In December 2002, we arrived in the Amboise area on a Saturday, went shopping to get some supplies for the gîte we had rented for the week, and tried to start getting over jet lag. On Sunday, we went to the big outdoor market in Amboise to get some fresh food, went back to the gîte and had lunch, and then took a long walk around the area where we were staying. Many new houses were being built on lots withing walking distance of the gîte, and a lot of older houses were nearby as well. It was interesting to look at them from the outside and talk about which ones we liked more and which one we liked less.
Our appointment with the real estate agent, whose name was Bourdais and who had said he'd be glad to show us some houses for sale around the region, was scheduled for 11 a.m. on Monday. I wrote several long posts about this process back in 2006 (here, and here). My memory was surely fresher then than now.
We drove down to Montrichard to meet the agent on Monday morning and I took some photos, as you see here. We were early — jet lag, you know. We probably had a cup of coffee in a café. The meeting went well. The agent had binders full of descriptions and photos of literally hundreds of houses that were on the market. We told him what we were looking for — how many bedrooms and bathrooms, what size living room, how big a piece of land, how close to a town or how far out in the country we would want to live. As we talked, he browsed through the binders and picked out a dozen or more properties he thought we'd like.
Montrichard is a town about the same size as Saint-Aignan. Both have populations in the three to four thousand range. Both are on the Cher river, one on the right bank and the other on the left bank, about 15 kilometers (10 miles) apart. Both are more than a thousand years old. One thing Bourdais told us was that he wanted to show us some houses around Montrichard and Saint-Aignan, because we'd get a lot more house and more land for our money in the Cher river valley than we would in the Amboise area. We were fine with that.
We were taking the whole process seriously, but I don't believe we really thought we'd end up buying a house on that first trip to the area. As the clock struck noon, Bourdais said it was lunchtime. I'll come back at two o'clock and we'll go see a few houses this afternoon, he said. That was a good sign; he was serious too. Walt and went and had lunch in a pizzeria two or three doors down from the real estate office and talked things over.