A COUPLE from Wanstead who gave up their careers to open a B&B in rural France have won a prestigious award.
Penny and Adrian Girardot sold their house in Chaucer Road, Wanstead after doctors warned Adrian he was risking his health with his stressful London lifestyle.
The couple moved to a 19th century farmhouse close to the mediaeval town of Pons which they converted and now run as a B&B.
Maison Maurice has just been named as one of the top ten B&Bs in the world by bedandbreakfast.com, which considered more than 13,000 properties worldwide before handing out the awards.
Mrs Girardot, 57, who spent 30 years living in Wanstead and South Woodford before moving across the Channel four years ago, said: “It’s a real honour and makes all the effort worthwhile.
“We have nothing like the income we had in London, but life is less stressful and most of the time it’s lovely here.
“We thought we would be in Chaucer Road until we died, but things change.”
They took the decision to move after Mr Girardot suffered three mini-strokes in the space of a year.
As the general manager of a fishing shop Mr Girardot, 60, admits he was living a stressful lifestyle.
He said: “The specialist told me in no uncertain terms to change things or face the consequences.
“My bottom lip started trembling and the realisation of what she was saying really hit home.”
The couple had bought the house in France for their retirement but changed their plans, converting it into a B&B and selling thier house in Wanstead.
“I’m so glad we did it,” said Mr Girardot. “It’s hard work, but it’s not stressful because you are in control of your situation.
“But we do miss all our friends and I still hanker after a pint in the Nightingale pub in Wanstead.
“I always used to pop in after I had been fishing and often I would give the landlord, Noel, a fish.
“There’s a wonderful camaraderie about that place, and I make sure I pop in for a pint whenever I go back.”
Mrs Giradot added: “Adrian doesn’t want to go back, but I never say never because as beautiful as it is here, I do still miss Wanstead.”