Tomber des nues

I should have known better. All that talk about love in my last post. Counting my chickens. That bottle of Veuve Cliquot chilling in the fridge.

We packed up, sold or gave away the furniture and appliances we didn’t want and the new owners wouldn’t have use for. Even dismantled a solid oak built-in shelf unit in the upstairs room we used as a family room which the buyers wanted to turn into an extra bedroom.

I was about to start writing a bittersweet post about turning the page as we returned to France this week for our appointment with the notary to finalize our house sale.

Then an email popped into my inbox. “We must regretfully inform you that we will not be able to follow through on our offer,” our new buyer wrote. “For personal reasons due to our separation.” She went on to say they were gutted, had so dreamed of living there.

My jaw dropped. You might say I was flabbergasted. Or in French, “Je suis tombée des nues.” Meaning not that I fell from the nudes (‘nue’ being the female form of naked) but from the sky. ‘Nues’ in this expression comes from an old French noun for clouds. So, down to earth I fell, along with all of the time and work in selling our house over the past six months. Kerplunk.

Our appointment was supposed to be today. It was set by the notary, according to the French legal requirement of a two-month waiting period, when the buyers signed the compromis de vente‘.  Today we were supposed to be signing over the deed, handing over the keys, drinking a celebratory glass of champagne before going on to spend the weekend in the area with family.

We’re still going, once we get our breath back. It will give us time to air out the house and meet with some real estate agents. Because now that we live a 3-and-a-half hour drive away, we won’t be selling it ourselves.

All is not completely lost. This time French law should work in our favour, at least financially. Our now former-future buyers had to leave a substantial deposit and that should default to us as compensation.

As well as that bottle of champagne. Because life is short and, anyway, it’s jinxed now.

Cheers to that!

P.S. What do you think of the new blog theme? Feedback please! Hope it’s not too hard to find the comment box.


  1. margaret21 · September 16, 2020

    How devastating. I’m so sorry. Your blog’s new look is great, but small compensation for this highly unwelcome turn in events. Good luck …

    • MELewis · September 16, 2020

      Thank you, Margaret. It is indeed a tough blow so I’ll take even the smallest rewards. Glad you like the new look!

  2. carolyn · September 16, 2020

    Oh no. So sorry to hear that. In one way, thank goodness you’re renting your apartment so you won’t need a bridging loan. Still, all that work !
    New blog look is great though.

    • MELewis · September 16, 2020

      Thanks Carolyn! You’re right — very grateful that we’re only renting at this stage. Although I can’t see us moving again any time soon!

  3. Good on you for being so optimistic. It will happen…

    • MELewis · September 16, 2020

      Thanks for the moral support. I have to believe it will all fall into place. Namasté!

  4. · September 16, 2020

    Poor you, anyway it will be forgotten after a while and enjoy the champagne! Btw, was it complicated to switch theme in WP? I think the one you have choosen is nice!

    • MELewis · September 16, 2020

      Thanks! You are right to remind me that in the grand scheme of things, we will move on (although I doubt forget any time soon!). As for the blog theme change, it was super easy. Far less hassle than the last time so I imagine WP have improved things!

  5. francetaste · September 16, 2020

    May the real estate gods bring you a bidding war.

    • MELewis · September 16, 2020

      Thanks, I’ll drink to that!

  6. Elyse · September 16, 2020

    I’m so sorry. We nearly lost the sale of our lot this spring. It closed on the day of the pandemic shutdown. We thought the buyers would back out based on the “Acts of God” clause. Not sure how that translates. I also hope for a bidding war! Love the new look and you too. Hugs. Elyse

    • MELewis · September 16, 2020

      Thanks so much, dear friend! Big socially distanced hugs back at you! xo

  7. nessafrance · September 16, 2020

    Oh dear. Commiserations. How disappointing for you. Unfortunately, life happens – and it happened to me like that nearly 40 years ago while buying a house. I won’t go into any more detail. You will, I’m sure, find new buyers for your lovely house. So the bottle of champagne won’t be wasted. Like the new blog style. A change is as good as a rest, as they say. I changed mine recently, too.

    • MELewis · September 18, 2020

      Thank you, Vanessa! Life really can be stranger than fiction, although our notary said that this was the first time he’d experienced such a last-minute retraction. As for the champagne, it’s too good to waste.

  8. chezperrier · September 16, 2020

    What a terrible shock and disappointment! I’m so sorry this happened to you two. At some point, it will all be in the past. Let all the new potential buyers fight over it! May the move across the border give you much happiness and inspiration.

    • MELewis · September 18, 2020

      Merci! The move already feels like the right thing for us, despite this last-minute drama. I can only hope we will get the house sold quickly and not lose money. Fingers crossed!

  9. Becky Ross Michael · September 17, 2020

    Oh, my…does anything in life go smoothly? Hope that things move forward soon for you with the sale.

    • MELewis · September 18, 2020

      I guess it’s a reminder that Murphy’s law applies to all things. Rotten luck for us and even worse for the buyers. But life, thankfully, goes on despite the bumps!

  10. midihideaways · September 17, 2020

    What a bummer!! I think right now is a tricky time on all fronts, personal and business. Fingers crossed you’ll find another buyer very soon!
    As for the theme, I love the picture at the top!

    • MELewis · September 18, 2020

      Thanks, Andreas, glad you like the theme. Can’t take credit for the picture but it does go well, eh? As for the times, they are indeed strange but I suspect our situation is more ‘une affaire de coeur’ than anything else. Thank god the laws in France are there to protect us (although I can’t believe I just said that…).

      • midihideaways · September 18, 2020

        I know what you mean with une affaire de coeur, it’s just one of these things that can happen. That said, I’m convinced that the lockdown has had a kind of focussing effect on the emotional lives of many people – I’ve seen it in one couple I know, who did not make it after lockdown – very sad!

  11. awtytravels · September 19, 2020

    Ouch, I feel for you but also for those guys. I mean, if you were buying a house together and then – like that! – you’re divorcing some serious stuff must’ve happened.

    Whatever you do, don’t throw away the champers. THAT brings bad luck. In spades.

    • MELewis · September 24, 2020

      Thanks for the advice. I decided to leave the champagne in the fridge for now. In the meantime we may have an unexpected turn of events: one of the buyers wants to go it alone. Will see. And you’re right: my first thought was for them. However awful it is for us — far worse for the family splitting up.

  12. acflory · September 21, 2020

    Oh Mel!?! I am so sorry. I feel sorry for the couple as well but…sheesh. This is like being jilted at the altar. 😦 Please enjoy the Veuve Cliquot because things will look up. – hugs-

    • MELewis · September 24, 2020

      Cheers for that Meeks. Yes, it is awful for them too. But there may be hope yet for a win-win. The deal is not completely dead. We’re saving the champers. 🤞

      • acflory · September 24, 2020

        Gah, sorry, I read your other comment first. That is something to hope for. Stay well. 🙂

  13. Pingback: Prendre du recul | FranceSays

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