Making a move
When friends ask me for advice on moving abroad – especially regarding France – I tell them never buy immediately; RENT first! And that is what we did. At first for a year in beautiful Normandy, where we discovered it doesn’t rain all the time, but did not provide the quick and direct access back to London and the UK we required from time to time. When the lease was up on our Norman house we started to look elsewhere.
And so to Gascony. With fast and frequent flights to London and the UK, bright and warm, sunny weather for most of the year, great food and wine, and stunningly verdant, rolling countryside, it seemed to have everything. But again, we rented – for two years in the South of Le Gers. That gave us the opportunity to explore, find out more, and decide if we might find our forever home.
We knew, the first time we visited Lectoure and the surrounding area, that we were both smitten. Similarly, after taking many months to view properties in the area, Maison Lamothe was an instant falling in love moment. And we could also see that if we loved the house and area, other people would do too. This was very important to us, as we had set our hearts on creating a unique accommodation and events service. And so we bought it.
The house is situated in Northern Gers, but is also within a few kilometres of neighbouring départments Lot-et-Garonne and Tarn-et Garonne, which we believe gives people the maximum exposure to all aspects of Gascon life. But all 3 départements are very different and fiercely proud of their differences too!
The Gascon accent can take a bit of getting used to. You’ll hear ‘peng’ rather than ‘pain’ and ‘demeng’ rather than ‘demain’. And they’re also fond of pronouncing words differently from what you might expect too (some of which is down to the strong English connection established in the Middle Ages and the historical Basque influence). So for example, words ending in ‘et’ often have the ‘t’ pronounced, unlike in the rest of France.
Winters are very short – typically mid-November to mid-February – but there is still plenty to do. Skiing obviously, but some wonderful Christmas markets, especially in Toulouse which is easily accessible from the house. And Gascony absolutely shines and glistens on clear winter nights.
We hope our clients will love sharing the unique experiences that Maison Lamothe and the area provide – from excellent restaurants to amazing bastides and countryside; from art galleries and museums to theatre and music; magical French cities to towns bustling with culture and history. But most of all, we hope our clients love sharing Maison Lamothe with us, whatever brings you to our special piece of Gascony.
Marco Martinez – November 2019