Episode 23- Allchange

IMG_0327renovation, restoration, decisions- Late March 2010

We drove over to France in March 2010 in the old Kia Sportage, packed to the gunnels as usual.

What a workhorse!? She isn’t cheap on fuel and this is a long trip but the seats are as wide and comfortable as armchairs and her capacity is now legendary!!We had chosen the right week, weather wise, because on 8th March 2010 the coast around Argeles had 20 inches of snow!!

Although even the Languedoc gets cold over the winter, this was apparently highly unusual and the sheer volume and weight of the snow had damaged or brought down many trees.SAMSUNG

The pretty tree at eye level with our apartment had lost the top part. I was quite pleased because it expanded our sea view, but when Trevor pointed out that it had collapsed EXACTLY where we normally park the car, I realised that we have had a lucky escape!

With the heating on the apartment soon got cosy and we are glad of the big double glazed doors on the loggia/balcony, which is also thoughtfully furnished with a radiator so we can sit and watch the seagulls being blown around and people hanging on for dear life to the bus stop!!!

We set up for the season and, as usual, find the bits of minor damage that our cleaning lady has missed. Obviously we expect wear and tear in tourist accommodation, but some of it this last year has beggared belief.

I had a call late summer from Lesley, who had turned up to do the changeover in the three hour gap between guests to find that not only was the place utterly filthy, but someone had broken into the sealed cupboards where we keep the spare clean bedding and towels and basically had pulled out and used every bit of it. Frustrating for me as I couldn’t go over and help her clean up and it meant that she was unable to leave the place at it’s usual high standard- which upset both her and me. Why do people treat holiday accommodation this way?

I don’t know, but it made me seriously wonder whether I really wanted to let the house out for holidays, as had been our original intention. I didn’t think I could take it if the place was misused especially as it will have much of our personal stuff there. I am not particularly attached to material objects but I would be devastated if I found out that guests were playing Frisbee with my grandma’s Victorian china!

We talked about it and decided that instead of letting the whole house, we will provide a bed and breakfast with evening meal option in the converted cave ( which isn’t actually a hole in a hill, cave in French can be a wine cellar, store or utility area and our cave is 30 feet long with pretty original features!)

This is ideal as it has it’s own front door and little courtyard and will be very private for our guests; something that we really value when we stay away.IMG_0325

As we drive back from Argeles to the house we enjoy again the stunning run from the North of Perpignan through the valleys rising up to the Aude region , past Cathare castles, verdant vineyards, misty mountains and culminating in the dramatic limestone gorges and tunnels as the road rises up toward Axat & Quillan.

This is one of the most stunning road journeys in the Languedoc and makes this trip from coast to country such a pleasure every time and we decide that we will offer something a little different for our future guests- the option of a two centre holiday, split whichever way they choose, between the apartment at Argeles-sur-Mer and “ La Cave” at Campagne-sur-Aude.Campagne%20sur%20Aude%20llll[1]2DSC00292

The best of both, with a lovely drive between. DSC00220


About coteetcampagne

Artist, period home maker, renovator, restorer, Francophile. My mission is to save the old stuff, one beautiful piece at a time
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