Creating a place for those looking to slow down

It all begins with a mix of curiosity and excitement. I look on the website, and even though there are still a few tweaks to be made, something grabs my attention. I am keen to discover the story behind it all. This is what drives me to talk with our customers and interview them with kindness and openness. Ready to enter a beautiful world?

As a storyteller and somehow a marketer, I feel the need to know more about who are the people who spend their money on our products. In a world where everyone shouts about why you should choose them, our behavior is at the opposite side of the spectrum.

We rely on discovery from both parties involved. On the one hand, we take steps to get closer to people who resonate with our approach. On the other one, these folks find us and get interested in our work. The space between it’s filled with stories, great WordPress themes, a human-centered experience, not with ads or promotions.

One way in which I keep track of our community is by skimming through customer support tickets and the conversations my teammates, Alin and Alex, have with people across the world. I am genuinely proud of how they give their best to provide reliable solutions and be authentic. Their work directly impacts the experience we’re offering.

While reading such dialogues, I came across a chain of messages from Pauline. She’s the owner of Limouzy, a beautiful mansion in South-West of France, near Bordeaux. Yap, I know! It sounds exciting, and I, too, would love to visit that area sometime soon.

From there, I arrived on her website made with Rosa 2, our WordPress theme. This was my queue to reach out and ask for an interview.

Allow me to welcome you to the beautiful world of Pauline and her husband, where serenity and calmness are not only a priority but a way of living.


Oana

Who’s behind the curtain, what’s your story?

Pauline

I’m Pauline, born in Amersfoort in The Netherlands 58 years ago, married to Machiel, mother of a daughter, and hope to become a grandmother this week. Ten years ago we bought a second home in SW France.

I had several professions. I was a product manager in cosmetics, worked for a Dutch public radio station, retrained, had a practice for psychotherapy for some time, and supported my husband in his furniture business.

After we sold his business, we wanted to combine the useful with the pleasant, enjoy life a little more, stop working six days a week, and above all, be in nature with our dog, Maalouf. That’s when we decided to use our second home to make this combination happen.

It is a place that gives you new energy for the life that awaits when you return home.

Pauline

I have a big heart for all creatures, and I am vegan for 30 years. I love to experiment in the kitchen and cook with the vegetables from my kitchen garden.

🌽

Are you interested in how other people approach veganism? Read this lovely interview with Liv, our customer, who took her food preferences to the next level.

Oana

What’s Limouzy beside the name of your website?

Pauline

Limouzy is the name of our second house in France, where we have created a holiday spot to welcome people who want to relax and enjoy the French countryside and the beautiful surroundings of the Lot-et-Garonne.

It’s a place where you can literally catch your breath, the beauty of the place forces you to slow down and be quiet. It is a place that gives you new energy for the life that awaits when you return home.

Oana

What’s the liaison with Quintessence, the wine’s label?

Pauline

We had a furniture shop in The Netherlands, the holding of this shop is named Quintessence. Our daughter is called Quinty, so we made up a name for that holding that sounded like hers. Not knowing at that time that it’s also the name of a French quality wine.

When we needed to make up two names for the gîtes (the apartments), we decided to use Yquem, an exceptional and expensive French wine, and Quintessence.

Oana

What makes the area of South-West France special?

Pauline

The South West of France is one of the country’s most beautiful regions. Compared to the Mediterranean on the southeast corner, it’s peaceful and beautiful and has a lovely, slow rhythm. The area where we live in the summer is also called the Tuscany of France.

More and more people from Paris are looking for a second home in the countryside. Since I came here, I love to take long walks with my husband and the dog, and nature is wonderful over here, it makes me happy every time.

Our beautiful mansion Limouzy was built in 1820, so it’s its 200th anniversary. It’s a house made of stones from the region, tuff stones. It stands on a small hill and overlooks the hilly country of the region’s farmers who grow wheat, corn, and sunflowers.

People enjoy the view from their terrace, the sounds of the birds, frogs, and cicadas, and the quiet start of the day with a cup of coffee.

Pauline

A wealthy sheep farmer from Belgium made it, there were some smaller farms on the land around the mansion for the people who worked for him, and now, as ruins, are used as a jeu-de-boules court, or as shady sitting areas. We bought the house from one of the descendants of this farmer.

Limouzy, their mansion

Oana

What values do you promote through your business?

Pauline

We lived in Amsterdam, where we had our company as well. The city has become extremely crowded, in terms of numbers of people, traffic, noise, pollution, etc.

Together with a lot of hard work, we noticed that it became difficult to relax. The wish arose to have a refuge where it was quiet and where you could still really enjoy nature, without having to do that with hundreds of people at the same time.

Our eye fell on this beautiful place, we were hooked right away, and it brought us more than the peace we were looking for. Although we have been working on it for ten years now, we’re happy that we’re ready for guests.

Oana

How would you describe the Limouzy experience?

Pauline

We would love it if our visitors could experience the same peace of this environment, and enjoy it just as we do every day when we are here. You have to be here to know what I mean, and the energy is magical. Not only the landscape is extraordinary, but also the small villages, the cozy markets, the delicious local products, the wines, and much more.

Friends and family who have already tested the apartments, even though they were not quite ready yet, indicated that they would like to stay here permanently.

pauline

So far, we have noticed that the guests who were here intensely enjoyed not having to do anything, enjoyed the view from their terrace, the sounds of the birds, frogs, and cicadas, and the quiet start of the day with a cup of coffee.

It’s almost hard for them to leave Limouzy for a day trip, and when they return, they love to take a refreshing dive in the pool, enjoy their dinner on their private terrace, and the quiet of the evening when the sun sets.

Oana

How do you take care of your guests?

Pauline

We welcome them kindly and hospitably and are happy to help them with how to spend their time here by adapting our advice to their wishes and needs.

They can stay here entirely independently. Everything is there in the apartment, including a fully equipped kitchen. We offer them peace and privacy, but they can rely on us for advice if necessary. We offer, on request, a simple meal on the day of arrival so they can relax immediately after the trip instead of shopping and cooking.

The pool where guests can relax

We welcome our guests with a cold refreshing drink and are happy to show them around to make the most of their holiday. From my background as a therapist, I’m interested in people, I enjoy interacting with them, and I appreciate sharing this beautiful location with them.

Oana

Do the apartments look or feel in a particular way?

Pauline

We have renovated the apartments in the old style of the house, keeping the old features. The tuff walls, the old beams in the ceiling, everything radiates this old style, with the modern luxury of a kitchen, bathroom, and lovely bed of hotel quality. It immediately feels like stepping into your domain, where you can have a lovely time together.

Whether you want to relax at the pool and do little, or want to explore the area, you can do it knowing you can return to a fabulous home.

Friends and family who have already tested the apartments, even though they were not quite ready yet, indicated that they would like to stay here permanently.

Oana

Why do you have a soft spot for tranquility and serenity?

Pauline

We know from experience that life can be hectic. It is time-consuming to combine everything, work, children, friends, and family. So much is asked of us these days. And we noticed that there wasn’t much time left to catch your breath these days, to make sure that what you do in your daily life is still in line with what you expect, that you still know what makes you happy.

We wanted to bring this into our life again, and now into Limouzy, out of our desire and needs earlier on. We thought our most important goal should be to offer guests calm in this tumultuous world so that they can return home with new energy, plans, and insights. The beautiful quiet landscape helps, of course.

Oana

What’s the most valuable memory you crafted there?

Pauline

During the intensive renovation, we found four fireplaces behind all kinds of closed walls. One of them is very large, and we can even stand in it. When we finished the work, and the fireplace was functional again, Machiel asked me, standing there, to marry him with our work overalls on.

We drank champagne, and three months later, we got married in the Netherlands.

Oana

How do you feel about the pandemic and how it affected you?

Pauline

This summer would be our first year of activities with Limouzy Apartments. Due to the pandemic, this isn’t easy because people are waiting to see what the holiday possibilities are. Because Macron will reopen the borders on June 15, tourism in France will be possible again.

We trust that everything will go as it should; we don’t want to swim against the current or worry too much.

We are sure that the people who will eventually come will enjoy themselves at Limouzy, precisely because it is quiet and the risk is close to zero.

Oana

How do you think the future shapes for you?

Pauline

The two of us have always had a great time together. We are used to being together both in business and in private for 30 years. Wherever it goes, life remains an adventure for us. We are going to be grandparents for the first time this week, and of course, we are looking forward to that as well. If the apartments are going to run well, and we are confident it will happen, we will be 100% committed to that as well.

Enough with looking forward. We love to stay in the moment, that’s where everything happens anyway.

These challenging times we’ve been all facing are also an opportunity, not only a threat to our health and well being. It’s a beautiful occasion to slow down, change the pace, and reconsider whatever we feel we need to change or, at least, to question more right from the start.

Pauline and Machiel had the guts to do that with honesty and changed their narrative by choosing differently, however risky or inadequate these days seem to be. If their story and endeavor inspired you at least a tiny bit, then allow yourself to change the route and get closer to whatever makes you happy, regardless of how you define that.

Oana

Oana is a storyteller at Pixelgrade and community builder for creative industries. A true believer in the power of making the world a better place one story at a time.

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