WITH the resurgence of property renovation by French and foreign homebuyers throughout France, René Fontaine recognised the necessity to safeguard the traditional rural houses and further their upkeep and restoration in accordance with the techniques and know-how of the various regions, writes Coral Luke.
For this purpose in 1965 he set up Maisons Paysannes de France (MPF) to advise owners and prospective purchasers of ancient buildings and to make them aware of both the pit falls and the most authentic ways of restoring these properties.
For the last 20 years the nationwide organisation has worked hard to highlight the importance of retaining interesting and ancient aspects of the buildings, respecting the local identity and not changing their nature.
Above all they concentrate on the roof and the exterior coating, which is, after all, the skin of the building. They also take an interest in the preservation of artefacts like bread ovens and the environment.
Naturally matters such as finance come into the equation as renovating an ancient property can be immensely expensive but to MPF it is the work that is the priority.
They feel that having a modest budget is an advantage, because when money is no object it can lead to a renovation without giving much consideration to the use of materials. When money does become a priority, taking time over the project means more investigation and reflection can be taken into the best and most sympathetic methods of reaching the final goal.
For more information about the scheme visit the MPF site where you can obtain leaflets regarding renovating chimneys and fireplaces, weathervanes and ironwork amongst other things, and books and guides to renovating ancient, rural properties.
Contacts in the Burgundy region:
Cote d’Or (21)
Mme Chantal Duléry, Le Logis, 21310 Bezouotte.
Tel: 06 67 28 19 17
M André Mercuzot, Le Praiselier, Les Granges sous Grignon, 21150 Grignon
Tel: 03 80 96 98 02
Mme Véronique Simon-Marienne, ‘La Colombière’, Boulon, 58700 Lurcy-Le-Bourg.
Tel: 06 67 28 19 17
Cédric Cramona, Collonge cidex 732, 71260 Cruzille.
Tel: 03 85 33 04 99 or 06 16 86 08 34
Contact the head office of Maisons Payannes de France on 01 44 83 63 63
For other regions of France contact the head office on the above telephone number or through the website.