When you’ve been working somewhere for a long time you sometimes feel the need to do something completely different. It was early December. Wybrich was sitting on the sofa watching television after a tiring day of work. “I would like to do something completely different,” she said. And I knew what she had in mind: France. France had been in our thoughts for some time. While Googling, she suddenly found an opportunity to run Les Trois Comtes. People were being invited to apply.

“Look, this is it!” said Wybrich. I decided to send an e-mail with our CVs. Twenty minutes later we were called by the owner who owns Les Trois Comtes. “We should really have a chat,” he said. He told us exactly what Les Trois Comtes is, sent us photos and gave us the website address. Our enthusiasm grew that evening.

A few days later we were sat at a table with the owner. We were given even more information and saw even more photos. In our minds, the idea of doing this grew increasingly appealing. “But before we make a final decision I want to go there. I want to sample and feel Les Trois Comtes”, I said. Right there and then we decided that the three of us would go to Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort between Christmas and New Year’s.

The decision

On 28 December, Wybrich and I took exit 20 off the Route de Soleil and drove into Gard. The scenery became increasingly beautiful. In the distance we could see the hills of the Cevennes, the region we know so well. We passed the sign for Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort. Was our dream about to come true? Were we going to live here for a few years?

The market is in the middle of Saint-Hippolyte. The town was livelier than I expected. We walked with our trolley cases to Rue Blanquerie, the street on which Les Trois Comtes is located. The owner was already there. Then for the first time, I saw the house with its lavender blue shutters rising up majestically in the narrow street.

We rang the doorbell. We took our first steps into Les Trois Comtes. We saw the entrance, the hallway, the almost regal staircase, we walked through to the outside, the garden, the veranda. And I knew this would be our home. We were going to do it. Wybrich smiled at me. I could see that she had made the same decision as I had.