To be or not to be – your very own Hamlet

One of the best bits about this job is getting to visit lots of interesting houses, barns and ruins, many of them tucked away in hidden corners of the region. Some are wonderful, others less so but this morning I have just been to see something really unusual; a complete hamlet for sale made up of a large stone house, a six person gîte, a four person gîte and three lovely un-restored barns.

The owners, now selling up, have been living ‘the dream’ here in the Couserans region of the Ariège for the last 30 years, having restored this collection of crumbling houses and stone buildings and transformed them into a thriving gîte business. They have two horses on the couple of hectares of land surrounding the hamlet and beautiful gardens with mountain views in all directions. If only I were an estate agent, this is one I could certainly wax lyrical about.

Unfortunately I don’t have a client with the necessary million Euro budget to buy this right now but I do know from the enquiries I get that more and more people are looking for a better work-life balance and a bit of land where they can live a life more attuned to their environment. One of the most popular ways of achieving this is moving to rural France to set up a gîte business but the problem with this is that, in many parts of France, the market is now saturated and gîte owners are finding it increasingly hard to compete and earn a living.

Interestingly however, this is not yet the case in the Ariège which has a distinct lack of good quality gîtes in an area which otherwise provides the perfect holiday destination summer and winter. Hence this gîte complex is already almost booked up for the summer and also regularly booked up for the ski season, the nearest resort of Guzet Neige being just half an hour away.

So while not everybody looking to move here is going to have this kind of budget, the dream of running a gîte business in the Ariege is probably more achievable than it would be in most parts of France. And if you are interested in being Lord of the Manor, just get in touch for more details.

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