Cathar Country Houses – French Property Specialists – Southwest France
Charming Riverside Village Home
Gorgeous ” riverside ” location is almost putting it too strongly, the Chalabreil is the smallest of our three rivers and it’s sometimes tempting to call it a ” stream ” – it’s charming, puttering along between steep banks ankle deep with grass and wild flowers and still home to trout – but only baby ones. They tend to move downstream as they grow as our little Chabreil would cramp their style. This house is charming, owned by one of our old, local families, a family home for decades – going right back to the days when the garden and garden shed were home to a pig, rabbits and hens, with a washing line on the river bank to cope with the drying that a family with four children produced in the days before washing machines and electric dryers. Actually, Jennifer and I had a romantic notion of pegging out washing whilst listening to the river burbling away – but we suspect that it’s probably not as romantic as it sounds – especially if it’s raining.
Like many of the old houses this is far, far bigger than the front facade suggests – it has four bedrooms – the bedrooms to the back of the house are seriously generous and the front bedrooms are far from small. At ground floor the big kitchen is to your right, and there is a large sitting / dining room behind it – straight ahead as you enter is the door to the lower ground floor that leads to the garden. A friend of ours has the same layout and she has created a truly magical sitting room at this level. This space has the added bonus of leading straight to the garden – there is a toilet and huge vegetable washing sink at this level – practical, and could be far prettier, lots of space to play with and super old stone walls. The garden itself is just large enough to enjoy throughout the year by means of a terrace or patio, plus room enough for a potager, but it’s not so big that upkeep is a chore. We also thought balconies – several – would make a charming addition to the usable outdoor space… a real premium in village houses!
At first floor, above the kitchen / sitting room floor, there is a large bedroom to the back, overlooking the river and a smaller (but still generous) bedroom to the front of the house. A teeny shower room with toilet has been squeezed onto the landing. We both feel that a new owner would want to find a different solution – but water services are in place so the choice of refiguring becomes immediately simpler.
The second floor has exactly the same configuration , big bedroom to back, smaller bedroom to front – but this floor has still got its generous landing untouched. Up again to the loft, not standing headroom, but a good sized space – and a good loft is always useful.
The whole house has incredible charm. A new owner will, almost certainly, want to update certain elements and the price recognises that this is the situation. We now expect far more “bathroomage” than formerly, we expect kitchens that are a joy to work in and that generally function as a dining area too – the so called “heart of the home” – in the informal, more relaxed way we tend to live now. In addition to the joy of its riverside setting, this house is only moments away from the village centre, shops, restaurant / bars and all the buzz that Chalabre now has. It’s a real “best of both worlds” situation – in the village but also with a little path that leads to our village lake, the village tennis courts, continuing on into open countryside. 45 minutes from the airport in Carcassonne, 1.5 hours from Toulouse to the west and the Mediterranean to the East. Same distance to excellent shopping in Andorra, and for skiers its just under an hour. This lovely home is a super buy and Jennifer and I recommend it unreservedly.