Sat. May 25th, 2024

DETERMINED to live completely alone, one brave woman retired to a place dubbed the “Middle of Nowhere”.

Josette, 65, is the only resident of Rochefourchat – France’s smallest village, where there are more wolves than people.

2014 AFPThe medieval village of Rochefourchat has a population of just one[/caption]

2014 AFPJosette loves her private, peaceful life in the mountains[/caption]

At the end of a long road and under the shadow of a mountain in the Drôme region of south-east France is where the medieval settlement can be found.

The smallest municipality out of 35,000 in the country, Rochefourchat is home to only one resident all year round.

The whole village is made up of the ruins of a castle, an old church and graveyard, a telephone booth that doesn’t work and three buildings.

One of those buildings is occupied by Josette, who since 2005 has called this lonely paradise her home.

The quiet 65-year-old prefers to remain largely anonymous and lives largely off-grid in her house at the foothills of the Alps.

Josette installed her own solar panels and says she likes to spend 15 days up there alone before “coming down” into civilisation.

“I’m not looking for luxury,” Josette explained.

She boasted that her peaceful way of life “makes people envious”.

“I retired to the mountains,” she told Le Figaro. “But I am not a hermit.”

The retiree has a trusty sheepdog to keep her company and most weeks she travels 6km to the neatest village to collect groceries.

Her family also comes to visit from time to time and together they go hunting for wild boars.

Rochefourchat also has a few second-home owners, including the mayor, Jean-Baptiste de Martigny, who drops in every few months to sort out the official business of his one-person kingdom.

In the meantime, Josette’s peace is only broken by the howling of wolves who share the mountainside with the 65-year-old.

“I see them on camera but so far I have never encountered one on foot, knock on wood.”

There’s not a lot Josette would change about her isolated existence.

“I only have one regret, and that is not having left sooner,” she joked.

However, soon Rochefourchat is very likely to change as it experiences a huge demographic boom.

Its population is set to triple as two adventurous new residents are planning to move in, according to French media.

Other than annoying the existing Queen of the Castle, the new inhabitants would bump the village out of its top spot as France’s smallest.

It comes as a different lonely mountainous village has been put up for sale – and this place has no current residents.

For the price of just one UK home, the lucky buyer could own all 44 houses along with a hotel, pool and bar in north-western Spain.

No one has lived in Salto de Castro for three decades, and the whole lot is on the market for £500,000.

Elsewhere, an abandoned town that was left to the mercy of nature has been given a new lease on life thanks to TikTok.

Perched on stunning hills in China, the once thriving fishing community of Houtouwan has been known as the “ghost village” for decades.

2014 AFPJosette has zero complaints about her lonely life other than she should have moved there ‘sooner’[/caption]

2014 AFPA plaque that announces the village as literally the ‘Middle of Nowhere’[/caption]


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