Now what? Life in rural Ariege

Burblings about adjusting to life in the deep south west of France or "la France profonde" as they call it here and the challenges of restoring a ramshackle collection of tumbledown buildings. I mainly write about local festivals, events and celebrations and, most of all, the weekly ritual of combing vide greniers and brocantes for pre-loved vintage treasures.

15 May 2012

Please come in

We have recently put our wonderful village house in Camon onto the market and a couple of weeks ago our agent immobilier wired an "A vendre" board to our downpipe. Since then there has been silence from our agents but clamouring within the village.

 Camon is a medieval bastide village and is one of the 100 most beautiful villages in France

The locus of most village activity is the tiny epicerie / depot de pain run by Camonaise born and bred Madame Dumay. Almost as soon as the for sale sign had appeared she told me that a local man might be interested in purchasing it for his son and that another village family had friends in Lille who would love to buy a maison secondaire in Camon. Fair enough I thought to myself. The local interest has ramped up in the last couple of days with another Camon resident ringing the doorbell asking to be shown around the house. Apparently he has a friend in Toulouse who holidays regularly in Camon and would like his own property here. At the end of the guided tour he thanked me and told me he would tell his friend all about it. Amazingly he phoned me the following evening to tell me his Toulousan friend was not interested as Camon is too far!!! A rather elaborate ruse to have a nosey around our house I thought to myself.

Please do come in - just knock on the door!

It hasn't stopped there though. Standing on the doorstep yesterday were the formidible pair of Madame Dumay and her elderly auntie (who already lives in the village). Tiny Tantie wanted to look around the house and proceeded to admire everything in her line of vision starting with Jeff's pot in the entrance hall

 what a beautiful pot!

She read the silver labels on our decanters wanting to know how to pronounce "sherry", she sat on the sofa and stroked it lovingly. She climbed all the stairs to see every part of the house. "elephants" she exclaimed delightedly in the downstairs cloakroom, in the bathroom and in the ensuite.

spot the elephants!

Finally having shown her over the whole property she insisted that I come to see her house.

I was given the full guided tour and dutifully admired the collection of stuffed sanglier, deer and pike heads. I cooed over her grandmothers copper pans and admired the paintings of cathar castles on the walls.

The strangest thing for me is that if this happened in Britain I would be annoyed by this time wasting and the constant stream of curious villagers. Here, however, it makes me smile. I love the elaborate "I have a friend" excuses. I'm just waiting for the doorbell to ring again... better do the washing up.


  1. You will be getting coach loads of elderly pensioners stopping as part of their tour du pay Cathar by the summer. On the bright side you could start to charge admission fees.

  2. most enterprising! I'll cut you in on the commission