It was a cold and clear day when we visited the French Show at London’s Earls Court in January 2011 by train from Ashford, Kent.
Strolling across the hall, we came across Steve and Stella’s stand. Previous to this moment, we had based all our research on the purchase of bricks and mortar and were planning on viewing a house in the Charente, but were interested to know the pros and cons of parc home ownership in France.
We were warmly welcomed by Stella and she spoke enthusiastically of both Parc Mayenne and the variety of homes that were featured on it. My eye had been taken by one particular unit that was being marketed on the stand by Steve on behalf of its present owners. Its purchase price was considerably less than the deposit would have been on any of the properties that we had been viewing hitherto. Later, a talk with an equally enthusiastic Steve found us agreeing to keep the Tunnel booking we had made for the next weekend and going to Parc Mayenne in place of the Charente.
Well, I suppose the thought of visiting a holiday home in rural France in February had to be possibly the worse set of conditions possible. But, we had booked a hotel in Bagnoles and after a brief visit to orientate ourselves, we set off early Sunday morning to visit the Parc. Arriving with some slight trepidation, we were met by Clare and Simon and instantly made to feel very welcome. Simon took us around where we saw, not only the extent of the parc and its facilities, but four separate holiday homes.
Impressed by both the Parc’s layout and facilities, combined with the people we had met, we drove back to Kent suitably impressed. Steve had followed us up at a discreet but interested distance and we soon had agreed to come for another look. On this occasion our thoughts were much more polarised. Any apprehensions that we may have had about the site had all been dissolved after our first visit. The topography, layout, pool, stunning views and its remoteness were all things that we both instantly accepted as being “just right” for us.
Having been based in a highly pressurised retail industry for over forty years I knew exactly how I wanted to be treated and Steve’s approach and sales techniques would have been an abject lesson to many of the staff with whom I work.
Having decided that Parc Mayenne was just right, we studied all that we could over the details of the last unit we looked at, a Lindera Lodge on a superb corner plot. Impressed by seeing “our” lodge being featured on not only the company’s brochure but their website as well, we were now well on our way to considering this as a serious proposition and decided to go back for a second look.
Our next visit was in February. A cold, but bright Saturday found us at the parc with the intention of either securing a deal on the first unit we had seen at the show or, taking the Lodge seriously. We viewed both, the pre-owned first and then the lodge. As we walked in I looked across at Alison, not being a women to hide her emotions easily, I could see the look on her face. I knew straight away also that this was the place for us. The fixtures and fittings, the layout and attention to detail, were just what we both appreciate. With rapid motions from me to Alison to keep quiet, we feigned modest interest and casually looked around. On the basis that we wanted to be cautious, we said that we would think about it overnight and return the following morning for a further viewing of them both.
To say that we were both smitten would have been an understatement. With time to have gathered our own thoughts, we soon realised that we had both fallen for both the Parc and the Lodge. After a brief and balanced negotiating process, a deal was struck and deposit paid, we were now the new owners.
With all the administration completed, our first official visit as owners was just before Easter 2011. We bought some goods and chattels from home and had anticipated some graft to get the place as we’d like but we shouldn’t have worried. Simon and Clare had prepared our place to the highest standard we could ever have expected.
The rest of this year has been one continuous pleasure. We have met some delightful people, enjoyed having the time to make the home our “residence secondaire”. The garden is maturing nicely, the weather has been delightful and we have enjoyed visits to local events which have shown us how simply and comprehensively the French enjoy themselves on a modest budget by involving everyone of all ages. Our friends and family who have visited us throughout the summer have been overwhelmed by our good fortune at finding such an idyllic retreat.
We are looking forward to our next year at Parc Mayenne with great enthusiasm, the sooner we can be back “home” the better.
If you would like to know or discuss anything more about this delightful Parc or a Lindera Lodge, please feel more than welcome to contact me.