CAN YOU TRUST US?
We hope that if you've made it to this page it's because you like what you see and are seriously thinking about coming to stay in at L'Atelier d'Artiste.
But let's be honest. It's a bit of a scary prospect, travelling halfway across Europe - or even across the world - on the strength of some pretty prose and even prettier pictures.
You wouldn't be the first to have read in the press about holiday scams, and even though they're exceptionally rare occurrences, those who've been caught up in them often want, understandably, to make a lot of noise about it.
So we understand that you might feel a little nervous about entrusting your hard earned holiday money to two strangers you don't know from Eve or Adam who live in a mountain farmhouse in an area you may never have heard of. Put it like that, and who wouldn't?
On this page we tell you a bit more about us and give you (we hope) reasons why you can book with confidence.
WHO ARE YOU?
We're Kalba Meadows and John Curtis; we live here, next door to L'Atelier d'Artiste, and have done done so since the beginning of 2007 when we moved from England. Find our contact details here.
HOW DO WE KNOW YOU'RE REAL?
We're legally and fiscally resident here at Maison Grillou, and our bank accounts and Paypal account are registered to this address. We're registered as an accommodation provider with our local Mairie (town hall), with Google Maps and with the tax office in St Girons.
CAN WE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU?
Yes. If you Google me (Kalba) you'll find me turning up in in various places. I work with the EU-wide citizens' rights advocacy organisation British in Europe and lead a similar association here in France. I started writing in April 2008 about our life here; I also have a professional website and can be found on LinkedIn. Between 1998 and 2006 John and I lived in the village of Cley next the Sea in north Norfolk, UK, where we had a restaurant with rooms; our various websites from those days can still be accessed via The Wayback Machine. Please feel free to ask me for more specific details if you want to follow any of this up - we're perfectly open and transparent about who we are. You can find us on Facebook too.
CAN WE CHECK OUT THAT THE HOUSE EXISTS?
Yes. Because Grillou is an official 'lieu-dit' (place name), you'll find it on Google maps, Google Earth, and Geoportail simply by searching for Grillou, 09420 Rimont. There are no other houses in this little lieu-dit, just ours, as you'll see if you switch to satellite view: that's us, where the little house icon sits in the map on the left. We're not on street view, because we don't have a street! But we are marked on the larger scale IGN maps.
DO YOU LIST ON OTHER SITES?
Just a handful. The biggest is Chez Nous; we've also been listed on Organic Holidays since around 2002, first in Norfolk and now here. You'll also find us from time to time on The Holiday Let, on Gitelink, on a couple of walking and dog-friendly sites and on one or two French sites. We don't list with any online travel agents such as Airbnb, Expedia, Homeaway or Booking.
DO YOU HAVE A STAR RATING?
No. Like an ever-increasing number of personally run accommodations, we choose not to affiliate ourselves to a rating organisation because what matters to us is not whether we provide a pressure cooker (yes, it's a requirement!) or have the correct number and size of white tiles behind the cooker, but whether our accommodation feels like home. And how do you measure that?
WHAT ABOUT REVIEWS?
We've never sought external reviews as we feel it's too intrusive to our guests' privacy, but many people write to us spontaneously after their holiday. All the comments here are from 'real' guests; personal details have been omitted to preserve privacy, but we're more than happy to put you in touch with past guests on request.