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A unique opportunity for a special life!
Your dreams may become reality! This beautiful Domaine du Cloitre de Saint Christophe is ready to be taken/carried over, to whom may we pass the torch? This is a unique chance to lead an extraordinary and meaningful life. Have a look at our site for, details, pictures and more. More information >>
Ps: Dear guests, don’t worry your vacations and new bookings are still on!
Vacation at Domaine du Cloitre Saint Christophe...this treasure in the Lorraine? You're most welcome!
But why? And who are we?
It will be a great pleasure to receive you.
We think this place is to be seen and stayed at, most people say they change positively during their stay.
A relaxing vacation in nature and no wifi.Because we have been making a home and polishing this place over the years, you are welcome to take a look in our "piece of work"and read about its story, if you're interested.
Who are these crazy Dutch who change their comfortable home and life in Holland for an old cloister with its leaking roof in the middle of nowhere?
Crazy? No, following our dream. But hard work.
This story is a little more personal then the other texts on our site, but shows that "Living as God in France" is defenitively possible
but it takes a little while and hard work.
And in addition we would like to say that dreams are absolutely realisable, as long as you pull through.
And that the way to realising your dream, the journey, can be the fun part of it.
For us it was and still is our dream to live and work here with our horses and other animals. Every dream is unique.
Everybody’s dream can be realised and lived if you really want it , if if you are willing to stand for it and if you are convinced that all is possible.
Maybe by being pushed down every step of the way and then having to stand up.
Every problem is a possibility for a solution. ( Pieter's slogan!)
On this page we will tell a story with words and one with pictures. Like a cartoon!
Because sometimes pictures have more to say then words.
These pictures are maybe most typical for our story here..and Pieter!
We ,Savine and Pieter, have been living here in this cloister, dating from 707, since July 2006 with some of our children , 7 altogether,
our beautiful and sweet black horses, some dogs and lots of cats. These cats are really doing their best: no more mouse in the house !
Kids , girlfriends and boyfriends have come and gone, grandchildren have arrived too, but everybody enjoys being here.
Everybody feels at home here and luckily some children still live here with us.
They realize, as we do, that life here is unique, different than the lives of most of their friends and classmates, but special.
They truly enjoy this life , even without any possibility such as a disco, something, anything to go out, no decent Wi-Fi so no real Facebook/twitter/apps what -ever….not much of all that. A lonesome life? No, on the contrary.
But a lot of work was waiting for us.
There was and still is work that has to be done and probably there will always be lot of work. But working together “works” well and does lots of “good” to all.
Besides of course the nice result, may that be a clean stable, some wall painted , the rubble cleared up , some more joints filled,a wall pointed, or just that homework done!
In October 2003 we arrived here with a minivan full of children and dogs, just to have a look. We had agreed , very convinced ,to NOT make a decision…
.“Surely ..we’re not going to take any decision, ..and well…it’s not going to be that interesting anyway..surely you can not live here with children ( as the real estate agent had made us quite clear). ..but we might just as well have a look”..and “IF , just IF maybe we DO like it, in that case , we promised to ourselves, we WILL think about it at least two weeks!” We had repeated this many times on the way!
Jacques Kostka, the owner , kindly showed us all, it was cold and bleak , mice had eaten the electricity wires, but he had made a nice fire in the fire places and proposed coca cola for the kids ( to their great surprise and pleasure!) Well, the kids disappeared right away in the trees, the dogs in the forest and Pieter and me..well, we just looked and felt, crisp and clearly and also quite overwhelmed : this is it, this is our place to be. We still know exactly where that was..with one ray of sunlight straight through the misty cold.
We saw a lot and a lot of work too, sure ( O my God, that roof…) , we were probably a little too enthusiastic about “how to deal with all that”, but nevertheless we felt: we are going to do this. When you are convinced and truly want to: you will, you can.
Jacques Kostka drove down to Saint Mihiel to go and pick up the next visitors, but we could stay a little longer, if we wanted.We did ,and afterwards when we were driving down and as soon as our mobile had service we were already talking to the real estate agent. It was sold when we crossed the new visitors going up .
Finally these people had tried to put more and rise their bid, but no way:Jacques said: “It’s for them and nobody else”. We only knew this much later, when he had unfortunately already died.
Thank you Jacques, it is a pity you cannot see now how beautiful it is…
We hope maybe somewhere “up there” you might still get the impression how happy we are to be here, to live here and how incredibly thankful we are to you that you have given us this chance.
Many did not understand our choice , we had just completely rebuilt a farm In Mill ( Holland) and that farm was and still is beautiful .( You can rent it for your vacations or weekends too , www.belvilla.nl
Pieter had a good job and did this with pleasure and also I had a job, I really liked and the children had a good time at their school.
But: we did not really left, or were going “away” from something, we went INTO something.
Something new. Some did understand this and one of them,a good friend Ton, said:
“Via many ways you have finally found this and all these roads led to your dream, you were not making a detour, you were all the time on your way to realizing your dream .”
And so it is. So since 2004 we have been coming here in every vacation and many weekends: cleaning, organizing, repairing, doing odd jobs and ..the roof, the roof, the roof…because that was dripping allover.
Now, at the crossroads to open the cloister gates for others, for people who like to be here to enjoy the calm and quietness, the beauty of all what’s here and maybe too of all what’s not here..it is spring 2014, 10 years after!
10 years of happiness and pleasure, 10 years of endless hard work, all of us, sometimes a bit too tough, but that is part of the deal when you choose for something like this!
10 years of persistence because it was not always just a piece of cake.
The roof was a nice test. July 2006: we stood here with most of our furniture from Holland…..in a swimming pool of 15 cm , the roof had given in , heavy weather, all the hay we had just got in got soaked and all our furniture was literally swimming.. and the people that were going to come and help us called that they had strained their backs..ánd the Netherlands had won some kind of football game. The phone rang and Pieter picked up: “Swimming paradise Saint Christophe on the line”…
”Very funny”, well I could not really laugh , seeing my most precious furniture that we had taken from Holland, all wet and all that water! Pieter climbed on the roof with our son , right while the lighting and thunder were heavily present, to try to do something. Useless and dangerous , I thought! But after all we think it had to be, just a little test: you must be able to persist if not “forget” it here. That was clear.
In those 10 years we have never, not even one second , regretted our choice, neither the children. They arrived here without knowing one word French and were like enthusiastic zombie’s at school trying to catch a word somewhere they understood. Finally after all ,they found this “peanuts” and after 3 months they almost understood everything and could already speak a little French, even though that was far not good enough, they could make themselves quite understandable.
And thus they also learned this: You can manage everything, IF you truly want to. And this is still true.. Working here with so many things to still finish and undertake, with so many horses and all the work and life here at this isolated beautiful place, we often get to a point that we have to be convinced: every problem is a possibility for a solution. …
Yes you can.! If you want.
After 10 years of finding solutions , changing ideas and lots of work, but lots of fun too.
Incredibly much has been done and changed ..and now we feel like living as “God in France”, as men in nature. And that is “heaven”!
In those 10 years we have set up Frisonline( www.frisonline.fr ) and , for that reason we have also set up 20 new stables, a beautiful old Barn, Dutch style, that can house another 14 horses , a riding hall and an outside riding area. We have planted 65 really big, and later another 150 smaller trees ( those big trees we had exchanged them for two horses).
We have changed many things, changed plans and ideas to finish all the rooms, over and over again, every change and new decision being just a step further to our goal.
Again and again.
But now we are “getting somewhere” and as we finally have decided , we are proud to open our gates to others.
To enjoy with us this beautiful , special and also sacred place.
This paradise in the Lorraine! Soyez bienvenue!
And now we are january 2016.
Two years ago we started with these beautiful luxury "Featherdown"tents and our Cloistertable "De Oude Deel".
We have SO much enjoyed having so many nice people!
Some became friends, most of them want to come back and all of them leave here with a warm feeling for this place.
Thanks for all your enthousiasm! This is over and over again so heartwarming!
Savine and Pieter and kids.