|La Résidence au Verger (Orchard House)||Self Catering||Saturday||5||10||3|
A bright, spacious, well-equipped family home with large enclosed private gardens, countryside views and unlimited free wi-fi.
The property is perfect for a family wanting lots of space, or 2 families sharing. With 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms it comfortably sleeps 10 plus a cot. (Highchair also available).
The sunterrace is perfect for evening meals, or lunches, or breakfasts.... with a shady awning if required, and lots of room for everyone to eat together, barbecue, or just stretch out and sunbathe with some good books and a glass of wine from the local vineyard (just up the hill). The countryside views from the terrace stretch as far as Fontenay Cathedral, where the spire is visible above the trees in the distance.
There are lots of games and activities (table tennis, snooker, table football, darts), children's swings/slide in the garden, and help yourself to fresh fruit in season from the orchard, or the grape vines in the garden.
The village with its beautiful park is surrounded by forest, with hundreds of miles of cycle paths, footpaths, lakes for swimming, and gorgeous historic villages to discover. Fontenay with all its facilities is only 3km away, an easy cycle ride or quick drive.
The Green Venice, (20 mins away) is a beautiful network of canals through forests and past abbeys and farmland, is a must-do, hire a flat bottomed boat for a few hours or even a full day, and glide peacefully along in the best of the French countryside.
The Vendee beaches are less than an hour away, as are La Rochelle, (historic city and excellent aquarium), the Ile de Re (sliver sand beaches and gorgeous harbour restaurants) and the Puy du Fou (recently voted best theme park in the world).
Mervent forest has its own amusement park (Pierre Brune) and Mervent Zoo is a few minutes away. Horse riding and fishing close by, and bikes can be hired locally (bike hire direct will deliver to the house).
Pets accepted, up to 2 well-behaved dogs. The local area with its miles of forest trails is perfect for walking your dogs, and the garden is fully enclosed.
The kitchen has gas hob, electric oven, microwave, toaster, kettle, dishwasher, 2 fridges, and a breakfast bar with seating for 5, if people want to just grab a snack there. This is also a sociable area ideal for sharing a glass of wine and chatting whilst preparing dinner. The large glass patio doors open out onto the sunterrace, where there is seating for 10+ to dine together with wonderful countryside views.
There is a second kitchen/utility downstairs, with a large fridge-freezer, washing machine and dryer, spare toaster and kettle, ironing board and iron, table, sofa and junior snooker table. This room is often used as extra space for people to 'hang out' and is a lovely room in its own right, not just a laundry room.
The dining room has a large table with seating for 8, and an additional drop leaf table which can be added to this if required to bring seating capacity to 10. In the summer people generally like to eat outside however.
Living room with large tv, dvd player, UK tv channels, 2 large sofas and a piano. This room extends into the dining area which has a large dining table with seating for 8, and additional table which can be added to create seating for 10.
The library forms a further living space, with 2 large sofas, 3 chairs, a large tv with dvd player and French terrestrial tv channels, as well as many books and games.
The downstairs utility room forms an additional living space if required, with table/chairs and a sofa.
There are 5 bedrooms, all good sizes.
The master bedroom has a king bed, sturdy John Lewis cot, and en suite toilet and shower room.
At the other end of the house, there are 3 bedrooms which share the family bathroom: a double bedroom overlooking the south garden and views across the fields to Fontenay; a twin bedroom with 2 single beds and views to the north garden/orchard, and a bunk bed room, with toy chest and a selection of toys, also facing north overlooking the north gardens and orchard.
Downstairs there is a further double bedroom with an en suite toilet and shower room, overlooking the north garden.
The spacious family bathroom has toilet, sink, and bath with shower over.
En suite to the Master bedroom has toilet, sink and shower
En suite to the downstairs double bedroom has toilet, sink and shower.
Heating is via individual electric heaters in each room.
The house has a large library with many books and magazines in both French and English. Various toys and games for entertainment for all ages in the library. 2 tvs, 1 French channels in the library, and 1 UK channels in the living room. Both have dvd players.
Downstairs there is a small gamesroom with table football and darts. Junior snooker/pool table is in the downstairs kitchen
Table tennis in the garage. A games cupboard downstairs includes things like spare buckets and spades for trips to the beach; tennis racquets (the village tennis court is just in the park round the corner and free to use), balls, Frisbees, badminton kit, etc.
There is a large garden to the front of the property with swings and slide for children and an orchard area where you can help yourself to fruit in season (apples, pears, plums, cherries etc). To the side of the house is the clothes line for drying any clothes, much quicker and fresher than using the tumble drier in the summer. Grape vines on the sunterrace, and lovely south garden. Garden chairs and sunloungers for your use (kept in the garage). To the other side of the house is an outside tap and hose pipe.
Parking at the house on the drive for 4 cars. Garage is used for table tennis. Further parking if required on the side of the road outside the garden.
Suitable for children of all ages.
Not suitable for people with mobility issues, as the main floor is up a short flight of stairs and there is no lift.
Caroline and Steve and their 2 young children are from the UK, but have a lifelong love of France. Caroline studied French at university and has lived and worked in various parts of the country, and Steve spent most of his holidays in France as a child himself. Caroline is now a university lecturer, and Steve a local government manager, and we spend all our family holidays here in the Vendée, letting out our second home through a professional management team when we can't be here.
|Year property purchased||2010|
|Why this location?||We wanted somewhere within an easy drive of the northern ferry ports, but far enough south to get plenty of sunshine. The Vendée, with its wonderful forests, medieval towns, friendly people and epic beaches ticked all the boxes for us. L'Orbrie is right next to the Mervent Forest with hundreds of kilometres of cycle paths, walking, and lake swimming, as well as some excellent restaurants within easy cycling distance. All the facilities of the big town are only 3km away in beautiful medieval Fontenay, and it's less than an hour to the glorious Vendée beaches if we fancy a change of scenery.|
|Unique benefits of property||The house is spacious, with large enclosed gardens and an orchard where you can help yourself to fruits in season (apples, pears, cherries, plums, grapes). The large south facing sun terrace is perfect for dining out at mealtimes with views over open countryside to the spire of Fontenay Cathedral in the distance. There is plenty of space for everyone to do their own thing, from playing table tennis in the garage, table football or darts in the gamesroom, or snooker; a library stacked with books in French and English, garden with swings/slide for children, unlimited free wi-fi, and it's perfect for pets, if you don't want to be separated from your four-legged family members! The forest is great for walking dogs, the gardens are enclosed, and there are great vets in Fontenay who can deal with pet passport requirements.|
The forest starts at the bottom of the hill, about 500 metres from the house, and there are hundreds of kilometres of cycle paths, lakes, rivers, hiking trails, glorious flowers in the spring time and sweet chestnuts and mushrooms to collect in the autumn. You can swim in the lake at Chassenon where the river is dammed to form a great leisure area which even has an imported sand beach, and pedalos/canoes for hire. Fishing permits available from the tourist information office in Fontenay.
In another area of the forest there is a children's entertainment park, Parc Pierre Brun, which the kids will love, lots of play areas, inflatables, fairground style rides etc.
Mervent Zoo is also nearby, a good few hours entertainment including lions, giraffes, a children's pet corner, and an area where you can walk freely with the monkeys.
One of the Plus Beaux Villages de France, (a coveted title awarded to the most beautiful villages in the country), historic Vouvant has medieval ramparts/battlements and a famous tower, the Tour Melusine, wrapped in legends of a serpent-tailed fairy, and with a stunning view from the top over the town and surrounding landscapes. The village is famous for its artists, and many of the cafés and restaurants in the village showcase art work, as do local artist studios. Highly recommended restaurant is the Café Cour du Miracle opposite the Tour Melusine, itself the site of a legendary miracle in its courtyard, where you can take lunch or an afternoon drink. A fine church decorated with excellent stone carvings is further along the village, with many other restaurants (Auberge de Maitre Pannetier, Café Melusine etc), all worth a visit.
More than a theme park, it's a transportation back in time to events of incredible breath taking scenography, see the Romans racing chariots, the Vikings storming villages, medieval romances, lions and birds of prey as you've never seen them before, with a cast of hundreds of actors in a vast open air theatre where you are part of history. Le Puy du Fou recently won best theme park IN THE WORLD. Google images to see what I mean. Then go there. You won't regret it! Book 36 hours in advance on line or at the local tourist office in Fontenay for the best discounted rates on tickets.
This beautiful island off the coast of La Rochelle is reached via a bridge from the mainland, either cycle over (free) or take a car (toll) to spend a day. Silver sand beaches, rustic fishing villages, quayside restaurants, and miles of flat cycle paths through vineyards, pine forests and sunflower fields. The western beaches have excellent peche a pied, 'foot fishing', where you wade out at low tide and help yourself to oysters, mussels, crabs, all manner of shellfish. Join the locals with their buckets and gather your dinner from the ocean, or just spectate. Rock pools to the north and silver sand to the east, you can cycle the whole island in a day. Or take it easy and come back to see the rest another day.
A network of canals entwining the forests and farmland of the South Vendée, a cool escape on a hot day and charming at any time of year. Flat bottomed boats are available to hire from a number of ports along the canal system, and you can take a picnic and spend a day cruising the waterways with or without a local guide to help with the punting. Recommended: Maillezais Abbey towers over the Green Venice, and just opposite its entrance is one of the little ports where you can hire your boat. The boats have traditionally been used by farmers to ferry their livestock from one field to another, where the canals form the natural 'fences' to their grazing fields.
Alternatively, cycling the pathways of the Green Venice is another lovely day and a different way to see this unique natural habitat.
The medieval town of Fontenay le Comte is our local town, and has many beautiful buildings as well as all the main facilities you could need. The Cathedral dominates the town (you can see the spire from our terrace), and there are walking maps available from the tourist information office which you can use to meander through the streets, highlighting all the points of interest en route. Guided tours also available, enquire at the tourist info. The best view of the town can be obtained from the Donjon des Cimes parc which you enter just behind the cathedral. A large shady park with old battlements, and during the summer a 'Parcabout' treetop adventure experience, where you can climb in a network of treetop trails and trampoline style nets, with great views of the city, great fun for the kids! Views from the top of the battlements here are fantastic across the spire of the cathedral.
A gorgeous rural setting, perfect for a peaceful holiday. Plenty of space for everyone to relax. We had a wonderful holiday.
I would definitely recommend this place to others.
Thank you Tina for your wonderful review. It was a pleasure to have you, and we are pleased you had such a great holiday with us. The setting really is gorgeous, you are right, with forest/lakes, historic villages or beaches, we love the variety. Have a wonderful summer, and we would look forward to welcoming you back in the future. All the best, Caroline and the ChezChartres team :)
Perfect base for two families with children and dogs to visit the Vendée area of France. Five minutes away from Fontenay-le-Comte by car and a view of its cathedral spire from the large balcony at the house, where we spent every night with a glass or two of wine. Many fantastic places to visit and all within an hour or so . The view from the balcony of fields and trees and the sky full of stars .
Many thanks for the lovely review, it was a pleasure to have you stay and we are pleased you had a wonderful time. All the best!
A beautiful, well equipped home from home. Caroline really does include everything you could wish for right from entertainment for the kids, every item you may need for the kitchen and plenty of information about attractions and days out in the surrounding area. We had a fantastic week. Many thanks
Many thanks for the great review, we are so pleased you had a lovely time. A la prochaine!
All the very best, Caroline.