Yearly Archives: 2012

More rave reviews for La Maison des Chaumes

This latest is from Bob and Stacia Cammerarro who just left La Maison des Chaumes after a month’s stay.



We loved staying at La Maison des Chaumes, Franck and Laura’s home in the village of Villers La Faye.It was well-stocked with everything we could conceivably need and was beautifully decorated to boot. One of the best things (besides the washer and dryer, of course) was all the storage we had. Two beautiful big armoires and built-in cupboards in the bedrooms for a start.

The location was great, lovely countryside with vineyards as far as the eye could see but also close to the busy wine town of Beaune with it’s shops, restaurants, the fabulous 16th century “Hospice de Beaune” and an outstanding Saturday farmer’s market.

We highly recommend this lovely French rental and it’s very helpful landlords.

Stacia and Bob
from Lakewood, Washington



This summer I experienced the best massage I have EVER had in my life.

It was at “Renaissance” in Ladoix-Serrigny, just a roll down the hill through the vineyards from both Magny and Villers.  Renaissance is run by Sandrine, who is not only a phenomenal masseuse but a wonderful, empathetic person.  The whole experience at Renaissance is uplifting and profoundly relaxing.

It is no surprise that her massage studio is now incredibly popular with locals (including every member of Franck’s family!) so if you are planning a trip to our rentals definitely make a reservation (or we can do it for you) in advance.   You will not be disappointed!

You can contact Sandrine via email @

Vacances à la Beaunoise…


Another lovely vacances à la Beaunoise for our 2012 guests.

“We stayed here 5 nights. The apartment is so nicely located, just a short walk to the Center Ville where all the action is!

Franck and Laura have done a wonderful job of restoration in this ancient building, and all appliances and furnishings are just as described and pictured. They have included many thoughtful touches. We especially appreciated the lovely bed linens and fluffy towels.

Franck was so helpful in calling and emailing when we experienced difficulty with the wi-fi and TV.

The Brasserie Carnot was by far our favorite restaurant. Food, and service outstanding. Saturday market should not be missed!

We highly recommend Le Relais de Beaune.”

Paula Berscheid AZ, USA


12th annual “Beaune Jazz & Wine” Festival


Jazz up your wine experience in Beaune!

Sept. 15 & 16

Place Carnot – Free concerts of upcoming regional musicians;

Thu., Oct. 18

7.00 pm____Chapelle St-Etienne____Wine tasting
8.30 pm____Théâtre de Beaune_____Young Burgundian Jazzmen orchesta

Fri., Oct. 19

7.00 pm____Chapelle St-Etienne____Wine tasting
8.30 pm____La Lanterne Magique___Mulgrew Miller Trio (USA)

Sat., Oct. 20

7.00 pm____Chapelle St-Etienne____Wine tasting
8.30 pm____Théâtre de Beaune_____Stefano di Battista Quintet (Italy)
10.30 pm___La Comédie du vin_____Joseph Lapchine Quartet

For detailed program and tickets, see:

The Magical Lilac Shutters of La Maison des Deux Clochers

Our first ever Swedish guests just left La Maison des Deux Clochers and are already planning their return trip!


“I think that everyone is hoping to find “that place” where you just want to sit on the stairs and don’t want to leave. Now I’ve found that place and I know that me and my family are going to return to this lovely place with the lilac shutters.

This quiet and peaceful little village is situated in the middle of the wineyards. It doesn’t even has a bakery, only winemakers, very good one’s. Every morning we walked with a smile through the beautiful landscape to the next village to buy bread and said “Bon jour” to everyone we met.

There was also a little cat next door who visited us every day. My son and I love cats. This house and this village is such a wonderful place to stay.

Hopefully we’ll return already this autumn.

Thank you!

Jenny & Håkan Ströberg – Stockholm – Sweden


I also love waking up to the light pouring through the lilac shutters and captured a photo of one of that dreamy French moment this summer…



The Grape Years – La Maison des Deux Clochers

Last week’s excerpt ended with the question “What were the two of you plotting?”  This week, the answer to that question becomes abundantly clear…



“Nothing…rien du tout…a simple misunderstanding…it was about another house I have for sale. I have the paper work for this one right here…you are not truly ready to sign an offer right now, are you?’

Franck extracted a pen from his back pocket. “Just tell us where to sign.”

The realtor clawed a hand through his hair. “If only it were as simple as that! I need to go back to my car and find the paperwork…He gnawed his lip. “But a 24 hour expiry on the offer, ce n’est pas possible! Nobody demands that of the sellers.”

“That’s not negotiable,” I said, waving my hand towards the empty space where the Notary’s car had been parked. “Especially given the circumstances of the last few minutes.” It was a desperate tactic, but it was perhaps our only hope of preventing the property from being sold out from underneath us.

The realtor’s eyes darted like minnows but Franck and I stood elbow to elbow across from him.  He sighed and opened his trunk again. “Just give me time to find the documents. It may take a moment.”

I grabbed Franck’s hand.  Did he feel as bewildered and angry as I did? Could this really be happening? Was the Maitre, who was supposed to be our savior, now trying to cheat us out of this property? The scale of the betrayal – if that is indeed what had just happened – was almost too enormous to comprehend. If we didn’t get this property because of Maitre Ange I was certain I would be catapulted back to the way I had felt when we first arrived back in France.  I couldn’t bear the thought.

Je ne crois pas! He’s on his cell phone,” Franck hissed. We were around the back of the car in time to see the realtor gabbling into his cell phone and making frantic gestures with his hands. He face was the colour of a ripe aubergine.

He caught sight of us and hung up without even saying good-bye.

“The paperwork?” I reminded him.

“Turns out I had it in my bag after all.  Sorry, phone call with a client,” he lied.

Oui.” Franck said slowly, arching a disbelieving brow. “C’est cela.” Can we get on with it please?”

The agent reluctantly slid out a wad of paper from his satchel, shut the trunk to use it as a writing surface, scrawled on the papers here and there, then shoved them over to us.  He pointed to the front sheet. “You sign here and here. Both of you.”

Wasn’t there supposed to be more gravitas involved in making a written offer? There was, after all, a heck of a lot of money involved. But then again realtors did this kind of thing every day…unless he was just doing this to get rid of us…

Franck read the papers over line by line while the realtor sighed, then passed them to me. The metal of the car underneath my hip burned, but I took my time. One of the few useful things I had learned over the tortuous last two years was to never skim over a contract.

“You’ve written nothing here about there being a 24 hour limit on the offer,” I said when I had scrutinized the last word.

Bah, you are not truly serious about that?”

“We are,” Franck and I said in unison.  I passed the paperwork back.

The realtor scrawled in the twenty four hour clause and then passed us the pen. I couldn’t believe we were rushing this way to make an offer. We didn’t even know if we would qualify for a mortgage. But if that ache in my gut was right about Le Maitre’s perfidy, we had no choice if we wanted our dream property.

This place was the path to finding myself…ourselves again; it could not be sold to someone else.

I felt exactly the same way about getting this house as I did about finishing my law degree at Oxford. When I walked out of the examination schools after my final exam I was fully expecting that in that very moment, everything would click. Struggle and the anxiety would be a thing of the past.

Franck was there waiting for me as I came down those stairs for the final time, as well as my friends Emmy and Melanie. They were armed with the traditional confetti and champagne and red carnations.  I kept waiting for the click – anticpating a feeling that never came.  Elation was all around me, but I didn’t feel it within me.  Why hadn’t it happened?

Now I understood. It wasn’t my law degree that would make everything perfect – it was this house. Owning this house would change everything.

“You are going to call the sellers, right away, n’est-ce pas?” Franck’s eyes blazed at the realtor.

Bien sûr, bien sûr, but I happen to know they are not home right now. I will try them tonight without fail. Are you sure you do not want to extend the deadline by a week or so?”

Non,” Franck said. “I will be expecting a call from you tonight after you speak to the owners.”

The realtor grimaced, shook our hands in a perfunctory good-bye, and drove off.  I watched his shadow through the rear windshield.  He picked up his phone  and was holding it to his ear before he rounded the first corner.


A suivre…



Art’Planète from July 7th – August 15th in Burgundy’s vineyards. When you are in our neck of the woods check out the Contemporary art installations – photography, sculpture, painting, even furniture this year – in both Magny-les-Villers, Villers-la-Faye, Nuits-Saint-Georges, and Villars-Fontaine.

See: – french only


The Grape Years – La Maison des Deux Clochers

This week, push comes to shove with the nasty notary.



Our angel now felt more like Lucifer in disguise. We had to act fast. We had to get this house. I grabbed Franck’s arm. “Let’s go ahead and make our offer.”

Oui.” Franck narrowed his eyes at the scheming on the other side of the fence.

“For the asking price,” I said. It wasn’t really a question.

Franck nodded. Le Maitre leaned down and began to whisper into the agent’s ear while moving him even farther away from us.

Tout de suite,” Franck added. We moved quickly to break up the worrisome tête à tête.

As we neared them snippets of the promises Le Maitre was pouring into our realtor’s ear floated over to us. “Already have clients lined up. Switzerland. More than the asking price…just what they are looking for…cut for you…”

My fingers balled into fists.

Franck cleared his throat. The agent jumped.

“We are ready to make an offer,” Franck informed him. The agent’s face was bright red and, in stark contrast to Le Maitre’s belligerent countenance, sporting a sheepish expression.

Quoi?” he spluttered.

“We want to make an offer now.” Franck fixed the pair of them with his gimlet eye.  “Our offer will match the asking price.”

“It will also have a time limit of twenty-four hours,’ I added with an arch look at Le Maitre. I wasn’t sure why that stipulation had popped into my head, but there was no time to ponder that now.

Le Maitre tried to stare me down with a haughty look. ‘As your advisor, I really do not believe-”

I turned my back to him and smiled at the real estate agent. “Can you please write up our offer? Now.”

Beads of sweat dripped off his earlobes. “Ici? Maintenant?”

I gave an imperious nod.

Le Maitre brushed past me and stalked to his Mercedes. Before he got there, however, he turned and shot our realtor a meaningful look. “Don’t forget what I said. Call me.”
He sped off in a cloud of dust. The realtor let out a sound of disbelief at the perfidy of his newest accomplice.

“What were the two of your plotting?” Franck demanded.


A suivre…

The Grape Years – La Maison des Deux Clochers

Laura and Franck’s notary finally shows his true colours…could their mistake cost them their dream house in France?



“Do you mind if we confer in private for a moment with our notary?” Franck asked the realtor, who nodded obsequiously and remembered a pressing need to fetch something from his car.

Alors?” Franck asked Le Maitre as soon as the realtor was out of earshot. “Do you see any problems?”

“Not problems exactement,” Maitre Ange smoothed his hair. “The renovation costs will be extensive. I know for a fact that buyers, particularly first time buyers, tend to grossly underestimate them.”

Franck and I were nothing if not novices, but this wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I felt an old, almost forgotten, tenacity stirring.

“I understand what you mean about the high renovation costs,” I said. “But look at all that property down the hill. If we needed extra money we could subdivide and sell off one or two parcels of land.”

Le Maitre’s eyes turned on me with such a patent look of dislike that I took a step backwards. French professionals such as notaries and doctors were not fans of having their revered judgment questioned. Still, I knew what I had just said wasn’t ridiculous. We were beginners but we weren’t idiots. I watched, my stomach sinking, as Le Maitre struggled to replace his expression of disgust with one of mere exasperation. There was someone completely different behind that shiny façade – someone that wouldn’t be inspecting the property for us out of the goodness of his heart.

“I’ll have to speak to the agent about that,” he said. “You know, find out about the zoning in this village and so forth.” He made his way quickly over to the agent, who was still rummaging around the bowels of his car. Le Maitre slung his arm around him and pivoted the agent so they moved away from us, towards the washing house.

“What’s he doing?” I hissed to Franck.

“I don’t know, but I don’t like it.”

A suivre…


This is an excerpt from my first book project about our adventures buying, renovating, and renting out our four homes in Burgundy. I’m currently searching for a publisher and / or agent, so if anyone knows of anyone who would be a good fit s.v.p. send them vers moi!  If you are enjoying the story, please feel free to share…