A little bit about your hosts
We bought Le Manoir des Granges towards the end of 2010 and have gradually been updating, and improving, the quality of the facilities and accommodation since then.
We were both born, and grew up, in Leicester, England - you might have heard of Leicester City Football Club, winners of the Premier League in 2015/2016! We met in 1976, when Paul was working as a graphic designer and Philippa worked, in the same office, as a secretary. We moved to Leeds, West Yorkshire, later that same year because Paul was offered a new job. Philippa decided to train as a nurse and qualified in 1980.
After we had our two daughters, Charlotte and Nicola, we came to the Dordogne for some wonderful camping holidays and fell in love with the region. From that very first holiday we said that we would love to come and live here. We never expected to be able to realise our dream!
We continued with family life and successful careers until the girls left home. It became clear that our work-life balance was not ‘balanced’ and it was time to take a step back. We decided to take a break in order to think about what we wanted to do. We wanted to work together, but doing what was not quite clear at that point. One idea was to run a campsite.
In October 2008 we started a gap-year, something that we had not had as teenagers. We went travelling, visiting many places in Europe that we had not been to before, returning home just in time for Christmas. In February 2009 we went to New Zealand for a few weeks in a camper van, an amazing place to visit. In April that year we went to work as couriers for Eurocamp on the island of Elba, just off the coast of Tuscany in Italy.
It was extremely hard work; good fun but very tiring! We were meeting/greeting, problem solving and, above all, cleaning! It also gave us an excellent insight into how to look after customers. The following year we were offered the opportunity, by Eurocamp, to run another campsite in the Dordogne, a few miles from Sarlat. Perfect, we decided, to look around and see if we found a property that we would like to buy.
It worked because within 2 months we found Le Manoir des Granges. The rest, as they say, is history, because here we are.
Many people ask us if we think we have done the right thing. Yes, definitely! It has not been a walk in the park, plenty of stress but, also, plenty of enjoyment. Meeting new people from around the world, helping people to make the most of their time here, whilst enjoying the warmer weather, less traffic and good food. We said at the outset it would be a 10 year plan, here we are in year 8 about to start year 9, where has all the time gone!
We now have a grandson, Alfie, who is one year old. A second grandchild on the way, due in October 2018. They all come over to see us when they can and we pop back when work allows.