I met Nic the following day as planned in a little hotel I had found close to the train station. He was shattered after flying 33 hours without hardly a break. Needless to say he woke to his first day in France with a raging temperature and a cold.
Our schedule was tight as I had made bookings to view 7 of the 15 houses that week as they were in different towns and with different realtors. We had chosen the Poitou Charente area of France which is Southwest of Paris. There are great markets there, good sunshine and close to Bordeaux. France is a huge place so we had to have a plan of sorts. Even driving from one house to another took up to an hour, so realistically we would only be able to see up to 3 houses a day plus fit in the markets and stores we buy from.
We stayed at a gorgeous house we had rented before in Lorignac, close to Bordeaux. True Shabby Chic loveliness. We made appointments through an English based Website that hosts small estate agents around the area who want to sell to overseas buyers. Their reasoning is that the houses get to be restored by overseas buyers and rented out for holiday lets throughout summer. There are so many houses going to ruin because of the French bureaucracy that charge families inheritance tax. Leaving the remaining family members owing up to 40% of the value of the house when they inherit, forcing them to sell or leave them to fall apart, as if they are not occupied they are not liable for the huge tax bill.