|Le Petit Vigier||Self Catering||Sunday||6||15||3||Double sofa-bed, and one collapsible single|
The accommodation comprises a one acre enclosed plot, which has two separate single-storey houses, 25 metres apart, a below ground 12m x 6m swimming pool, a boules court, and a well-maintained mature garden, and parking for several cars. There are plenty of outdoor activities for children apart from the pool, including a sturdy Wendy House and a Tree House, and plenty of space for ball games.
The property is about 7km (6 mins) from the nearest town at Ste-Foy-La-Grande, therefore a car is essential.
There are no immediate neighbours, so the property is very private.
I believe that the main house was originally constructed as the gate-house for Chateau des Vigiers, and is around two hundred years old, and indeed on many old maps, a road is shown going past the building up to the Chateau. Even in modern internet route-finders, the house is most easily found by entering Allez des Vigiers as the address rather than the postal address.
The house has been fully refurbished in recent years, with sensitive use of reclaimed and modern materials and fittings in keeping with the original character. One case in point is the new bathrooms which have been fitted out with modern fixtures, even if the builders had to knock through 3ft walls to achieve it.
The property is on the eastern boundary of the Dordogne department, and is to be found 4km south of St-Phillippe-de-Seignal on the D18 towards Eymet. It is on a corner plot, with the road to Razac-de-Saussignac forming one boundary, and the D18 to Eymet the other. The third boundary is the golf course area itself.
This relative isolation means that parties can make as much noise as they like without fear of causing offence, or alternatively can enjoy a quiet holiday without disruption.
There is plenty to do at the property (see below), and plenty of space to do it in, and there are many and varied experiences to be enjoyed locally.
This rural location, with only occasional traffic and farm machinery to be heard above the birdsong, makes for a peaceful holiday. The nights are quiet and very dark, with only the night sky to illuminate the surroundings, and no light pollution.
The area is renowned for its food and wines, and is something of a gourmet centre within France. Perigord is famous for its foie-gras, Arcachon for oysters, Atlantic ports for fresh fish, and some form of duck is available on every menu. We are surrounded by vineyards large and small, many of which are little more than smallholdings, though this does nothing to curb their enthusiasm for their wine or their pride in the product. Very pleasant wines can be picked up direct from the vineyards at around 6-8 euros a bottle, and they seem to appreciate the visits and the interest that visitors show in their methods.
The area between Bergerac and Perigueux boasts many ancient sites of historical interest, the pinnacle of which are the prehistoric caves at Lascaux, and the also the cliff-face prehistoric dwellings above the River Vezere.
The River Dordogne itself is fascinating, as are the many towns on it as it meanders down from the gorges of the higher eastern source, with Rocamadour, Domme, and Beynac, to the relatively wide and flat valley west of Lalinde and Bergerac to Ste-Foy-La-Grande, and Libourne, before joining the Garonne on its way to the sea north of Bordeaux. Each part of this river has a different tale to tell, from prehistoric time to the modern era, through the battles won and lost, and finally won once more, to expel the English from the region which they had ruled for many years, to the growth and decline of the tobacco industry, and the prosperity of the wine trade, and its inextricable connection to protected English markets. Beautiful St-Emillion is a forty minute drive away, and well worth a day trip.
The area south and east of the property takes in the Dropt and Lot valleys, and includes some of the finest medieval Bastide towns, such as Monpazier, Castillones, and Issigeac.
World famous Atlantic surf beaches run south from Arcachon, including the amazing spectacle of the Dune de Pilat through Biscarosse and Mimizan, and numerous unspoilt and accessible sandy beaches flanked by pine forest, all the way to the Spanish border, and are under two hours away.
Bordeaux itself is well worth visiting, and best done so by train from Ste-Foy.
The kitchen in the main house was created in 2016, and there is well equipped with electric oven/grill/hotplate, dishwasher, American style fridge-freezer, microwave, coffee machine, kettle. There is a double sink with a electric hot water supply, which looks out into the garden and swimming pool, and double doors straight out.
There is ample crockery and cutlery for over 20 people, and various bowls, dishes, and serving plates to cover every eventuality.
In place is a solid pine kitchen table with 8 matching chairs and a high chair. A large linen and cleaning cupboard houses bathroom towels, bed linen, etc. There is a dedicated utility area with washing machine and sink, and a dresser containing many wine and beer glasses, salad bowls, decanter, water jugs.
The main door leads out on to the patio where there is another solid pine table for outside eating. The two can be put together to seat up to 15 people inside or out.
There is a small kitchenette in the summer house.
The living room is seldom used in the summer, though it has has several easy chairs and a sofa bed in front of a log burner. (This is currently out of commission for safety reasons and must not be used; it will be repaired during the winter of 2018)
The wi-fi is situated on the oak desk, and works well for e-mails, WhatsApp etc, though it should be noted that the mobile phone signal is poor in the locality, and calls may only be possible upon leaving the premises. (At the top of the hill it starts to work well)
A large bookcase contains about 100 or so assorted books which guests are welcome to read and return, including a selection of children's books.
Bedroom 1 (Master Bedroom) - King sized double bed, single bed & cot.
En suite including walk in shower, sink and toilet.
Wardrobe, chest of drawers, bedside tables, chair.
Bedroom 2 - Virtually adjacent Bedroom 1 - Two single beds, bedside table
Bedroom 3 - King sized double bed & cot. (a toddler bed can be added if required)
Wardrobe, chest of drawers, bedside tables, chair. Accessed through living room.
Bedroom 4 - Virtually adjacent Bedroom 3 - Double bed. (This room can be altered to offer two single beds)
Chest of drawers, bedside tables, chair. (Access direct to the external covered terrace)
Bedroom 5 - Double bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers, bedside table.
Bedroom 6 - Triple room with two bunk beds and third single bed. Chest of drawers.
En suite to Bedroom 1 (Master Bedroom), with shower, sink, toilet
Family Bathroom, with bath, shower, sink, and toilet
Separate toilet and hand washbasin
Bath with shower over
Oil Fired hot water and central heating to main house (the central heating will be switched 'off' in the summer) There are three small electric convection heaters if heating is ever required, though it never has been.
There is no central heating in the summer house, and indeed, winter bookings are restricted to the main house, with its independent central heating system fired up some time in September
Daytime temperatures will soar to the high 20's and 30's C during summer months, with nights being warm enough to be sitting outside on a normal basis. Hot water in the summer house is provided by an electric immersion heater.
A "Fosse-Septique" (septic tank) drainage system is employed for all toilets, sink, bath, and shower waste. There are restrictions described in the bathroom facilities about may and may not be flushed down toilets.
TV set up for video only
Numerous Board Games including chess checkers, dominoes, shut the box, backgammon, scrabble, trivial pursuit, card games, including poker set, dice, etc
Baby activity set
Painting and drawing equipment
Football goals (Mini size)
Outside off road secure parking for 4/5 cars
(The garage will be locked shut).
This property will readily suit families with young children, or with more mature children, and is well set up for large groups of maybe more than one family group. I regularly have three of my children and partners here at once, with up to eight grandchildren with them. The place is then at capacity, but it works well.
Those with all but the severest disabilities should find the property acceptable, since it is single storey, and there is relatively easy access over the terrace to the interior. Wheelchair access to the bathrooms would not be possible due to restricted door width.
Dogs are welcome subject to them not being allowed on furniture, and owners taking responsibility to clean up after them.
! retired after a long career in the brewing industry, and after several years' sailing with my partner Denise, I decided to by a property in SW France. I have four grown up children, who in turn have eight grandchildren, and Denise has two married sons who between them have three small grandchildren too. We live in the South of England, and we wanted a property we could reach in a day if driving, and convenient for our local airports at each end.
|Year property purchased||2014|
|Why this location?||This location combines great scenery in a rural setting, with fabulous local foods and wines. The weather is usually hot and sunny in the summer months, accepting that SW France is subject to influence from the Atlantic Ocean. The coast is reachable in a long day trip for those who love the surf of the Atlantic beaches, though it was vital to me that the property had a good sized swimming pool. and plenty of space for the grandchildren to explore.
The local airport at Bergerac is only 25km away (under 30mins) and is well served by UK airports, especially Stansted, Southampton, Bristol and Birmingham among others. Bordeaux International airport is about 1.5 hours away, and has regular flights from around Europe and beyond. It is therefore quite normal for us to leave home at 6.30am for Southampton, and to unlock the door at 14.30 local time. The nearest town of size, Ste-Foy-La-Grande, boasts one of France's top 100 local markets, which is 'must do' each Saturday morning.
|Unique benefits of property||The property comprises about an acre of land, which is fully enclosed behind a secure fence, which is in turn hidden by mature hedging, and has a lockable entrance gate. This makes it very private, secure and safe. There are no immediate neighbours, since it is flanked on two sides by minor roads, and on the third by Chateau des Vigiers Golf Course, so there are no neighbours to be concerned about.
Within the grounds are a 12m x 6m swimming pool, and colourful Wendy House with plenty of toys, a tree house for the adventurous, and a custom built boules court for the more leisurely.
The property itself comprises two dwellings. The main house has four bedrooms sleeping up to 10 depending on age, brand new bathrooms and new open plan kitchen/diner, and a large outside covered patio with table tennis table, sun-downer comfort spot, and al-fresco dining table. The second house has two further bedrooms sleeping 5, and its own bathroom and kitchenette.
Literally on the doorstep, this wonderful location boasts a 4* Hotel with Michelin Restaurant, Championship Golf Course (3 x 9-hole layout), Bar and Brasserie, and Health Spa.
The Golf Course is well maintained, with plenty of variety, and excellent greens. Fun can be had on the two-tier putting green while enjoying a beer in front of the Brasserie.
The Michelin Restaurant is very good, though expensive, and is perfect if you are in the mood to push the boat out on that special occasion.
The less formal Le Chai Brasserie and bar, provides a good value meal, and a lovely setting overlooking the Chateau, lake, and finishing holes of the golf course.
A very good local restaurant (4km), served by Jean-Francois in the kitchen, and Stephan front of house. Excellent cooking combined with good service and fine wines make this a local favourite.
Small but bijou restaurant in Saussignac (4km) serving excellent local food and wines in an intimate atmosphere
An authentic and very interesting market selling wonderful local produce, including fresh fish and shellfish, fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, cheeses, wines and a variety of clothes, shoes, implements. In the town centre are numerous small bars and cafes where you can rest your feet, and no shortage of interesting stalls.
This hypermarket on the outskirts of Ste-Foy-La-Grande in Pineulth, will provide your party with just about everything they could wish to find, from fresh local produce to familiar household brands. There are extensive fish, meat, cheese counters, a superb selection of wines and all other drinks, indeed all you will need to make your stay a pleasure.
The house sits on the "Route Des Vins" for the Bergerac wine Domaine, and the extensive Bordeaux Appellation starts 1km away. The Duras vineyards run from Couture, about 4km to the south. Within 20km radius there are over 400 small medium and large Chateaux, most of which welcome visits to try and to buy the wines. Most prefer a telephone call or e-mail to book, and there are extensive maps and contact details in the property. The beautiful medieval town of St-Emillion is less than an hour away, and well worth a day out, as is the Chateau at Monbazillac. (30mins) Typically wine sells to you directly for between 6 and 16 euros a bottle, and there is a great selection of white (dry through to sweet) Rose', and Red. Everyday drinking wine can be bought in the co-operative at Sigoules (9km) for as little as 10 euros for 3 litres!
A drive upstream along the River Dordogne will take you to some beautiful and renowned towns which are well worth a visit, though roads do get busy in the peak periods, so it pays to set off early. Beynac, La Roque-Gageac, Sarlat-la-Caneda, and Domme are all within an easy day out, with great restaurants and cafes along the route. There is also canoeing and swimming to be enjoyed at various picturesque spots along the river.
Kayaking and canoeing are also available nearer at hand over the bridge from Ste-Foy-La-Grande along the northern bank of the river towards Le Fleix.
There are bikes to suit all the family to be hired by and enterprising English couple whose details are to be found in the house. It pays to order these in advance, and they will happily deliver and collect to and from the property for no additional charge.
Going south from the property, you will encounter many beautiful and individual medieval Bastide towns, most of which have their own market days (see details in the house or on line). Nearest, and well worth a visit, are Duras, with its famous Castle, and Eymet (both about 18km). Further east, there is a great Sunday market at Issigeac, and probably conceded to be the most picturesque of all, Monpazier.
For a very different experience the City of Bordeaux, with its World Heritage Site old City Centre, is an hour's train ride from the Station at Ste-Foy-La-Grande. The City now boasts a great 55 million euro Wine Museum opened only in 2017. The city is a gourmet's delight, and trips to some of the world's most famous wine-growing Chateaux can be organised from the city centre.
Incidentally, the trains go all the way to Sarlat in the other direction should you prefer life out of the traffic.
This charming and quite small biological wine producing 'Chateau' just through the small village of Couture (4km) is owned and run by Yorkshire couple Dave & Amanda. The wines are interesting, and will accompany a very good meal at lunchtime or evening. This is great for parties of several people, and booking is strongly recommended. I believe Amanda also arranges picnics at the edge of their lake.
My children have already booked an evening there for this summer, and a warm welcome and a convivial atmosphere are pretty well guaranteed.
Fantastic stay at Le Petit Vigier. It has everything you need for a holiday with young children, meaning we didn’t have to pack things like cots - it has cots, high chair, bath mat, toys/Wendy house, inflatables, baby play mat, bouncy chair etc. Plus the pool has a safety gate and fencing around it for extra peace of mind.
The house itself is beautiful, in stunning surroundings with a large garden, fantastic big clean pool with shallow steps for children, tree house, Wendy house and large pool house with additional accommodation. Very spacious when there are multiple families. The bathrooms and kitchen are brand new, with the kitchen being very well stocked. The shutters mean the rooms can be blackout and cool at night - an extra win!
Easy access to beautiful towns including Saint-Emilion and Brantone.
Will definitely be returning, best holiday in France so far!