La famille Dyckhoff consists of Ian & Julie (or Jules, but that causes some confusion as it's a boys name in France!) and our three boys Angus, Hugh & Guy. The household is completed by Inca, our friendly black labrador, who is not as hungry or unloved as she will have you believe, and our three cats: Cat, the ginger one who came with the house, and Oscar and Bella, the two hairy ones that we inherited later. They all visit the cottages occasionally just to see who's staying, but they are not allowed inside.
Moving to France was the fulfilment of a long held dream of a different lifestyle in a warmer climate where outdoor activities were plentiful and summer BBQs guaranteed. Having fallen in love with the beautiful Béarn region on an earlier visit to France we decided to focus our attention on finding our new home in this area. We had certain criteria: close to the mountains and the sea (having come from Northamptonshire, which is about as far from the sea as you can possibly get in England); near good schools; close to local amenities and sports facilities, and a business so that we could pay our way. Domaine Lavie and the town of Salies de Béarn ticked all the boxes and stole our hearts!
So at the end of August 2013 we packed up our belongings and swapped middle England for this south west corner of France, just in time for the start of the new school year. Four months later we became the new custodians of Domaine Lavie, just in time for Christmas!
So far, life in France is everything we hoped it would be and more. Yes, the beaurocracy is a nightmare and some things have been more of a challenge than we anticipated but the Béarnaise are friendly and welcoming people and if you're willing to try out your French, however bad, they couldn't be more helpful.
One of our greatest pleasures is meeting our guests and seeing them enjoy our home and our region of France as much as we do. Our philosophy is simple: it's your holiday and we won't interfere, but if you would like advice on places to go, or help booking a restaurant, or just a chat, then we're here for you.
We look forward to welcoming you to Domaine Lavie.