Monday, 9 February 2015

Ruins.



When I first came to live in this village, 43 years ago, spectacular ruins were everywhere. As I came with self-sufficiency ambitions, a wife, and 2 small children, I needed to buy myself a substantial, ready to live-in, farmhouse with plenty of land; not something that required a total lengthy restoration job.

In some ways this was a pity, as there were magnificent bargains to be had all around us. Very few now remain, and those that do are often in a pretty poor state. 

The general exodus towards town-life happened in the 1950's/60's, so many of those ruins had been occupied within the previous 10 or 20 years. My own first home had been lived in just 5 years before I bought it, and was in good general condition.

I remember the extensive house in these photos being almost savable. The barn still had it's roof, most of the house walls were still there, and the ivy had yet to envelop the whole caboodle. But these houses don't take kindly to lack of attention. The roof tiles slip, water enters, and things quickly rot and crumble. The stone walls are constructed with plain earth, which washes away all to easily when the roof no longer protects them.


The owner of this ruin (which is about 500 metres from our house), has just recently cut down all the trees that previously hid it from view. What he now intends to do with it, I have no idea.

I fear it may be beyond restoration, but it would be fun to see someone take it on.


24 comments:

  1. I always find it quite sad to see buildings fallen into decay like that imagining as I do, everything they will have witnessed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The one above was obviously quite a substantial farm; one can but wonder what happened.

      French succession laws are mostly to blame. One can't disinherit a family member, so properties end-up being owned by several different people. Any disagreement between them means almost certain abandonment.

      Delete
  2. Around here you now end up paying more for something with "potential" than something already liveable. Prices even for dilapidated houses are becoming out of reach for the first time buyer now which is sad. I'm guessing in France the house prices are still lower than the UK?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot lower. Plenty of bargains to be had.

      Delete
  3. It doesn't take long for nature to reclaim does it? This is a particularly beautiful ruin though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We haven't seen it for years. Nice of them to reveal it again.

      Delete
  4. It is beautiful and sad in the same time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ruins always have a fascination. I love wandering around them.

      Delete
  5. What happened to the top of it? It looks like a total ruin, or it was never more than single storey perhaps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. French farmhouses usually have only one lived-in floor. Below is the cellar, and above is the granary. So 'single story' is really correct.

      Delete
  6. It would be lovely if this ruin is brought back to life. Our small farmhouse had been mostly renovated before we bought it back in 1999. The previous owners gave us photos of the house in the completely derelict state before they renovated it in the mid eighties. Fascinating to compare the then and now photos. Sadly the French prefer to live in modern boxes rather than the beautiful, ancient stone houses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The catalogue house still reigns supreme; if it wasn't for the Brits and the Dutch most of the lovely old vernacular buildings would have been lost.

      Delete
  7. Before we bought the house we are in now (in 1981) we passed over a beautiful derelict place that needed far too much doing to it and, like you, we needed somewhere that had at least a couple of habitable rooms. It transpired that the house we passed over was found to be a lost "Hall" and all sorts of red-tape and extra expense were piled on the buyers. I know that it now a beautiful building, but it would have bankrupted us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right; you need lots of dosh for some of these restoration jobs.

      Delete
  8. I would love to take something like that and restore it to it's former glory, but money is unfortunately for me the problem right now. How much would something like that cost in France?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The ruin itself might cost €50,000. The restoration another €200,000. But it could be a lot more.

      Delete
  9. The costs of renovation here is often more expensive (due, in part, to permits and government red tape) so the older homes are torn down and new Mc Mansions go up. It makes me sad to see the old homes and history dismissed, but practically, it is often the only thing that can be done.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Replies
    1. Many of these farmhouses were built between 1800 and 1850, often from materials from earlier homes.

      Delete
  11. It even looks pretty as a ruin, doesn't it Cro ? We have restored a couple of houses in our time but nothing on that level and, we are too old to start a big project like that now !!! I hope that someone will turn it into the beauty that it can be. XXXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If they do I'll let you know. They'd need guts!

      Delete
  12. We have so many barns here in the Dales Cro and many of them are falling into disrepair. Yet planning restrictions are such that only a few ever get converted - however sympathetically.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The one in your header photo being a good example. Very sad to see them fall, after all the effort of putting them up.

      Delete
  13. Gregg and I are looking to buy a house this year, and there are amazing deals to be had on fixer-uppers in this area....but as neither of us have any of those skills, and we'd probably end up spending too much if we hired workmen for the repairs, we've decided to buy either a newer home or else an older one that has already been renovated.

    I love the look of those ruins...somehow ruins always seem romantic! :)

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...