We are 10! Lou Messugo is 10 years old this week, happy birthday to us!
Lou Messugo is 10
We welcomed our very first guests on 6th April 2010. Kathy and Nick from Aberdeen were grandparents of a classmate of one of our kids, visiting France from Scotland. They took a great leap of faith in staying with us as they hadn’t seen any pictures and while the inside was finished, the landscaping around had barely even begun. Their visit was a great success, and although I didn’t take any photos of them, Nick was a photographer and he gave me some tips about photographing the gite itself. It’s hard to believe the photo below was taken only 6 days before they arrived!
Our next lot of guests was an old school friend of mine with her kids and a couple of friends. Kate and I were at school together from age 8-11 and had met twice since going our separate ways at 11 years old. During their stay, they too had no garden and were surrounded by mud, but they were very helpful making the lawn. 10 years later we’re redoing that very same lawn as it suffered badly in a particularly dry summer a couple of years ago and never really recovered. Better call Kate!
Our First Web Guests
Our big test came about a month later when we had our first guests booked online, complete strangers with no connection to us at all. Giselle and Norman, from Patagonia, booked through Airbnb which we’d already signed up with when we opened in April 2010, being the trailblazers that we were! Read all about their unusual stay here.
While on the subject of Airbnb, my how it’s changed. Back then it really was part of the sharing economy and not the massive greedy corporation that it’s become (but I won’t go into that here). We were such early subscribers that if you looked for a place in Nice we came up in the top 3! Nowadays Nice has several thousand listings and even Roquefort les Pins has probably around 100. But despite my current misgivings about the company, over the years we’ve had hundreds of lovely guests through Airbnb and in our early days almost everyone came through them. I think we were lucky to get a foot in so early as the market is saturated these days. Lou Messugo was the 26,928th listing, now there are around 7 million I believe! It’s hard to stand out in those numbers. (Photo below is the original lead photo for all our online listings from April 2010.) For a detailed and interesting read about the current state of affairs at Airbnb, which may help you understand why I am less than enamoured with the company, particularly over its handling of the Covid-19 crisis click here.
The World Comes to Lou Messugo
When I started hosting holidaymakers I hoped I’d meet people from all over the world. Travel is my all abiding passion and when I can’t be on the road myself, the next best thing is to receive travellers at Lou Messugo and hear their stories. And I certainly haven’t been disappointed. We’ve hosted guests from over 40 countries including such faraway places as South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Tahiti, Réunion, South Africa, Canada and Azerbaijan. Closer to home we’ve had visitors from almost all of Europe including Romania, Latvia, Estonia, Iceland, Finland, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ukraine, Russia, Norway, Slovenia and Luxembourg. We’ve also hosted vacationers from Israel, Jordan and Turkey.
Our most common nationality is German, followed by British, Dutch, French, American and Australian in that order. Surprisingly we’ve only ever had one guest from Spain and none from Portugal (I think! Sorry if I’ve forgotten someone.) All these people add up to over 1000. For a little one bedroom rental, that’s a good amount of people I reckon.
The Garden in 2010
Ten years ago we had a website which had no outside photos – because neither the garden nor the pool were anywhere near ready to show off. I had to be very creative with the few photos I could take. This is the pool in June 2010 (note the lawn in front of the gîte has grown nicely in two months.) Check out this post on how we transformed a plot of forest to our garden.
Lou Messugo is 10 During Unprecedented Times
So here we are in April 2020 experiencing the most extraordinary circumstances imaginable. No, in fact they weren’t imaginable. Who could ever have imagined back then that we’d be celebrating our 10th anniversary in the middle of the worst crisis the world has suffered in a generation? We couldn’t even have imagined it only a month ago, which seems crazy. 2020 was the most booked up, and the most booked in advance, year we’ve ever had. We only had a handful of days available between the end of March and late September. But over the last 3 weeks instead of receiving more bookings I’ve been dealing with cancellations and date changes. Lou Messugo is closed for the time being, “until further notice”, with no happy holiday-makers enjoying our space. I’ll leave you with a photo of our last guests who left on the day France went into lockdown. Here they are enjoying a (shirtless) barbecue in gorgeous weather, exactly how it should be at Lou Messugo and how it will be again before too too long I have to hope.
If you’d like to help us celebrate our first decade, hopefully sometime later this year, get in touch to discuss dates, current booking conditions and prices. We’re in unchartered waters here with Coronavirus and lockdowns, and don’t know when we’ll be back to normal but there’s no harm in dreaming and tentatively planning.
In the meantime, there are small ways you can help us remain vaguely afloat, so that we don’t disappear off the map altogether. All social media clicks, likes and shares help us tick over. Reading and commenting on blog posts keeps this website active and makes Google happy. You can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest and you can subscribe to the blog so as not to miss out on new posts. Thanks and cheers to us on our 10th birthday!
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