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Featured Image Credit: Channel 4
A couple who couldn’t get on the UK property market turned their attention across the Channel and bought an entire French village for £12,000.
Paul Mappley, 47, and Yip Ward, also 47, purchased the historic hamlet of La Busliere, Normandy in April 2021 while living in a caravan in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
The two landscape gardeners revealed that they plan on turning the place into a holiday destination while appearing on Channel 4's first episode of Help! We Bought a Village.
Yip explained the idea to buy the town in Northern France happened when a pal offered them their end-of-terrace cottage in the village in 2019 to buy after they had changed their mind.
It was at this point that they realised the potential in La Busliere and went on to purchase adjacent buildings on the verge of disrepair all for a total of €14,000, less than a deposit on a house in the UK.
The town consists of six cottages, two barns and a paddock plus a two-storey workshop, cider press and communal bread oven.
Despite being excited for their new adventure, the pair faced a huge feat, because there was no electricity, and the cubbyhole for the stopcock was home to a snake and a salamander.
However, their new reptilian neighbours didn’t scare them away as they had swapped their converted horsebox in Kent for an entire town.
Paul said: “Something like this has so much history. It's an amazing, amazing feeling, We're very lucky.”
The duo said they were planning to turn the town into cottage lets and add a glamping site but before then they said they would be “living camping style” whilst “brining life back to their village.”
Five buildings in the village were completely covered by thick vegetation, and after 45 minutes of clearing the way they found a stone barn.
Later in the episode, they found three buildings and a well of water, which they hope to use for flushing toilets.
However, the most exciting find was the hamlet's old bakery and Paul was impressed with its history, explaining that it would have been a communal space for many families before the French Revolution.
Paul said: “I love all the history that goes in with it as well again, you know, how many loaves of bread have been cooked in that for the village over the years, it's just amazing.”
While it may be a long time before the couple can turn the town into a business, they are excited for their future in France.
Help! We Bought a Village airs weekdays at 4pm on Channel 4.