We bought the former cafe-bar building in Ménessaire in December 2013 when it was in a poor state of repair and have been renovating it for the last 12 months. Our aim is to create a place for people to stay and we have finished it to the high standard that we would want for our own holidays. The décor and furnishings have been chosen to combine the local style of the Morvan with modern convenience and function. The bathrooms, toilets and kitchen are all newly fitted and we have installed hot water heaters to a capacity of 500 litres because we do not like having cold showers on our holidays. At the same time, the original wooden floors have been restored and we have renovated the oak ceiling in the lounge. We are particularly pleased to have restored the fireplace in the lounge back to its original stone and to have opened it up to the kitchen so that the double-sided log burner can be seen in both rooms.
Our design is aimed at families and groups of adults who want to be able to spend time together whilst giving them space and things to do when they want to break into smaller groups. The kitchen is open plan to the dining room so that no-one has to be on their own when they cook and we think that many guests will choose to dine in Le Tandem for most of their meals because it is equipped to the same level as our kitchen at home. We have kept it simple in the lounge with sofas and chairs around the fireplace as it is a great place to sit and chat. It was once the room where locals would come to drink and talk and you can see its history in the beams, the staircase, the fireplace and particularly in the tomette tiled floor. The third big social room is the games room which used to host village dances and events. We have chosen to make this a room for fun and it will have a snooker/pool table, a football table, a table for cards and games and a tv area with dvd player and x-box. We have also started to collect books and dvds in various languages to create a library.
By creating these 3 big social spaces, plus of course the outdoor spaces in the two gardens, we hope that there is something that will appeal to the kids, their parents and our adult groups. Most importantly, we believe that it raises Le Tandem above being a standard gite which can often be just a place to sleep and eat breakfast and are also often equipped to the bare minimum.
It has been exciting and tiring over the year and my knowledge of French building terms has come on greatly. We are now getting to the stage where rooms are being finished and we will be able to take some really good photos for the new website. Over New Year, we stayed in Le Tandem with some friends for a week and got our first real taste of how it feels and how everything works. It was very encouraging, with just a few small things that we could improve upon.
The final comment here goes to the name Le Tandem. The tandem theme can be seen around the gite in the artwork on the walls and some ornaments that we have managed to find over the years. It is not an exclusive theme as we have also found some great original pieces at local vide greniers and brocantes that we see as an addition to the Morvan feel of the place. However, we will continue to search for tandem-related objects and add them to the collection in the future.