Character holiday gite in rural Dordogne

10/10
Saint-Geniès (15km from Sarlat-la-Caneda), Dordogne, Aquitaine Reference: AD005680 Advertiser since: 26 January 2017
Property Board Arrival Bedrooms Sleeps Bathrooms
Le Vieux Four at La Vieille Ferme Self Catering Saturday 3 6 1

About this property

Spacious Converted Stone Barn with a Stunning View. This cottage/gite is in a rural setting.

Le Vieux Four is one of the three stone cottages that together make La Vieille Ferme.
La Vieille Ferme is a perfect place to relax and unwind. Located in the famous golden triangle of Sarlat, Les Eyzies and Montignac, these three delightful stone cottages (locally referred to as gîtes) nestle together in the heart of the beautiful, unspoilt region of the Dordogne known as the Périgord Noir. The cottages are built around a charming courtyard with a covered terrace housing the old village bread oven (le vieux four).

Outside, there is a mature secluded garden offering a variety of places to sit either in sun or shade and take in the views to the north and west. Each cottage has its own private garden terrace where meals can be enjoyed al-fresco. For our younger guests there is a communal indoor games room with table football, darts and a junior snooker/pool table. There is also a table tennis table and a selection of garden games such as badminton and boules for our more energetic guests. The English owners live on the opposite side of this country lane and are on hand to offer advice and help when necessary. Visitors are free to wander in the owners’ five acres of wooded grounds where they can meet (and feed!) the pet goats and chickens.

For those in search of outdoor pursuits bicycle hire, horse riding, and canoeing are all within easy reach. Along with the numerous local markets and many opportunities to taste the local specialities of foie gras, truffles and all things walnut (walnut cake, aperitif or just chocolate covered), La Vieille Ferme offers something for all ages and tastes.

Type

Cottage/Gite

Kitchen and dining

Le Vieux Four is open plan with a fully fitted kitchen and spacious dining area.
The kitchen has a fitted electric oven, fitted microwave, gas hob, large fridge with a freezer compartment, toaster, electric kettle, and coffee maker. There are ample cupboards for food storage. Serving and oven dishes, egg cups etc are all provided plus a bottle opener/corkscrew, can opener, garlic press and similar other items.

The cottage is well equipped with more than 6 place settings and is well stocked with crockery, pots and pans and kitchen utensils.
French doors open from the kitchen on to a terraced seating area with views over the valley. Here you can enjoy the secluded garden and enclosed natural spring pond, an ideal spot to watch the comings and goings of numerous birds, butterflies and dragonflies that also inhabit this calm relaxing venue. A large barbecue offers the opportunity to dine outdoors enjoying a glass of local wine and watching the sun go down over the valley.

Living rooms

The spacious dining and living area of Le Vieux Four are open plan, with the many windows making it very light and airy. The comfortable lounge offers ample seating, a wood burning stove, tv (English and French free view channels) and a dvd player.
The glass entrance door and two windows overlook the courtyard and further French doors open on to the terraced seating area with views over the valley. There is also a door overlooking the natural pond.

Please note that the stairs that lead from this area to the upstairs bedrooms are open tread.

Bedrooms

Le Vieux Four has three bedrooms.
On the ground floor there is a bedroom with a king size bed, hanging space with shelving and a dressing table with a mirror, bed side tables with lamps, plus a full length mirror on the wall. There is a double window overlooking a small private seating area in the courtyard.

There are a further two bedrooms on the second floor, one with a king size bed, bedside tables with lamps, a chest of drawers with mirror and hanging space with shelving. There is a full length mirror on the wall on the landing.
The other bedroom has two twin beds, a dressing table with mirror, a bedside table with two lamps and hanging space and shelving.

A hair dryer is supplied.

Bathrooms

Le Vieux Four has a spacious bathroom on the ground floor with a walk in shower, bath and sink unit.
There is a large work surface under which is housed a washing machine.

There is a separate downstairs wc.

Upstairs there is a wc and sink.

Heating

For those guests arriving very early or very late in the season, Le Vieux Four has electric heaters in all the rooms, including the open plan living area but excepting the wcs.
There is a wood burning stove in the lounge area that effectively heats all of the downstairs living space and wood can be provided by the owners. The stove is always filled on arrival, ready to be used, plus a large basket of wood is supplied free of charge.

Entertainment

For our younger guests there is a communal indoor games room with table football, darts and a junior snooker/pool table. There is also a selection of garden games such as badminton, and boules and in the garden you will find a table tennis table, swing ball and small football goal.

In the cottage there is a variety of board games and a large selection of books.

Garden and outside

Outside, there is a mature secluded garden offering a variety of places to sit either in sun or shade and take in the views to the north and west.
Each cottage has its own private garden terrace where meals can be enjoyed al-fresco.

Depending on the time of your visit guests are welcome to help themselves to the fruits of the fig, plum, damson and walnut trees, raspberry bushes and herbs. The garden also has an enclosed natural source pond, busy with its own summer visitors of newts, frogs, dragonflies and birds.

The pool is situated at one end of the garden and is enclosed, alarmed and guests are furnished with a key to the locked gate.

Parking and garages

There is ample parking.
Each cottage has its own allotted parking space for at least one car and there is extra parking space available if needed.

Visitor suitability

Le Vieux Four is suitable for families and adult only groups alike. It is on two floors but please note the staircase is open tread. There is a stair gate fitted at the top but this is not possible at the bottom. There are luminous edges to the stair treads.

For people with limited mobility Le Vieux Four offers complete one floor living space for a couple as there is a double bedroom and bathroom/wc on the ground floor.

Information about any additional facilities

The owners live in the property opposite La Ferme and are always happy to help and advise.

Facilities

  • Cleaning

  • Internet

  • Linen

  • Child facilities

  • Shared pool

Activities

Antiques/Brocante Market

Name of nearest antiques/brocante market: Montignac-sur-Vézère
Distance: 9 km

Cycling

Fishing nearby

Species of fish: Trout
Name of nearest fishing location: River Coly
Distance: 4 km

Golf

Name and address of nearest golf course: Souillac Golf & Country Club, Le Mas Del Teil, 46200 Lachapelle-Auzac,
Distance: 24 km

Horse riding

Name and address of nearest stables: Ranch de Mayac Mayac 24590 Archignac
Distance: 4 km

Mountain biking

Distance: 20 km

Signed wine route

Name of nearest signed wine route: Bergerac

Sports

Walking

Name/number of nearest marked trail: La Doinie

Watersports

Wine tasting

Name and address of nearest wine producer: Cave Vin du Domme, Moncalou 24250 Florimont-Gaumier
Distance: 45 km

About the Owner/Advertiser, Mrs Sandra James

Coming from London to the Dordogne, we were looking for a change of pace and definitely found it! We love the French attitude to life and were fortunate to settle in an area which is not only beautiful but where the locals have been extremely welcoming. We live opposite La Vieille Ferme (the old farmhouse) and thought we were really lucky to have such a pretty stone property as our view. We now thoroughly enjoy sharing La Vieille Ferme with the many guests who choose to stay here with us.

Year property purchased 2010
Why this location? You can’t help but fall in love with this area, it has everything - beautiful views, plush green fields, picturesque villages, an abundance of spectacular castles, all littered with wonderful restaurants cafés and bars. There is so much to see and do, we are always stumbling on new gems we didn't know existed. All this combined with a climate that means you can enjoy outdoor living for almost all of the year. The relaxed attitude and abundant sunshine means that you can be as busy or as active as you feel, spending your days reading a book in a quiet corner of the garden, lulled by the sound of bees humming, or equally taking a canoe down the river, a bike ride along the extensive ‘voie vertes’ or cantering along a woodland path, the choices are endless and wide. The ubiquitous caves and castles make the area a fascinating place to visit, traversing the centuries from prehistoric man to modern day. All this and fabulous food and wine to boot, what more could you want?
Unique benefits of property La Vieile Ferme translates as the old farm and that is exactly what it was. We have three gites, Le Vieux Four, La Ferme and La Vieille Maison, all renovated from the original farm and barn, parts of which date back to the 18th century. The original stone bread oven which served the whole village still stands today, attached to the open barn. Situated in a small hamlet overlooking the valley, we are very quiet and rural but within easy reach of all the major towns and tourist sites and well served by airports (Brive - 25 mins away, Bergerac and Limoges -1 hour and 20/30 mins). Montignac is our nearest town, being just 10 minutes away. Nestled on the banks of the river Vézère, it is also one of the prettiest. It boasts very many cafés and restaurants and five boulangeries! 20 minutes away, just a few kms from the banks of the Dordogne, lies Sarlat, the largest concentration of medieval buildings in Europe, built in beautiful honey coloured stone that glows gold in the evening sun.

The Owner Recommends

Sarlat-la-Canéda

The World heritage site of Sarlat boasts the largest concentration of medieval buildings in Europe and with its winding streets and honey coloured stone buildings it is a delight to explore. With many restaurants and 'ferme auberges', summer festivals and a famous twice-weekly market, Sarlat also offers endless opportunities to shop and to taste local produce.

Montignac sur Vézère also known as Montignac - Lascaux

Montignac is only a small town but it has everything from the old and romantic to the necessary modern day needs of a supermarket and chemist. It is situated on the river Vézère and crossing its 18th century bridge and walking through the medieval narrow streets with some houses built on stilts it can feel like you have stepped back into a different age. The picturesque river bank is crammed with restaurants and cafés and you can eat everything from sandwiches and pizzas to cordon bleu gastronomic delights and boasts a crêperie and glacerie and numerous pâtisseries.

But if you should want to do more exploring Montignac is home to the world famous prehistoric site of Lascaux. Lascaux is renowned as the finest of all prehistoric painted caves made by Cro Magnon man. Lascaux II is the man made replica of the original, accurate to a cm in its form and a true reproduction of the prehistoric art using the same methods and materials as the original artists. Lascaux IV is a brand new site opened in December 2016 (Lascaux III is a touring exhibition). Lascaux IV is the Centre International de l’Art Pariétal and is a more extensive version of Lascaux II, with more replications of the original cave and uses cultural mediation and virtual reality technologies to encourage the visitor to contemplate and consider the environmental and cultural context in which the original art was executed.

Chateaux

You would be forgiven for thinking there was a chateau around every corner but in fact there is only reputed to be 1001 chateaux in the Dordogne! I haven't actually counted them myself but it would seem every hill boasts one. Many can be visited and I would struggle to recommend just a few out of the many but my particular favourites are as follows:

Chateau des Milandes, famously restored by the legendary music hall star Josephine Baker who made it her home. It combines medieval history with modern history, telling the fascinating story of a singer and entertainer who became one of the most celebrated performers to headline in the lavish revues of the Folies Bergère in Paris but who also worked with the French resistance and received the French military honour, the Croix de guerre and was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur.

Chateau de Castelnaud, situated at the confluence of the Dordogne river and the Céou river, between the beautiful towns of Domme and Beynac, which are both equally well worth a visit. The Chateau has been renovated and houses the ‘museum of war and the middle ages' containing a collection of arms and armaments and copies of medieval war machine. There are full sized models of medieval weapons including a very impressive trebuchet. It is for these reasons and more that Castelnaud is the most visited chateau in south-west France.

And last but definitely not least, Chateau de Hautefort, a listed historical monument and one of the most prestigious châteaux in the Dordogne, standing imperiously overlooking the Auvézère Valley. Having fallen into ruin and been fully renovated only to suffer a calamitous fire in 1968, the castle was renovated a second time. Apart from the splendours of the building itself, Chateau de Hautefort contains an impressive collection of 17th century paintings and tapestries, is surrounded by impressive French style formal gardens and offers a very pleasant woodland walk.

Prehistory and Archaeology

If you are interested in prehistory this is the area for you! There are numerous sites not least Lascaux II and Lascaux IV situated in Montignac just down the road from us (see section on Montignac). There are also numerous examples of cave and cliff dwellings and guided tours to explain the prehistoric way of life and the development of man as we are today. Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, just 20 km from here, is home to the National Museum of Prehistory and l’Abri Cro Magnon (a cro magnon rock shelter) and Abri Pataud which is a museum explaining how (and how we know) how prehistoric man lived.

Caves

If you are interested in Caves then this is the area for you. There is a plethora of ‘grottes’ (caves) and ‘gouffres’ (chasms) to visit, from the small and intimate to the spectacular and grand. There are painted caves, prehistoric caves, subterranean caves and caves-half way up rock faces, in fact, a cave for everyone! Some are fascinating for their geological wonders and rarities, some for their drama and awesome natural formations. Some can be traversed by boat, some reached by train and some descended into by a suspended basket or cage. Again it would be hard to pick particular recommendations out of the many exceptional caves available here but if you only had to visit one I would recommend either the Gouffre de Padirac or the Gouffre de Proumeyssac. The former is the most visited cave system in the whole of France and is impressive for its sheer size. Visitors can pass through the gorge in a boat on the underground river. If you can take your eyes off the spectacular rock formations and stalactites and look down you may spot the rare snails or white (and eyeless) shrimp who are the only living organisms found in the remarkably clear water. The second has been described as a ‘cathedral of crystal’ and inside are some incredible collections of stalactites and stalagmites. The best way to enjoy this site is to take the descending basket into the cave and savour the musical light show which illuminates the cavern and highlights the different rock and stalactite formations, emphasising their remarkable likeness to mythical sculptures.

Activities for Children and Families

The families that stay with us say that the thing they enjoy best is just relaxing. Holidays are a time to spend together and with our large garden, games room and pool that is exactly what they get to do. If the sun is shining the pool is all a family needs but we provide an indoor area (hopefully for getting out of the hot sun but also useful for the odd rainy day) equipped with a selection of indoor toys. We also provide a large selection of balls and outdoor games such as cricket and badminton sets and, of course, boules (or petanque as it is known here). The garden is a safe environment for children (the pool is enclosed, alarmed and has a locked gate) and this provides them with a sense of freedom that they, and their parents, enjoy. Opposite La Vieille Ferme is a large field where older children (and our more energetic adult guests) can play more vigorous ball sports and this is also where you will find our four goats and several chickens, either in their pen or meandering around the field looking for good things to eat. At the bottom of the field is a woodland that affords shaded walks and opportunities for exploring nature, I have often disturbed a deer on my walks.

For those who wish to get out and about there are many local attractions for the young. I would particularly recommend the Aquarium at Le Bugue (my 3 year old grandson insists on going every time he visits). It now boasts an urban aerial activity for older children plus right next door is Le Bournat, a great day out for all the family. Le Conquil (Parc au Dinosaurs) at Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère has two rope climbing activity centres (age relevant) and a long forest walk where dinosaurs hide round every corner. In Sarlat there are two zip and aerial activity centres, La Forêt des Ecureuils and Monkey Forest. The former also has a paintball course. For the very young there is an excellent indoor play area in Sarlat called Eklat’Park (also very highly recommended by my grandson!).

Activities for Families and Children contd.

The Réserve Zoologique de Calviac is just the other side of Sarlat and is a wonderful little zoo where you can get very close to the animals which are all small breeds such as monkeys, lemurs, birds etc. For those who particularly like monkeys then La Forêt des Singes is the place to go. Again it is a small reserve, inhabited by Barbary macaques. On arrival visitors receive a handful of popcorn which the monkeys will take from the hand and are so gentle that even the smallest visitor will not be intimidated by these monkeys approaching.

Jacquou Parc is an activity park for young children, probably best enjoyed by 3 to 11 yr olds and with only a few rides for the elder of the two. That being said it has lots of rides for the younger age group, and a petting zoo and a water park which can be enjoyed equally by all ages.

Add to this, pony rides, canoeing (age 3 and over) and exploring and I don’t think your youngsters will be complaining too much of being bored!

Activities for Teenagers

For our teenage guests there are numerous opportunities for those who prefer a more active holiday. As mentioned in the ‘Activities for Families and Children’ section, there is a large choice of rope climbing and zip and aerial activity centres all around our location. Equally there is a wide choice of horse riding, available for all levels from the complete novice to the experienced rider. Canoe and kayak centres are everywhere and the distance rowed can be as short or as long as you wish. There are some very challenging mountain bike trails and at Sarlat there is the voie verte, the old railway line converted into ‘the green path’, an easier ride but 24 kms long (of course you can stop and turn around whenever you want!). If you haven’’t managed to pack your bike there are many bike hire centres. There is a local gym for those who don’t want to miss out on their regular workouts. Equally, there are opportunities for paint balling, quad biking and go karting.

Where many teenagers may dismiss going to a village fair or a market please read the section on ‘Markets and Festivals’ as I think they may well be pleasantly surprised!

Village Fairs, Night Markets and Festivals

If you are lucky enough to be here for music night, always celebrated on 21st June, every town will be bustling with people moving from one live band to the next. All styles of music are celebrated and there is no entrance or performance fee. The towns will be closed off to traffic and restaurants and cafés will take advantage of being able to spill out onto the roads to accommodate the crowds, With the sound of laughter, lively chatter and music drifting on the air, the atmosphere gives a vibrant and exciting feel to the usual tranquille setting of our medieval towns. On a balmy night this really is a special evening.

14th July is Bastille Day and is celebrated everywhere and many towns will have market stalls, street entertainers and music and the evening will be finished off with a truly impressive firework display. All villages have a village fair somewhere between May and the end of August and these are not to be dismissed as the afternoon villlage fête most people are familiar with. They last three days, there will be food stalls and fairground attractions (though these are usually limited to dodgems and small children’s carousels) and each each day will be themed. For example the Friday might be a petanque competition, the Saturday may have a themed market and the Sunday may be a parade. Each evening there will be live music and dancing under the stars and on one of the evenings there will be a meal eaten on mass in the village square. As with Bastille Day, all the village fairs culminate in a pretty good firework display on the last evening.

In July and August all the surrounding villages (including St Geniès) will have a night market once a week. These never fail to please with market stalls and a large choice of food stalls, plus chilled beer and local wines. The atmosphere is convivial and bustling, with everyone sitting at long trestle tables to eat and friendly chatter between locals and tourists irrespective of the language barrier.

Markets

In addition to the night markets there are countless regular day markets, too numerous to mention. The smaller markets tend to be food markets. The larger markets all sell local produce, a variety of essential items and bric-a-brac but will also sell clothes, table cloths, hats, jewellery, paintings, the list could go on! Interspersed over the summer there will also be many ‘brocantes’, broadly speaking antique markets but also selling anything second hand.

Food and Wine

What can I say? This is the home of foie gras, truffles and walnuts. I couldn’t begin to recommend restaurants as the list is too long. Needless to say, in Sarlat and Montignac you could eat somewhere different every night of your holiday, have a wonderful meal and still leave having only eaten in a fraction of the restaurants. From lunches to five course dinners varying form €10 to €100 the choice is yours. Most restaurants provide set menus of between 3 and 5 courses, starting from €15 to €25 (though of course you will find cheaper and dearer) and à la carte choices.

We are between the wine regions of Bergerac, Bordeaux and St Emilion and each is worthy of a visit if you are interested in following a wine route. All the restaurants stock local wines and if you are looking to sip wine on your terrace, very drinkable wines start at three euros something in the local supermarkets. For more distinguishing connoisseurs there are many local specialist wine shops where you can taste before you buy, still at very reasonable prices.

1 Review
10/10
  • Cleanliness: 10
  • Comfort: 10
  • Condition: 10
  • Facilities: 10
  • Local Amenities: 10
  • Setting: 10
  • Value for Money: 10
10 / 10 Helen & Guy 12 September, 2017

This is a beautifully appointed cottage, immaculately maintained and spotlessly clean. The cottage is set in its own grounds with a large lawned area to the rear, and courtyard to the front with lovely shrubs and flowers. The owners have clearly catered for every need with a fully stocked range of kitchen equipment, glassware, quality towels for bathroom and pool use, along with a television with English channels. There is a well stocked games room, good sized swimming pool and BBQ facilities.

The owners having lived in the region for some considerable time, and live close by, have a vast knowledge of the area, and are happy to assist with ideas should help be required.

The cottage has a very detailed manual of information regarding the cottage and surrounding areas, and numerous brochures with suggestions of activities and places to visit etc.

We would have no hesitation in recommending this cottage to friends and relatives. It was a pleasure to spend a week in such a lovely cottage and area of outstanding beauty, and we hope we can return in the near future.