Monday, July 2, 2018

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

I have been silent for some time as I have been busy changing my life for the last three years.
For many years I have been thinking and planning to start a business that relates to my wargaming, military modelling and military history hobby. I have tried painting miniatures, manufacturing miniatures and building armies and terrain to sell to fund my hobby. My normal job in construction of course really just funded my lifestyle, my hobby and interests. It was not until 24 months ago after returning to Australia from a holiday in Europe that a plan started to hatch. My wife and I were a little jaded about working 7 till 6pm in the corporate world of Sydney and looking forward we could not see much change in the next ten to fifteen years for us. 

So together we hatched a plan to move to Europe, looking for a different lifestyle and way to earn a living. We looked at what skills we had, and the finances available to start a business in our selected country. We looked at the UK, Germany and France. We settled on France as it offered the best options for us. We started our search for suitable locations throughout Normandy, Mayenne and Brittany.  

We had quite a list of requirements, a city or town that would meet our needs;  it needed to be within 1.5 hours of the Normandy beaches, with ancient, medieval and Renaissance chateaus close by. Good quality restaurants and local produce. Close to a  TGV line to Paris, motorways North, South, East, West and a international airport nearby, and not be too touristy. Amazingly we found such a place, finally we settled on Ville Mayenne, Pays de Loire as it offered the most potential for us, met all of our requirements as is very central.    

The house was the next challenge, we required a house that had at least 6 bedrooms, 3 reception rooms and all the conveniences within walking distance (i.e boulangerie, supermarket, cafes, shops and banks). We then selected a buying agent who gave us four options in Mayenne. I than flew to France to inspect the properties on our list,  two we eliminated early, one a little creepy, the other received an offer before we inspected. This left two properties. We then met with the Mayor to gauge his support for our venture, thankfully he was enthusiastic about our plans and gave us his full support for our enterprise. 

To qualify for a four year entrepreneurial visa, we were required to develop a solid business plan, prove we had invested quite a bit of money in France and had savings to live on while the business  grew to support us. 

We then found our ideal property thankfully our offer was excepted. We become the proud owners of L'Hotel de Herce in March 2018. The house is a "Maison Particular" built circa 1715 with a side carriage way, and a "cour de Honneur" entrance courtyard and private gardens, a 21 room three storey home, with three Grand Salons still with parquetry floors and panelled walls. 

We open as a Chambre de Hote (B & B) in August 2018, with three guest rooms.
The Grand salon on the second floor will become the "Salon de Guerre" (war room), where grand war gaming will be conducted in a gentlemanly manner. We will conduct military history tours of the various battlefields with a 1.5 hours, then return to game them on my table with my miniatures. We have our first event in October 2018, bookings will open very soon.


Book Here



L'Hotel de Herce Mayenne, France


cheers
Matt

24 comments:

  1. Good luck with your venture, I am jealous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dan,

      It has been some ride, that for sure.

      Cheers
      Matt

      Delete
  2. Looks like a fantastic spot, good luck with your business!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks mate,

      It is, so much history on our doorstep, hard to believe the house is older than Australia! Looking forward to your visit.

      Cheers
      Matt

      Delete
  3. This is absolutely fantastic. Is it going to be easy.... well, you know it better than me: good things are never easy. But two of you seem determined and well organized, so you will prosper and enjoy it. Hope your French is les passable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Slaven,

      It is hard work, but I am loving it. Every day we are doing something to return the house to its former glory. Every day I work on my French too!

      Cheers
      Matt

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Catweaseloz,

      It has been a great adventure so far

      Cheers
      Matt

      Delete
  5. Sounds fantastic! Best wishes in your new venture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Johnathon,

      It is fantastic, we pinch ourselves everyday.

      Cheers
      Matt

      Delete
  6. That is so exciting, hope you both enjoy this adventure, it will certainly be life-changing. All the very best, John.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks John,

      We look forward to your visit.

      Cheers
      Matt

      Delete
  7. Good luck with your venture - do you accept guests with dogs (Labradors)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Steve,

      We unable to accept pets due to the original 18th century heritage interiors and hedgehogs in the garden of the property. We can recommend Gites nearby who do, so you could still do the tours and wargaming.


      Cheers
      Matt

      Delete
  8. Wonderful post Matty and we are all tremendously pleased that this is now at the stage where the dream becomes reality. Would love to get there in the next year or so mate!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks mate,

      we look forward to your visit, bring the good wife too!

      cheers
      Matt

      Delete
  9. What a great idea! I wish you all the best in this endeavour. There was a group of people on a WWI aircraft web site who were going to do similar for the 100th anniversary of Richtofen's death. Good luck with this.

    Stephen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Stephen,

      dreamt about it for a long time.....pinch myself every day now.

      cheers
      Matt

      Delete
  10. I hope to get over sometime in 2018. I would be bringing my non wargaming wife so I would probably just do one battlefield trip - which she would enjoy - and a wargame plus a couple of days local sightseeing if there is enough of interest nearby. I don't drive outside the UK - would that be an issue for access to you and the surrounding area?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks David,

      The L'hotel de Herce tours are for everybody, so the non wargaming wife is encouraged as we want to give people a option to do day tours or just relax in our large garden.

      Other tour options include food, wine, Linen manufacture for cloth (the valley is famous for since the 6th century, several factories still produces wall tissue, upholstery and elite curtain fabric) Chateau tours and other site seeing also.

      Ville Mayenne has several museums, a Chateau and several walking paths along the river, and seriously good fishing too.

      Access is simple via the TGV from Paris to Laval 1hr 10 mins, the Rennes airport 50 mins, pick up can be arranged from both locations, bus options are also available.

      please visit the website and send a enquiry, letting us know your preferences.

      cheers
      Matt

      Delete
  11. Well that sounds just great! I wish you and your family the very best of success!

    Christopher

    ReplyDelete