Bedrooms 2, Sleeps 4
|Hilltop Haven||Self Catering||Saturday||2||4||2||1 additional single bed can be offered|
Living in the peace and quiet of this beautiful countryside in the Tarn area of South Western France, with superb breathtaking views of the Pyrenees, is our dream farmhouse/gite come true. Located in a remote rural setting on a tree filled hill that overlooks the surrounding environment.
It has a panoramic view, from the “Montagne Noir,” the black mountains, to the Pyrenees, some 120km away. Most days this is accompanied by breathtaking dawns and sunsets.
The house is constructed of stone dating from the 19th century. It was beautifully and tastefully restored 10 years ago in the traditional style with a lot of ambience plus modern comfort. Consisting of two storeys, the ground floor contains a completely independent self contained gite with private entry.
The gite consists of two bedrooms, a living/dining area and a fully equipped kitchen. Each bedroom has it’s own modern en suite shower room with an Italian shower and toilet, and electrical underfloor heating if needed in cooler weather. One of the bedrooms has a tv installed which receives British programs. Free wi-fi is available throughout the gite.
The house is split in 2 parts; on the one side (with the blue shutters) are the owners’ private rooms. The apartment (with the sunshade in front) is on the other side.
Outside there is a above-ground swimming pool which is available for your use and is ideal for exercise and cooling down.
Also, a short walk behind the house takes you up to the top of the hill to the gazebo. Here you have a panoramic view of the countryside, and is a perfect place to enjoy both an aperitif and the evening sunset.
The gite has heating and cooling air-conditioning installed if needed in the cooler seasons. It is our intention to become more self sustaining regarding our use of electricity, and we have recently installed a photo-voltaic electrical production system on the roof to produce and collect our own energy.
It was renovated over the last 5 years and is well equipped. The oven is electric and the hob is induction. There is a fridge, a microwave oven, kettle, toaster and coffee-pot, as well as eating and cooking ware, and cutlery.
The dining room adjoins the kitchen and also has a sofa and book shelf. There is easy access to the covered terrace for morning breakfast and afternoon tea.
The living area is combined with the dining area and has 1 sofa and one armchair.
From the entrance hall right and left, there is access to the bedrooms, each fitted with a queen size bed. One of these beds can be converted into two single beds, and an additional single bed can be placed into one of the rooms if necessary. Both rooms are cosy and have access to their own en suite shower rooms.
The bathrooms are fully modernised and equipped with an Italian style shower, sink and wc. In winter the floor can be heated electrically.
Heating is provided via a combined heating and cooling air-conditioning system powered by a heat pump, which in summer is rarely used as it usually doesn't get too warm even in summer. Air-conditioning is offered.
The tv is connected to a satellite dish for British tv broadcasts.
There is a book case and guests are encouraged to swap their travelling books for another one.
There are also several packs of cards and boardgames.
Table tennis and some floating devices for the pool exist as well a volleyball, football, beach tennis, badmington etc.
The grounds are large and can be used without restrictions. Sun beds are provided. You can choose to be at the poolside sunbathing, or sit on a garden chair under one of the many shady trees, or rest under the covered terrace and have afternoon tea, read or snooze!
In summer the sound of the crickets gives you a good feel of the French countryside, and some nights the nightingale will sing you to sleep.
We prefer not to have visitors cars parked in front of the main entrance of the house, so after you’ve unloaded your car we will offer you your own parking space beneath the trees, this includes a private entry to the property. As the land is mostly closed no straying wild animals are expected. Sometimes a deer or hare will be seen passing by.
As the gite is located totally on the ground floor, the accommodation is recommended for people with reduced mobility. The entrance doors open wide and a ramp can be provided for a small step when entering the house. Also a car can come up to the front door if necessary.
It would be such a shame for you to leave this beautiful area of France without visiting one of the vineyards in the region. Not only because Nicolas is closely linked with this particular vineyard, but also because this vineyard is at the forefront of introducing organic wine into the marketplace.
You can take a visit to this vineyard with a guided tour (in English) given by Nicolas, where you will be encouraged to taste, and invited to buy, some of the local organic wine. It makes a good half day outing, very interesting and informative. Please talk to us about it.
Welcome to our home. We are Nicolas and Ulrike. We finally found our dream property and named it “Hilltop Haven.” We are a German/French couple who love to meet and greet interesting people from any country. We also like to travel and so are aware of the needs of travellers. We love to cook and taste local wines. Since we believe we have a really cosy holiday place here, we pledge to do everything possible to ensure you feel comfortable, relaxed and at ease during your stay at Hilltop Haven.
|Year property purchased||2019|
|Why this location?||The Midi-Pyrenees (department of Tarn) is a beautiful region of France. Full of history, impressive chateaux, pretty villages, great restaurants and cafes, and enticing wine growing areas. It is lovingly known as “little Tuscany,” boasting green hilly landscapes inviting you to just sit and relax.
The people here are welcoming and friendly, the food is delicious, and there are some really tasty local wines almost around every bend, with more and more carrying the “organic” label. It’s so absolutely quiet here you can almost hear the leaves when they fall from the trees.
Conveniently located close to the major airport of Toulouse-Blagnac (45 minutes on motorway) flights from the UK: Bristol, London Heathrow, Manchester are available with rental cars available at Toulouse.
There is also a train station in Gaillac with frequent trains to Toulouse and the TGV. There are supermarkets, street markets, shops and other services in the town, reachable in 10-15 minutes by car.
|Unique benefits of property||The view from our gazebo over the Pyrenees and the Black Mountains is breathtaking. Additionally, the quietness you have here is really unique. Far from the big cities the air is pure and clear. In the night no light pollution derogates the observation of the starry sky and the milky way shines bright. Most of the year we have beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Temperatures are mild and only in summer it gets a bit warmer but then the pool invites you to cool down.|
Albi is a medieval city listed by UNESCO and is a 30 minute drive from La Pioche. The centre of the town is little changed since medieval times and is a large example of the buildings of the past. As well as wandering through the old city there are several other interesting attractions:
- St Cécile, the largest brick cathedral in the world
- Musee Toulouse-Lautrec with over 1000 works housed in the old Bishop's palace.
- The Bishops Palace (Palais de la Berbie, C13th -C14th).
- Pont-Vieux built in 1040 AD.
- Museum Lapérouse
- Very interesting view of the city by taking the boat cruise along the Tarn.
Gaillac (10kms) has a large market every Friday with fruit, vegetables, fish, cheese, and charcuterie, as well as a diverse range of clothes and household items. There is also a smaller vegetable market on Sunday.
Rabastens (10kms) has a very nice, smaller market every Saturday with local food and artisans.
Lisle sur Tarn (11kms) has a lovely little food market in its centre bastide square every Sunday.
Lavaur (15kms) has a big and nice market in the city centre every Saturday. Here you get everything you need, local food and non-food (diverse range of clothes and household items).
Lautrec, a medieval city is about 25kms distance and has a very nice local market every Friday.
Another lovely market in the area is about 40 minutes away in St Antonin Noble Vale, on the Aveyron River, the site of the film "The 100 Foot Journey".
Gaillac is a lovely town to explore in 10km distance. The centre is old and has winding streets running away from the river. Major attractions are:
- Abbaye St-Michel
- Musée de l'Abbaye, enter via Tourism Office located in the Abbey building next to the church.
- Maison des Vins located in same building which showcases different wines of the region each week.
- Parc de Foucaud and the Musée des Beaux-Arts housed in the Chateau.
- Since 3 years Gaillac hosts exclusively the "Festival des Lanternes" coming straight from China (Chinese Lantern Festival) which takes place from December to January. It is the biggest lantern festival in Europe.
- At the beginning of August Gaillac organises the Fête des Vins (wine feast) which showcases the best wines in this exciting wine region.
There are many beautiful villages in the surrounding area such as Lisle-sur-Tarn, Castelnau de-Montmiral, Puycelsi, Penne, Bruniquel, Cordes sur Ciel and many others. Driving the Circuit des Bastides Albigeoises is a great day full of wonderful sights and plenty of photo opportunities with many locations for a picnic or more casual lunch.
La Ville Rose (The Pink City) named after the colour of the brickwork has many beautiful buildings and is well worth a day trip, easily completed from the Gaillac train station.
Also located 5kms from the capital is the Museum Aeronautics Space. With the Cité de l'Espace (Space City) you can explore the space adventures and is a good place for kids. The Aéroscopia is a brand new museum showing the history of Airbus aircrafts and the history of the aerospace indusrty in France. You can visit the Concorde, the A380, A400M and many more.
Following the river Tarn westward towards its source in the Massif Central is a very picturesque drive, particularly the last stage through the Gorge du Tarn.
Along the way you drive under the amazing engineering structure of the Millau Viaduct.
The south and Carcassonne was a stronghold of the Cathar religion. When driven out of Carcassonne they retreated to a fortress at Montségur, in the Pyrenees, where they were eventually defeated and killed.
There are good restaurants in Gaillac as well as in the surrounding area.
One of the best in Gaillac is the "Vigne en Foule" (serving the best wines in the region including organic ones), la "Table du Sommelier" and "Chez Germaine" but there are more. Some of the nearby villages also have good restaurants and one of the best is Lou Cantoun in Cestayrols.
Bedrooms 2, Sleeps 4
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Bedrooms 2, Sleeps 4
Bedrooms 3, Sleeps 7
Bedrooms 3, Sleeps 6
Bedrooms 3, Sleeps 6
Bedrooms 2, Sleeps 4
Bedrooms 3, Sleeps 9
Bedrooms 4, Sleeps 9
Bedrooms 2, Sleeps 5, Ratings 3 10/10