Ever since I passed my trial period here at work, Jean-Marc and I have been looking for places to live. The thing is, in this region it's more about word of mouth than about checking online ads. It was suggested that I visit all the Mairies individually to see if they knew of any houses for rent in their village/city. I made a point of doing this, putting up notices on bulletin boards. We did get a few leads, but it never went further than that. There were a few places advertised online that we checked out, and after looking at some places that were UNINHABITABLE (we're talking mould, leaks, half-torn wallpaper etc. all for the low, low price of 420€/month!) I googled houses for rent in this region in English. Lo and behold, I found something in Vézelay!
It was a conversation on AngloInfo - an expat website with loads of good information - and somebody was looking for a long-term tenant. As I followed the conversation, I saw that the owner had actually decided to sell the house instead of rent it out. I decided that I had nothing to lose, so I emailed her and said that we were looking for a house to rent and that, if her house didn't sell, we would be interested. Luckily for us, this person was still open to the idea of renting the house and when she found out more about us, she seemed convinced that it was what she wanted to do. In her heart, she didn't want to get rid of the house, but she really wanted to find good tenants who would take good care of the property.
There were a number of things to iron out - she's moving back to England and is buying a house there - but we will be signing our rental agreement in the coming week and moving in at the beginning of September.
The best part is that the house is lovely! It's been renovated, has hardwood floors, lots of windows and light, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and an outdoor area with a small garden and terrace. She is leaving behind some extra beds, so our guest rooms will be ready to welcome visitors. Jean-Marc is excited that we also get access to an orchard thrown into the deal. It's a few kilometres away and there are apple, plum and pear trees with loads of fruit. In exchange for caring for the trees and the land, we will get lots of delicious fruit with which to make jams, sauces and chutneys. Can't wait!
Of course, being able to walk to work will be a super bonus for me (especially with the current gas prices!) and it's nice to be in a village that has all the necessities within walking distance: pharmacy, doctor, bakery, bank machines, post office, cafés, wine shops etc. We need to drive to the supermarket (at 15 km) but there is a little outdoor market in the village once a week as well as a little corner shop that is handy for emergencies.
I realize that I never posted pictures of our place in Savennières here due to the lack of camera. Perhaps I'll be able to do that on one of my weekend visits. I'll be sure to take pictures of the new place once we're there!