08 December 2020

Strike 1

That first day of house-hunting in December 2002 — a Monday — realtor Bourdais showed us two houses in Montrichard. The first was up on the road that goes to Amboise, just a few hundred yards after you cross the railroad tracks, up on the right. The house was the plain-looking one in the middle of this picture — I've put a red dot on its roof.

In Montrichard there is a huge retirement complex up on the hill overlooking the town and the Cher river valley. The place we were going to look at bordered on the retirement complex property, which Bourdais said was an advantage. That land was like parkland, he said, and it wasn’t likely to be developed in the foreseeable future. Actually, the retirement complex fell on hard times just a few years ago, according to a report I saw on the French national news. I haven't kept up, but I think it went into bankruptcy. I wonder what has become of it. I'm glad we don't live there.

Anyway, the location was not what we were looking for. First of all, there were a lot of other houses really close by. The yard was big, but it was on a hillside and was divided up into several oddly shaped plots, one of which was a narrow strip that ran down the hill to to the Amboise road, where there was a gate. It was true, as Bourdais pointed out, that we could have a good garden there — it had a southern exposure. But it also was completely exposed to the neighboring houses. I've put a red dot on the road in front of the house in the Google Maps image above. You can see the Montrichard train station in the upper left-hand corner.

We arrived at the house, just 100 meters off the Amboise road, in Bourdais' Audi. There was a gate across the driveway, and it was locked. Bourdais tried several keys but couldn’t get the gate open. He looked at us and said, well, are you willing to climb over the wall? It wasn’t very high, so we said why not? You can see it in the image above. I hoped he hadn't taken us to the wrong house. What kind of character had we gotten ourselves involved with? Over we climbed. I was almost 20 years younger then.

Here's what the house looked like as you drove up the hill. Inside, it needed a lot of paint and polish. There was a central hallway, off of which we saw a small dining room, a small living room, and a couple of bedrooms. The kitchen was a medium-sized, totally empty room — no cabinets, no appliances, no sink. It needed a new floor, I think. All over the rest of the house there was ugly carpeting that needed to be removed. There was no telling what the floors under the carpeting looked like.

Another sad thing about the house was the view. It overlooked two collections of modern apartment buildings down on the Amboise road. I think they are subsidized housing, but I'm not sure. There was a good view of the river valley beyond them, but the apartment buildings, blocky and tall, attracted your eye and blinded you to the rest (current Google Maps images above and below). On the plus side, there was a SuperU supermarket not far away, and the house was within easy walking distance of the Montrichard train station.

Nontheless, the search for a house was not off to a roaring start. Okay, it was only a first encounter. At least Bourdais had been able to find the key that opened the front door`to the house itself, so climbing over the wall didn't turn out to be a complete waste of time and effort.


  1. The view is ratther depressing. Maybe, the realtor is trying to get rid of the worst properties first?

    1. I think that might have been what was going on. Everything we saw after this property looked pretty good. And then he probably figured he needed to do whatever he could to sell that house, since he had accepted the listing.

  2. I have a feeling things are going to get better.

  3. I'm enjoying your house hunting. I think your realtor and you enjoy adventure which make for an interesting post.

  4. House looks ok, but I wouldn't be keen to overlook the housing blocks.

  5. Typical real estate ploy. Start with the worst and then everything looks better after that! You made a wise decision to not want that location! IMO!

    Mary in Oregon

  6. Reading other peoples' house hunting stories is so much more fun than doing it yourself.


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