|Chez Jonchere||Self Catering||Saturday||4||10||2||+ sofabed|
This beautiful two storey Charentaise stone farmhouse and outbuildings date from about 1840. Sympathetically restored, the spacious and tranquil house offers 4 double bedrooms, one has a mezzanine with double bed, 2 reception rooms and a large fitted kitchen. Outside around the enclosed courtyard are a heated swimming pool, a walled lawn and a small wood running down to a stream. The house is situated in a small hamlet with 5 other houses and the road ends 50 metres past the house. The local countryside is ideal for walking and cycling, the roads are quiet and the gentle rolling hills and valleys of this part of Charente are very welcoming. It is just a 10 minute walk through the vines to the village of 700 people, where you can enjoy a coffee or lunch. The village has a chateau, bakery, butcher, pharmacy and general store/bar/restaurant. The city of Angouleme, the capital of Charente, is stunning, with two large daily markets and is only 40 minutes away. In the opposite direction, the house is within easy reach of huge beaches at Royan and the Ile de Re and from the grand city of Bordeaux.
If you just want to relax and soak up the sun, you can stay by the pool and fruit trees; the relaxation can continue into the evening aided by the pool floodlights. There is no need to go anywhere else.
Fully-fitted kitchen with 5 gas burners/electric double oven range. American fridge with ice dispenser. Dish washer, microwave and coffee maker. Oak farmhouse table seating 12. Wood burning stove. Sonos Play 3. Full crockery, cutlery and kitchen utensils. All the rooms in the house look south onto the courtyard. The utility room houses the washing machine, tumbledryer and drinks fridge.
Huge main salon with two 4 person leather sofas, an armchair and cherry wood coffee table. Open fireplace, large enough to burn metre long logs. Long pan for roasting chestnuts and marshmallows. There is a large lcd tv, UK Free-sat HD and French HD channels, Blu-ray player and X-Box One.
Four large sunny double bedrooms. Bedroom 1 is en suite. Bedrooms 2 and 3 have washbasins. Bedroom 4 has a mezzanine level for the double bed, a large double sofa that can also act as a bed and plenty of room for an inflatable double mattress or 2 (provided).
Bedroom 1 is en suite. There is a further shower room and 2 wcs.
Oil fired central heating throughout. Large woodburner in the kitchen and a fireplace in the salon. The thick stone walls keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Heated swimming pool. Games barn with table tennis, darts and bicycles. Free wi-fi . There is tv in the salon and a second tv and dvd player in bedroom 4. Selection of board games, dvds and X-Box games.
Above the house and open to the vines is the 10 x 5m heated swimming pool, with surrounding fruit trees and olive tree. Large stone tiled sun bathing area with sun loungers and vast umbrella (it gets very hot). The pool is alarmed to comply with French safety regulations. Plenty of pool toys and inflatables. Separate coverered outside dining area with tiled floor and table seating 12. By the walled garden (where we play badminton) are the bread oven and well, which provide a covered bbq cooking area.
Easy parking on the property for at least 5 cars.
There are steps from the courtyard to the swimming pool and the bedrooms are on the first floor so wheelchair access is not ideal. The countryside and position is ideal for friends and family with lots to do and places to visit. Facilities include highchair and cot.
The area is surrounded by vines and a trip to a local producer or indeed into Cognac itself is a great way to spend an afternoon. The river beach at Chateauneuf-sur-Charente is only a short drive away. There is canoeing at the lovely market town at Jarnac and boat trips on the river.
Places - There is a beautiful beach on the Gironde estuary at St-Georges-de-Didonne (we park at the southern end where there is a little cafe (the Acapulco) by the beach). There are other beaches along the coast at Royan and beyond. It is also fun to take the short car ferry journey across the Gironde from Royan to Verdon on the Medoc peninsula and visit the Atlantic beaches (Soulac-sur-Mer for example). Cities and large towns – Bordeaux is about an hour away and is one of Frances grand cities, with many fine buildings and the longest shopping street in Europe. It is well worth a visit. La Rochelle has a lovely harbour and old town and is generally worth seeing. There is an excellent aquarium. North of Royan is the Côte Sauvage and the very good zoo at La Palmyre, Angoulême (40 minutes) is famed for its annual round the ramparts car race. It is the home to the comic strip museum. July sees rock and soul concerts. The old town is small and pretty. Cognac is the centre of the brandy industry and the river bank is stunning. Jarnac is the birthplace of the late President Mitterand and has a museum. There are river trips from Cognac and Jarnac. Islands – there are four and we have visited two, Ile d’Oléron and Ile de Ré which is a must see. These two are accessed by stunning road bridges. We strongly recommend lunch in the harbour at St-Martin-de-Ré. Talmont-sur-Gironde is on the coast due west. Very pretty with some quaint shops and a great walk along the shore
There are daily food markets in the covered Halles in Angoulême (Place des Halles) and Cognac. Also in Place Victor Hugo in Angoulême (Tuesday – Sunday). The fresh fish stall in the covered market on Saturdays in Châteauneuf is excellent. The biggest local fair is on the 27th of each month at Rouillac (30 mins). Huge fun – food, household, animals from 0600 to 1300. The French are mad keen on Brocantes (Bric-a-brac) and Vide-Greniers (loft sale). These are often on a Sunday and advertised on roadside signs, in the paper and online. Have a look at www.vide-greniers.org and put in department 16 (Charente) or 17 (Charente-Maritime). They are often much bigger than one expects, with food and beer stalls and sometimes in wonderful settings , a great way to explore the area.. Night markets – Many towns and larger villages hold an annual summer night market during the late evening. Some are bigger than others but always fun.
Le Doci 1.5km
There is canoeing at Jarnac, Cognac and elsewhere. Jonzac (30 mins) has a great indoor and outdoor pool (Les Antilles de Jonzac). The spa side has a “river” with a current to swim against, children love it. Brandy tasting everywhere – go and see M. Duluc up the road towards Touzac behind the house Cognac is not the only local speciality. Pineau des Charentes is advertised everywhere. It is a sweet rosé or white fortified wine, sold as young or aged (vieux). Drink cold. Try, because it is such a local product, as an aperitif or with pudding. It is Walking – everyone tells us that one can walk freely but respect animals and crops, Horse Racing - The French are less keen on flat racing or jumps. They love trotting. Going to the races is great fun, with food and drink and basic (small scale if you want) betting. Gagnant is “to win” and Place is “each way”. Two or three euros is quite acceptable. A fun afternoon or evening,
We spent a really enjoyable month at Chez Jonchere. It's a wonderful house with deep, stone walls, shuttered windows and huge stone fireplaces, in a lovely setting, surrounded by vineyards, within easy walking distance of a beautiful village, Lignieres-Sonneville.
The Charente is a stunning region dotted with lovely villages and chateaux. We spent some great days in Bordeaux (le musee des arts decoratifs & the cathedral), Angouleme (lunch at Chez Paul, walking round the remparts & looking for murals) & Cognac but the highlights were local days walking to the villages of Criteuil (for lunch at Aux Delices du Terroir) and Touzac, playing tennis in Lignieres, markets in Barbezieux & Rouillac, eating outside in the hangar, sitting round the pool in the sun and the local wild life, including a family of coypu.
A stunning house, absolutely loved our stay. Pool a great size. Lovely little touches like blow up pool toys, badminton set for garden and table tennis. Would highly recommend this holiday house.
Great family holiday. Plenty of rustic French charm. Beautiful location. Secure courtyard and fantastic pool area. Would go again.