Me, Le Moulin, the Vendée and my glance at France.
I’m Lucy Pitts – Francophile, writer, copywriter, barrister and parent, although probably not in that order! I come from a long line of Francophiles and over the years, France and more specifically the Vendée, is a place I’ve found myself visiting again and again. And as my two great passions are writing and France, here is the place where they come together.
So how did I get here?
As recently as 2005 I was a practicing barrister working out of London. I had horses but not children and despite the cliché, needed a life change. Never one to do things in half measures, by 2010, with a large but young family in tow, I’d retrained as a copywriter and persuaded my husband to do something insane, namely buy a very run down (dare I say almost derelict), former water mill in the heart of the Vendée in the West France.
Falling in love.
In my defence, a project of the size we took on was not the original plan but sometimes you just walk into somewhere and know. Sleepy and tired, when we first saw Le Moulin, it was nestled in the hillside of its own private valley in the Vendée, overrun with rabbits, snakes and the odd goat, sinking slowly into a tangle of weeds and ivy.
For many years Le Moulin was a working farm and watermill and the son of the family that lived there still lives nearby. About 45 years ago, the stream was redirected around the building which was then converted into a home. When we found it, not much work had been done on it since that initial conversion all those year ago. It had some spectacular period wallpaper, very limited facilities and great mounds of oyster shells and empty bottles.
But of course, it also had something magic about it. Apart from the silence and tranquillity that surrounds it, it came with 3 acres, outbuildings, cellars and barns, a boule pitch, access straight into the most spectacular woods I’ve ever seen and potential for beauty in spades.
During the last few years my family and I have had many adventures, at the core of which has been the restoration of Le Moulin. We’ve traipsed up and down across France, broken down numerous times, run out of water, run out of wine (!), wrestled with French builders and above all we’ve cleaned, built, rebuilt, sanded, painted, polished and loved Le Moulin back into life. And above all else, we’ve adored every minute of our time spent in the Vendée.
Falling in love again.
Nowadays (and only until I can persuade my family to up sticks and move) we live in the UK and travel down to Le Moulin at least 5 times a year. I work as a freelance copywriter and writer and every time I visit, I fall a little more in love with all France has to offer.
This blog is for no one’s benefit but my own! It seemed a shame to let so many amazing adventures and memories be forgotten, so this is the place they’ll be remembered.