Discovering Sentein

So one afternoon, when I wanted to ‘get away from it all’, I suggested to Jez that we should buy a house in France.  We contacted estate agents and arranged a handful of viewings spreading from Perpignan on the east coast, across the Pyrennes towards the west.

As usual it was all done on impulse and I became very excited about the prospect of owning a little maison where we could stay and enjoy time away from the stresses of the UK.

To be fair, I’d done my usual amount of research and I was pleased and confident that the places we were going to look at would be suitable, in a reasonable location, within our budget, etc etc. However, France is a little larger than the UK and I was surprised at how much travelling we had to do between visits. We had a number of problems when we were running on empty and unable to locate a filling station, another when we were in zero visibility at the top of the Pyrenees and a time when we just despaired at the thought of viewing another French Farmhouse that didn’t quite match the description in the advert.

We were about to give up, when we met Philippe, the plan was to rendezvous at the church on top of the hill in a little village tucked deep in the Pyrenees in a region called the Ariege.

The Road to Freedom
The view approaching Sentein

I’d never seen such breathtaking and beautiful views, whereever we looked there were picturesque villages, amazing mountains, pretty streets and houses and typically french people, carrying their baguettes tucked under their arm and wearing clothing that simply served it’s purpose.

Philippe asked us to follow him by car to a smaller hamlet a little further south, almost on the French Spanish border, looking at my map I could only see one road in and out of our destination.

When we arrived in Sentein, I fell in love with the place, it was the most perfect little village surrounding a 13th century church in the middle of the square. There was boulangerie, tabac, la poste, 1 B&B, the mayors house, la Crabere hotel and restaurant, streams, woods, walks and snow capped mountains all around.

It was possibly the most perfect, prettiest and picturesque village I’ve ever seen, the place was oozing with character and the people were a different breed, I can only compare their lives with how it may have been in the UK 80 years ago. The villagers led a simple and happy life and we wanted to be a part of it.
The river in Sentein

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