Our story ‘chasing butterflies’
In 2002 we had a dream. We had two children ourselves and were asking, will we ever be able to truly holiday again?
After years of frustration in trying to find a special place to holiday with children, we decided to move to France after discovering Pagel quite by chance. Lara had been looking in Italy for nine months for a suitable location which was by the very nature of its layout child-friendly, and perfect for our dream but to no avail, when one day, whilst sat in a black cab in London on the way to an appointment the cabbie asked “So what are you doing with your life love?” Lara then went on to explain that we have a dream to create a special place for families to holiday that is safe, beautiful, located in a fantastic and interesting area, and that provides everything you need for families with babies, toddlers and children including practical essentials, potties and cots to changing mats and sterilisers to toy boxes and imagination play zones. The London cabbie didn’t mince his words and said ‘well love you’re looking in the wrong place, forget Italy, that was done years ago, go to the Lot region in France. It is undiscovered and really quite beautiful. He then gave Lara a book on changing your life and details of his holiday home on the area.
Ten days later Lara, Bish, Benjamin (6) and Charlie (2) were in the Lot and the first house they saw was Pagel and they knew instantly that this was the place that could provide families with the perfect place to holiday, breathtaking views, magnificent stone buildings one with a tower (Rapunzel let down your hair) and local villages and towns providing nearby restaurants and days out – perfect, totally perfect.
Three months later, having moved to France lock stock and barrel, and straight into a total renovation project, Pagel was born. Two years after arriving the circle was completed in a surprising way when Lara and Bish attended a local Ex Pats Noel Coward play, and Lara said to Bish “I am sure I know that actor/man”. In the interval Lara asked him ‘did you used to drive cabs?’ ‘Oh my goodness’ he exclaimed ‘You’re that bird aren’t you, the one who wanted to change her life and set up a place for families… so you did it?’ It turns out the Taxi driver had moved to the area too and quite by chance the circle was completed and he had not known what a life-changing impact he had had that day in a London.
Although no longer living onsite, Pagel is still managed by Mark from the UK and with Fiona, Carole, Sarah and Steve our fabulous English speaking team living locally to Pagel and creating the family-friendly experience and magic of Pagel.
Our passion for Pagel and the Brand is if anything more intense now after sixteen years. Our aim has been to create Pagel specifically, and only, for families with young babies, toddlers and children.
I cannot tell you how amazing it is to stand and watch pirates and princesses chasing butterflies in the lower meadow – simple, fun, imagination and childhood as it should be.