One, Place de l’Eglise
Pre-order your escape to Languedoc . . .
This love affair between an English family and a very old French house is by turns turbulent, lyrical and tragic. With often embattled enthusiasm Dolby describes the process of making 1 Place de l’Eglise part of the family. Enriched by an insatiable, ever-eager curiosity, he takes us down many a side alley, adding another dimension to the timeless story of what it is that makes France irresistible.’
A thousand years ago, around the time King Harold inconveniently got shot with an arrow and a group of ladies made a tapestry, in the south of France a man and his friends decided to build a house next to a church. Over the centuries many things happened in that house, none of which found its way into history books.
With the coming of the first decade of the twenty-first century, 1 Place de l’Eglise had become rather derelict. The roof leaked, the mortar in the ancient walls was crumbling, a fertilizer bag stuffed a broken window. There was no electricity to speak of, the plumbing was a lead pipe in one room, the cellar doors had rotted. And there it stood. Shutters and doors firmly locked, the villagers of Causses-et-Veyran passing by to the church next door.
Then, an impoverished – in his mind at any rate – Londoner and his wife went a little crazy and bought it. It was love at first sight.
Over the years they gradually turn the house into a home. They navigate the language, floods and freezing winters. And eventually they find their place – their bar, their baker, their builder (ignore him at their peril).
Slowly the family and the locals get to know one another and these busy English discover slower joys – the scent of thyme and lavender, the warmth of sun on stone walls, nights hung with stars, silence in the hills, the importance of history and memory, the liberation of laughter and the secrets of fig jam.
1 Place de L’Eglise is a love letter – to a house, a village, a country – from an outsider who discovers you can never be a stranger when you’re made to feel so at home. Old houses never belong to people. People belong to them.
A timeless story of what it is that makes France irresistible -- Michael Palin Elegant, captivating, and sprinkled with self-deprecating humour. Dolby is a writer of abundant talent. -- Peter Kerr, author of Snowball Oranges
Book experts at your service
What are you looking for?