The first owners of Beausoleil share their family album with us and reveal how it all started back in 1980.
Beausoleil has always been much more than just about the fishing. A few weeks ago, we had the wonderful surprise of meeting the original owners who, just like us, loved its unique character and feel from day one
A few days after the lockdown ended, a car stopped outside the gates. Ren headed off to have a chat and when she didn’t return I thought I better see what was going on. Outside the gate I met an old gentleman and his wife and their grandson and girlfriend. The exchanges in French were coming at me from all angles and at first I couldn’t pick up what was going on. Ren recognised the bemused look on my face and hurriedly explained that they were the original owners of Beausoleil!
They couldn’t wait to see the place again and as we went round the lake, we discovered how it all started.
Monsieur et Madame Lepert originally purchased the property from a local developer who owned a number of parcels of land in the area. The year was 1980. The lake was dug some years earlier, the island was in place with a very rickety bridge! There was no house as such, just a simple building that served as a storeroom and somewhere to shelter from the elements. Nowadays, it’s the pool room.
The Leperts lived in nearby Laval and bought it as a place to escape for the weekends. Monsieur Lepert was a keen angler and the property ticked all the boxes for them. It was Mme Lepert who decided to name it Beausoleil which is a popular house name in France.
One of their first projects was to extend the old building to create a living space for the family with a simple timber framed building which was assembled by local artisans. It’s a testament to their work that we’ve had to do very little to repair it in the last 10 years.
The whole family loved Beausoleil and it was used for all big family occasions including weddings and summer holidays. The children and then grandchildren all have some amazing memories of carefree days, swimming, fishing and relaxing on the banks of Beausoleil.
It was marvelous to compare our stories of projects and renovations. Monsieur Lepert used 120 truckloads of sandy soil to flatten the area from the house to the lake. He built the “pecherie” or outflow concrete structure with countless loads of cement transported by barrow. And he recalled with a twinkle in his eye the day the stream bridge collapsed under the load of his tractor! He was very happy to see that it’s now stronger than ever, just like the main bridge to the island which still bears his fingerprints on some of the beams.
The timing of their visit couldn’t have been better really as we’d not long finished the refurbishment of the gite interior ourselves. The joy in their faces and the excitement in their voices was plain to see. They were blown away by how much work we’d done to the place inside and out and were close to tears at various points.
The Leperts were also the first ones to open the gates to English anglers for a few weeks a year. This helped subsidise the costs of maintaining the property so that the family could enjoy it for longer.
At the end of the tour, they had a further surprise for us as they’d decided to hire Beausoleil for a week this autumn to celebrate several milestone birthdays. The carp and cats will have a nice rest but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t fling a few lures about for the pike and zander !
It was amazing to meet the founders of Beausoleil and we thank them enormously for sharing their personal family album with us. We hope you enjoy looking through these treasured memories as much as we have and it is great to know that they’ll be making more great memories at Beausoleil again, after so many years.