In 2002 my late wife Lara and I had a dream. We had two children ourselves then 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.
One day, whilst sat in a black cab in London on the way to an appointment, the cabbie asked Lara:
“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. She told the cabbie that it needed to provide 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 in the area.
Ten days later Lara, myself, Ben (6) and Charlie (2) travelled to the Lot Region and the first house we saw was Pagel and we knew instantly that this was the place that could provide families with the perfect place to holiday. It had breathtaking views, magnificent stone buildings – even one with a tower – as well as local villages and towns providing nearby restaurants and days out.
It was just 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 I attended a local Ex Pats Noel Coward play, and Lara said: “I am sure I know that actor”.
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 did you did it?”
It turns out that he had moved to the area too, and he had not known what a life-changing impact he had had that day in a London cab.
Although Lara is sadly no longer with us, we are now looking to run our 19th season this summer at Pagel. Still the small, informal but dedicated holiday business continuing to create the true family-friendly experience and the magic of Pagel. No longer living onsite, Pagel is still managed by myself from the UK, with Chrissie taking care of the admin and marketing side of things. He has a truly magnificent and dedicated, English speaking team working with him at the Pagel Location in Fiona, Cathy, Carole, Sarah and Steve.
We all very much hope the current turbulent problems will pass for everybody soon and they are all ready and very much hope to be able to welcome guests to Pagel this summer.
Our passion for Pagel and the Brand is if anything more intense now after eighteen years. Our aim has been to create Pagel specifically, and only, for families with young babies, toddlers and children.
We hope to see you there.