Back in March I wrote about the excitement of returning somewhere special, to Lourmarin, quoting from Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” I also mentioned that I had an appointment with a real estate agent….
A great deal has happened since then, but it all began with an email from our charming, Swiss friend Walter who manages several Lourmarin rental properties, many of which we have rented. We met in 2013 through my blogging friend Susan, do read her recent post ‘Better call Walter’ it sums him up perfectly!
A while ago we had mentioned to Walter that we’d love to find a small pied-a-terre in this village which had so captivated our souls.
We thought our wish list, was fairly modest; just two bedrooms, a terrace and of course Chris said he’d love a garage!
Walter laughed, remarking “mais oui, this is the dream of hundreds and as for finding a village house with a garage, there are hardly any, c’est impossible!”
But even Walter surprised himself, for in early March he wrote to us; “It is a miracle, I find for you the house of your dreams but if you want it, you need to catch the plane and come, you have only a small time to say ‘yes’.”
So that is how, despite the blustery March weather, we came to be sitting outside our favourite Lourmarin café, Café Gaby, sharing a bottle of rosé with Walter ( in the orange sweater), the owners of a two bedroomed house (with a terrace, a garage and bonus, a cellar) and their immobilier, the lovely Gilberte, (next to me) to celebrate our signing of the Compte de Vente. That’s the part of buying a house in France when you legally agree to start the transaction. Thirty minutes earlier we had sat together in the Notaire’s office and with much signing and stamping of papers had started the process.
We had ten days to change our mind and with a prospective renovation to complete we needed to understand exactly what we were committing ourselves to. With Walter’s assistance we met with plumbers, builders and electricians, the kitchen and bathrooms needing a ‘little’ updating!
Despite our inadequate French we managed to understand and agreed to proceed. We closed the blue door beside the cherry tree blossoms at the rear of the house and put the coordination of the project in Walter’s capable hands.
After we had left I wondered whether I had dreamt the entire thing. It felt like we had just been participants in someone else’s story, how could we have possibly agreed to buy a maison de village in Provence? Were we really buying a little house on this street in Lourmarin, had we taken leave of our senses?
Our little maison de village didn’t become ours until early June at which point, as Walter said, we ‘attacked’ and the work commenced. As our shopping list grew so did our French vocabulary ~ sèche serviette électrique (electric towel rail) carrelage (tiles) comptoir de cuisine, (kitchen counter) naming but a few additions to our repertoire! Somehow during a further two trips all those endless decisions were made. Eventually the new bathroom began to take shape,
the new stair case immerged
and the demolition work for the new kitchen was completed.
Like any renovation it’s had its trials, made more challenging by being so far away and of course we could never have done it without Walter.
We’ve now had just 6 nights in our little house, it’s not all perfect, it’s not all finished but it’s ours. We have our very own maison de village with a terrace, a clay tiled roof, pale blue shutters
and when the season allows I will fill it with vases of smiling sunflowers. Our fairy tale village is just a mere two minute stroll away, it’s a dream come true, we have bought a house in my special place, in Lourmarin.
Next time we’ll peek inside.
What do you dream of? I hope you can make it come true too?
How marvelous, Caroline! Congratulations on having the power to make your fondest dream come true! Please take us on a virtual tour of the inside…
Thank you Jana! I will as soon as I have some furniture, I promise! And congratulations to YOU, I believe you have something VERY special to celebrate, how wonderful! xxx
Caroline, this is wonderful…I’m so happy for you. Hope to meet you in Lourmarin one day!
Love to! Let me know when!!
Congratulations Caroline and Chris.. Enjoy making many memories in your Provence home xx
Looks like heaven to me!! So very happy for you both – good luck with all the renovations – I know you’ll make it absolutely beautiful!! Carrie XX
I cannot not even express how happy I am for you both….I know that you will make many wonderful memories in your dream come true home …love u both !
Thank you dear friend! X
Fantastic news! Maybe we can prendre un verre when we are both in Provence at the same time–I’ll be in St-Rémy in the spring.
Thank you and absolutely either here in Provence or in California!!
You both deserve it – living the dream !
How exciting!!!! I wish I could hear your story on audio too, Miss you and your smile and voice! I know this is truly a dream come true and I’m so happy for you!!!!
Thank you Chris Ill be back in December see you soon!
A little slice of paradise, looks wonderful and you will continue to have many happy hours exploring all the area has to offer, well done YOU xx
Thank you Jane it really is special x
Amazing !! Congratulations !!
Thanks Gina, lovely to hear from you hope all’s well
It’s living in your dream, well done you!
Why did it take until June for it to be yours?
Thank you! It took that long just because that’s the process in France
Over the moon for you both, such happy news !
Thank you Laura you’ll have to come and check it our for yourself!
You’re an inspiration! Can’t wait to see and hear more!
You will I promise, I’ll be back soon x
I totally understand. We have been the lucky owners of a home in Oppède now for almost 12 years. Every time I’m there, I cannot believe it’s ours. Best of luck in your new dream home! By the way, Lourmarin is one of my two most favorite markets. St-Rëmy is the other. Fortunately for me, I live in the middle of them both.
Hi Elaine my two favourites too and also Uzes on a Saturday, have you been there?! Lovely to know that there are others close by ‘living the dream’ too lucky us!
Love the pictures and looking forward to more! Such an exciting journey! Congrats
Thank you Carol, wonderful to ear from you, pics coming I promise
Congrats on making your dream come true – from one who has done so as well! Although Aix en Provence was our dream, resulting in our much-loved Ambiance d’Aix in the historic center, Lourmarin holds a special place in our hearts too – many happy memories there, several in the very café where you sit in the photo 😉
Wishing you years of happiness in your new place!
Thank you Anne, always lovely to hear from others who are smitten! Are you here full time?
How wonderful, I can’t wait to see the inside. I love Lourmarin and all of Provence – I feel I’m living through you.
Thank you Patty, pics inside are coming just need to get rid of the plumber and the boxes!
How wonderful! Congratulations Caroline to you & Chris!! And Walter sounds like a dream agent. It does sound incredible to have your own home with pale blue shutters on the streets of Lourmarin ! I’m thrilled for you and SO inspired. To many happy days ahead with your very own shutters & sunflowers in our beautiful Lourmarin! 🙂
Also that cherry tree blossom is gorgeous!
I just found this blog, and I can’t wait to follow your progress. We love Lourmarin, which we found on a trip to Provence a few years ago. I remember having drinks sitting at that very cafe, probably that very table. Happy New Year!
Hi Lee Ann thank you so much for getting in touch, Happy New Year to you too! Yes, Lourmarin is a very special place and I do hope you get to return there, you could even rent my house, there is more information on my site under RENT OUR HOME IN PROVENCE! I am just about to publish a short video of it which I hope you enjoy and it would be wonderful if you felt able to subscribe to follow my posts. Take care Caroline
You’ve done exactly what we would love to be able to do. My dream is to be able to keep our place in England but have somewhere in Lourmarin to live in for 4-5 months a year! Unlikely to happen unfortunately! We’ve been on holiday to Lourmarin for the past 6 years and been out if season for long weekends too, and adore it. We couldn’t go in 2017 because we moved house in the summer but we’re definitely coming again this year and would have looked at booking your gorgeous house, but you’re booked up during the weeks we want to go. Maybe in 2019!
Hi Sarah Thank you so much for getting in touch. It is always so lovely to hear from others who love Lourmarin as much as we do. When were you hoping to go as some of the dates we have blocked off for our own use which we might now not be able to use. Do let me know and I’ll try to accommodate you!
Apologies it’s taken me so long to respond to your reply but I was having touble finding your blog again! Anyway thanks for letting me know that your house may well be available, but…. we’ve booked the house we usually stay in for the week 16th to 23rd June. Will definitely keep your house in mind when we next visit as it looks beautiful and in a great position.
No problem, hope it works out for 2019 have a lovely trip I might even be there myself this June so stay in touch!
Wow, I just stumbled upon your newsletter/blog. But, I’m not sure if you’re still writing. Anyway, I’m writing to tell you that my husband and I just closed on a house in Lourmarin – actually Puyvert, but the house is closer to Lourmarin. It’s an old farmhouse with a gorgeous view. My story is very similar to yours. We flew to Provence specifically to buy a house. After being snubbed at the Sotheby’s office because of our low budget, we walked past Arnaud Rippert’s office SudLuberon Agence, saw our house in the window. Arnaud drove right away to the house, we fell in love and that afternoon we were in the Notaire’s office going through exactly what you did. We just returned from the closing in January. I loved the photo of you at Cafe Gaby. That’s where we had a celebratory drink after the closing. Anyway, to make a long story longer, I need Walther! We have not a lot of work, but enough that I can’t do it myself. I need to add a toilet asap! I hope you respond to this and that you’re still in your pied-a-terre in Lourmarin. Sincerely, Susan Minford
Hi Susan How lovely to hear from you and congratulations on buying a home in one of the most beautiful areas of not only France, but the world! How very exciting for you. We absolutely love it there and yes still have Maison des Cerises. I’ll email you and see what I can do to help you! Take care Caroline