Couple couldn’t afford house in UK – so they bought French village instead

One couple has gone above and beyond to make their property-owning dreams come true, buying up an entire village in France.

Paul Mappley and partner Yip Ward, both 48, appeared on the Channel 4 show Help! We Bought a Village after they bought the adorable hamlet of La Busliere, Normandy, for an absolute steal at €14,000 (about £11,775).

Despite having never even owned a studio flat, the couple are now the proud owners of six cottages, two barns, a paddock and a two-storey workshop, and even a cider press and a communal bread oven.

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And although the cottage has no electricity and is a bit of a fixer-upper, the pair have moved in and hope to turn the rest of the historic village into a luxury holiday resort.

The landscape gardener couple had been living in a caravan in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, when a friend offered them the chance to buy the teeny town in 2019.

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Ward told The Sun: "In the area we were living before 2021 it was about £300,000 to buy a tiny place to live, and that was just never on the table for us.

"We had always rented and we were living in a – really lovely – static mobile caravan belonging to our friend.

"But when they looked to sell it, we began to worry.

"So it was incredibly exciting when we heard from a friend about Le Busliere. We began to think: 'This could really happen for us.'"

Ward said that anyone who was thinking of taking a similar leap of faith should 'just go for it'.

Mappley admitted the move has been 'stressful at times', but said the pair had settled in nicely.

“It has been stressful at times, and we are short of money, but coming from only ever renting, we are so grateful to be here.

“It was like a squat when we moved in, but we’re quite comfortable now.

"And we get on well with our neighbours in the next village.

“They did whisper about us when we arrived, but not because we’re the only gays in the village – there are others living in theirs!”


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