Moving from August to September felt like a step change in several ways:
The B&B bookings went from crazy busy to just busy – we had some rooms sit empty for a few nights running, we were often only turning one or two rooms and even had a few nights with the house to ourselves which seemed very strange. A common theme among our guests during September has been house hunting in the area which is always exciting and we have been able to share our experience since moving over here.
The high-season activities in the region came to an end – with la rentrée came a change of pace in the region and end to the night markets, soirées gourmandes, festivals, outdoor cinema, live music in the square etc. It was sad to see it all finish, but the village has stayed lively, the weather has been mostly great and having fewer tourists around makes it easier to park, get a table at a café, move around the markets. I really enjoyed this time of year last year too.
The weather became autumnal – yes we had a final ‘sting in the tail’ heat wave with temperatures well into the 30s again in September, but the nights have been down as low as 3 degrees, and daytime highs in the low to mid 20s have replaced the August mid to high 30s. Breakfast on the terrace gradually came to an end and the water temperature in the pool has dropped below what I am prepared to swim in but it has still had a lot of use during the month.
We started making plans for the winter – it is still hard to imagine at the moment, but it is going to get VERY cold at times, we need a pellet burner installed in the kitchen and need to get stocked up with fuel. The non-guest areas of the house are in desperate need of decoration, the roof needs some attention, the garden needs a lot of work… plus we’ve got some holidays booked and a few other projects lined up.
We’ve been full again this weekend, Eymet has been hosting the annual conference of rural mayors and we were fully booked within about 30 minutes of its schedule being confirmed a couple of months ago. It’s a big event with around 500 mayors visiting and has been a welcome boost to our end of season bookings. It also great to see so much still going on in the village including fireworks on Friday night.
As it stands, we’ve got one more week of B&B bookings then we’re closed until April next year and I have to say we are ready for it! As September progressed, we found it more difficult to stay motivated not to cut corners and not to let our standards drop. This reinforces that our decision to close for the winter and start completely fresh in the spring was the right one. We are both tired, in need of a proper break and we’ll have time to get the work done on the house and garden that has been on hold for 6 months.