The project

In the summer 2017 we spent a holiday in Provence and decided something different had to happen. We played with the idea of buying an old barn and open a Bed and Breakfast. Well, that’s what everybody thinks when they are on vacation. But the idea stuck and now we’re in Bargemon trying to build our B&B step by step.

This blog is about moving from Denmark to France and start a new life. In the next couple of months and years, we’ll see how it turns out.

Stay tuned on instagram @christelnellemann and @ahouseinbargemon to get the latest updates.

See you here some day.

Christel and Teis – Aya and Eddie

The process from summer 2017 to where we are now, in our house in Bargemon January 2019:

So, we want to start a Bed and Breakfast in France. Teis is the chef and the poolboy doing  breakfasts and dinners and possibly poolside lunch, I’m doing everything else. We have been looking at a lot of houses, talking to banks, working out budgets and business cases. But we’re still not there. It’s difficult to find a place we can afford with enough square meters to have around 6-8 rooms. On top, the rules in France says that you can maximum have 5 B&B rooms, therefore we will mix it with small apartments that go under the rules of Gîte de France. One of the first challenges we met, was that the construction laws in Provence have been changed, so that you can’t extend any buildings or construct new buildings. That meant that the original plan of finding a house with a plot of land and having the possibility of extending along the way is not really possible. We need to have enough square meters from the beginning to be able to have the rooms needed to live from it economically.

Then there was the banks. A one-sided message from all Danes living in France is, give up on the French banks, they’re impossible to work with in relation to start-ups (and other things). So we did. But of course Danish banks are also slightly nervous – we want to move to France and start a business we don’t have any experience in doing. We’re not french, only one of us knows french, none of us are entrepreneurs, B&B owners or such. Fair enough, we have to downsize or take over an existing B&B with an active income to be able to show some financial credibility. This is what’s gonna make a credible case, that there will be an income next year and we can pay our mortgage.

Next issue, the area around Nice is the most expensive but they also have the highest rates and occupancy rates. So, how far away from the epicentre (Nice city and airport), do we dare buy a house and be sure that it’s still profitable. That’s the discussion right now. Our research is centred around the department of Var in the region of Provence Alpes Côte D’Azur (PACA). We would prefer to be placed approximately 1-2 hours drive from Nice airport. Nice is the most frequented city for tourists in France next after Paris and loads of Scandinavians go there all year round, which is why we decided to settle within reach of Nice. There are wonderful places and cheaper houses to find towards the Spanish border West of Marseille. But the big difference is the flight logistics. There are no year-round direct flights and the season is way shorter than around Nice. We are afraid that if we settle there it will be difficult to get people to come outside the summer season and it will likewise be difficult to attract friends and family and their friends and family for a shorter stay, when it is a two flights journey to get there. So we have increased the geographical area to Var, preferably North of the A8 highway.

See Our whereabouts to get to know more about where we are currently situated and where we plan to settle.