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By Brian Franklin

Following on from our new discovery and our eventual purchase of The SThe Stables/renovationtables there is, of course, much to tell.

Our excitement and eager anticipation at developing our ‘ruin’ was immense.Our uncertainty substantial.

However, we made our decision to apply a clean, contemporary approach, and involved one of our architect friends to create an interior concept that was simple, stylish, and which maximised on utilising the potential living space available to us. How smart!



It was sharpen pencil time! There was no shortage of ideas. We were creative, that was our job in England – interior design, image-building, photographic concepts for kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and living rooms. In fact, totally in our realm.The Stables/renovation7

Of course, I’m not going to turn all this into some ‘Grand Design’ type saga (that will come a few years  later!), but it could turn into a saga all the same. A different type of saga.

A saga of intrigue, and the ‘mentally’ insane. Of the' ups and downs' that occur when you take a runner, a risk.

A small risk it maybe, but a risk all the same, entwined with heartfelt dreams of a new home, and a new life experience.

Yes, we got ripped off a bit (not by the French, I might add!)

The Stables/renovation2

Although it is said that the French: 'they see us Brits coming' , maybe it is  because they see an easy 'kill', an easy 'euro' or two (it was actually the famous French Franc, then), because our brains are still, temporarily at least , resting, sloppily, on the dockside at Dover!

Our many dealings with the French have been incredibly rewarding, and in our relationships with artisans, shopkeepers, neighbours, and with those that have become great friends, we have found all of them to be incredibly generous, exceptionally friendly, honest, and personable people).


At the same time, all the negatives and positives of this experience were thoroughly stirred into a pot-pourri, a melange of wonderful discovery, fun, and friendships. 

We had, in fact, a brilliant time planning and designing The Stables.

Our, discovery, too, of Lyon – France’s second city- was aThe Stables/renovation4 fantastic experience, and one which we regularly re-visited. (More about this later) 

The local Roannais region, too, was, and is, brilliant and has so much to offer. (More about this later, too!) 

To be fair,  in the early days and the early year or so, things moved on pleasantly, albeit very slowly.

We finally signed for our 'ruin' and full payment was duly made (some of it, I might add, siphoned off to some unknown destination and bank account in England! You have to watch out for this sort of thing, because any money paid outside the transaction is not recorded, so you are likely to pay more capital gains tax on any profit later further down the line if/when you re-sell your property)

Our real fun and adventure with France could now continue with a vengeance!

For a while the distance actually helped between England and France.The Stables/renovation

Yes, the communication and project control aspects were difficult and frustrating at times.

French language problems were always an initial hindrance, and part of the equation to solve.

But, we were tenacious.


It was something we had to accept as part of the ‘risk’ of buying  and renovating in France from a distance.

We had to put it all down to experience – 'The French Experience'

The Stables moved gradually on, and started taking internal shape.

It was beginning to look like a home on the cusp of habitability. 

We made decisions, we flew over as regularly as we could, and thoroughly enjoyed ‘The French life’ as we found it.

We also continued to throw more money at the project!


 Lucy in LyonBrian in Lyon