WOW is the first word that comes to mind when you drive up to Elley and Gavin Reid’s home in the Lot and Garonne.
And it’s not the panoramic views or the stunning stonework that makes you catch your breath.
It’s the size of the challenge the couple have set themselves in converting a collection of buildings into gîtes and a home for themselves and their children.
Sat sipping a mug of coffee Elley explained what the couple had bought, she said: “We have a former restaurant, built into a barn, with an attached house and outbuildings.
“We also have other buildings in various states of disrepair, these include a large barn, smaller animal shelters and a house in the bottom field.
“A bit more than we planned, but when I walked around and saw the courtyard I knew this was the right place.”
The work on the first gîte is already underway with the creation of a first floor then two other buildings will be worked upon, with two pools and terraced gardens also on the plan.
And it is this plan that is firmly entrenched in their minds, as it would be very easy to be overawed by the project.
“We aim to have the first gîte up and running including the pool by summer 2004,” Elley explained.
“With the main work done on the other two. So by the following summer the second pool will be in and all the surrounding grounds prepared, so we have all three up and running.
“After that we can move on to the other buildings!”
With a young family themselves, Elley and Gavin are keen to take the stress out of holidays and provide guests with plenty to keep the kids entertained including ball pools, painting easels, bikes and games.
But what advice would the Reid’s give to anyone who wanted to come to France and start afresh.
“Be sure about what you want to get out of the move. That’s it. The one thing I know is what I want to get out of this project,” Elley said.
“And that is to have the experience of living a life outside of the UK with a different culture and a different language.”
To see a collection of photographs please click here.