“Le Rêve”, Uzès – How the dream of a house in the south of France became a reality!

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It started off many years ago as a long running joke between my husband and I, with me teasing him about buying an outrageously enormous château or stunning stone country mas in France each time we visited. The truth was that we were very much tied to both our employment and the education of our two children and it was just a pipe dream.

Place Albert at end of our streetHowever, it all changed towards the end of 2009 just as the fallout from the Global Financial Crisis was being felt, particularly in Europe.  French interest rates were attractive and there were more properties around for sale than usual.  My husband gave me some parameters to work with, including price and I began my research! Three weeks later I said, “Have I got a deal for you!” We contacted the owners and arranged to see the house in 6 weeks time when we would be in Nice for a conference. It was in a town called Uzès that we knew nothing about despite our many trips to France.

We drove to Uzès and from the moment we saw the beautiful stone buildings, the paved, narrow streets and enormous plane trees in the main “Place aux Herbes”, shading the al fresco dining areas and arches, we were in love. Even more so after experiencing its huge Provençal market the next day.

Saturday MarketHowever, when we saw the house for sale – it was not a case of love at first sight! In fact it looked like a lot of work and expense, but the positives were the location and its successful track record as a weekly rental property and we had always loved a challenge. It was a far cry from a château! But small steps…

2013-10-03 10.08.46 The house was ideally placed in a cul-de-sac just off a quiet pedestrianized street, right in the historic centre and a two-minute walk to the shops, Ducal castle, restaurants, market square and tourism office with parking nearby.


We took the plunge and signed the “compromis de vente” and met up with a local stonemason and draftsman to discuss renovations to take place in early October 2010. The 17th century limestone townhouse had very thick but porous walls which previous owners had repaired over the years using non-porous materials. In the end, decisions were taken to do the job properly and so our part renovation became a full-on one and we nicknamed the house “the Money Pit”! Eighteen months of renovation followed with frequent visits by me to check on progress and many emails.

LoungeIn March 2012, I spent a frantic time making curtains and adding the final furnishing and decorative touches to make it ready again for weekly rental and our own use. Unexpectedly, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June, however, one of the strongest motivators, was my chance to spend time recuperating in our house in 2013 once I received the all clear.

DSCF3836While I was there, I took the opportunity to develop material for my website as we would like others to stay in the wonderful town of Uzès and visit its surroundings.

We renamed the house “Le Rêve” as it was indeed a long held dream come true, despite not being of the proportions I used to joke about!

Friends who stayed there recently emailed us after 2 days to say that they were falling in love with both our house and Uzès – not hard to do and perfect for practicing your French at the local market!

Visit: www.practicallyfrench.com.au













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