After 11 months of hard work, miles of traveling to and from France, laboring the garden and sanding the wood it was finally the moment that the beds arrived. We worked double shifts in the last weeks to get everything ready to install the beds immediately at their final place. The beds are huge and heavy, 100% natural material and fairtrade produced .. besides that they are gorgeous looking …
We had to wait all this time not because of the production but because of our own delay. The whole renovation took more time than estimated due to several reasons. You can read about them in the blog.
But this was THE day .. the day followed by the first night in our own Supergite, sleeping in our brand new beds. Continue reading
Image by Getty Images via Daylife
We drive a car –gross modo– 2 hours a day and sleep between 6 to 8 hours a day. Yet we are willing to spend five times as much on a car than on a bed. Do you get it? Maybe your car gives space to the whole family and brings you to far off places. Maybe a new car gives you status or is a subject of reliability (disregarding Toyota). Maybe a new car is less polluting when we’re all in traffic going to work. Or maybe you don’t care about a good sleep …
At the Mill of Tourteron everybody is working hard on the renovation. Deliveries of equipment and materials create a continues coming and going of trucks and vans. And even though it’s minus 3º Celsius the workmen don’t care and arrive at 7 in the morning to leave at 6 in the evening. Almost like ABC’s ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition‘ people are working around the clock.
The current severe winter is not helping much. Due to the freezing temperature we can’t pore concrete for the drainage nor for the bathrooms. First we’ll have to insolate the old wooden structure to start getting it a bit more cozy inside the mill. Stephane bought 4 heat blowers but in my modest opinion … i would even heat my bathroom with those. Too small for King Frost.
But nevertheless there’s improvement. The downstairs bathroom has a new wall. The ceilings have glass wool insulation. The new walls are built. We can’t wait to make new pictures.
So it’s time we start to communicate the Supergîte concept and spread the word: “A Supergîte has the comfort of a star hotel with the privacy of a home.”
With one of the biggest Dutch tour operators we added our publication (in Dutch – I know – it’s a start).
“Hot chocolate any one?”
Publication at D-Reizen
One Flower for Tourteron
To our big surprise, Tourteron has been awarded with ‘one flower’ by the Village Fleuri committee. Of course we’re delighted about the news! There are special guided tours offered through the Flower Towns of France–though sometimes it’s not more than some cranesbill next to the city name sign.Still, we wanted to thank and show our appreciation to the town of Tourteron, so we sent this letter to the town hall:
Dear Town of Tourteron,
On our arrival in Tourteron for Christmas we noticed the ‘Village Fleuri’ sign for the first time. Is it true our lovely town is awarded with one flower? We’re really happy about it since we had the wish to help our city with this. How is it organized? Is there something we can do to help maintenance? Is there a budget to make Tourteron look better with the flowers? If there’s anything we can do to support, please let us know.We have one suggestion for Christmas next year. In Brandeville (Meuse), the town offers electricity for the decorations and the town gardener places all the Christmas trees. The community helps decorate the trees. We’d love to help.Your new and proud inhabitants,
Marco and Hugo.
In French it’s translated like this:
Chers ville de Tourteron,
A notre arrivée à Tourteron pour Noël, nous avons remarqué le signe «Village Fleuri» pour la première fois. Est-il vrai que notre belle ville est récompensée par une fleur? Nous sommes vraiment content de ça depuis que nous avions le souhait d’aider notre ville à la présente.Comment est-il organisé? Y at-il quelque chose que nous pouvons faire pour aider à l’entretien?Yat-il un budget pour faire Tourteron plus belle avec des fleurs? S’il ya quelque chose que nous pouvons faire pour soutenir – s’il vous plaît nous le faire savoir.Nous avons un sugestin pour l’an prochain Noël. En Brandeville (Meuse), la ville offre l’électricité pour les décorations et le jardinier de ville place tous les arbres de Noël. La communauté aident décorer les arbres. Nous serions ravis de vous aider.Vos nouveaux habitants orgueilleux,
Marco et Hugo.
It’s finally live: the official Supergites website. Though it’s still in Dutch, it’s there and that’s the most important thing. The French, English, and German versions will follow in January, as will the calendar and the automated reservation module.
We also registered the gîte at the funniest website, Vakantie bij Nederlanders in Frankrijk . nl, which translates to ‘Vacation with the Dutch in France’. We’re eager to see how it works and whether it gives us any leads.
The gîte will be ready for rent April 1. Tomorrow we’re off to France for 7 days of hard labour. 🙂
Check our new design at Supergites.nl.
Only 8km away, we’ve found this sweet restaurant next to the canal and locks at Neuville-Day. It’s cozy, humble, and simple with not too complicated but well-presented food that is quite tasty. It’s the perfect place to walk to and back from if you enjoy hiking. Their homemade goose liver paté is really great–and they do serve a lot!
We haven’t tried it in winter yet, but in summer the setting–a terrace along the canal– is superb.
Restaurant ‘AU SANS SOUCI’
Téléphone : 03 24 30 19 58
Fax : 03 24 71 72 42
Menus ardennais. ‘Ravioles du sans-souci’, ‘Minerai ardennais’ foie gras maison, décors en sucre. Vente sur place de produits du terroir.
Filed under All, Food, Tourism
This Saturday we went to see the progress in Tourteron. Although we were kept informed by Stepháne on a regular basis, we were not sure what to expect. In the end, even the three-and-a-half-hour drive does make us feel a bit helpless. It’s the same with any construction project: being there at least speeds the workmen.
When we arrived, the whole place was barricaded with hardboard. All the windows were closed and covered with black plastic. The larger ones were even covered with wooden panels. We couldn’t enter the house by the front door. We had to take the second door uphill. Entering bedroom 3, we stepped into one big, dirty cloud of grey dust. It instantly grabbed our throats. What happened here? Throughout the house the floor was covered with a 5 cm-thick layer of black crystal sand. OK, they have been sanding the wood. In the bare light coming through some holes in the roof and windows we could see the result. All of the wooden beams had become this beautiful light-brown, rough oak colour. Fantastic!
The second fantastic thing that happened was this: the water meter had been moved from the inside of the house to the outside. As strange as it sounds, the meter was originally installed in the middle of bedroom 3. That can be quite unhandy when you need to check something while people are renting. So Monsieur de l’Eau Official came, dug a hole, and placed the meter outside of the house. This resulted in a completely hidden water system. I love it!
The third thing I love about this update is the letters from the officials. The first letter came from S.P.A.N.C.; it’s the official note telling us we have to wait another two weeks before we’ll know if we can install the new 4000-liter eco-friendly septic tank where we want it. Why does that make me happy? Because it means they have at least approved it! There’s another bureau involved who’ll have a final say, but this is a good start.
The second letter has not arrived yet. Why does that make me happy? It means we have to wait one more week. No news here means the complete building permit has been approved and we can start on the roofs and windows in one week.
Our plan is to open for rental guests the third week of March. Saturday March 20 will be the first time somebody can rent the first Super Gîte. That’s right before the Easter holidays.
In the next weeks we’ll have a reservation module online at the official supergites.com site, but any early birds who really can’t wait should contact us here: marco AT artmiks . nl . Because we would appreciate the risk you’d take by making a reservation on a project that isn’t even finished, we’ll have a very nice proposal waiting for you.
And you probably wonder what rent costs at the mill. A full week’s stay–Saturday 14.00 hours to Saturday 10.00 hours–will be 1200 euro in high season and 800 euro in low season. This includes double fireplace, four bedrooms each with its own bathroom, a 90-square meter living room, designer kitchen, and a warm welcome. It does not include electricity, wood for the fireplace, or cleaning. So, who’ll be our first guests?
Filed under All, Renovation
My best friend will Laugh Out Loud or even Roll On the Floor Laughing when he reads this post for the first time. But an amazing discovery I have made today: I like watching Golf.
I was invited to go to the Dutch KLM Open, and I took the chance to watch golf and to be on a course for the first time in my life. I always considered playing golf posh, fake, and a lot of ‘puha’ as the Dutch would say. ‘Only wannabes play golf to pretend they are somebody’. So I avoided the subject amongst my friends, since many of them actually do play golf. I really didn’t think much of their hobby. Not my cup of tea–end of discussion.
Today I discovered why they like it.
I went to the Kennemer Dunes close to Zandvoort. The first impression supported the original idea: lots of black cars with beige leather seats and ‘wooden’ finishing. The white pants were reflecting the sun in painful brightness. The hats make it look like we’re in the English colonies or even in a scene of Brideshead Revisited. This was indeed the Walhalla of the Rich. So, this is it? I let it happen and seated myself on Hole 13’s grandstand.
The crowd was quiet! …wow! Since I feel easily uncomfortable with the shouting crowds found at soccer matches, I noticed the tranquility right away. As soon as the silence sign went up birds were all I could hear. I searched for the players and far away I spotted a golfer swinging at an imaginary ball. And then, the strike. In the quiet peace I saw a little white dot approaching through the blue sky. It landed right in front of the grandstand without a lot of bouncing. How did he do that, I wondered? Shooting a ball more than 200 meters with just a single bounce? Almost a hole-in-one. I applauded spontaneously. The second player looked for his ball in the rough. As soon as he found it-–again–-silence, concentration, and Tik. His ball flew 40 meters and missed the hole by 10 centimeters. I jumped up and yelled, “WOW!”
I was shocked … for the first time in my life I was excited about a match, a competition in which only one will win. I was completely on the right spot and didn’t move for the following two hours. I stayed at my seat and watched all the other players trying to conquer the same hole in as few strikes as possible.
I’m totally excited about golf now. I’m even thinking of taking lessons. I could try to find a place in the Netherlands, but I’ve discovered that the Parcours Les Poursaudes is only 9 km from our mill in Tourteron.
This opens new horizons… 🙂 I’ll contact them to see how I can get a good deal for myself and for our future guests. Please, come play golf with me! You can easily win. I’m a complete novice. LOL
Golf des Ardennes
When you think you have seen it all, it’s usually just the beginning. In the period while we were still working on the finance we got a call from Madame Picard. During the heavy rain of that night the stream didn’t hold the extra water and…you guessed it: flooded the Mill.
The clay residue of the flood
Now that was a big surprise. The mill apparently floods at least once every 5 years. At least! We were in shock! And so were all our friends 🙂
We claimed an extra cut on the price, but this time the French owners really said: “Pas possible!” So what to do next? We were this close to buying a mill with a high risk of flooding. We thought about it for a week or so – you know late night wine drinking, talking about risk, chances and dreams. And we decided to do it. “We’re Dutch,” we thought. “We”ll find a way to stop the water!”
On September 30, 2008, we received a call from our Dutch / French agent. He’d seen an old water mill that was about to go on the market, and he guessed correctly that we’d be eager to see it. He knew the real estate agent and said we could have the first look as bidders. Four hours later we drove up the small path and saw the mill for the first time.
The silence was deafening. The location at the bottom of a ridge was superb. The village was only 10 meters uphill. The view was absolutely spectacular!
We knew instantly that this was a Super Gîte to be!
The price was set at an affordable level, but it went up the same day. Luckily we had already expressed our sincere interest. After doing some calculations and drawings that evening, we called the next day to give it a GO.
Then the real story began…