‘We sold our Manchester home after lockdown – and bought an entire village in France’

David and Liz Murphy. A family who brought an entire French village say their lives have improved since leaving the UK  (Liz Murphy / SWNS)
David and Liz Murphy. A family who brought an entire French village say their lives have improved since leaving the UK (Liz Murphy / SWNS)

A couple sold their £400k Manchester home to buy an entire French village and no say their lives have improved since leaving the UK.

Liz Murphy, 47, and her husband, David, 55, purchased the historic rural hamlet of Lac De Maison, in Poitou-Charentes, south west France, in January 2021.

The couple sold their three-bed home in Manchester for £400k and used the cash to buy six 400-year-old houses, two barns and three-acres of land.

They have turned their tranquil town into a thriving business - with their three holiday homes almost fully booked for summer 2024.

They now say they have no plan to return.

The couple, who used to work in radio, no longer depend on an employer and say it's a "lovely feeling" to be self-sufficient and work for themselves.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues in the UK, the family feel certain their dream lifestyle would not be attainable back in England, and now view France as their "home".

Liz and David Murphy purchased the historic rural hamlet of Lac De Maison, in Poitou-Charentes, south west France, in January 2021 (Liz Murphy / SWNS)
Liz and David Murphy purchased the historic rural hamlet of Lac De Maison, in Poitou-Charentes, south west France, in January 2021 (Liz Murphy / SWNS)

Liz, a mum-of-two, originally from Altrincham, Manchester, said: "We've been really busy, we're almost fully booked this summer and even in the quiet season we still had guests most weekends.

"The renovations are always ongoing, but we're mostly done.

"We're four years in now, so we've got used to the upkeep and have got quicker at the day-to-day running of things.

"But it still takes two-and-a-half-hours to mow the lawn because there's so much of it.

"This is our full-time jobs now, it's so different to our old office jobs.

"Every day is different, and everything we're doing is for us and our family.

"We loved the UK, but we don't regret moving here and don't have plans to move back.

"It's nice because we're in control of our own destiny a bit more."

The couple sold their three-bed home in Manchester for £400,000 and used the cash to buy six 400-year-old houses, two barns and three-acres of land (Liz Murphy / SWNS)
The couple sold their three-bed home in Manchester for £400,000 and used the cash to buy six 400-year-old houses, two barns and three-acres of land (Liz Murphy / SWNS)

David added: "We have more stability now in France.

"There's not a CEO somewhere that could wake up one morning and decide to slash half the staff in an attempt to save money."

The couple were both working "busy" nine-to-five jobs in the UK, working in radio and felt as though they were trapped in the "rat race".

But after being put on furlough in 2020, the couple realised their dreams of leaving their lives in Manchester, England, and owning their own place in France.

When the couple came across the huge plot of land, they decided to sell them home and move with their two children - Tom, 13, and Charlotte, nine - and Liz’s mum, Helen Diaper, 73, and stepdad, Terry, 73, in December 2020.

Liz said: “We were both working with busy lives and the kids were in after school clubs and it was like we were on an endless treadmill.

"It wasn’t until Covid came and we were on furlough and we realised we were in a rat race and life was passing us by.

"We hadn't spent much time with the kids and we decided we had to do something to change all our lives.

“We had talked about moving to France for years. We had this sudden feeling to do it and we suddenly did it.

“My mum and stepdad decided to sell their house and come with us."

The couple say they "love the UK" but wouldn't return as their "quality of life" has improved immeasurably since they made the move across the channel.

Building work taking place at Liz and David Murphy hamlet of Lac De Maison (Liz Murphy / SWNS)
Building work taking place at Liz and David Murphy hamlet of Lac De Maison (Liz Murphy / SWNS)

Liz said: "It's not so much the cost-of-living but more the quality of life for our family.

"We have more time for us, the simpler way of life suits us.

"Prices fluctuate everywhere, we've noticed costs increasing in France too.

"But we feel like we have more stability here.

"And it does make a big difference having nice weather."

David added: "We have big plans for the village, we want to continue the renovations and start to improve our house as well.

"We'd also like to start putting in solar panels and to be self-reliant on energy.

"None of that would be possible if we still lived in the UK.

"We've learnt to do a lot of ourselves, we'd go broke if we brought in a professional every time something needed doing.

"We look things up on Youtube, get our hands dirty and try to do things ourselves."