We are Alan Ravenscroft and Rosemary Stones. Alan is a television producer who makes music programmes and other documentaries. Rosemary is a writer. While we have busy lives in London and adore the city with all its vitality, we also love the richness of the Burgundy countryside and think of Coutarnoux as home and ourselves as Arnulphiens (inhabitants of Coutarnoux)!

While we are in London we leave Le Verger in the very capable hands of Hubert, Francoise and Jacqueline who live nearby. They look after the property for us and prepare the houses to welcome our guests. They are so helpful and friendly and you will feel very well looked after.

We bought Le Verger 18 years ago and found Coutarnoux both welcoming and friendly. We had a chance to get to know our fellow Arnulphiens very well indeed in 1999 by volunteering to take photos of all the residents to mark the Millennium. Alan photographed each family standing outside their house. We eventually held an exhibition of the photographs in the village salle des fêtes and everyone came to view their portrait and celebrate with a vin d’honneur.

Alan already knew Burgundy well as his brother has a house in nearby Talcy. We also have Parisian friends with houses in the area so it seemed the ideal location. The food, wine, beautiful countryside, wonderful chateaux and Romanesque churches were also a big draw!

We spent two years looking for a property we both liked. After many fruitless visits to near ruins and deserted, wildly remote farmhouses, some friends from Paris told us that a property in Coutarnoux had become available which they thought would be of interest. Rosemary liked it at once but Alan (who had done the driving from London after a long week at the office!) was not so sure. However, after a good dinner and warm night in the local hotel he agreed in the morning that it was indeed the place we had been looking for.

Although the property needed a lot of work we could see its potential. We were particularly drawn to the original features (beams, arches, stone fireplaces, traditional tiles) and the mature fruit trees (old varieties!) and vines in the garden - then very overgrown. We also liked the fact that one side of the property is opposite the church and firmly in the village while the other side looks out across beautiful countryside.

One unexpected outcome of buying Le Verger was the idea to make a television series about English people buying property in France. While it’s hard to believe now, that series, ‘A House in France’ was the very first made on the subject. Alan presented it as well as doing the production. We did it very cheaply, all camping in the half restored house.

Making the series was great fun and Alan went on to produce similar series about English people settling in Italy, Spain and Florida. We still occasionally meet people in Avallon who were inspired to come and live in France after seeing ‘A House in France’. We hope you enjoy your stay in beautiful Burgundy and we welcome you to Le Verger and Coutarnoux!

Burgundy Hols

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Burgundy Hols

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