The Good Life France Magazine




The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...


Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

Views
13 months ago

Issue No. 19

Delicious sunshine cocktails and scrumptious recipes, brilliant features and tons of information and gorgeous photos to inspire your visits. The secret life of castles in Burgundy, the Abbey of Senanque in Provence, Sainte-Denis, Lourdes, Calvados in Normandy, Paris, Grenoble and more...

Meet the Brits who run

Meet the Brits who run the best Luxury B&B in France! June 2005 was a difficult month for Peter Friend and his partner Mark. After a change of jobs, relocation and redundancy they decided they didn’t want the sort of stressful lives they were leading in marketing and business development for much longer. Considering their skills, passion for travel, good food and wine, setting up their own luxury B&B in France by the time were 40 was their goal. Peter Friend tells how they went from their jobs in the UK to running the No. 1 luxury B&B in France… Once we decided we were going to move to France we devoted all our spare time to the search for the ideal property and location. Property pages of the Sunday papers were read from top to bottom, scrolling through endless internet sites until the early hours became a new sport. It was, at times, overwhelming – we had only been on holiday to France a few times and, admittedly, did not know the regions well. We wanted to be in the south of France for the weather and longer tourist season. We wanted a medium sized town with good amenities, open year-round, with lots to see and do within an hour. The location had to be well connected and accessible by road, rail and air and not reliant on one airport nor one airline. Finally, we did not want to be in an area where there was too large an expat community. An essential requirement for us was that, when the doors to our new business opened, it had to be a viable business. From research, we knew the maximum number of rooms for a B&B in France was five and so our search for a minimum of 6 bedrooms was key as was the ability to have all of these rooms as ensuites. Added to this, space for sizable dining room, guest lounges, garden and kitchen were givens… with space for a pool and to develop the business further. After much searching, we decided the Tarn area would be perfect. We looked at several properties and eventually the details for a house in Mazamet seemed to be absolutely perfect. Eight bedrooms, six of which were already ensuite, a town with a population of 12,000 on the edge of a national park; six airports within 2 hours serving many European destinations and an abundance of space. Add to this the fact

that it's close to several major tourist destinations including fabulous Carcassonne, Toulouse and Albi - it ticked all our boxes. Finding the dream home As we drove over the Monts de Lacaune from nearby Roquefort on July day, the clouds began to clear, the temperatures started to climb, and we descended into the town of Mazamet – once famous for its international wool trade. The azure blue skies and the stunning Montagne Noire providing a picture-perfect backdrop and, as we were an hour early for our rendezvous at the property, we made our way into the centre ville. We stumbled across an amazing chocolatier with a queue out the door – which, being British, we dutifully joined. Mazamet felt right. There was a small Sunday morning market selling the essentials and a few bars where French men sat on the terrace - sipping espressos waiting for their wives to come out from morning mass. What struck us was the beautiful architecture of the buildings in the centre of town which would not have looked out of place along the boulevards of a much larger, grander, town. As we turned into rue Pasteur, there ‘she’ was – standing proud, the burgundy coloured shutters shining in the summer sun. The moment we set foot through the front door we knew that No. 4, rue Pasteur, Mazamet was meant to be ours. We learnt that the property was built in 1934 by an accountant in Mazamet’s wool industry. The owners explained that the property needed to be re-wired but that was the extent of the major works need (little did we know then that it would take more than three years to complete all the work!).