An Exhilarating Journey – French Cottage Renovations à la Pandémie

After leaving our French stone cottage in the fall of 2019, with a plan to return in the spring of 2020, we never imagined a pandemic would hold us back for a year.  There was still so much renovating to do just to make it livable.  But the spring of 2020 came and went, and we waited helplessly in our rental house in Old Aylmer, Quebec, watching the news, and waiting for our moment to return to France and continue the renovations of our stone cottage.

It was not until September 2020 that we were free to fly back to France and we arrived to a very pleasant surprise…

Our little stone wreck was sporting a new gate !

Even though, the pandemic was in full swing during the summer, an artisan found the time to build a new wall and install our new gate for our courtyard.  This provided both privacy for us and security for our sheepdog Bella.  We are forever grateful to Sebastian for doing such an amazing job and giving us something beautiful to arrive to.

With new found hope and vigor, we worked tirelessly from mid September to mid December and made huge inroads into the renovations.  We were finally changing our “stone wreck” into something we could be proud of.

We renovated the old fireplace and added flooring in the living-room.

We installed appliances in the kitchen and began cooking meals.

We were eating al fresco in comfort.

We had time to landscape the courtyard and…

to grow a lawn in the backyard.

We even had time to make new friends.

Before we knew it,  December arrived, Christmas was just around the corner, and it was time to return to life in Canada.  For the first time, I could finally see the true potential of our old stone wreck; it was slowly transforming into the home of Learn, Eat, & Be Well – Southwest France, my continuing education vacation program in nutrition.  I had renewed hope that one day, once again, I would be hosting and teaching nutrition to wellness professionals in the beautiful Dordogne, France.

2020 was coming to an end and we were not sorry to see her go.  We said good-bye to newfound friends and neighbours, hid the house keys between the large stones in the courtyard wall, and blew a kiss goodbye to France.

Join me next time, where I share the story of our escape from Canada and into the arms of the French countryside.  I will also post the final renovation pictures of Le Petit Bijou.