|Belle Etoile||Self Catering||Thursday||7||18||6||1x cot, 1x travel cot, 2x Trundle "pull-out" beds|
Farmhouse and gite with large pool. Peaceful location on the Charentes / Dordogne border, close to both Cognac and Bordeaux wine making.
Suitable for 2 or 3 families wishing to holiday together in a private environment, Belle Etoile is a luxuriously converted 19th century farmhouse and loft apartment combining rustic charm and contemporary chic. Situated in an unspoilt, peaceful hamlet with stunning rural views across rolling countryside, close to Villebois Lavalette on the Poitou-Charentes/Dordogne border, approximately 25 minutes drive south of Angouleme.
During the peak summer season the house and gite can only be rented together, so guests have exclusive use of the exceptional solar heated pool, which extends to 20 metres for lane swimming, and the courtyard with its pergola for alfresco dining, chimenea barbecue, floodlit boulodrome (boules/petanque court), and exceptionally equipped gamesbarn.
The pool, with its infinity-view across rolling countryside, is securely enclosed by child-proof fencing, and accessed by a self-closing gate. The adjoining sun terrace is furnished with 2 large parasols, 8 x cushioned sunloungers, and a large rattan corner sofa – the perfect spot to watch the sun go down.
The surrounding private garden, with children’s swings, and a hammock chair hanging from the signature walnut tree, is adjoined by a paddock where children can kick a football about or organise a game of family cricket or rounders.
The property has wi-fi internet connection and English FreeSat satellite television.
Belle Etoile is suitable for year-round use. Its deep stone walls keep it cool in summer and warm in winter. A wood burner in the living room, and oil-fired central heating heats the house, while the gite has its own wood-burner and very effective electric radiators.
Located in the ancient hamlet of Isle, where hollyhocks abound from June to September, just 3 kilometres from the historic village of Villebois Lavalette, with its Knights Templar chateau and medieval, covered market square.
Villebois Lavalette has excellent restaurants, shops and services, including: butcher, baker, newsagent, supermarket with petrol station and car hire, tourist office, post office, doctor, dentist and more. The Saturday market is delightful and friendly, where people meet for coffee, to catch up on news, to eat fresh oysters and to buy local produce and crafts.
It is just 3 kilometres to an excellent supermarket, restaurants and all services.
The almost traffic-free roads and gentle terrain make this an ideal area for walking, cycling and touring.
Within easy reach are a number of weekday street markets, eg Chalais on a Monday and Brantome or Riberac on a Friday.
Even closer to Belle Etoile is the village of Ronsenac; this is 2 kilometres away and can be reached by footpath. Ronsenac has a lively bar which serves food, a well-equipped children's play area and a public tennis court.
The fully-fitted farmhouse kitchen is furnished with every necessity including a kitchen table to seat 10.
Similarly the gite apartment has its own kitchen with lpg-fired hob and electric oven, fridge-freezer, microwave, toaster, kettle and table and chairs.
The barn accommodates the laundry where a large 8kg washing machine and equivalent tumble dryer can be used. There is also a large washing line in the garden for making use of the sunshine!
The Pergola accommodates the outside table and chairs for al fresco dining with sufficient room to squeeze in 16.
There is a large charcoal barbecue, and a very large wood-burning fire-pit whose embers are perfect for large scale out-door cooking.
The living room is furnished with 2 large four-man sofas and a leather wingback armchair. The coffee-table contains a large selection of boardgames.
A 42” LED HD television has access to UK Freesat tv channels as well as a collection of dvds and BluRay discs and surround-sound BluRay player.
For you to play your music collection an iPod docking station is also provided. The writing desk houses the Orange internet router and wi-fi is available throughout the house.
The Gite, a first-floor open plan apartment, in a converted barn with its high pitched roof, is a fabulous studio space that has been tastefully renovated with retained original features such as oak beams and exposed stonework. It too provides a 42” LED HD television with UK Freesat tv channels, BluRay player, and an iPod docking station.
Frenchdoors open out from the gite onto the balcony where you can sit and enjoy your early morning tea or coffee, or watch the sun go down with a chilled glass of Pineaud.
#1 Original wooden floors, 6ft square mahogany sledge bed, double wardrobe, and a view across rolling countryside to the horizon.
#2 Metal-frame king-size bed, double wardrobe, metal-frame single day-bed, pull-out trundle bed.
#3 The larger of the 2 loft bedrooms is ideal for children. 2x single beds. Metal-frame single day-bed, with pull-out trundle bed.
#4 Also ideal for children with 3x single beds.
#5 Wooden floors, king-size mahogany sledge bed, built-in wardrobe. The half-height feature window incorporates the original barn door archway offering a view across the garden, pool and rolling countryside.
#6 Wooden floors throughout. 3x single beds.
The Garden Room:
#7 Self-contained double bedroom with large picture window looking out over the courtyard. King-sized metal-framed bed.
#1 First floor. Washbasin, lavatory, roll-top enamelled cast-iron bathtub, walk-in double shower.
#2 Second floor. Washbasin. Lavatory. Walk-in corner shower.
En-suite #1 Washbasin, lavatory, enamelled cast-iron bathtub and walk-in shower.
En-suite #2 Washbasin, lavatory, walk-in shower.
The Garden Room:
En-suite #3 Washbasin, lavatory, walk-in double-shower.
Ground Floor Bathroom:
A ground floor wetroom for those using the garden and the pool: Washbasin, lavatory, walk-in shower.
The Farmhouse has oil-fired central heating throughout, while the Gite and Garden Room enjoy the benefit of electric radiators.
The Farmhouse and Gite living rooms each have wood-burning stoves.
42" LED flat screen television sets in the Farmhouse and Gite living rooms are both connected to UK FreeSat, and each have BluRay/dvd players. A selection of dvds and BluRay discs are available in the Farmhouse.
iPod docks are provided in the Farmhouse and Gite kitchens.
The Games Barn has everything you need to keep you occupied indoors, with a shelf full of outdoor options.
Indoor:- Full Size Table Tennis Table | Pool Table | Table Football | Dartboard
Outdoor:- Croquet | Boules/Petanque | Football | Netball (& net) | Rugby ball | Cricket
The garden is the selling point of Belle Etoile, offering a multitude of options of how to spend your day.
Secluded and private, the garden enjoys stunning 270 degree views across rolling countryside taking in the sunrise and sunset of each day – without determining which is more glorious.
The adjoining paddock offers space for children and adults alike to kick about a football or set up a game of rounders or cricket.
The floodlit petanque court (Boulodrome) is great for a lazy afternoon or late night!
The solar-heated saltwater pool is the signature of Belle Etoile, with its unique shape, infinity view and sun-terrace.
The private enclosed drive offers off-street parking for up to 5 cars if required, with shaded space for one more in the garage.
Suitable and recommended for visitors of all ages, however the property is NOT suitable for wheelchair access.
Make an effort to be friendly with the locals and don't be surprised to find them arriving bearing gifts of excess produce from their gardens.
We are Emma and Gareth Wilding from Maidenhead in Berkshire, UK.<br/><br/>My husband works in finance and I run a self-employed business hand-making curtains, Roman blinds and soft furnishings - many of which are evident at Belle Etoile.<br/><br/>We have two daughters, 14 and 19 years old, and a dopey giant labradoodle called Buddy.
|Year property purchased||2013|
|Why this location?||We bought Belle Etoile in 2013 as somewhere to enjoy holiday times with family and friends, and we could not be more delighted with our second home.
The local welcome we have received has been quite overwhelming, but the property and its peaceful location with stunning views across the rolling countryside ensure complete relaxation from the moment of arrival.
If you have stayed at Belle Etoile before under its previous ownership we hope we can encourage you back and that you will be pleased with the changes and improvements we have made during our brief tenure.
|Unique benefits of property||Enjoy the quiet seclusion without being completely isolated or remote.
The unique swimming pool with 20m length-lane is ideal for maintaining a training regime, and the surrounding terrain is very popular with cyclists of all abilities and the whole package is perfect for triathletes!
A very well-equipped games barn offers plenty to do for those who want a break from the sunshine, while the boulodrome offers some healthy competition for those who don't, and nothing can beat a sundowner on the pool-terrace.
If you want to get out and explore locally, there are various walks in all directions from the house (Ordnance Survey maps are kept in house) alternatively book bicycles with Bike Hire Direct.
Neville Wright, who owns and runs Bike Hire Direct with his wife Natasha, is extremely helpful and will do whatever he can to help meet your cycling requirements. He comes highly recommended, but we always advise that you book in advance because they are extremely popular.
The Charentaise villages, and those of the nearby bordering Dordogne, are abundant with produce and bric-a-brac markets.
Brantôme, known as the 'Venice of the Périgord' is a 40 minute drive away.
There are leaflets with information on where to go canoeing on the notice board in the farmhouse kitchen. Brantôme Canoe has several options, but recommended is a beautiful 2 hour peaceful route down the tree-lined river Dronne and over 3 weirs.
There is also kayaking at the Base de Sports Nautiques et de Plain Air, SNPA Route de Riberac, 16390 Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, Dordogne.
….if you prefer to enjoy the river views without the effort you can always take a cruise with Brantôme Cruises.
Le Lavalette - A local gem just up the road in Villebois Lavalette Eat under the covered market square.
Restaurant La Braise - Excellent steaks and burgers if you are planning a trip to Angouleme.
Café Fransons - in nearby Dirac, the best Fish and Chips in France!
L’Eglise-souterraine in Aubeterre sur Dronne, carved into the rock in the 12th century, is the largest subterranean church in Europe.
And if you stop off at Gurat on the way you can visit the 10th Century church of St. George.
Right on the doorstep is the fabulous Chateau at Villebois Lavalette. As well as weekly English speaking guided tours, there are regular events and performances held in the grounds of the chateau, so it is always worth checking with the tourist office to see what’s on during your stay.
Also on our doorstep is the curiosity/folly (take your pick) of Chateau de la Mercerie at Magnac Lavalette.
Dune du Pilat is Europe's tallest sand dune, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean, an enormous pine forest, the Arcachon Bay, a sandbank and a peninsula. It is 190km and 2hrs drive away, but if you have never been it is worth a day trip because it almost defies description.
You could break up the journey by stopping off at the World Heritage site, St Emilion on the way.
Just 30 minutes drive away, Angouleme offers several aquatic options, including inland lake beaches.
About 40 minutes drive in the other direction is the beautiful town of Aubeterre sur Dronne where the river beach is very popular in the summer months.
Or if you want to make a day of it, a 90 minute drive will bring you to the best beaches on the Atlantic coast at Royan.
We had the most lovely stay at Belle Etoile. The house is beautiful (actually, we thought the photos didn't do it justice!), very comfortable and clean. The pool is particularly wonderful, with parasols and comfortable seats etc. It also suited us very well to have three different 'homes'.
7 adults and 7 children stayed for a week and absolutely loved it. The farmhouse itself is beautiful, and is decorated to a very high standard, and very clean. We got a little unlucky with the weather for a coupe of days, but the house has an excellent TV and surround sound system and a huge stock of DVD's that kept us entertained.
The attached gite is also really well fitted out, and could be a self-contained rental. It has beautiful tiled en suites, as does the farmhouse, and a huge main sitting room area / kitchen.
But when the sun shines, which it does a lot, the pool comes in to its own. It's a great shape so you can keep fit if you want to do some lengths, and a large main area for messing around in. A large patio area too for sun beds and the parasols were a god-send.
We ate most night's under the pergola, which was plenty big enough for 14 of us. And the large fire pit was lit most nights.
It's called Belle Etoile for a reason. Most night's had a clear sky, and I've never seen such bright stars. It's so rural with no light pollution so the night sky is epic.
Make sure you check the local restaurants are open before you just turn up. We didn't one night, and the French have some bizarre opening times. Best bet is to go the the close-by massive Super-U supermarket, and cook your own dinner on the bbq.
Brantome is well worth a visit. The kayaking around the town is great fun.
We loved it. And would highly recommend it.
I loved my visit to Belle Etoile, the views from the house as you sit outside drinking French wine and eating the cheeses are stunning. The house was clean and well equipped, with beautiful bathrooms and furniture throughout. We made a trip to Cognac and visited s a distillery. I will definitely be staying there again, loved it.
Brilliant relaxing holiday for all 16 of us ranging from grand parents to a baby. 8 young children and 8 adults. We must have picked the record breaking hottest week of the year so the beautiful big pool was ideal and in the hottest part of the day the cool games room and well equipped farmhouse were a welcome break from the sun. Lots to do for everyone so we didn't feel the need to leave Belle Etoile. However we did tear ourselves away to go canoeing in the pretty town of Brantome and visited Aubeterre's amazing subterranean church. A week wasn't long enough so we hope to visit again. The owner was very helpful with tips and advice from the initial booking right throughout our holiday. We would definitely recommend this holiday destination.