My name is Sarah Morris and I have lived in this area for nearly four years. I had always had a yearning to live in France and so on one, cold, wet, day, on the Isle of Wight, where I worked as a letting agent, I clicked the 'send' button on my laptop and off whizzed my application for a job as a housekeeper in France that I had seen advertised in The Lady Magazine.
At the same time I booked a flight to visit Carcassonne, having read about the wonderful, bastide town in a book! Well, to my utter surprise, I heard back about the job and offered myself up for an interview whilst I was on my weekend break! Well, - I couldn't believe it - I got the job, there and then, so I returned home, rented out my house, gave up my job, and left my wonderful friends and family et voila 5, weeks later I was driving down from Caen, to unknown but exciting future!
Eventually, I decided that the housekeeping job wasn't fulfilling my dream of experiencing all that French life had to offer and so I put myself forward to the local Cafe owner as a washer upper for free! - he gladly obliged and thus started a new career in a real life 'Allo Allo' cafe, where I was soon upgraded to sous chef and then eventually let loose in the kitchen on my own. By then, and with yet another strange twist of fate, I found myself singing in a newly formed band - The Free Drinks Band!
I had sung in a rock choir for a few years back but I had never sung alone before. Nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, I took my first steps onto the stage as a soloist and found that not only did I enjoy it - but it seemed that others did too. So there I was - the 'Singing Chef'!
I rented a little house in Montaigu de Quercy and started to really feel that this was the place that I wanted to be. I sold my house on the Isle of Wight and started looking for somewhere of my own. The house that has now become my home and Le P'tea Salon, had been on the market for 16 years! What was wrong with it I thought at first, why had nobody else fallen in love with it, as I had done on that day back in June 2015?
Despite worries that I was making a huge mistake, 10 weeks later, the estate agent handed me the keys and another new adventure began! Renovation and lots of sleepless, fraught nights followed. The house used to be a clockmakers and jewellers many years ago and it started to dawn on me that it was time to bring it back to life again and the idea of opening a tea shop started to form. Would it even be possible for me to do it and what hoops would I be required to jump through in order for it to become a reality?
A four day course in Montauban ensued and then a few weeks later, I finally got my certificate to say that I was officially the owner of a Tea Shop! Magnifique! I must say, that without the help and support I have received from my many friends here, I couldn't possibly have done it at all - from Anne, making bunting from old pillow cases, Tony Priestly who kindly took these great photos of the tea rooms, to Bridget and Glenn for laying floors, putting up mirrors and generally lifting my spirits when worry and tiredness got the better of me - they are all truly wonderful (and are entitled to free tea for life!!).
Four weeks after the grand opening and the word is beginning to spread - I now have a regular Friday morning group of ladies who come to do their crafts and have a chat and I organised a Nails and a Natter event on Mon 30th May, where the ladies (and possibly gents!) could have a manicure, a cup of earl grey, or a grand crème and perhaps piece of homemade almond and cherry bakewell cake, or maybe some freshly baked scones with jam and cream.
If anyone is around at lunchtime, they might like to try a Thai vegetable curry with Jasmine Rice, Roasted vegetable tortellini with a cheese and mushroom sauce or a homemade vegetable cottage pie with cauliflower, potato and parmesan mash (gluten free). I change the lunch menu nearly every day and experiment with new cakes to ring the changes from the old favourites of carrot cake and lemon drizzle. You can see them on my facebook page Le P'tea Salon and you can always send me a message if you want to come for lunch and want to know what the special of the day is. I'm looking forward to a busy and rewarding summer and hope that locals and holidaymakers alike, will enjoy what I have done with this charming 1680's townhouse - which is now chez moi!
You can find Sarah and her lovely teashop on the little road that leads from the bottom square of Montaigu de Quercy (82150) to the top square with the church, post office and Mairie – up the hill. Or park at the top square and walk down a short distance. Opening times are Monday - Saturday 10-4pm