Escaping over-crowded Britain is a dream many hold dear. When we made the decision to move to France it was to where, town or countryside? Most people head for the countryside and away from the madding crowd. People dreams of owning a charming older cottage, hidden away on a leafy lane, besides woodland. To be kings of all they survey and the owner of a couple of hectares of land. It is so tempting. But hey! Wait a minute! What happens when the car breaks down or there is a need to do an urgent shop?
The question of where to live was a hard one. It became clear from the start that the countryside was pretty enough, tranquil and almost people free, but we dreaded the idea of the fosse septique nor did we like the idea of 'La Chasse' – shooting parties – on our land nor did we like the idea of total isolation.
We chose carefully when we chose Gourin. Here was a country town with everything. Gourin has all kinds of shops, two supermarkets, shoe shops, five bakeries, seven schools, petrol bunkers and even a Michelin One Star restaurant. Monday and Saturday street markets offer variety. A new medical centre and new pharmacy eased the medical worries, as did three banks and all other facilities you expect from a small town.
Our house is conveniently located in a prime position on a small tucked-away chemin - footpath - that leads to the magnificent Château Tronjoly. The Château is just a five minute walk away and in the opposite direction, just eight minutes by foot, there is a huge supermarket! This had to be the best of both worlds and indeed it is. Our house is set in a private spot behind high hedges and enjoys a micro climate attractive to birds, most of which nest in the willow trees. They offer evenings of cheerful birdsong for which we are grateful.
We can take a slow walk down the chemin to the fantastic grounds of the Château with its appealing park, lake and meandering walkways any time of the day. And there is another bonus, we have fetes and exhibits all year round. Huge festivals of all things Breton and French during summer and of course firework displays are all free to us.
Beside the Chateau and its wonderful grounds, we are lucky enough to have a new Salles des Fete in the Château park and a swimming pool nearby.
Yes, we have the best of both worlds. We chose well. Be sure to do your own homework if you join us in France.