Whether you live abroad or are considering a move, have you thought about running a gîte to bring in extra income? This couple did just that and tell us their story…
Expats Lynn and Pete Stevens are used to accommodating Britons in rural France, where they have been renting out a gîte at their property in the Millevaches Natural Park in Limousine for three years. Previously, the pair had a B&B.
The property, Tree Tops, is in a hamlet situated between the villages of Bujaleuf and Eymoutiers. They own a converted barn, which is their home, with an adjoining gîte and two large barns, currently used for storage. To the rear of the property is a large garden that overlooks a valley.
The historic city of Limoges, which is famous for ceramics, has regular flights from the UK and is around 40 minutes away.
Pete, who does building and maintenance jobs for other homeowners in the area, explains how the couple came to running their business: “When we bought six years ago, the wow factor for us was the relaxing location, pretty scenery and beautiful stone buildings.
“The first thing we did was renovate the gîte. Upstairs it has two double bedrooms and a family bathroom, while downstairs there is an open-plan kitchen/diner/living area, plus toilet.
“Next we started work on our home, the barn, converting the loft area into two double bedrooms with ensuites, while downstairs we have a large lounge, split level kitchen and a dining room. We just have some outside terraces and my bar to finish!”
The property also has an aboveground pool, which guests can use at allocated times.
The couple began accepting guests in June 2012 and have become steadily busier. They attract guests on their website and other holiday let sites, including Trip Advisor, as well as through word of mouth.
They are busiest between June and September, although they have received guests over the winter for skiing. Some prospective second homebuyers or expats have also stayed in the gîte while house hunting.
Lynn comments: “Running a gîte is good fun and rewarding, but it can also be hard work. But we do it as much for socialising and meeting new people.”
The Stevens, from Kent, first discovered Eymoutiers and the Millevaches Natural Park in 2004 when they travelled through France. They had already decided to buy a home in the country, but had no idea where.
“Finding Eymoutiers was pure fluke,” remembers Lynn. “We randomly stopped off at a hotel there and noticed a house in the window of an estate agent. We visited the property the same day and had our offer accepted. So we returned to England, put our house there on the market and sold within two weeks.”
This property, also called Tree Tops, was transformed into a B&B. “We lived in the middle section of the house,” Pete recalls. “We converted the loft into two double ensuite bedrooms with a shared dining room, while the ground floor we made into a self-contained one-bedroom apartment.”
The Stevens comment on property in the area: “Most houses bought are stone houses and can be very good value for money – you get so much more here.”1
Fancy unspoilt countryside and ancient villages? Eymoutiers may be the place for you! The charming area also boasts freshwater lakes. The largest, Lake Vassiviere, has its own island and is surrounded by several manmade sandy beaches.
Find out why this area is such a hotspot on our list of the top family-friendly places that are out of tourist zones: https://insuremyvilla.com/blog/2015/08/4-family-friendly-hotspots-away-from-tourists/