Restarting my farm in France and as anticipated, field 17 doesn’t have Sunflowers in it this time. In fact, it’s bare earth, a blank canvas 😅 I have once again built the farmhouse, silo and yard using the construction tools of the game. However, the circumstances make changes to the original storyline essential. So, with apologies for a ‘semi-repeat’ post, let’s start the tale again…

My partner and I had planned on buying an old farmhouse in southwest France to operate it as a Gite. Two summers running we visited and looked at possible candidates for our project. We learnt one thing; estate agents are very free with half-truths. Every property was either too small or in such bad condition that we would need a lifetime just to make it habitable! Then, last year, we stumbled across a farmhouse in Haut-Beyleron. It looked like a possible candidate for a Gite when we looked at the agent’s brochure. But, when we visited, it was clearly too small. However, it came with a plot of land and a small field. We talked this through thoroughly – could we build a chalet on the field? Or perhaps, lease the field to a local farmer and extend the farmhouse – there was room to do that too. The more we looked, the better it seemed, and we decided to buy…


The owner was an elderly farmer, Monsieur Seymour. He had decided to retire and move closer to his grandchildren near Tours. Much of his farmland and all the equipment had been auctioned off the previous Autumn. We met him with the estate agent and heard more of his story than we did about the sale! In some ways though, that sort of sold us into making our offer for the house, remaining buildings and sole field.

We got a very nice farmhouse – Monsieur Seymour had looked after it well although we would need to redecorate to make it viable as a gite. We also got a large grain silo!..


…With the best will in the world, that isn’t going to be converted into rooms for guests! Then there was the field – freshly tilled and ready for us to build on if we could get planning permission…


We moved in and set about redecorating inside. We approached the local Cònsol to get an understanding of the local planning requirements for new build on farmland and got a very non-committal answer. Meanwhile, every morning we sat on the porch and looked out across the empty field towards the monastery on the hill above the village. Sometimes we saw tractors and farm machinery working adjacent fields. I think we spent more time watching the farmers at work over coffee than we did redecorating! And over a few weeks the germ of an idea formed in our minds – we might actually be able to make our gite project into a working farm project!

The area has a Farmers Co-operative and we contacted them. They were very helpful and their chairman, Monsieur Gerard, offered to come out and discuss the possibility of restarting the farm with us on the ground. “We would love it if you were to restart this farm” he said, taking off his cap and scratching his nearly bald pate. “Too many of our small producers have been lost”. His chubby waist-coated figure would become a familiar sight over the next few weeks as he guided us through a lot of the basics required to restart the farm. One day he brought out some forms to us – “These will get you a municipal grant to help you when times are tough” he said.


By the middle of July, the decisions had been made – we were going to be farmers. “You know it will be long hours?” asked Monsieur Gerard as he closed his briefcase. “Don’t forget”, he added, “There are lots of other farmers in our cooperative who will pay you for your time when you help out – that’s an important part of being a farmer here.”

And so we set out on our journey – the life of an arable farmer under the sun in the south of France…

The story will continue next week when we’ll buy our first tractor and start work👍