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preuilly chateau

The English and the French point to history with the tip of a spear. One conflict measured a hundred years, but after that the French and Brits became allies and in central France, agriculture ruled. People planted seeds. People tended the fields. People harvested the crops. People hauled the harvest to market.

Then came the industrial revolution. People moved to the cities. The population of central France was halved in 150 years. Houses were left behind. With a strong pound sterling and all those empty houses, the time for another British invasion ripened.

That time is now.

My dessert at L,Image, in Preuilly-sur-Claise

My dessert at L’Image, in Preuilly-sur-Claise

We’ve made ten good friends here since we’ve arrived, and they’re all Brits. Why Brits? An example is in order:

Yesterday, in honor of the Feast of Saint Louise (I didn’t make that up), I took Louise for lunch to Preuilly-sur-Claise, a village that’s fifteen minutes up the road. It truly was a feast. Three elaborate courses, wine and coffee. We ate for more than two hours.

After lunch we walked the town. Its charm is undeniable. It’s within forty miles of the Loire Valley. A river runs through it. There is a château (that’s it pictured at the top of this post). It has the unmistakable charm of an ancient French village. The capstone in the L’abbatiale Saint Pierre de Preuilly, the village church, reads “1009.”

According to Wikipedia, Preuilly’s population today is 1,075. A hundred fifty years ago, in 1846, it was 2,362.

There were empty houses, dozens for sale. One in particular, located in the middle of town, caught our eye and we looked it up on our phones: two bedrooms, two baths, two marble fireplaces, 1300 square feet—54,600 pounds sterling. According to London Property Watch, the average selling price for a one-bedroom flat in the city of London is half a million.

And that is why there are so many Brits in central France.

(Gallery of the house for sale. Click any image to enlarge.)

Take note, you Portlanders and New Yorkers: the asking price for this house translates to about $80,000 US. The Americans can’t be far behind.

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(Image at top from France Ballade.)

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