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 My Life as a Provence Granny


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By Elayne Murphy

 Just a little over 3 years ago tragedy struck my well ordered life. I had been happily commuting between Provence and Jersey on a two week on, one week off basis. Life was good – and then my husband found out he had lung cancer. I immediately had to stop the commuting so that I could be with him through this ordeal. Not having any savings, it was imperative that I earn a living but I needed something flexible that would allow me to be with him during his treatment and to be able to visit the hospital regularly.

We lived in a beautiful part of Provence – close to Isle sur la Sorgue of antiques fame – and on the edge of the Luberon. I knew there must be something I could do  - but what.

Whilst surfing the internet for ideas I came across a website called VendeeGranny. It was a lady, Sandie, who lived in the Vendee and helped people find their dream homes, not just finding them their property but also holding their hand through the whole buying process and helping with all their administrative problems afterwards. I thought immediately that this was something I could do too and so I contacted Sandie to see if she would explain how she worked.  

We hit it off immediately and we decided that if we pooled our resources we could put bigger and better adverts out and we could share the costs of the website etc. I would become Provence Granny and so the Granny Network was born. (The network now boasts 12 Grannies in various parts of France, with several more in the pipeline). I love being Provence Granny – I never know from one day to the next what challenge I am going to be given, or what problems await me. I think over the last 3 years I have done everything from finding a chateau to a small holiday apartment and I still get a real buzz out of being able to find someone their dream home. I have to deal with everything from getting utilities put on, to finding schools, to finding plumbers, cleaners, builders, from arranging cocktail parties to welcome the people into their new area, to helping with finding a car, a boat and in one case, a caravan. It’s all part of the service. I search for properties all over Provence and the Cote d’Azur. 


Provence Granny can be contacted by email on or you can visit

Plus there is the general Granny Network site on . Or by telephone on 00 33 (0)4 90 20 39 50  or  00 33 (0)6 77 08 13 36.


After only being Provence Granny for a few months, I was contacted by Channel 4 to help out with A Place in the Sun.

 Elaine with Tara Palmer Tompkinson and Graham, Estate Agent colleague of Elayne;s

Elayne with Tara Palmer Tomkinson and Graham, an estate agent colleague of Elaine's  taken during A Celebrity Place in the Sun

It was great fun and although the 2 cousins on the show did not buy anything “on screen”, they did become my clients and I eventually found them both the properties that they were looking for. One year later I was asked to appear with one of the cousins on a follow up programme called My Place in the Sun – this followed Pat, one of the cousins, on a typical day in her life since moving to Provence and as we have become good friends I was asked to appear on the programme with her.

And then just recently I was asked to help out with A Celebrity Place in the Sun with Tara Palmer Tomkinson who was looking for a house on the Cote d’Azur.  Although Tara did not actually buy anything during the programme it was a great experience

Provence Pool

I may even write a book one day about the Trials and Tribulations of a Personalised Property Searcher – I have some unbelievable anecdotes to tell – one of the funniest being during a visit to a property near St Remy de Provence. It was during the transhumance – when they take the sheep up to the hills for their summer grazing – 3 of them wandered off from the pack and into the garden of the property we were due to visit and they had fallen into the swimming pool. I can’t begin to tell you the rigmarole involved in getting three very big sheep out of a pool – the force of the water had made them twice as heavy and it took nearly a whole day to do it. Needless to say the clients decided against that particular property – too worried about unexpected guests using their pool !!!!

Life is now often very hectic but I wouldn’t swap it for the world. There have been lots of ups and downs since I became Provence Granny – but on the whole it has been a fulfilling and satisfying time and I am hopeful that the next 3 years will be as good as the last 3.

Let Provence Granny help you to find your dream home in Provence or on the Cote d’Azur – no stress, no strain, no time wasted.