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Moving to Languedoc, France1. IAN AND ANGELA PENDRY

The plucky Pendrys left the UK in 2006 with their young children to set up home in Languedoc’s Pyrenees.

 

What prompted your Languedoc move?

We had talked for many years about setting up a small hotel in a great location, and Angela was keen to do something interesting when our youngest child started school. So we moved to Languedoc with Shawna aged 4, and Ella aged 6.

 

Which part of Languedoc did you choose to move to?

We live in Saint Pierre Dels Forcats, in the Pyrénées Orientales département, near the ski resort of Font Romeu. The area offers the perfect geography for our business idea (ski holidays in the winter, mountain bike holidays in the summer). The climate is amazing (lots of sunshine!) and the property prices were relatively low, as the area is largely undiscovered, and there are three airports (Perpignan, Girona and Carcassonne) within easy reach.

 

Tell us about your Languedoc home

We bought an old, run-down hotel on the edge of the village, close to the ski slopes, with 10 bedrooms and a spacious apartment. It was the space and the bedrooms that attracted us, although it still needed masses of renovation and redecoration; we’ve spent about €100,000 euros so far.

 

How do you earn your living in Languedoc?

We run summer and winter holidays from our hotel. UK customers are our main client base, topped up with local business here and there. The work is incredibly rewarding, but hard; apart from an assistant mountain bike guide for summer we don’t employ staff, to keep the costs down. We work 16-hour days, and this includes all the housework, cooking, guiding, transfers and so on. We make enough to live comfortably (just!), and invest all the profit back into the building for its development and upkeep.

 

What’s the quality of life like in Languedoc’s Pyrenees?

There is great community support for children here, and the girls love their new life, skiing in the winter and playing in the summer sun. Apart from the hours we work, the lifestyle is fantastic. We get to spend great time with the kids out of season (at other times it can be a rush) and we have some very good friends who are always happy to help.

 

Are there many English speakers in your part of the Languedoc?

No, there are very few English speakers in the area, so we had no choice but to immerse ourselves in the community and really work on our language skills. We now do the girls’ homework with them, which helps us improve our French too!

 

Do you plan to stay put in this part of Languedoc?

Running your own business is always a hard thing to do, and we find switching off difficult, but whenever our guests ask if we’d go back to a “normal” job, we always say “no way!”

 

We will have to see how things go, but if customers are more cautious about spending money in the current climate, Languedoc’s Pyrenees are a good option - a holiday here is much cheaper than in the Alps!

 

Ian and Angela can be contacted via their website www.altitudeadventure.com

 

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