It’s quite some time since I wrote the last blog and it's strange to think back to the pre-Covid times when all looked rosy and visitor numbers were exceeding the predicted numbers in the business plan for Le Prieuré. That ground to a halt in 2020. I was overjoyed to have bookings for visitors to Pressigny from April to September. They were with families mostly, from babies to grandparents, and almost all British. Of course, almost every single one cancelled and it was a tough year. I did a lot of gardening!
The end of Covid saw a rapid increase in the number of visitors coming to the Deux-Sevres, but of course, I was two years behind in the renovation plans and had had to go to the bank for help – no- where near the help given to businesses like mine in France compared to the U.K.!
During one of the periods when visitors were allowed to stay, a charming couple booked La Tour for a few days. They asked if they could stay on an extra day and take photographs and interview me as Elena wanted to start writing articles for interiors magazines. I was delighted, and a while later she let me know it was appearing online.
In April ‘22, the article appeared in print in Maisons art de Vivre ‘Campagne’, with an 18 page piece at the beginning of the magazine and bylined to Elana Augier!
I rushed into Thenezay to get a copy, where, this being somewhere further over the rainbow than the back of beyond, there weren’t any! (That’s why we love it, you move here to a bucolic lifestyle that takes you back sixty years!).
Parthenay produced three copies, so I snatched them all and brought them home, distributing them amongst the houses, having first broadcast about it on Instagram! There followed a couple of months gap and then word came that the article was appearing in the States, in Victoria Classics French Cottage, so I duly asked a great friend in Connecticut to get me a few copies. I again distributed them around Le Prieuré and La Tour. And I thought no more about it.
Shortly afterwards, returning visitors from the States who had become friends, stayed in La Tour.
Rushing over with a copy, they said ‘You’re in Victoria Classics!’.
‘Yep’, I replied nonchalantly.
‘Do you know how big this is?’
‘No’, I replied.
‘It's enormous! It’s incredible, and you’re on the front cover! And in the Editorial! And your piece is at the beginning of the magazine!’
Of course, it was wonderful to know that such a prestigious magazine as Victoria Classics had featured La Tour.
The master bedroom with the super-king bed, overhung with a stunning chandelier and draped with beautiful fabric covered in mythical beasts, couldn’t look more romantic. And, since the pictures were taken, we have inherited beautiful antique prints and these now adorn the walls. The second bedroom, with four single beds and a low beam (you are in a converted mediaeval attic!), is designed with kids who love Harry Potter in mind. I’ve tried to make it as magical and mystical as possible for young visitors!
The massive 15th century fireplace, which was the first thing we opened up and got working when I arrived in Pressigny, throws out the heat in the winter, which is amazing as you can stand in the fireplace when it's not lit and look up and see the sky! The pictures Elena took stunningly reflect the beautiful ancient building where embroidered antique napkins await you on the table and a chilled bottle of fizz sits in the fridge and, with luck, our favourite, delicious gateau on the table.
And with that, the enquiries for weddings started to come in from The States.