedroom property.

0:12:140:12:16

The cottage was saved from ruin by a Dutch artisan

0:12:160:12:19

and again further modernised six years ago by the present owners.

0:12:190:12:24

Master bedroom.

0:12:240:12:26

-Very nice.

-It's nice to see a bedroom that's big enough

0:12:260:12:28

-to actually get a bed and some furniture in it as well.

-Yeah.

0:12:280:12:31

-I love these.

-Yeah, aren't they gorgeous?

0:12:310:12:33

Importantly, they're high enough

0:12:330:12:35

that you don't crack your head on them, unlike at home.

0:12:350:12:38

-It's beautiful.

-And you have an en-suite.

0:12:380:12:40

-Oh, that's nice.

-There is another bedroom up here.

-OK.

0:12:400:12:43

You actually have four bedrooms in total with this property.

0:12:430:12:46

Could you potentially run a little B&B?

0:12:460:12:50

I suppose it is a possibility but it's not on our, kind of, list

0:12:500:12:52

-of things that we are aiming to do.

-It's not what we intended to, no.

0:12:520:12:56

Fine. It's a whole lot of house.

0:12:560:12:58

So far, what I've seen inside of this house is perfect.

0:12:580:13:01

I actually haven't found anything to pick at yet.

0:13:010:13:05

Yet.

0:13:050:13:06

-Shall we go and discuss the price somewhere?

-OK.

0:13:060:13:10

And the transformation is complete, but the best is still to come.

0:13:100:13:14

Annexed to the 18th-century property

0:13:140:13:17

is barn extension housing two of the rooms

0:13:170:13:20

and ample storage to the rear.

0:13:200:13:23

-Wow!

-Yes, wow.

0:13:240:13:25

Oh, isn't this lovely?

0:13:250:13:27

-This is the barn extension.

-Yes, yes.

0:13:270:13:29

The sun comes in here, you can open these doors right out.

0:13:290:13:33

Yep, it is really, really, really lovely.

0:13:330:13:36

-It's nice, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:13:360:13:38

And that could be a brilliant man cave. Go and have a look.

0:13:380:13:40

-Can I have a look?

-Yeah, yeah, off you go.

-OK, excuse me.

0:13:400:13:44

Oh, it's enormous. Enormous space.

0:13:440:13:48

-Brilliant.

-It's good, isn't it?

0:13:480:13:49

It's a stunning space.

0:13:490:13:51

So how much do you think this house is on the market for?

0:13:510:13:54

I would estimate that

0:13:540:13:56

it's for sale at £195,000.

0:13:560:14:00

Sarah?

0:14:000:14:01

I would go for £175,000.

0:14:010:14:04

It's actually on for

0:14:040:14:06

£152,000.

0:14:060:14:10

-Really?

-That's incredible, isn't it? That really is incredible.

-Goodness.

0:14:100:14:14

-Pleasant surprise.

-Yeah, yeah.

-I'm pleasantly surprised, certainly.

0:14:140:14:17

-Value for money for it being in such good order...

-There's so much of it.

0:14:170:14:20

..and so nicely done.

0:14:200:14:21

-You wouldn't have to do anything here, would you?

-No, not a thing.

0:14:210:14:24

I wouldn't even have to redecorate.

0:14:240:14:26

The colour scheme's perfect, everything.

0:14:260:14:28

-It's too easy almost.

-It is too easy.

0:14:280:14:30

-There's lots more of this property to see.

-OK.

0:14:300:14:33

-Off you go and I'll find you in a bit.

-Let's go and have a look.

0:14:330:14:36

-Go and explore.

-Yep, thanks.

0:14:360:14:38

(They love it.)

0:14:380:14:40

I'm so happy, but it is property number one.

0:14:400:14:43

Where do we go from here?

0:14:430:14:45

Nearly £50,000 under budget,

0:14:460:14:48

the price has clearly caught their attention,

0:14:480:14:50

as we go from one barn threatening to ruin the property

0:14:500:14:54

to another one saving it.

0:14:540:14:55

With four double bedrooms, three bathrooms

0:14:550:14:57

and a handy location within a calm, rural setting,

0:14:570:15:01

our first property has given Sarah

0:15:010:15:03

and Bill a lot to think about.

0:15:030:15:05

From the outside I thought, "This isn't really what I specified."

0:15:050:15:09

The big steel barn is a little bit of an eyesore,

0:15:090:15:13

but you don't notice that quite so much outside.

0:15:130:15:16

You could easily sit and look at the view with your back to the barn.

0:15:160:15:20

Watch your head.

0:15:200:15:23

-Another bathroom there and shower.

-Yeah, shower.

-Yeah.

0:15:230:15:26

And another really good-sized room.

0:15:280:15:31

With a headache-beam.

0:15:310:15:32

-This is like a family room.

-Yes.

0:15:320:15:34

So I can see where Anita was coming from when she was saying about

0:15:340:15:37

having this as guest rooms or...

0:15:370:15:39

-Because it is kind of separate.

-It is separate.

0:15:390:15:42

Yeah, that's something well worth thinking about.

0:15:420:15:44

The way that it has been renovated and decorated,

0:15:440:15:48

to such a high standard, in such good taste,

0:15:480:15:51

it really has surprised both of us.

0:15:510:15:53

This is the kind of house we could move straight into.

0:15:530:15:55

-Imagine that field when it's full of sunflowers.

-Yeah.

0:15:550:15:58

I mean, there are properties next door, but the house is still

0:15:580:16:02

lovely and the price is so good. That's a real possibility.

0:16:020:16:05

I heard "Price is good, house is lovely, a real possibility."

0:16:050:16:08

-Yeah, yeah.

-Oh, fantastic.

0:16:080:16:11

But we're not quite done for the day.

0:16:110:16:13

-There is one last place I'd like you to explore.

-OK.

0:16:130:16:16

-Come on, this way.

-OK, let's go.

0:16:160:16:18

Sarah and Bill are keen to unload, de-stress

0:16:180:16:21

and move to a calmer way of life.

0:16:210:16:23

With all this in mind, I'm bringing them to the village of Poursac

0:16:230:16:27

for them to experience a snippet of what life could be like here

0:16:270:16:30

with their own rented cottage.

0:16:300:16:33

Now, a little surprise for the two of you.

0:16:350:16:38

We thought we'd do away with hotels and, for the rest of your time,

0:16:380:16:42

you'll be staying in this rather sweet little gite.

0:16:420:16:44

-Oh, it's fantastic. It's a real treat.

-Yes.

-Really lovely.

0:16:440:16:47

And, to be honest, it's better than staying at a hotel.

0:16:470:16:50

-I'm going to give you the key then.

-Thank you very much.

-OK, enjoy.

0:16:500:16:53

-Thank you.

-Thank you.

0:16:530:16:55

-This is lovely, isn't it? Look at that.

-Isn't that nice?

0:16:580:17:02

-Brilliant, let's go and have a look.

-Let's have a look.

-Yeah.

0:17:020:17:04

The two-tier home is simple, yet functional,

0:17:040:17:06

with the kitchen-diner downstairs

0:17:060:17:09

and a bedroom with en suite on the top floor.

0:17:090:17:11

-This is cosy, isn't it?

-Yes, what a nice cosy bedroom.

-Yep.

0:17:110:17:15

Oh, we'll sleep well tonight.

0:17:150:17:17

Sounds like this will do nicely,

0:17:170:17:19

but one chore lies between Bill and a relaxing first evening in France.

0:17:190:17:22

What on earth have you got in here, Sarah?

0:17:220:17:25

No wonder it was overweight on the plane.

0:17:250:17:29

Once decamped and with the evening to themselves, Sarah and Bill

0:17:290:17:32

take the opportunity to research an absolutely vital part of the

0:17:320:17:36

French way of life - their local cave au vin -

0:17:360:17:39

or wine bar to you and me.

0:17:390:17:41

-Bonjour.

-Bonjour.

-Bonjour.

0:17:420:17:45

And the French required in this establishment

0:17:450:17:47

isn't too taxing either.

0:17:470:17:48

Je veux proposer un vin de Loire, ou un cote de blaye.

0:17:480:17:52

C'est un Bordeaux.

0:17:520:17:53

-Bordeaux.

-Oui, oui, yes. C'est bon.

0:17:530:17:57

I can't believe we're here. I can't believe we're doing it.

0:17:570:18:00

It still feels a little bit strange, but...

0:18:000:18:02

At least we've started the process now.

0:18:020:18:05

Yes, we have and now we're actually looking seriously.

0:18:050:18:07

Yeah, who knows what will happen.

0:18:070:18:09

Yes.

0:18:090:18:11

-S'il vous plait.

-Merci, monsieur.

-Merci.

0:18:110:18:15

This is not a holiday now. This is quite serious.

0:18:150:18:19

It's on the verge of actually happening, isn't it?

0:18:190:18:21

Yeah, making a decision.

0:18:210:18:23

This could be the catalyst to a complete change of lifestyle,

0:18:230:18:26

which is long overdue.

0:18:260:18:28

-Long overdue.

-Yes.

0:18:280:18:30

-We'll drink to that, shall we?

-Yes.

0:18:300:18:32

Sarah and Bill from Gloucestershire have £200,000 to spend in a popular

0:18:450:18:50

corner of southwest France.

0:18:500:18:52

We've been tasked with distilling their rather broad wish list

0:18:520:18:55

into four realistic properties.

0:18:550:18:57

Over breakfast, our couples soon find themselves chatting over

0:18:570:19:01

the possibilities of everyday life here.

0:19:010:19:03

It would be lovely to go out for a walk with the dogs now, wouldn't it?

0:19:030:19:06

I do know how much of a challenge it's going to be for the dogs.

0:19:060:19:09

It's easy at home because we have a routine

0:19:090:19:11

and they know where they are, they are at home.

0:19:110:19:14

-They'll soon get used to having all these new places.

-They will.

0:19:140:19:16

We have to make sure the house and the garden...

0:19:160:19:20

That the garden is adaptable.

0:19:200:19:23

Well, that place yesterday was perfect.

0:19:230:19:25

And inside the house was brilliant.

0:19:250:19:27

And the tiled floors makes it so much easier to keep clean

0:19:270:19:29

-with their paw marks.

-Yeah.

0:19:290:19:31

But lots and lots of lovely walks and that'll help us to explore the area.

0:19:310:19:35

Going out walking with the dogs will help us to explore.

0:19:350:19:37

And hopefully meet people and get into that whole social thing as well.

0:19:370:19:41

But the boys might come from time-to-time.

0:19:410:19:43

We'd have more real-time with them if they came to see us,

0:19:430:19:46

-rather than just cruising past when they want something...

-Yeah.

0:19:460:19:50

..and going away again.

0:19:500:19:51

Yeah, they would come and see us. That would be nice.

0:19:510:19:55

The first property I showed Bill and Sarah, they absolutely loved,

0:19:550:19:58

which is brilliant, it set the bar very high, but these two are a bit

0:19:580:20:01

unsure about what it is they're looking for.

0:20:010:20:04

However, they're open to ideas and I, for one, can't wait to show them

0:20:040:20:07

what I've got lined up today.

0:20:070:20:09

-Morning.

-Good morning.

-Morning.

-Come on out.

0:20:110:20:14

-It's that time.

-Oh, what a beautiful morning.

-Beautiful day.

-How was your evening?

0:20:140:20:18

-It was good.

-We had a lovely evening, yes, thank you.

-Good.

0:20:180:20:21

-Are you ready to see some more properties?

-Yeah.

0:20:210:20:23

-Feeling open minded?

-Yes.

0:20:230:20:25

-Yes, very much so.

-Good, best way to be. Follow me.

0:20:250:20:28

This morning, we're heading towards the town of Romagne,

0:20:290:20:32

as we narrow our search to properties within Sarah and Bill's

0:20:320:20:35

preferred Poitiers-Limoges-Angouleme triangle.

0:20:350:20:39

Here offers the classic French country escape,

0:20:390:20:42

with the lush countryside disturbed only by the occasional farmer.

0:20:420:20:47

In the village, the national flag adorns the shops

0:20:470:20:49

and businesses in true Gallic style.

0:20:490:20:52

Less than half a mile from this quaint town,

0:20:520:20:54

our next property offers the calm of life set against stone cottages,

0:20:540:20:58

the odd farm and patchwork fields.

0:20:580:21:01

And it's this access to the outdoors that will surely attract

0:21:010:21:04

Sarah and Bill to our next property.

0:21:040:21:06

Take in the view.

0:21:080:21:10

-Oh, it's lovely, very French.

-Very nice.

-Very pretty. Tres jolie.

0:21:100:21:14

It's an old farmhouse, but has been modernised quite recently.

0:21:140:21:17

The barn behind us, which is huge,

0:21:170:21:20

-is also part of the property.

-Wow, OK.

-Right, OK.

0:21:200:21:23

And the current owners have two Labradors

0:21:230:21:26

and the whole place is fenced off to keep the dogs in.

0:21:260:21:29

-Fantastic.

-Are the Labradors included?

0:21:290:21:31

Do you want more labs?

0:21:310:21:33

-Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

-I don't know, maybe they're negotiable.

0:21:330:21:36

That's really good, really good.

0:21:360:21:37

-All right, well, let me show you what's going on inside.

-OK.

0:21:370:21:40

The facade certainly impressed Sarah and Bill and, with any luck,

0:21:400:21:44

the warm feelings will flow on as we head indoors.

0:21:440:21:47

Come in to this rather toasty kitchen.

0:21:470:21:49

Ah, yes.

0:21:490:21:51

It's lovely and cosy in here.

0:21:510:21:53

-Yep, is it to your liking?

-There's just...

0:21:530:21:57

It's a little bit...

0:21:570:21:58

-I don't really like that across there.

-No.

0:21:580:22:03

-But I understand that's...

-Very important.

0:22:030:22:05

Yes, it's not, perhaps, the same kind of units

0:22:050:22:09

that I would have chosen,

0:22:090:22:11

but they're perfectly OK.

0:22:110:22:13

Seeing beyond the furniture, it's a good-sized room.

0:22:130:22:16

-So it's more cosmetic?

-We're not expecting to find something

0:22:160:22:18

-which is absolutely to our taste.

-Which is perfect.

0:22:180:22:21

-There's lots more of this house to see. This is only the first room. Follow me.

-OK.

0:22:210:22:24

-Oh, this is nice.

-Yeah?

-Lovely space.

-Yes.

0:22:270:22:30

Nice light.

0:22:300:22:31

Unspoilt, some original features that haven't been,

0:22:310:22:34

-kind of, butchered.

-Hmm.

0:22:340:22:35

It hasn't got that cottagey feel,

0:22:350:22:37

which maybe we're trying to avoid,

0:22:370:22:39

and plenty of natural light and it's lovely.

0:22:390:22:41

Though we've heard some positive mutterings so far, I'm still

0:22:410:22:44

waiting for that certain something to stir Sarah and Bill's excitement.

0:22:440:22:49

Elsewhere on this floor, there's a vast utility area

0:22:490:22:52

and storage space leading onto a downstairs bathroom.

0:22:520:22:55

And we're heading into...

0:22:550:22:57

This huge dining room.

0:22:570:23:00

Em...

0:23:000:23:02

-Well, our big sofa would fit in here, wouldn't it?

-Yes, it would.

0:23:020:23:05

Furnishing it isn't a problem.

0:23:050:23:07

It's... Can I be really honest?

0:23:070:23:10

Please, please, Sarah.

0:23:100:23:11

-It looks a little bit tired.

-Yes.

0:23:110:23:14

The maintenance might be an issue, I think.

0:23:140:23:16

Yeah, I think there would be little things to do quite often.

0:23:160:23:20

And it's a concern for you?

0:23:200:23:21

We live in an old property now and we know what it's like.

0:23:210:23:24

Having something that hasn't been completely gutted and started

0:23:240:23:27

-from scratch is not really what we were looking for.

-No.

0:23:270:23:32

Well, we've said this, there are compromises all the way through.

0:23:320:23:35

So let's... Show us some more.

0:23:350:23:37

-I will. Follow me upstairs.

-OK.

0:23:370:23:40

The house simply isn't up to scratch for either Sarah or Bill,

0:23:400:23:43

who seem to be hoping for a more modern twist.

0:23:430:23:47

With two double rooms, a fair-sized single, an ultra modern wet room

0:23:470:23:51

and an enormous walk-in storage space upstairs,

0:23:510:23:54

and that glimmer of compromise offered up by Bill,

0:23:540:23:57

I'm still hopeful as we head on up.

0:23:570:23:59

-Oh, this is lovely.

-Yeah.

0:24:000:24:02

Yes, I love this. I like the window, the beams are beautiful.

0:24:020:24:07

So what has this room got that downstairs hasn't?

0:24:070:24:11

-Downstairs seemed a little bit dark and oppressive somehow.

-Yeah.

0:24:110:24:14

Could it be that downstairs just needs a lick of paint?

0:24:140:24:17

-Could it be something as simple as that?

-No, I think it's a little bit more than that.

0:24:170:24:20

There's some old plaster, and that kind of thing, that you'd have to,

0:24:200:24:23

possibly, have redone one day.

0:24:230:24:25

Those are the kind of issues we want to avoid.

0:24:250:24:27

-And you're speaking from experience of your old cottage?

-Yes.

-Yeah.

0:24:270:24:30

So I think we should go and find somewhere and talk about money.

0:24:300:24:33

-OK.

-OK.

0:24:330:24:35

All-in-all a mixed response,

0:24:350:24:36

but there's still the vastness of outdoors left to throw into the pot.

0:24:360:24:41

As we head out through the property's three flower-filled acres,

0:24:410:24:44

and beyond the outbuildings,

0:24:440:24:46

there remains one other consideration

0:24:460:24:48

for Sarah and Bill to keep in mind.

0:24:480:24:51

So, have a look at this.

0:24:510:24:52

Now, I know you've got this idea, somewhere in the back of your minds,

0:24:520:24:55

-about potentially doing a campsite for half of the year.

-Yep.

0:24:550:24:59

This would be your garden.

0:24:590:25:02

However, have a look behind you.

0:25:020:25:05

That comes with the property.

0:25:050:25:06

-Really?.

-Do you like it, Bill?

-Yeah.

-All that?

-Yes.

0:25:060:25:09

-You also have this outhouse here.

-Yes.

-Oh, the log store.

-Yes.

0:25:090:25:12

Which you could turn it into

0:25:120:25:13

-something for your campers, something very basic.

-Yes.

0:25:130:25:16

-Let's see if we can guess the price.

-OK.

0:25:160:25:19

Sarah, what do you think it's on the market for?

0:25:190:25:23

Em, I would say £175,000.

0:25:230:25:25

-£175,000.

-Bill?

-I think this would be nearer £185,000.

0:25:270:25:32

It's actually on the market for £184,000.

0:25:320:25:36

BOTH: OK.

0:25:360:25:38

It's a lot of house and a lot of land for that money.

0:25:380:25:41

-Yes.

-You can't fault the place really.

0:25:410:25:44

We're just being picky.

0:25:440:25:47

Picky or not, Sarah and Bill deserve to be wowed and it's over to us

0:25:470:25:51

to help them find what they want.

0:25:510:25:53

But it looks unlikely that this 19th-century property will

0:25:530:25:56

fulfil those hopes.

0:25:560:25:58

And as we learn more on what's on offer locally,

0:25:580:26:01

I'm wondering - can any property fit the bill?

0:26:010:26:04

There are parts of the house that our fantastic.

0:26:040:26:06

Parts of the house are not really to our taste.

0:26:060:26:10

The overall impression is mixed.

0:26:100:26:12

-Ooh, ooh.

-Dog land.

0:26:130:26:15

Laundry and dogs.

0:26:150:26:18

They can come in, wet from the garden, and they can stay in here

0:26:180:26:20

and not get muddy paws all over the house. Yeah, nice room.

0:26:200:26:23

-Oh, what a good, useful space.

-Yeah, yep.

-Very, very good.

0:26:230:26:26

We realise that all our criteria are not going to be met.

0:26:260:26:30

We are not going to find the perfect house,

0:26:300:26:32

even if our budget was ten times what it is.

0:26:320:26:35

Had a good explore?

0:26:350:26:36

-Yes, thank you.

-Yes, we have, yes.

0:26:360:26:38

How do you feel about it now, having seen all of it?

0:26:380:26:40

There are some really good points,

0:26:400:26:42

but there's also some not-so-good points.

0:26:420:26:44

So still not the house for you?

0:26:440:26:46

I concur with Sarah on that.

0:26:460:26:48

It's not quite there.

0:26:480:26:50

-All right, in that case, let's depart.

-BOTH: OK.

0:26:500:26:52

After toiling for nearly 30 years to set up

0:26:590:27:01

a successful removals business,

0:27:010:27:03

Sarah and Bill are looking forward to a slower pace of life

0:27:030:27:06

in southwest France.

0:27:060:27:08

But their joie de vivre could be

0:27:080:27:11

derailed by several key factors, not least their vegetarian diet,

0:27:110:27:15

which could challenge the occasional local chef.

0:27:150:27:18

So, to help them out,

0:27:180:27:19

we're travelling to the remote village of Fontfaix

0:27:190:27:22

to meet expats Nikki and Sean,

0:27:220:27:24

who've been living the eco life for 15 years now

0:27:240:27:27

and run a spa B&B that stands out from the crowd,

0:27:270:27:30

with a focus on vegetarian and vegan catering.

0:27:300:27:34

Now I know that in the back of your mind somewhere you have this

0:27:340:27:36

idea of possibly running a campsite when you're here,

0:27:360:27:39

so I thought that these two could maybe talk to you about that.

0:27:390:27:43

I know, Sean, you've got something special lined up.

0:27:430:27:45

Yes, I have. It's down in the woods. Let's go and have a look, shall we?

0:27:450:27:48

-Off you go.

-Great.

-Thank you.

0:27:480:27:50

But with 25 acres of land across this sizeable estate,

0:27:520:27:55

the group will need to hitch a ride in Nikki's tractor to get there.

0:27:550:27:59

Nikki and Sean's party piece hails from the

0:28:010:28:04

nomadic tribes of the Plains of North America and is

0:28:040:28:07

great for a powwow.

0:28:070:28:09

It also brings in a handy bit of extra business

0:28:100:28:13

and adds to the four variously themed B&B rooms that they offer.

0:28:130:28:17

-Here we are.

-Oh, here we are.

-A tepee!

-That's right, yeah.

0:28:200:28:23

Oh, wonderful. Nice one.

0:28:230:28:24

How old is the tepee?

0:28:240:28:27

-The tepee is actually five years old.

-Why a tepee?

0:28:270:28:29

Well, if you're thinking of having a campsite or running anything really,

0:28:290:28:33

you need a unique selling point.

0:28:330:28:35

Make sure you've got something a little bit interesting that people

0:28:350:28:39

are going to come to your campsite, your B&B,

0:28:390:28:41

or a little mixture of the both.

0:28:410:28:43

There is a lot to competition in France.

0:28:430:28:45

And do you need planning permission or any kind of licence?

0:28:450:28:47

If you would like to run a campsite,

0:28:470:28:49

the best thing is to go to the maire, your local maire.

0:28:490:28:51

Yes, we understand he is all powerful.

0:28:510:28:53

That's right. Well, they are actually.

0:28:530:28:56

-They're also going to be very helpful.

-They are very civil and they will look after you.

0:28:560:29:00

They will make sure that you've got all the information that you need to do what you want to do.

0:29:000:29:03

And things are regulated.

0:29:030:29:05

It sounds like your business is very well-established.

0:29:050:29:07

Presumably, there's quite a lot to do most of the time. You're kept very busy.

0:29:070:29:10

Well, it's a year-round business for sure.

0:29:100:29:13

When people aren't here there's always things to,

0:29:130:29:15

there's repairs, hence my handyman.

0:29:150:29:17

-You have to keep on top of it.

-I'm sure it's hard work.

-It's hard work.

0:29:170:29:21

You've run a business too.

0:29:210:29:22

You know, there's a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff.

0:29:220:29:25

And that hard graft starts now.

0:29:250:29:27

Nikki and Sean take their tepee down for the winter,

0:29:270:29:30

so they're taking advantage of the extra numbers

0:29:300:29:32

to get the job done a bit quicker.

0:29:320:29:34

Bill and Sarah, if you could undo all the tie ropes

0:29:340:29:37

-around the base of the tepee.

-OK.

0:29:370:29:40

Nikki and Sean's tepee was handcrafted with wood

0:29:400:29:42

taken from the Midi-Pyrenees

0:29:420:29:44

and provides a warm and dry hideaway

0:29:440:29:46

for campers looking for an alternative experience.

0:29:460:29:49

-Nikki?

-What's that?

-Taking these skirt ones off as well? Yeah?

0:29:490:29:52

Yes, please.

0:29:520:29:54

Fiddly bits out of the way, it's onto the next stage.

0:29:540:29:58

-Now what we're going to do is roll this up...

-OK.

0:29:580:30:01

-..like this.

-Yep.

0:30:010:30:03

Camping can be big business here.

0:30:030:30:05

France is the world's second most popular camping destination,

0:30:050:30:08

with six million campers and a

0:30:080:30:10

further two million visiting from abroad.

0:30:100:30:13

Having almost mastered the art of tepee deconstruction,

0:30:130:30:17

it's time to load up the canvas.

0:30:170:30:19

-The tractor's is full.

-The tractor is full, you say.

0:30:200:30:23

Sarah, I think you're going to have to walk

0:30:230:30:25

because that box is in your space.

0:30:250:30:27

So as Nikki heads back in the tractor...

0:30:270:30:29

That was fun, I enjoyed that.

0:30:290:30:30

..the others are left to amble back by foot.

0:30:300:30:34

So time for Sarah and Bill to tap into that local knowledge.

0:30:340:30:37

We meet up for an aperitif back outside the main building.

0:30:370:30:40

So, do you fancy opening a campsite of tepees?

0:30:400:30:43

-It would need some thinking about, yes.

-Do you think they could do it?

0:30:430:30:46

They could do it and I'm going to share some wine with them

0:30:460:30:49

-for their great thanks. Thank you very much.

-Oh, look at that.

0:30:490:30:52

So, Sean, what, I mean, really important advice would

0:30:520:30:55

you give Bill and Sarah?

0:30:550:30:57

When you're coming to France,

0:30:570:30:59

you need to think about integrating yourself.

0:30:590:31:01

It's introducing yourself to your neighbours and your local mayor,

0:31:010:31:04

and putting yourself out there because, as soon as you do that,

0:31:040:31:07

you integrate into your community.

0:31:070:31:09

Once you integrate into your community,

0:31:090:31:10

then you open doors, doors open naturally.

0:31:100:31:12

Oh, that's interesting, yes. So generally you have felt welcomed?

0:31:120:31:16

-We did.

-Absolutely.

-Yep.

0:31:160:31:18

-Good, that's encouraging.

-How important is the language?

0:31:180:31:21

It's fundamental to your integration into French life.

0:31:210:31:23

You need to be able to speak some French.

0:31:230:31:25

-We understand that it is essential.

-You're already there then really.

0:31:250:31:29

What surprised you the most?

0:31:290:31:30

What you find the most difficult when you got here?

0:31:300:31:33

What surprised me most was actually finding vegetarian products

0:31:330:31:36

in the local supermarket.

0:31:360:31:37

That is something that I had thought about

0:31:370:31:39

and whether the products would be available over here.

0:31:390:31:41

You get, in a lot of towns, British shops.

0:31:410:31:44

So, if it is a favourite, then you can get it.

0:31:440:31:46

But what about eating out?

0:31:460:31:47

-We go out. Sean takes me out.

-Yes.

0:31:470:31:50

But we've got to go to a bigger town for that and our wonderful

0:31:500:31:53

-choice is pasta and pizza.

-Yes.

0:31:530:31:56

And that's, that's really it.

0:31:560:31:58

One of the most serious, or difficult,

0:31:580:32:00

things to deal with is having no takeaways.

0:32:000:32:02

And that's not just because we live

0:32:020:32:04

remotely in the French rural countryside.

0:32:040:32:06

They just don't have takeaways in the way that you had that choice...

0:32:060:32:09

-Apart from pizza.

-Apart from pizzas.

0:32:090:32:11

Most of us cater for ourselves.

0:32:110:32:13

We have our home entertainment, we throw parties for one another,

0:32:130:32:17

-you know, we get round it that way.

-Much nicer.

0:32:170:32:19

Any regrets, making that big move?

0:32:190:32:21

For me? Not at all.

0:32:210:32:22

There must be things you miss about living in England.

0:32:220:32:25

Do you know, off the top of my head, I can't think of anything.

0:32:250:32:28

I mean, there's a wonderful buzz about the UK, but it is really busy.

0:32:280:32:32

And I don't miss products.

0:32:320:32:34

I get whatever I can here.

0:32:340:32:36

I like the idea that it's a slower pace of life.

0:32:360:32:39

It does feel, you know, sometimes 15-to-20 years behind the UK.

0:32:390:32:43

-So, you're still ready for this move?

-Yeah.

0:32:430:32:46

You haven't been put off?

0:32:460:32:47

-No, no, no.

-It's been a good learning curve. Thank you very much.

0:32:470:32:51

-Yes, thank you for your help.

-And thank you for this.

0:32:510:32:54

-Yes, Cheers.

-ALL:

-Cheers.

-Bon courage!

0:32:540:32:57

Having gained useful intel from their hosts,

0:32:570:32:59

Sarah and Bill are all the more prepared for their move.

0:32:590:33:03

Once in France, they'll need to set aside 10% of their purchase price

0:33:030:33:07

for legal fees and other costs.

0:33:070:33:10

Buyers are well-protected here, with a seven-day cooling-off period.

0:33:100:33:14

But, do note, relocating Britains should make enquiries as to the most

0:33:140:33:19

up-to-date tax regulations.

0:33:190:33:21

French tax authorities have broadened their rules

0:33:210:33:24

and, under the wealth tax, can even bypass the tax-free

0:33:240:33:27

status of ISAs, or other savings in the UK,

0:33:270:33:30

and impose tax on them.

0:33:300:33:31

Any failure to disclose investments or income can

0:33:310:33:34

even incur tax penalties of almost two thirds of the total value.

0:33:340:33:39

We're driving to the village of Sommieres-du-Clain

0:33:440:33:47

for a house sitting within the most beautiful of beautiful gardens

0:33:470:33:51

and still within a 45-minute drive of Poitiers.

0:33:510:33:55

Agriculture covers 84% of this land

0:33:550:33:58

and the rest is a mosaic of peaceful rivers, classic French architecture,

0:33:580:34:02

old churches and even an historic chateau above.

0:34:020:34:07

The imposing structure was supposedly built by order

0:34:070:34:10

of Louis XIV to house the exiled marquise de Montespan,

0:34:100:34:14

the unofficial queen with whom

0:34:140:34:16

he fathered seven illegitimate children.

0:34:160:34:19

But before they get to survey the countryside nearby,

0:34:190:34:21

there's the small matter of a 19th-century cottage to examine first.

0:34:210:34:27

And here's the next property. What do you think?

0:34:270:34:30

-This looks really nice.

-Yeah?

0:34:300:34:31

-It's very tidy.

-Yeah, but that's what I want is...

-Tidiness.

0:34:310:34:34

Neat and tidy, yes, I like this.

0:34:340:34:37

It's similar to the picture that I had in my mind, so...yeah,

0:34:370:34:40

it looks very promising.

0:34:400:34:42

-Now the house was built about 130 years ago...

-Really?

0:34:420:34:45

..and it's three cottages that have been knocked into one.

0:34:450:34:48

That's OK, so long as it's nicely modernised inside,

0:34:480:34:52

then that's fine.

0:34:520:34:54

-Shall we go in?

-Yes, please.

0:34:540:34:57

Sarah's preference for a tidy and easy property has now

0:34:570:35:00

overtaken any previous sympathy for charm and character.

0:35:000:35:03

And whilst the frontage seems to fit the bill,

0:35:030:35:06

a clear line has been drawn.

0:35:060:35:09

Does it match expectations?

0:35:090:35:11

It's not... It's not modern.

0:35:110:35:14

I mean, it's lovely, but it's just, kind of...

0:35:140:35:17

It's back to the old cottage-y feel I was trying to get away from.

0:35:190:35:23

I was looking forward to tiled floors and, you know,

0:35:230:35:27

simple elegant lines. No, sorry.

0:35:270:35:30

-I don't like it.

-Oh, Sarah, are you upset?

0:35:300:35:32

-Are you a little bit disappointed?

-I'm a bit disappointed, yeah.

0:35:320:35:35

Well, look, there is more.

0:35:350:35:36

-Let's take you through into this room.

-OK.

-OK.

0:35:360:35:39

It's just not giving me anything, I'm afraid.

0:35:410:35:45

This hasn't got an old farmhouse feel to it.

0:35:450:35:48

And it hasn't really got a cottage-y feel.

0:35:480:35:50

And it hasn't got a modern feel either.

0:35:500:35:52

-You're just not feeling it.

-No.

-No.

-OK.

0:35:520:35:54

This house is failing to connect,

0:35:540:35:57

but there is plenty more to see here.

0:35:570:36:00

This ground-floor alone has a double bedroom,

0:36:000:36:02

bathroom and a full-size snooker room,

0:36:020:36:06

but it's over to the kitchen for round three.

0:36:060:36:09

It's been quite nicely done.

0:36:090:36:11

I guess, I don't cook, but there's worktops and things and

0:36:110:36:14

a cooker and stuff to cook with.

0:36:140:36:16

-Yes.

-It's a kitchen, it does what it's supposed to do.

-Yes, yes.

0:36:160:36:20

-It would produce a meal for you.

-Correct.

-Yeah, yeah.

0:36:200:36:22

It's got plenty of cupboard space and it's nice and light,

0:36:220:36:26

but it's small.

0:36:260:36:27

What would you do to this kitchen?

0:36:270:36:29

If you knocked this wall down and turned all this into a

0:36:290:36:32

kitchen-living area, then you have a nice big open space,

0:36:320:36:37

but we don't want to do that.

0:36:370:36:38

-No, because we want to get involved in all that.

-No, no, I'm too old.

0:36:380:36:42

-I want comfort and my food prepared and brought to me.

-Yeah.

0:36:420:36:45

OK. All right.

0:36:450:36:48

Are you ready for this?

0:36:480:36:50

-You know.

-I'm used to it.

-You're used to it.

-I'm used to it, yeah.

0:36:500:36:52

He must give you something. What do you get in return?

0:36:520:36:55

-Cup of tea in bed every morning.

-Oh, come on, that's good.

0:36:550:36:57

-That's quite nice.

-Yes, that's most important.

0:36:570:37:00

-Come on, let me show you upstairs.

-OK.

0:37:000:37:03

It's time to head upstairs

0:37:030:37:04

to view three more recently updated bedrooms,

0:37:040:37:07

two doubles and a single used as a study,

0:37:070:37:10

all accessible via the cosy, wooden corridors.

0:37:100:37:14

-The master bedroom.

-Yes, this is pretty.

0:37:140:37:17

-Is this an improvement on downstairs?

-Yes, very much so.

0:37:170:37:20

-Yeah.

-It's lighter.

0:37:200:37:22

And the beams are nice

0:37:220:37:23

because they're not painted or messed about with.

0:37:230:37:25

So it's retaining something historic about it

0:37:250:37:28

in a way that downstairs isn't

0:37:280:37:29

because downstairs has been messed about with.

0:37:290:37:32

But this hasn't, this has retained it, and yet it's made into a

0:37:320:37:34

-nice, clean, modern room and some good natural light.

-Yes, this pretty.

0:37:340:37:38

-I do want to show you a bit more of the house and the outside.

-OK.

0:37:380:37:41

-Shall we do that?

-Yes.

-Come on.

0:37:410:37:44

Was that approval or indifference?

0:37:440:37:46

I'm not sure. But this property has an ace up its sleeve...

0:37:460:37:50

a four-acre, bird-filled tree-lined ace, to be precise.

0:37:500:37:55

Handily situated on the edge of the village,

0:37:550:37:57

neighbours are hidden from view,

0:37:570:37:59

and there's a bar and a small shop just a short walk away.

0:37:590:38:02

-Do you feel better?

-Yes.

-Instantly, right?

0:38:040:38:08

Yes, yes. This is glorious.

0:38:080:38:11

It gets better. This plot is actually just under four acres.

0:38:110:38:15

-OK.

-Really?

-It's huge.

0:38:150:38:17

-You've got a fantastic barn.

-OK.

0:38:170:38:19

-This is currently being used as an artist's studio.

-Oh, it's gorgeous.

0:38:190:38:23

And then that is your very own pond.

0:38:230:38:26

I was going to say, that looks like there's water over there.

0:38:260:38:28

There is water here.

0:38:280:38:29

-You saved the best till last, didn't you?

-I did!

0:38:290:38:33

Labradors in the water.

0:38:330:38:35

-Labradors in the water.

-Yeah.

0:38:350:38:36

-I don't want the house. Can we just have this?

-Yeah.

0:38:360:38:38

-This is delightful, isn't it?

-Yes, spot on.

-It's gorgeous.

-It's by the land.

-Yeah, all these trees.

0:38:380:38:43

I wouldn't mind this kind of work, garden work like this.

0:38:430:38:45

-Riding round on your mower.

-Well, yes.

0:38:450:38:47

-And picking up the leaves.

-Yeah, maybe put a pool in or something.

0:38:470:38:51

OK, let's talk about price. How much do you think it's on the market for?

0:38:510:38:54

I think it's probably on the market for £155,000.

0:38:540:38:59

-Sarah?

-I would say about £140,000.

0:38:590:39:03

It's on for £188,000.

0:39:030:39:07

-OK.

-OK.

-I think it's too high.

0:39:070:39:09

It would be too high for us.

0:39:090:39:11

OK, the land outside is beautiful,

0:39:110:39:12

but you'd actually need to have the house.

0:39:120:39:15

-We live in the house.

-You live in the house.

-You have to get the fundamentals right.

0:39:150:39:18

Well, enjoy the garden.

0:39:180:39:20

Go and cheer yourselves up, have a run-around,

0:39:200:39:22

-and I'll come find you.

-OK.

-Thank you.

-Off you go.

0:39:220:39:25

It may be £12,000 under budget, but this property has failed to

0:39:250:39:29

live up to its external promise for our house-hunting duo.

0:39:290:39:32

As perfect as the four-acre exterior may be, the cottage effect is

0:39:320:39:37

simply too similar to the house they're leaving behind,

0:39:370:39:39

with a classic interior that falls short of the

0:39:390:39:42

sleek modern finish Sarah's after.

0:39:420:39:44

From the outside, I thought, "Yes, this may well be something that we

0:39:440:39:48

"could take seriously", but it hasn't been modernised.

0:39:480:39:51

If we came to live here, we would have to do quite a lot of work.

0:39:510:39:54

-Oh, wow!

-Look at this.

-Oh, and there's fields there.

0:39:540:39:58

-How peaceful, just to sit there in the evening and watch the stars.

-Yep.

0:39:580:40:03

Hmm, that's lovely.

0:40:030:40:05

-That is really nice.

-And the dogs would love it.

-Yeah.

0:40:050:40:09

What a shame about the house.

0:40:090:40:10

The real treasure of this property is the outside -

0:40:100:40:14

the garden and the land.

0:40:140:40:15

It's really the property's saving grace.

0:40:150:40:18

If we were just playing a piece of land, yes, I'd bite your hand off.

0:40:180:40:24

-It's pretty special, isn't it?

-It is.

0:40:240:40:26

-Has it changed your mind at all about the house?

-Sadly, no.

0:40:260:40:29

-OK, in that case then, we need to leave.

-OK.

0:40:290:40:32

Come on, let's do it.

0:40:320:40:33

With the house-hunting put to bed for the night,

0:40:410:40:43

Sarah and Bill squeeze in one final candlelit dinner.

0:40:430:40:47

"..legumes oublies au Tofu?"

0:40:470:40:51

-What are they called?

-I can't remember.

-No, nor can I.

0:40:510:40:54

I'm sure we can get over this language thing.

0:40:540:40:57

I'm sure we'll do very well.

0:40:570:40:59

Est-ce que vous avez fait votre choix?

0:40:590:41:01

Ah, oui. Erm, Sarah?

0:41:010:41:03

-Erm, omelette.

-Omelette au fromage, merci.

0:41:030:41:08

We understand more than we think we do.

0:41:080:41:10

-You'll be much quicker at picking it up than me.

-But, erm...

0:41:100:41:14

But you're more inclined to actually attempt.

0:41:140:41:17

If we move here and don't make the effort...to integrate...then,

0:41:170:41:22

however much we like to be on our own,

0:41:220:41:25

it would be a very, very lonely life out here.

0:41:250:41:28

-It's got to be good fun as well.

-Yes.

-It's an adventure.

0:41:280:41:32

-There are lots of things to think about.

-At the moment, I can't...

0:41:320:41:34

It's not just falling in love with a house,

0:41:340:41:36

but it's thinking about all the things

0:41:360:41:38

that we'd leave behind and making it reality.

0:41:380:41:41

-Alors omelette avec champignons.

-Merci.

0:41:430:41:45

Et avec fromage...

0:41:470:41:49

-Merci.

-..pour Monsieur.

0:41:490:41:50

-Je vous souhaite un tres bon appetit.

-Oh, merci.

0:41:500:41:54

-Really lovely.

-I'm sure we'd be able to do more than omelettes.

0:41:540:41:59

Oh, I'm sure we will.

0:41:590:42:00

I'm looking forward to you having more time to prepare food for me.

0:42:000:42:04

-SARAH GIGGLES

-It's spot on.

0:42:040:42:07

Morning has broken and here, in France's Poitou-Charentes region,

0:42:170:42:21

we're helping Sarah and Bill from Gloucestershire,

0:42:210:42:25

as they look to invest £200,000 in a new home.

0:42:250:42:29

We've had them stay in a quiet cottage, in the village of Poursac,

0:42:290:42:33

as they seek to get away from the burdens of life back in the UK.

0:42:330:42:36

Now Bill and Sarah, they said they wanted old French charm,

0:42:390:42:42

they said they wanted something modern and, as it transpires,

0:42:420:42:45

the modern is dominating the old French bit.

0:42:450:42:48

Now, today is mystery property day.

0:42:480:42:50

Let's just say we're leaving the 19th century behind,

0:42:500:42:53

we're moving into the 20th century

0:42:530:42:55

and, in my opinion, this is the creme de la creme.

0:42:550:43:00

We continue our journey east across the region for our mystery house,

0:43:010:43:05

located on the outskirts of Moussac-sur-Vienne.

0:43:050:43:09

Perched above the Vienne river,

0:43:090:43:11

this is one of Charente's most sparsely populated areas.

0:43:110:43:14

That translates into uncompromised views of the fortified chateaux

0:43:150:43:19

and walks along the river that are seldom disturbed.

0:43:190:43:23

The shops and the markets of L'Isle-Jourdain

0:43:230:43:26

are a short drive away and the area is popular with campers

0:43:260:43:30

and canoeists alike, a steady source of income for the town,

0:43:300:43:34

but we're here for more than business potential.

0:43:340:43:36

Our mystery property, a ten-minute walk from the town centre,

0:43:360:43:39

is one of contrast,

0:43:390:43:41

where a busy industrial past has given way to a serene home

0:43:410:43:45

within an irregular conversion

0:43:450:43:47

that I just can't wait to show off to our buyers.

0:43:470:43:49

SHE SIGHS

0:43:490:43:51

Welcome to this dairy.

0:43:510:43:53

-Well, it looks very interesting.

-Yeah, it does.

0:43:530:43:56

-Interesting is the right word.

-Certainly very different.

0:43:560:43:58

-Lovely setting.

-I know that you like nature.

-Yep, yes, yes.

-Yep.

0:43:580:44:03

And without giving too much away,

0:44:030:44:05

I think you'll be quite pleased in this setting.

0:44:050:44:07

-OK.

-First impressions are really good. It's very relaxing.

0:44:070:44:11

-Yeah.

-A lovely spot.

-Yes.

-Can we see more?

-So far so good.

0:44:110:44:14

Yes, of course you can see more. Let's go in. This way.

0:44:140:44:18

Whilst the last two properties managed to establish

0:44:180:44:21

what Sarah and Bill don't want,

0:44:210:44:23

this mystery house is a whole new kettle of fish.

0:44:230:44:26

1.5 acres of land wraps itself around this old dairy co-op,

0:44:260:44:30

complete with veg patches, woodland

0:44:300:44:33

and even a freshwater lake with a stream flowing through the property.

0:44:330:44:38

But for all that external pizzazz, we're taking a real punt

0:44:380:44:40

showing them an early 20th-century, former industrial property

0:44:400:44:44

and I'm almost convinced that it'll be worth it.

0:44:440:44:48

-I like it. It's open and...

-Spacious.

0:44:490:44:53

It has character, I'm not quite sure what the character is,

0:44:530:44:56

but it has something about it which has got a good feel to it.

0:44:560:44:59

I love the window seat over there.

0:44:590:45:00

You can you see yourself lounging around here?

0:45:000:45:02

-I can't not see myself in here.

-Yeah, yeah.

0:45:020:45:04

There's nothing immediately that's coming out that I'm thinking...

0:45:040:45:08

Deciphering the double negatives,

0:45:080:45:10

I think Bill's quietly taken with the house so far.

0:45:100:45:13

Time to ramp it up a notch with a descent into the kitchen

0:45:130:45:17

Wow, this is incredible!

0:45:170:45:20

-What a space.

-Yeah, quite.

-It is huge.

0:45:200:45:23

Well, there's certainly room in here. I mean, this makes a

0:45:230:45:25

-family room, doesn't it? I mean...

-It does, it does.

0:45:250:45:28

-It would make a lovely family room, yes.

-And the dogs.

-And the dogs.

0:45:280:45:31

-The dogs would love it in here.

-Hmm.

0:45:310:45:32

They would park themselves by the range over there.

0:45:320:45:35

It's quirky, it's bizarre.

0:45:350:45:37

The whole place is a tad industrial.

0:45:370:45:39

Is this working for you, Sarah?

0:45:390:45:41

Yes. Really nice units, gas cooker.

0:45:410:45:44

-I'm a bit, sort of, amazed I suppose, but... Yeah.

-Overwhelmed.

0:45:440:45:48

-I'm considering my responses.

-Yeah, no.

0:45:480:45:52

-Shall we try a bedroom?

-Yes, lovely.

-Yep.

0:45:520:45:55

The uniqueness of what was the creamery,

0:45:550:45:58

with its four-metre high ceilings, almost tongue-tied Sarah,

0:45:580:46:01

but it has undoubtedly impressed.

0:46:010:46:04

Time to carry on through the property's maze-like lower level.

0:46:040:46:07

Come on through.

0:46:070:46:10

Big master bathroom there.

0:46:100:46:12

You've got a huge store-room on that side...

0:46:120:46:14

bedroom here and a big study.

0:46:140:46:17

But we're going upstairs.

0:46:170:46:19

There is plenty of room for Sarah and Bill on the top floor,

0:46:190:46:22

with three more double bedrooms,

0:46:220:46:24

all with amble storage, unmissable original windows and 1930s style.

0:46:240:46:29

And we're heading into the master bedroom.

0:46:290:46:32

-So what do you think of this room?

-I love the wallpaper.

0:46:320:46:35

-That's really nice.

-It's cool, isn't it?

0:46:350:46:37

It is lovely and the fireplace as well.

0:46:370:46:39

It's one of the few rooms I've been into that's actually taller

0:46:390:46:42

than it's wide.

0:46:420:46:44

There is another bedroom over the way, which is bigger than this,

0:46:440:46:47

-but this is the one with

-the en-suite. OK.

0:46:470:46:50

-Do you want to have a look?

-Can we have a look?

0:46:500:46:53

Go on, off you go. Pop your head in there.

0:46:530:46:55

-Oh, this is lovely.

-It's sweet, isn't it?

-This is really nice.

-Yeah.

0:46:550:46:58

-And I like this.

-Yeah.

-Yeah, it's lovely.

0:46:580:47:01

-It's really been designed well, hasn't it?

-Yes.

-Yeah, spot on.

0:47:010:47:05

And the compliments flow on.

0:47:050:47:07

Might Sarah and Bill be taking this mix of homely and quirky to heart?

0:47:070:47:12

That remains to be seen.

0:47:120:47:13

Welcome to the back garden.

0:47:130:47:15

Oh, look at this!

0:47:150:47:17

For now, it's time to introduce them to the space outside.

0:47:170:47:21

Love the water.

0:47:210:47:23

And the stream actually runs around the entire property,

0:47:230:47:26

and you can swim in this. And I know you like bird watching.

0:47:260:47:30

-Well, you get kingfisher, heron...

-Really?

-Oh, yes.

0:47:300:47:33

Oh, that would be gorgeous.

0:47:330:47:35

Not only that, but sometimes the odd deer

0:47:350:47:38

-wanders down into the back garden.

-OK.

-OK.

0:47:380:47:41

-Do you like it?

-Personally, I love it. It's a real one-off.

0:47:410:47:44

It's certainly gives us something to think about.

0:47:440:47:46

So let's guess the price. I'm going to start with you, Sarah.

0:47:460:47:49

I really have no idea. A complete wild guess, I'd say 190,000.

0:47:490:47:54

-Bill, what do you think?

-Well, I think it's over budget.

0:47:540:47:57

I would think it would be nearer £220,000.

0:47:570:48:00

It's actually on for

0:48:000:48:03

£193,000.

0:48:030:48:06

Goodness. Sacre bleu.

0:48:060:48:09

-It's an overwhelming property.

-Yeah.

0:48:090:48:11

Look, I want you to go back in there...

0:48:110:48:14

-Yep, get lost...

-Get lost in there.

0:48:140:48:16

-Yeah, basically, get lost in there and I'll try and find you.

-Thanks.

0:48:160:48:20

So it was definitely worth the gamble.

0:48:200:48:22

The old dairy may not be what they claim they needed,

0:48:220:48:25

but coming in £7,000 under budget,

0:48:250:48:28

this property has clearly bamboozled our buyers.

0:48:280:48:31

Renovated just four years ago,

0:48:310:48:33

there's an elegance born of its 1930s styling,

0:48:330:48:36

plus a unique kitchen, five bedrooms offering business potential and,

0:48:360:48:41

of course, it all comes with a lake.

0:48:410:48:43

The lake is fantastic.

0:48:430:48:45

It's out of this world. Really, really lovely.

0:48:450:48:48

It is larger than we were thinking of,

0:48:480:48:50

but that wouldn't write out this property.

0:48:500:48:52

SHE LAUGHS

0:48:520:48:54

-Gosh!

-Mon Dieu!

0:48:540:48:55

-What a huge space.

-It's enormous.

0:48:550:48:58

-I don't know what we'd put in it.

-No, I don't know, but we don't

0:48:580:49:01

-have to decide now, do we?

-No.

-The possibilities are endless.

0:49:010:49:04

Having said that we didn't want to do any work at all on a property,

0:49:040:49:07

I think what needs doing here would be allowable.

0:49:070:49:11

The fact that we're thinking of practicalities in this detail

0:49:110:49:15

shows that we may well be showing an interest in it.

0:49:150:49:19

-Have you seen enough?

-I think so.

-Yeah, I think so.

-Thank you.

0:49:190:49:22

-In that case, we are done, done.

-Right.

0:49:220:49:24

-So we should go and find somewhere where we can chat.

-OK.

0:49:240:49:27

Yeah, let's do that.

0:49:270:49:29

To the south of the Poitou-Charentes region

0:49:350:49:38

lies the cathedral city of Angouleme,

0:49:380:49:41

once the 16th-century power house of paper manufacturing in France.

0:49:410:49:44

But as that industry waned, another emerged in its place,

0:49:440:49:48

as paper and printing gave way to illustrations, animation and comics.

0:49:480:49:53

Now home to Europe's most important comic festival,

0:49:540:49:57

artists are invited to replicate their works throughout this

0:49:570:50:00

historical-artistic hybrid of a city.

0:50:000:50:03

Today, I've come to the town's museum of comics

0:50:030:50:05

to talk to Jean-Pierre Mercier,

0:50:050:50:08

a comic strip veteran of 35 years.

0:50:080:50:11

-So, this is it.

-Yes.

0:50:110:50:12

Why is this the destination if you're a mad comic fan?

0:50:120:50:16

Because of the festival, to begin with,

0:50:160:50:18

it's the most important comic festival in Europe.

0:50:180:50:21

And when the people come in Angouleme,

0:50:210:50:23

they are in the comics capital.

0:50:230:50:24

I mean, the city all decided that we would put comic

0:50:240:50:28

images on the walls and some of them are Lucky Luke,

0:50:280:50:31

but sometimes we would commission comic artists

0:50:310:50:34

to do specific painted walls.

0:50:340:50:35

If you're a fan of comics, you have to come.

0:50:350:50:38

-How important is comic culture in France?

-It's called a ninth art.

0:50:380:50:42

It's studied in university, it's used in school in French lessons

0:50:420:50:47

and all kind of things like that.

0:50:470:50:49

Why are they given so much respect?

0:50:490:50:51

It's part of your culture. It's still something really popular.

0:50:510:50:55

Every time an Asterix goes out, a new album goes out,

0:50:550:51:00

people go crazy and buy, you know, millions of copies of it.

0:51:000:51:04

With upwards of 40 million comic albums being sold

0:51:040:51:07

in France every year,

0:51:070:51:09

it's little wonder that the art form has spilled out beyond the page

0:51:090:51:12

and into the national psyche.

0:51:120:51:14

The city's museum holds over 12,000 comics

0:51:140:51:17

and hundreds of thousands of prints.

0:51:170:51:19

It's the first point of reference for the Louvre

0:51:190:51:22

and the national museums for all comic strip queries.

0:51:220:51:25

Comic inspiration can be found throughout the city in public

0:51:250:51:28

art installations that cover anything from hotels to phone boxes.

0:51:280:51:32

And Jean-Pierre's agreed to give me a tour

0:51:320:51:35

of some of these modern emblems of the city.

0:51:350:51:38

Oh, wow, Jean-Pierre!

0:51:380:51:39

-Hey.

-That's fantastic.

0:51:390:51:41

That's one of the best painted walls in Angouleme.

0:51:410:51:44

It's by Max Cabanes.

0:51:440:51:46

For him, it's a memory of when he was a teenager during the '50s

0:51:460:51:50

and he was longing for the romantic girl.

0:51:500:51:53

HE LAUGHS

0:51:530:51:54

-And there she is.

-And there she is.

0:51:540:51:56

I love that the council commissioned it.

0:51:560:51:58

That was the idea. You're trying to get the people coming to Angouleme

0:51:580:52:02

to get the flavour of... You know you are in the comic city.

0:52:020:52:05

The artworks define the city and love defines its art,

0:52:050:52:09

and the perennial theme seems to permeate

0:52:090:52:11

much of the iconic artworks.

0:52:110:52:13

Oh, wow!

0:52:130:52:15

It's a big, romantic, dramatic love story, you know.

0:52:150:52:18

And this passionate scene that's going on down here,

0:52:180:52:20

-although he looks terrified.

-He is.

0:52:200:52:23

He is fascinated and he's obviously seduced,

0:52:230:52:26

but there's, sort of, danger

0:52:260:52:28

and it goes back to the literature of the 19th century,

0:52:280:52:31

with these impossible love stories

0:52:310:52:33

between the rich guy and the poor girl.

0:52:330:52:36

You know, it's a mixing of all this.

0:52:360:52:38

Angouleme's artistic revolution continues at pace

0:52:380:52:40

and the artwork that punctuates the city has now inspired a new

0:52:400:52:44

generation of artists to pick up the baton.

0:52:440:52:47

I've arranged to meet an artist who decorates buildings all over

0:52:470:52:51

France in his own unique style using no paint.

0:52:510:52:54

More than 3,000 of Fred Le Chevalier's artworks

0:52:540:52:57

can be found over the stone walls of

0:52:570:53:00

Montmartre and Belleville in Paris, as well as here in his home town.

0:53:000:53:04

Fred draws his pieces on paper and simply pastes them

0:53:040:53:07

onto buildings for all to see.

0:53:070:53:10

So, tell me what we're doing.

0:53:100:53:12

-We're going to do a little story with this boy escaping from a scene.

-Yep.

0:53:120:53:16

-Maybe, can we, put a barrier together?

-Absolutely, let's do it.

0:53:160:53:20

-So...

-So give me... Wallpapering is not easy.

0:53:200:53:24

-So it's a barrier and he's going to jump off of the barrier.

-OK.

0:53:240:53:28

-I put the glue first and then you can help me.

-All right.

0:53:280:53:31

And as I harness my wallpapering skills, it's a good opportunity to

0:53:310:53:35

find out more about Fred's mode of expression.

0:53:350:53:38

Is being an artist in your blood, growing up in Angouleme?

0:53:390:53:43

When you grow up in Angouleme, you had to see the festival.

0:53:430:53:46

It was like a big party in the city.

0:53:460:53:49

-So that must be amazing when you're a small child.

-Yes, yes.

0:53:490:53:53

I think it's looking good already. What's next? Let's do some more.

0:53:530:53:56

We're going to put some other characters all around.

0:53:560:53:59

SHE LAUGHS

0:54:020:54:04

They've got bowler hats on!

0:54:040:54:06

-Those characters represent society or a kind of nightmare.

-Yes.

0:54:060:54:11

My little boy, little character, is escaping from that.

0:54:110:54:15

He wants to fly away.

0:54:150:54:16

Well, you don't need a language to communicate this.

0:54:160:54:18

You just need a wall, don't you?

0:54:180:54:20

Yes, this is what I like and people can relate.

0:54:200:54:22

-How long will this stay on the wall?

-I really don't know.

0:54:220:54:25

Sometimes it stays just five minutes, sometimes it can stay two years,

0:54:250:54:30

-so there is no rule.

-OK, let's get another one up.

0:54:300:54:33

At the beginning, I was working during the night

0:54:330:54:36

because I thought I had to hide me.

0:54:360:54:38

But then I met a police man, who knew what I did,

0:54:380:54:41

and just asked me not to put it on the public buildings.

0:54:410:54:44

Perfect.

0:54:440:54:46

Angouleme is fated throughout France as the giant canvas

0:54:460:54:49

upon which history and modern art co-exist.

0:54:490:54:52

Its bold artistic heritage first inspired Fred to showcase

0:54:520:54:56

his artwork online and he's come home to fully develop his style.

0:54:560:55:00

And as the wall fills with images from Fred's imagination,

0:55:000:55:04

his work enlivens the shell of this disused building.

0:55:040:55:09

-Is it all done?

-Yes, that's OK now.

0:55:090:55:12

It looks great and really dramatic.

0:55:120:55:14

It really makes you stop and think.

0:55:140:55:16

It's dramatic and positive at the same time because he goes away

0:55:160:55:20

-and that's OK.

-A little Fred, running away.

0:55:200:55:22

-Yes, it's a little Fred, of course.

-Of course it's a little Fred.

0:55:220:55:25

You're always talking about yourself.

0:55:250:55:27

Well, Fred, it's been a pleasure. Until the next time.

0:55:270:55:29

-Thanks very much.

-Au revoir, goodbye.

-Bonne journee!

0:55:290:55:32

I have to admit, Bill and Sarah have got me baffled.

0:55:360:55:39

I still have no idea what it is they're actually looking for.

0:55:390:55:43

Time to pin 'em down and find out.

0:55:430:55:45

-Right, we've come to the end of our time together.

-Hmm.

0:55:520:55:55

So let's talk about this property that you are looking for.

0:55:550:55:58

Do you think that what you're looking for is even here?

0:55:580:56:02

Nothing has met all our criteria, but we couldn't expect it to.

0:56:020:56:07

I think each property had its points.

0:56:070:56:09

Whether the ultimate property that we're looking for

0:56:090:56:13

is attainable within our budget, then I think that's a lesson that

0:56:130:56:16

I've learned that it isn't.

0:56:160:56:18

Has it been disappointing?

0:56:180:56:20

You know, we got very excited about the mystery house

0:56:200:56:23

because it's a fabulous building, and I'm so glad that we saw it.

0:56:230:56:25

But in the cool light of day, it would be too much work for us.

0:56:250:56:29

Has there been one property that's stood out for you this week?

0:56:290:56:32

Yes, the first one.

0:56:320:56:34

It was immaculate inside. It was beautifully done.

0:56:340:56:36

We liked the colour schemes. We wouldn't have to do anything at all.

0:56:360:56:40

It doesn't have the beautiful outside space that we've

0:56:400:56:43

seen on the other properties.

0:56:430:56:45

And the fact that it was adjoined to the steel barn,

0:56:450:56:48

that would be a compromise.

0:56:480:56:50

We have, since we've seen it, thought,

0:56:500:56:52

"What can we do to cover it?"

0:56:520:56:53

So that actually suggests that, if we could overcome what was

0:56:530:56:56

-next door to it, then that is quite a serious contender.

-Yes.

0:56:560:56:59

So what's the next step for you?

0:56:590:57:01

I think we'll come back.

0:57:010:57:03

We'll probably have another look at the first house

0:57:030:57:06

and explore that little area a little bit more,

0:57:060:57:08

so that we've familiarised ourselves with what is around the property.

0:57:080:57:12

-Well, that's very positive.

-Yeah.

0:57:120:57:14

So if I were to contact you in six months?

0:57:140:57:16

We'll be packing our bags if we're not already here.

0:57:160:57:19

-You'll be doing one last removal and it'll be your own.

-Yeah.

-Yes.

0:57:190:57:22

-Let's just drink to that.

-Let's just drink to that, yeah.

-Cheers.

0:57:220:57:26

Well, I was a little confused as to what Bill and Sarah

0:57:300:57:34

were looking for and, as it transpires, so were they.

0:57:340:57:37

But their hunt for their dream property is just beginning

0:57:370:57:39

and I am sure, with a bit of searching,

0:57:390:57:41

they will find their perfect balance between old French charm

0:57:410:57:45

and British modernity.

0:57:450:57:46

And then, they'll be making their one-way trip to France

0:57:460:57:49

with their own furniture in the back of a van.

0:57:490:57:51

Join me next time for another Escape To The Continent.

0:57:510:57:54

And I'm delighted to report that they will be making that

0:57:550:57:59

one-way journey as they've, in fact, decided to purchase the gite

0:57:590:58:03

we arranged for them to stay in.

0:58:030:58:05

Their Gloucestershire home is now on the market

0:58:050:58:07

and they hope to be enjoying a new life in the in Poitou-Charentes

0:58:070:58:10

within the next six months.

0:58:100:58:11

We wish them both all the very best.

0:58:110:58:14

Anita Rani crosses the channel to the Poitou-Charentes region of France with a couple from Gloucestershire. They are seeking a new home and a new start on the continent with a budget of £200,000 to spend. Anita offers hints and tips on making the move abroad and harnesses her wallpapering skills in an artistic endeavour in the city of Angouleme.