Bedrooms 2, Sleeps 4, Ratings 2 9.8/10
|Domaine Tournesol||Self Catering||Saturday||2||4||1|
Looking to kickback and relax in a serene and idyllic rural location?
Domaine Tournesol is a stylish and tastefully decorated gite with large illuminated private pool and gardens with views of the stunning Pyrenees.
Set in the Madiran wine growing region of SW France, 'Domaine Tournesol' is an original old wine farm that has been sympathetically renovated by the owners who endeavored to retain as much of the traditional design as possible. This has been combined with a high level of comfort which will appeal to the discerning traveller.
The property refurbished in 2016 includes oven, hob, microwave, fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, coffee-maker, iron and ironing board. The open plan dining room/lounge is equipped with surround sound tv and the facility to stream media from your own wi-fi enabled device.
There is a beamed double bedroom and a further twin room, a separate shower room and toilet.
Fresh linen, towels and pool towels are provided on a weekly basis.
On arrival a welcome pack including a bottle of great tasting local wine will be waiting in the gite for you.
There is a large private walled garden complete with al fresco dining facilities and bbq.
The kitchen includes oven, hob, microwave, fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, and coffee-maker.
The open plan living room and dining area is tastefully furnished with original artwork displayed on the walls. It is equipped with surround sound tv and the facility to stream media from your own wi-fi enabled device.
There is one double and one twin bedroom, both of which have beamed ceilings. Both rooms are fitted with velux windows and blinds.
There is a modern shower room, with handbasin, toilet and heated towel rail.
Central heating is on the ground level only. There is an additional supplementary charge for heating.
The gîte benefits from wi-fi, a smart tv and sound bar. Freeview channels are available. The gîte is equipped with dvd, boardgames and books.
The swimming pool is 10m by 5m and 2m deep at one end. The pool has a solar powered poolside shower and also benefits from pool lighting. We provide an assortment of outside games.
The property sits in mature gardens with a natural pond and waterfall. The owners have a large vegetable garden and visitors are welcome to pick seasonal fruit vegetables and salads. There is a terrace directly outside the rear of the gîte which overlooks the gardens, pool and mountains beyond. There is a walled garden ideal for al fresco dining. The hosts provide outdoor pool and garden furniture and bbq.
Off road parking directly outside the gîte is available. We also have a large hangar where visitors can leave motorcycles and bikes.
Unfortunately, due to the historic construction of the property we are unable to provide facilities for the disabled. Smoking is not allowed in the gîte but guests are welcome to smoke in the gardens.
Originally from Cheshire and Derbyshire we made the decision to move to France back in 2006. We both had demanding jobs in the public sector and decided after 30 years and early retirement looming to take the plunge. Our lives here couldn’t be more different, we now work for ourselves and running our gîte since 2008 has given us the opportunity to meet lovely people from all over the world. The greater majority of our guests come the U.K. Kay and Neil.
|Year property purchased||2006|
|Why this location?||The short answer is we don’t know. We never considered this part of France and had always looked at property north of Toulouse. We stumbled on the property by accident and decided immediately it was the one. It was only once we began to explore the area that we realised just how lovely it was. Set in rolling countryside, amongst the vineyards of Madiran and fields of corn and sunflowers, Crouseilles and the surrounding towns, villages and cities offer everything we wanted. An hour’s drive to the mountains and ski slopes and a little longer to the Atlantique coastline and Northern Spain - it is perfect. With long warm summers and mild winters it is the perfect location for us, and hopefully our guests.|
|Unique benefits of property||Originally an old vine farm, Domaine Tournesol has been renovated and is now our home. The gîte was designed and completed with a view to providing a modern stylish interior to suit our guests, whilst maintaining original features such as beamed ceilings throughout. Double doors open onto a terrace with views of your private swimming pool, stunning gardens and the Pyrenees beyond. Guests have complete access to the rear garden and if they wish can pick their own seasonal fruit, vegetables and salad from our potager. We occupy the adjacent property and ensuring our guests have a relaxing holiday and privacy is very important to us. We are on hand to provide our guests advice and answer any questions. As an introduction to your holiday stay, a welcome pack including a bottle of great tasting local wine awaits you.|
A visit to Lourdes would be incomplete without a visit to the place where Lourdes’ religious tourism all started - in the grotto where Bernadette Soubirous first experienced her spiritual visions in 1858.
The fortress at Lourdes is the town’s only major secular attraction, perched atop a rocky outcrop on the edge of the city. The ascent is a steep, but short and rewarding walk, but those for whom the slope may be too difficult can take the lift for free. The Château also houses a museum showcasing both regional artifacts and art.
Whilst in Lourdes take the opportunity to visit the Pic du Jer for breathtaking views over the town, the neighbouring town of Tarbes, the Argelès Gazost valley and the peaks of the Pyrenees, unlike the Château, the journey up is not a short one (it takes roughly three hours), so the recommended route is via the 100-year-old funicular railway, a very scenic trip in itself! The way down is easier, with a family-friendly journey via an abandoned railway track.
The Marciac jazz festival takes place over a period of three weeks, usually from late July to mid-August. Major international acts including the likes of Sting, Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum and George Benson have all played the main stage in recent years.
The centre of Marciac is transformed into a further stage where artists entertain music lovers free of charge. There are pop up bars, restaurants and a artisan market in the centre and adjoining streets. It is well worth a visit.
Set along the Pyrenees mountains’ northern edge and approximately 85 km from the Spanish border lies the city of Pau. A walk along it's central Boulevard des Pyrénées offers countryside views and mountain panoramas on clear days. The boulevard leads up to the castle of Château de Pau, birthplace of King Henry IV of France and Navarre. It now displays tapestries, period furnishings and paintings.
Take time out to visit the Museum of Fine Arts, one of Aquitaine’s biggest museums and home to old and contemporary masterpieces from the 15th and 20th centuries, including a famous painting by Degas.
The Grand Prix de Pau Historique race is run around a tight street circuit laid out round this lovely city. The Pau circuit is similar to Monte Carlo, with a fantastic mix of fast and slow tight sections. Previous winners of the Pau Grand Prix race include, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Jean Alesi and Lewis Hamilton. The event takes place over successive weekend at the end of May into June in 2020.
Pau will also host the start of stage 9 of this year’s Tour de France, this mountainous stage concludes in Laruns.
For those amongst you who enjoy a little retail therapy then Pau with its chic boutiques, antique shops and indépendant outlets set amongst cafes, restaurants, and bars has it all.
Biarritz, an elegant seaside town on southwestern France’s Basque coast, has been a popular resort since European royalty began visiting in the 1800s. It’s also a major surfing destination, with long sandy beaches and surf schools. A symbol of Biarritz, is the Rocher de la Vierge a rocky outcrop reached via a footbridge, it offers sweeping views of the Bay of Biscay.
Overlooking the central Grande Plage beach is the luxury Hôtel du Palais, originally a palace built for Empress Eugénie.
The art deco Musée de la Mer houses sharks and seals in its aquariums and sits above the old fishing harbor with its small boats and seafood restaurants.
Biarritz is a great day out.
One of The "Great Regional Sites", the famous Gavarnie Cirque is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Described by the writer Victor Hugo as the "colossus of nature", this remarkable natural heritage is only accessible on foot, by horse or by donkey from the village of Gavarnie. An hour's walk along a lovely footpath takes you to the hotel area at the foot of the cirque and its fantastic view over the entire vast rocky amphitheatre. The panoramic view of the high limestone walls covered in countless waterfalls is really stunning! Hiking fans can continue up to the foot of the Grande Cascade, a striking 423-metre high waterfall that is one of the highest in Europe!
The Petit train d'Artouste is a narrow gauge railway situated in the Pyrenees close to the Spanish border and some 55 km south of Pau. The line runs high above the headwaters of the Gave de Ossau and provides access to the Lac d’Artouste, a semi-artificial lake in the mountains at an altitude of over 2,000m.
The line is 10 km long and trains operate from late May until until the end of September or early October. The journey affords breathtaking views and the occasional glimpse of marmots and vultures.
The Pic du Midi is an astronomical observatory located at 2877 meters on top of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre in the Pyrenees.
Construction of the observatory began in 1878 and access is via the cable car from La Mongie. The panoramic views from the terraces encompass the entire chain of the Pyrenees. Visitors can also step out onto a metal walkway, suspended a 1000 feet above the ground.
The observatory boasts a brand new development allowing you to discover key research themes at the Pic du Midi, the sun, cosmic rays, stars, atmosphere and meteorites through fun experiments. For an additional charge, visitors can visit the planetarium, no screen but a huge dome above your head! Sitting in comfortable reclining chairs, you’ll be swept away on a journey to discover the stars and much more.
Bordeaux, hub of the famed wine-growing region, is a port city on the River Garonne. It’s known for its Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André, 18th to 19th-century mansions and notable museums such as the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, Musée Mer Marine, Betasom Art Museum (à vast submarine base turned art museum), and the Cite du Vin (a museum dedicated to the history wine and wine making, housed in a stunning contemporary building).
Public gardens line the curving river quays. The grand Place de la Bourse, centered on the Three Graces fountain, overlooks the Miroir d’Eau reflecting pool.
The city is beautifully restored and has an ultra-modern public transport system. The “Port of the Moon” is also now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Stone Bridge, with its 17 arches, crosses the Garonne, offering pedestrians a lovely view over the docks and harbour. Take a stroll through old Bordeaux in the Triangle d'Or and stop at Place des Quinconces, France’s largest public square.
To sum it up, Bordeaux is a must see, so if you don’t get to visit this time put it on your travel bucket list.
Grottes de Betharram - take a boat ride and train journey through this cave complex, considered to be amongst the best in the world.
Summer fetes are a great way to sample the French way of life, and during the summer months these are abundant throughout the area and usually involve al fresco dining, live music and wine tasting.
Visit the Jardin de Massey in Tarbes with wonderful public gardens and a museum celebrating the history of the Hussars.
Haras de Tarbes - Stud farm offering guided tours and a shaded park to explore in the heart of Tarbes.
Musée de la déportation et de la Résistance, Tarbes. Museum charting the French resistance movement and deportation of groups in the local area during World War Two.
Chateau Mascaraas - à fortified house and Italian garden. The building houses fine artwork, paintings and period furniture and worth the visit. Your guide may well be the home owner or his personal assistant who both speak English.
The area has numerous signposted walks through the wonderful countryside and vineyards. Do remember to drop into some of Domaines to sample some of the fine wines produced in the area. Chateau Lafitte Teston also offer cycle hire.
Visit the zoo dedicated to Pyrenean animal species at Argeles Gazost, a great day out for families with younger children.
Families can hire cycle propelled vélo rails that offer a ride on the old railway track from Nogaro to Sorbets, set off to explore rolling landscapes over a 12km round trip.
There are numerous restaurants catering for all tastes and budgets in the area.
Bedrooms 2, Sleeps 4, Ratings 2 9.8/10
Bedrooms 3, Sleeps 6
Bedrooms 2, Sleeps 4, Ratings 1 10/10
Bedrooms 3, Sleeps 5, Ratings 2 10/10
Bedrooms 4, Sleeps 7
Bedrooms 2, Sleeps 4, Ratings 1 9/10
Bedrooms 2, Sleeps 4
Bedrooms 2, Sleeps 4, Ratings 5 9.8/10
Bedrooms 2, Sleeps 4, Ratings 1 10/10
Bedrooms 2, Sleeps 4