|Le Pressoir||Self Catering||Saturday||3||7||2||Mezzanine with sofa-bed|
The house is called Le Pressoir, because it has a large, original grape press in the front garden. It is a Charentaise ‘Maison de Campagne’ (country cottage), with a lot of character, in a quiet rural hamlet, with a front garden, back sun terrace, separate pool garden (with private 10m x 4m pool), and a lovely little courtyard which is delightfully cool in the heat of the summer. The hamlet is not far from the market town of Chalais - 5 kms - and 10 kms to the attractive village of Aubeterre sur Dronne (one of the 100 prettiest villages in France), with its restaurants, bars, artists, potteries and lovely river beach.
The hamlet is a very peaceful location - it is just a few houses, surrounded by fields, with an abundance of wildlife, fields of corn and sunflowers, and some dairy farms. The area is covered in forests of oak, chestnut, boxwood and pine where many wild animals and birds such as roe deer, pygmy shrews, larks, finches and wild boar can be found. Also 25 different kinds of wild orchids. There are the gorges and rivers of the Sud Charente, lakes and meadows, fortified towns and villages, and wonderful Romanesque churches, many of which made up the historical pilgrims’ trail to Santiago de Compostela.
Country kitchen with gas hob, electric oven, fridge-freezer, dishwasher, coffee-machine and microwave. Plentiful crockery, cutlery, pots, pans and dishes, plus all you'll need to barbecue on the sun terrace. Kitchen table for 5 or so, with a big dining table in the central, double height part of the house beside the kitchen - can seat 12 - 14 people with loads of room to spare. Beautiful old dressers in both kitchen and dining room, and logburner, and cd players in both, too.
Comfortable leather sofas, coffee-table, large antique dresser (with large collection of dvds and games) and big logburner. UK satellite tv and dvd player. Telescope by the window seat for star-gazing!
Upstairs mezzanine has sofabed and desk and there is is wi-fi throughout the house.
Master bedroom with king sized sleigh bed looks out over the sun terrace. Wooden floors with rugs, large wardrobe, rocking chair, dressing table and stool.
Bedroom 2 upstairs is a large double which looks out over the front garden - with antique French brass bed and ceiling fan.
Bedroom 3 downstairs has a double bed and a single bed - it's is the coolest room in the summer, and also has a cot, if needed.
Spacious upstairs bathroom with claw-foot bath, separate shower enclosure, wash-hand-basin and wc. Downstairs shower-room with wc, wash-hand-basin and washing machine.
Two logburners - both in perfect working order, but never needed from June to September! Supply of wood always stocked beside the courtyard, in case of cooler nights at the very end of September.
Bikes, golf clubs, pool toys, badminton rackets, dvds, board games and, of course, boules! Tv with UK satellite programmes,dvd player, cd players inside and out on the sunterrace.
Front garden with Pressoir and little Fig tree leads to entrance of house. Mostly bushes and a beautiful wisteria that grows like crazy in the microclimate of the area. Side courtyard that is shadier and, therefore, cooler, for the heat of the day - has a little wrought-iron table and chairs. Great for drinks before dinner! Back sunterrace with bbq, dining table and 6 chairs, sun-loungers, fishpond, 100 year-old gnarled olive tree and barn-owl nesting boxes high on the back wall. Sitting out at dusk watching the barn owls go off to hunt, or just marvelling at the starry skies (no light pollution) - is a fabulous end to the day. Listen out for the frogs and crickets - some of them make amazing noises.
Pool garden is separate to the house, just a few feet from the front gate of the house. Pool is 10m x 4m, fully private and exclusive to the house, alarmed and the pool garden gate is lockable - all designed for maximum safety.
Car porch can keep 2 cars cool in the summer heat, with hard-standing for a further 2 or 3 cars next to the pool garden - there's a whirligig for drying swimming things/washing there too.
Downstairs bedroom is on the level with the entrance, and the downstairs bathroom is also on the same, ground level, so would work for visitors with reduced mobility.
Apart from 2 steps down to living room (and upstairs bedrooms) everything is accessible (access to sunterrace from gate in back wall).
We are a Francophile family from Edinburgh - though the kids are now grown, they still love to come over to our lovely home in the Charente, when they can. We have an 18 month old Toller puppy, who will be coming over with us in the Spring - the area is fabulous for walks, and we are happy to have other dog-lovers use our house too.
|Year property purchased||2010|
|Why this location?||It's a total getaway - peaceful, relaxing, and easily accessible from the airport at Bordeaux. Plus is has the 2nd highest number of hours of sunshine in France after the Cote d'Azur. So, the climate, the wine, the food... what's not to like?|
|Unique benefits of property||This is a charming country house, full of character, with plenty of places to sit and catch the sun, or to have a cooling drink in a shady courtyard at the height of summer. Cooling off in the pool, having a barbecue, or star-gazing at night are just some of the relaxing things to do at the house.|
This well-known village about 10 kms away is built on an outcrop above the river Dronne and the roads are steep and picturesque. There is a network of little pathways that take you between the houses, around the gardens. There is a big château. One of the landmarks is an underground church St Jean (eglise monolithe) which is certainly worth a visit. It was delved out of the rock by the first Christians, and later by monks. In the centre of the village is a square where you can have drinks or a meal under the trees at the Hôtel de France, with a big parking area nearby. There are boutiques, and several potters. For bathing there is a river beach suitable for families, with imported sand. Canoe/kayaks with safety equipment can be hired near the beach (you can see the kayaks from the road), call 05 45 98 51 72. Lovely for a hot summer afternoon. You will be taken up river in a van with your equipment and the canoes/kayaks and then you can paddle peacefully down back to Aubeterre. The two-hour option is good, but there are other possibilities.