How to buy in house in France - in no time

I believe I never wrote about how we actually bought the house in France, which was actually a bit of a whirlwind affair. We had finally decided we were back to the plan of buying a house in france, but no longer a ruin we would slowly turn into the house of our dreams, instead we aimed for a house, ready now to spend the bulk of our time off in a relaxing environment that would feel like home and would have plenty of good food to get (European style & fresh produce).

So we debated about the exact area we where interested in and ……did nothing. Then a few weeks before Eelco managed to book us last minute a lovely looking Chalet near Mieussy (in our search area) and we still managed to get tickets for all 5 of us to Geneva. And then we did a lot of pre-work looking for houses…….well no actually…none at all. Which is why we wanted a holiday home in the first place. Work, life and the kids took over our time and we found none to sort our holiday. So not having much clue where we were heading and not even having a single viewing lined up or a single realtor contacted we arrived on Saturday afternoon in the gorgeous Chalet. Then we found out that all realtors where closed Sundays and Mondays. We only had 1 week!

By Tuesday morning in our best French we got on the phone. We managed to see 4 houses of which one made us think of Anton Pieck (Dutch, very frilly fairytale forrest designer of a Dutch theme park), one looked a if it had been lived out by drug dealers, one was a clearly one big photoshop montage thing as it looked 10% of the size and location we expected and a brand new place….which had no character but amazing views and would have no maintenance and at least looked do-able.

That afternoon we had coffee with a Dutch lady, the rental place owner had connected us. She sells property in the actual ski area, and was happy to talk us through how things worked in France and the area in terms of buying a house. Naive? Lucky? we felt all of that as of course we should have looked into all that beforehand. Super lady - lovely help - and clearly a connection between 3 expats (the rental place owner, the Dutch lady and us) of some kind, as is the norm then without really knowing each other, helping our, inviting people over etc. Great! 

By Wednesday morning we saw 2 further places, of which one in a little valley close to Mieussy, in a group of Chalets built by LaCroix, sharing access roads, a tennis court etc etc. Very very dated, but in very very good condition and more our kind of mental model. Pfew! We also saw a similar but much smaller place making it clear what to aim for. So now what?

Then the guy showing us around got a call in between and told us he would go look at a place that afternoon, he thought it maybe would fit but knew nothing yet, some divorce case. He would call us if it fit the bill. The guy was young, single and without kids, but had been parapente instructor in Nepal and sort of 'got us'.

By 5pm we got a call. Our friend was at the divorcee's house, if we wanted we could come and have a look. The place was just down the road from where we stayed,….well actually we could see the roof from the rental Chalet we realized later. We showed up a a brand new looking Chalet, again built by LaCroix, in a community of 8 other Chalets and a Chalet style small apartment complex (3 stories, maybe 8-10 apartments). We could barely contain our enthusiasm. The place was perfect. Right size, right lay out, plain and simple but well finished interior, in great condition, super view and location, closed of garden, at the corner of the ski-bus stop etc etc. The house was not 'set up in show style' at all yet and still looked super.

After viewing the house the realtor told us it would maybe be a few days before he would know exact asking price etc. So we went back to the rental place and knew we had found it - but had to wait. The next morning in an attempt to be thorough we had booked an appointment for a place closer to the tourist areas. Nice Chalet but no views, too close to other houses and a 3rd floor with not even standing height. 

Before we managed to even see the place we got a call - an asking price for the dream house had been established. And it was sensible and within reach! So after the viewing we got in the car and quickly called in our bid. We met Eelco's parents and the kids after that in Mieussy for Lunch, and before we made it through the main course we got a call back. With a tiny increase over our offer,…..the house was ours! Woohoo!

That Saturday at 5pm, we signed the deal. -:) The divorcees wanted to get on with their own separate lives and wanted out ASAP, so even us wanting to move into the place only 2 - 2.5 months later was very acceptable to them.

How do you mean you cannot go to France from India with 3 tiny kids for 1 week and just 'go buy a house'!

Col de la Ramaz (Mieussy's attractions)

Within minutes of arriving at the house in France we realized we had bought a property in prime cycling ground. There were road racers everywhere, all the time! The house we bought is effectively on the D308 which in winter takes you up to Sommand and the Sommand / Praz-de-Lys ski area and in summer takes you up to the Col de la Ramaz  after which you can descend towards Le Gets / Taninges on the other side. The cols is at 1600m, has featured in the tour de france in 2010 and has bike signs like this along the whole route.
We went up by car, not by bike, to have a stroll around. The ski area is actually quite pretty also in summer, the views amazing, the hills green and lush (as they should be in "le vallee verte") and there are ample walking trails.

 Of course we had a lot of games to play up there….
 And had no pace to speak off
 But watching the views
 and the kids was fun enough!
 Kaat jumped
 and danced her way up
 And then we all got rewarded by two marmots (the picture is of the same one)

 Duuk was soooooo happy being outside
 And Rick was also filled with joy - I was kind of expecting him to start a sound of music song on 'the hills are alive' any minute

Of course, even after just 1.5 hrs or so Duuk was worn out by all the fresh mountain air
And we found some cycling team being unloaded next to our car for a training run. They looked kind of professional so I quickly snapped a shot - honestly having no idea who this may have been.
No worries! Martijn, Neel & Wybe have educated me on the matter.

Le Coquillage (Mieussy's attractions)

Mieussy, the town in France where we bought our house is tiny! But it has a lot to offer. On of those things is Mr Arno's Coquillage, yes, his snail farm. We went on the end of a Sunday afternoon, still outside the summer season and so we had the whole place to ourselves.
We started with an educative video and snake art for the kids.
 Then Mr Arno brought some snakes over to the demo table and woke them up with Rick's help by pretending it was raining.
Next was Turbo's cousin (you have to watch the movie!), who got to pull a toy car with another big fat snail on it up a plank. The toy car was with a sling tied to his shell.
 The snakes did all sorts of acts for us and Rick asked Mr Arno a lot of questions in Dutch English to which he responded in French English and it all worked fine. Kaat mainly asked Mr Arno if he liked her princess dress.
 Duuk was intrigued and fortunately, without any intervention, did not squash, eat or kidnap any of the show snails.
 The snails of course are cultivated by Mr Arno for consumption. They did not quite look so tasty yet.
 After the show we got the real interesting stuff for us. Turns out Mr Arno, on his tiny patch had well over 100,000 snails maturing. He also had developed some of his on products which I then realized I had been buying in the local supermarket already. 
Yes, Eelco also asked 100 questions, and I some, none about my dress, and it was fabulous!

Cuteness in the Hague

The last day in NL before we went to the new house in France was spend stocking up on things to take and getting organized. The kids where on their best behavior, all too cute, and also excited about going to the new house soon.

Eelco in St Petersburg

Just before he left for the Netherlands Eelco had a business trip to St Petersburg. It looks like it was a lot of fun!

A "Finally on the upper deck of a A380 Selfie"
 A tourist Selfie
 They hav ethe same grin -;)
 But not for long - as I understand Eelco ate bear - in this lovely Restaurant
 At the famous palace
 And quite nice weather! Even the wing under restoration to the left looks nice this way.

The Cutlet

Whilst in the Netherlands we went to see our friends Jonas & Tjitske. Jonas is a big chef - and we always get the best food when there. Jonas served us his version of a BBQ which is fabulous. So thought Duuk. As soon as the first plate with food came within reach he grabbed off that plate the biggest & juiciest lamb cutlet. And then with 5 teeth (yes our kid #3 does not follow the rule that teeth arrive in pairs, he has had just 5 teeth for months now), he spend the remainder of the evening making his way through that cutlet.

 After 2 hours it got cold, so we put a jumper on Duuk (yet is is not his but use dot be Kaatje's), over the cutlet as he would not let go.
 Another 2 hours later, late in the evening, we went home. And this is what I found in the car seat the next morning. Think he did a great job -:)

The world cup - our experience

We travelled quite some during the world cup and hence had somewhat of a strange 'viewing' experience of the whole event. Fortunately our driver is a big football fan and hence he would call us wherever we were several hours before the game to wish us luck and afterwards to congratulate us - no matter the time of day.

The first game was on the first day for us in the new house, in which we did 6.5 hours Ikea, 3 van hauls of furniture and more (separate post later). By the time we thought about the game it was more then halfway through - we saw the last 15 min or so and at first thought we were being fooled by the scores.

By the time the 2nd & 3rd games of the pool came around we had moved into the new house and had TV but not the right channels for the game, so we went to our new 'local' 'l'Edelweis at the bottom of the hill.

 Tired but happy - waiting for some goals
 with the kids - not that interested - other then keen on ordering drinks for us, in French, at the bar. Un jus de'pomme s'il vous plait, et un plus for papa -:) (a beer)
 We missed the 1/8 Final as we were somewhere over Iraq at the time up in the air.
 We caught the 2nd half and the extension in the lounge in Dubai a week later with our summer au pair Nina en route to Bangalore
 Again not much interest from Rick & Kaat, whilst we have no evidence but have been led to believe Duuk stayed awake most of the game when he went with Daddy to watch it at a friends house after a night out (kick off 1:30am India time!). Someone texted us kindly about the results of the penalties later as e had to board at that time.
 By the time the 1/2 final came around we where finally in a position to have a viewing party with other Orange fans. As we had 3 sleeping kids at home we invited everyone over.
 The preparations were half the fun and we did a big fashion show with all our Orange wear.
 By 1:30 we had in the house 6 Dutch people, one of whom on a business trip from Dubai who came over in the middle of the night from his hotel, 3 Indians, 1 Brazilian (no longer in tears), an Argentinian Lady and a Gabonese guy. Great fun, not such a great game to watch

We never bothered to stay up or watch the game last Saturday. 1:30am is too difficult after a full day with 3 kids. Easier to watch the summary -;)