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…