Nancy writes: Perhaps it is because the French have been inhabiting their land for hundreds of years that property boundaries have taken some very bizarre and creative twists. This is a village house in Mirepoix on the canal. You don't open the country kitchen doors and liesurely walk down to the canal. No, you open the kitchen doors and if you dared to take a step, you would be in the canal. It is not a navigable canal, but a generous waterway nevertheless. The remaining property boundaries are exactly the footprint of the village house, not a milimeter more. The way that some people have skirted around not having any "terra firma" is to convert the top floor into a rooftop terrace, and those that we have seen are ingenious. The really fabulous ones may incorporate an outdoor kitchen and may well be oriented with spectacular views of the Pyrenees. They are not always permissible, especially in any village that have historical covenants. It seems more that it is something that is negotiated between the local Mairie, the Notaire, the immobilier and the lucky buyer.
We have also learned that it may well take four or five months to complete a sale, and that the best case scenario will be about two months. We have heard numerous nightmare stories about couples who have split up and selling their house, only to now not agree on the paperwork. One party wants to stick it to the other and refuses to sign, meanwhile the buyers have already moved in and are living in limbo for months on end.As we look at these properties, we begin to prioritize.
Whereas there are many many people who
live in village houses that have no "piece of
outside", I guess our American values are rising to the surface because I can't imagine not sitting somewhere outside, on a terrase or garden, feeling an afternoon breeze, sipping wine, eating olives and bread and dream of chatting with the neighbors.