|La Joliette||Self Catering||Saturday||4||8||5|
A French Classic, La Joliette is an elegant yet informal four-storey maison de maitre in generous grounds and featuring 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 12m heated pool, games room and stunning view.
From the moment I first arrived at the entrance gates to la Joliette, I had a good feeling about this property. The long, gravel driveway leads to an imposing, beautifully presented property and one which can be seen from many parts of the town. The quality of accommodation is beyond that normally associated with holiday cottages in France.
Saturday changeover applies to July & August only. For the time being, fortnight bookings are required between July 21 and September 1 please.
The main entrance, via the stone staircase, leads into a spacious entrance hall. To the right is a dining area with table which easily seats 8 persons.
To the left of the entrance hall is the generously-equipped kitchen. A south-facing decked terrace can be accessed from the kitchen.
NB The laundry facilities are downstairs in the basement room.
The hallway leads to the spacious grand séjour. This is the principal room of the house and has been furnished to a high standard yet it's an informal and relaxing space for families.
Features include huge mirrors and a marble fireplace. This is an extremely comfortable and spacious room for resting in the evening, after a long and delicious meal on the terrace!
There is plenty of seating (three 2-seater sofas), plus flat screen tv, cd stereo, dvd player plus lots of DVDs for guests' use. Only French TV channels are available here - if you are interested in watching UK tv during your stay then it is possible to do this if you bring a laptop that can be plugged into the tv.
A wonderful, original carved wooden staircase leads from the hallway to the first and second floors.
The four bedrooms are situated on the first floor. Each has a pleasant aspect and benefit from attractive, original wood flooring.
Bedroom 1 - Queen-size double bed, double wardrobe, bedside cabinets x2. En suite shower room with wc and basin. Views to the front of the house.
Bedroom 2 - Twin beds, chest of drawers, dressing table. En suite shower room with wc and basin. Views to the front of the house.
Bedroom 3 - Twin beds, double wardrobe, dressing table, bedside cabinets x2. En suite shower room with wc and basin. Views west to the rear of the house.
Bedroom 4 - King-size double bed, double wardrobe, chest of drawers, bedside cabinets x2, fireplace. Private bathroom with bath, shower, double basins & wc. Views to the south and west.
(On the second floor is an additional bedroom which is closed off for personal use/storage).
Each bedroom is en suite.
3 bedrooms have an en suite shower rooms with wc. One has a bath, shower & wc.
Additionally there is a shower room and wc at the basement level which has direct access to the pool and terrace.
Centrally heated, the house can be let all year round.
The basement level games room features table tennis table, cd stereo (with iPod input), tv and Sony Playstation which can also be used for dvds.
The property has w-ifi.
The grounds are a real feature at La Joliette.
The property lies in a generous plot of about 1.5 ha in total. There is ample space front and back for kids to play.
The breakfast terrace is south-facing and the rear pool terraces are south and west-facing. There is plenty of room for dining outside. The patio terrace can be accessed directly from the living room and basement.
The large, heated pool measures 12x6m, with a depth of between 1 and 2 metres. It is accessed via Roman steps, and protected by a cover (also helpful for retaining heat in the water). The pool is in use from mid May through September. Please note that the pool fence seen in some of the photos has in fact been removed.
There are 6 sun-chairs and 4 sun-loungers on the pool terrace.
A bbq is provided.
There is parking in front of the house for several cars. Access to the property is via a secure gated entrance.
La Joliette is best suited to families for whom the beach is less important but who do want a successful combination of outdoor activities and classic French culture.
Outside the summer school holidays, La Joliette is available in winter for skiing groups, hikers in Spring and Autumn and is popular with couples here to enjoy the local scenery, market towns and culture.
Toddlers - safe, enclosed grounds. The swimming pool is heated and has a security cover. Cot & high chair available.
Teenagers - games room plus lots of activity thrills in the local area such as mountain-biking & white water rafting.
Reduced mobility - steep steps to access property.
I'm Co-Founder and Director of Alternative Aquitaine, a holiday rentals company specialising in SW France. I've been travelling to SW France since childhood and now it's my business too - since 2003 in fact. I'm based in Devon but take every opportunity to visit this lovely corner of France.
|Year property purchased||2005|
|Why this location?||La Béarn is 'proper' France! Sleepy, picturesque villages and market towns with their half-timbered houses all set in beautiful scenery in the foothills of the Pyrénées. Here you can enjoy lazy summer days by the pool, spring hikes amongst the wild flowers of the Pyrénées and skiiing in the winter. Something for all seasons!|
|Unique benefits of property||La Joliette is a beautiful, elegant maison de maitre with plenty of history too. Built in the mid 1800's for the Bishop of Oloron and owned by the Church until the 1920s, it was then in the hands of one family including a stint as a hotel-restaurant. After falling into disrepair it was purchased in 2005 by an English couple who have lovingly restored La Joliette into a beautiful home. The property enjoys complete privacy set in large grounds and the views are stunning.|
This is a wonderful landscape that forms a natural boundary between France and Spain. It is also a haven for outdoor pursuits. Two beautiful river valleys – d’Ossau and d’Aspe – offer great walking/hiking, mountain biking and, in Spring, good white-water potential. Parasailing, rock-climbing, horse-riding and fishing are also popular. Skiing is possible at nearby stations such as Gourette.
At Soeix (3kms south east of Oloron-Ste-Marie), there is an excellent white-water rafting centre. It's very popular in the summer and it's recommended that you visit the centre early during your stay to book a trip.
Here in the Parc National des Pyrénées lives some of Europe’s most exotic wildlife including chamois, royal eagles and brown bears, whilst at Laruns there is a 92-hectare reserve for the griffon vulture. At Lescun you will find one of France’s most photogenic natural locations, the Needles of Ansabère, an amphitheatre of jagged limestone peaks rising to the summit of Pic d’Anie.
Also in the Haut-Béarn and a great day out for the kids is a ride on Le Petit Train d’Artouste. Built for dam workers, this 10 kms train journey tales passengers along the flanks of the Pic de la Sagette. It's best to book this trip in advance.
One of the best trips though is to sample the views from the Pic du Midi observatory on a starry night.
Oloron is a bustling market town located at the junction of the rivers Aspe and Ossau and was in fact two separate towns until 1858. It is worth exploring, particularly on market day (Friday).
In the past it was an important staging post on the pilgrim’s route to Santiago de Compostela and in memory of this route there are contemporary sculptures located at historic points of interest in the town. For a great view up the Vallée d’Aspe to the mountains extending into the Pays Basque, walk along the top of the old ramparts (near Église Ste-Croix).
Other sites worth a visit are the Ste-Marie cathedral which began life in the 12th century; the Pont de Ste-Claire over the Gave d'Aspe - an early work of Gustav Eiffel; the Quartier Ste-Croix has a delightful medieval square; and the genteel Jardin Publique with its own Victorian bandstand.
A short drive north is the stylish and compact city of Pau. Barely known of outside of France, Pau has a variety of attractions. It sprang to fame in the 19th century when wealthy British and Americans were drawn to its mild climate and it became a popular winter holiday destination.
To this day Pau retains an ‘upmarket’ feel about it. There is a thriving café and bar life plus plenty of opportunity for boutique shopping, notably along the rues des Cordeliers and Serviez. Pau also has its own château (and birthplace of King Henri IV) plus one of the south west’s finest panoramic views - the spectacular array of distant, snow-capped peaks as seen from the Boulevard des Pyrénées.
A little known fact is that Pau is home to continental Europe’s first golf course, built in 1856 by a resident Scotsman. Pau also hosts horse-racing events, a vintage car race and a Formula 3 street race every year.
Wine enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the many Jurancon vineyards of the area. Dessert wine is a particular speciality.