Having just bought a house in Burgundy (no, not the magnificent pile pictured although it’s not far away, being the local château), here’s my write-up of our recent trip where the deal was sealed. There will be a little Burgundy food and wine matching coming your way if you read this blog, so putting things into context seems like a good idea. We have spent longer than is usually necessary to finalise a sale, mostly because we sought a ‘Permit de Demolir’ for a large, concrete outbuilding in the garden of the house. The local Mairie passed our application onto the powers that be in Mâcon as, it transpired, the house is within 500 metres of a listed building. Needless to say, the application was finally passed and we look forward to nearly doubling the size of the garden as soon as we can get the builders in to knock this monstrosity down.
We set off on Thursday 21st January at crack of dawn, with the signing meeting at the notaire’s office planned for the following day. The vendor had already left the area so it would just be us and the agent at the meeting, the notaire having been given power of attorney. We arrived in Beaune around 6pm that evening, checked into a cheapie hotel and set off into the beautiful centre of the town to find pizza (we had the 7-year-old and 10-year-old with us).
The next day, we had another pleasant amble around Beaune before setting off down the N74 to the house where we had agreed to meet the agent who would then show us the way to the notaire’s office. When we arrived, the agent informed us that the notaire had postponed the signing meeting until 10am the next morning. Aargh! The first thought that sprung to mind was, ‘So, where are we going to sleep tonight?’. The ever-helpful agent, Nigel, had already thought of that and had contacted the vendor, who had agreed that it was no problem for us to stay in the house that night anyway. Our relief was shortlived when we got into the house and realized that the water and the gas had been turned off. We had enquired about this and it hadn’t been mentioned so it was something of a surprise but, after much begging and pleading with the Mairie and the water company, a charming chap came to turn the water on at 5pm, only to discover a burst pipe! It was impossible to get that fixed on the Friday afternoon so we faced the prospect of another night in a hotel – fine if it were just the two of us but more of a challenge with the children.
Anyway, we arrived back at the house the following morning to let in the very helpful man who had agreed to fix the burst pipe and then drove down to the notaire’s office for the signing. The children were left in an ante-room to amuse themselves, which concerned me rather, but they did us proud and sat quietly reading their books for 45 minutes. Everything was straightforward, the monies had arrived from our bank account on time, our insurance on the property was in place so the deal was swiftly agreed and off we went to the restaurant nextdoor, with Nigel and his colleague from their Beaune office, for a coffee (it was before 11am so too soon for proper drinks) and to bask in our new status as property magnates, as my husband jokingly described us. I can’t speak highly enough of our agents – this is where we came across Nigel www.proprietes-en-bourgogne.com
So, back we went to the house and drank a bottle of Dom Perignon (at midday) in the freezing cold and hoped that the gas company would arrive, as agreed, to turn the gas on. They never did and we spent a freezing cold night, sleeping in our clothes on blow-up beds, before getting up at 5am to return to the UK. We go out again during the February Half-Term, by which time we should have heating (the gas is now connected) and the furniture will arrive mid-week. We had wondered if we might think we’d made the wrong decision about buying the house when we returned – it was nine months since we had last seen it – mais je ne regrette rien and neither does the husband!