As a semi-retired professional travel/corporate photographer who has lived at least 2 months in Provence since discovering the village in 1969, Venterol has always been my necessary annual dose of good food, beauty, peace and quiet....everything necessary in which to paint, photograph, discover, breath fresh air and make friends. After shooting annual reports for just about every major corporation, this was both refuge and solace.
My wife maintains it is also the reason for an excellent state of health. At any rate, after traveling the world, it is the place where I feel at home.
George and Mary Haling purchased this house in 1971
In 1969 my girlfriend and I were looking for something as a pied-a-terre in France. I had already loved life in Paris and
could imagine the possibilities of such an idea. An Italian friend of ours suggested Venterol, directing us to two Swiss women who wanted to sell their summer refuge. The village was nearly abandoned, many empty buildings with black, gaping windows... streets with open sewers, one habitually empty crumbling cafe.
The house I bought had dirt floors, primitive plumbing, no electricity, a bed with straw mattress, leaky roofs, no windows and resident scorpions. But it was very large, a complicated labyrinth layout: I was seduced by the expansive layout, the many rooms, the attached village farm, the seemingly endless possibilities.
I worked summers from dawn to after dark, cutting new windows into the walls, tiling floors, surfacing walls, re-doing roofs... all
that was necessary to just make the place barely habitable.
Over the years, each time returning with some of the winters
earnings to invest into improvements, the house began to become what can be enjoyed today. And, in the very large suitcases of the time, we brought over so many personal items,
art work, furnishings.... making the place seem home-like and welcoming. At the end of the days, after toiling in some dusty,
nearly ruined part of the complex, my only next door neighbor and I would compare the experiences of that day.
I always loved the nest-like shape of our village and its situation clinging to the slopes of the mountains behind. It also pleased me that the house was not situated in the middle of the nest
but, rather, on the outer edge with a view of the valley below.
Why this property? Because a little boy from New England
once dreamed of castles and knights and then, years later, found a region where they actually existed. And, besides, my
father was a farmer so I enjoy being around farms, farmers and
the growing cycles. I guess that is why.
Olives, apricots, lavender, wine grapes, the Mediterranean
diet mixed with dependable sunshine:
all the ingredients to make one healthy and happy.
Plus some of the most interesting, kind and generous
people I know.