Sunday, October 26, 2008

New family property

That title is a little pompous. It sounds as if I'm about to evoke the latest Skyvington acquisition in the way of castles, manor houses and country estates. In fact, for our son François, this new place is likely to be no less magnificent than a castle, a manor house and a country estate all rolled into one... on the clifftops above the sea in northern Brittany, in a rural environment named Kerouziel, in the commune of Plouha (Côtes d'Armor). In this Google Maps image, our son's future property is located at the tip of the arrow, just a few hundred meters from the water's edge:

It has often been said that the three most important things in the case of a house in the country are (1) the view, (2) the view and (3) the view. That's true, for example, in the case of my house at Gamone. It's even truer still in the case of the future house of François... which he won't actually own officially before next January. Here's the view, towards the sea, from his front door:

The ancient smugglers' path along the clifftops is located just beyond that field of cauliflowers. In the following photo, Christine and Emmanuelle are seated on the rocks just down from the house and looking out over the sea:

Looking north-westwards from that observation point, up towards the exotic little port of Gwin Zegal, you have this fabulous misty view of the bare rocky coast:

In the opposite direction, they look down over the charming little beach of Palus Plage, with the elegant port of Saint-Quay-Portrieux further to the south-east:

In the following photo, Christine and Emmanuelle are strolling back to the house. In the background, you can glimpse the tiny "island"—a mere outcrop of rocks, not far from the shore—that is visible in the top right-hand corner of the Google Maps image.

The house itself, small and modest, is ideal for François. It's no doubt the perfect place for him to look out over the waters and dream up creative ideas.

In fact, the primary merit of this house is the fact that it exists. Nowadays, it would be unthinkable for the authorities in charge of the shoreline land to allow any kind of construction at such a site. But existing constructions are, of course, perfectly legal. Owners are permitted to modify and even extend existing houses in any reasonable way, but they would not be allowed to demolish an existing construction and build a new house in its place. Finally, here's a photo of the land attached to the house:

I should add that this affair came up quite rapidly, more or less by chance. So, I myself haven't even had a chance of seeing the place yet. On the other hand, François has already extended an invitation to me and Sophia to stay there, on the romantic Breton clifftops, whenever he's away at work in Paris or elsewhere. That's a nice idea, and I'll surely accept his invitation one of these days. Here at Gamone, we don't see much of the sea, since there are too many mountains blocking the view... which is otherwise excellent.

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