|The Cottage||Self Catering||Saturday||3||6||1|
The Cottage is an old stone building set in a rural location in the Charente region of France in between Poitiers and Angoulême in the South West of France. It was restored 4 years ago and used as a family holiday home. It shares the large space with the owners converted barn. The climate of the Charente is one of the mildest in France. The region gets 40% more hours of sunshine than in the U.K.
The Cottage has its own private terrace which can be used for sitting, evenings drinks and barbecues. It is a traditional cottage of the region and has very thick stone walls keeping it cool in the summer. When we renovated the Cottage we used it as our holiday home for 4 years before moving into the Barn. It was never designed to be 'just' a holiday rental with the cheapest of furniture, decoration and equipment. We never intended to rent it out but is is now unused for much of the time and it seems a shame that others can't enjoy it as much as we have. There is a large garden which guests can use and there is an above ground pool. We have parking on the drive immediately outside the Cottage.
As a traditional house of the time it probably never had 2 storeys. We have no idea when the upstairs was added (long before us!). This means that the ceilings upstairs are lower than normal. There are 3 double bedrooms. One larger and 2 that are very comfortable if smaller. There is a bathroom with toilet and shower.
The kitchen, dining and living room are one long space and the end of which is a log burning stove. Winter has always been one our favourite times to use the Cottage with a blazing fire, a good book and some good food and wine. The kitchen is well equipped (John is a chef in training) with a 6 ring stove and electric oven. There is a fridge-freezer and washing machine.
It has always been a family holiday home and we think it still has that feel to it. Friends who have stayed here describe it as cosy, friendly and charming. We are very proud of it.
We offer gay friendly accommodation in the Charante region of France.
The kitchen, dining and living room form one single space. The kitchen has amble storage for food. There is a family sized fridge-freezer and a washing machine. The kitchen is equipped with a microwave, 6 hob range cooker and large electric oven. There are plates and utensils for 8 as well.
We think it is all good quality and better than some 'cheap' gites we have stayed in. For example, the knives are always sharp and of a good quality to cook with! There should be all you need to cook just about anything you want. If there is anything you don't have and we have it in the Barn will will make it available.
The dining table sits in front of a dresser. The table extends and can seat 8 comfortably.
The living room is part of the same open space and consist of 2 sofa and an arm chair (my favourite place in winter with a glass of cognac).
3 Double bedrooms. One is larger with a large wardrobe. The others are smaller but have full sized double beds. There is a large dresser on the landing.
Modern toilet and shower.
There are electric heaters in all rooms. However, when the wood burning stove is going it heats up the whole house in winter very thoroughly. There is a small charge for wood per day if guests are using it.
There is a tv which gets Freesat UK tv and French tv. There is a dvd player, Bluetooth speaker and internet (be warned the internet in this part of rural France is slow! we aren't due for for optic cable until 2012!)
Private terrace for guests. This has seating, a table and large garden umbrella for the sun. There is also a plancha and barbecue for guests to use.
Access to a large enclosed garden.
Above ground pool is open in the summer.
Parking on site.
Stairs to upstairs are quite steep. There is no wheelchair access.
A safety gate can be fitted to the top of the stairs if requested.
John and Jane have been renovating our barn and accompanying cottage for the last 5 years. We have both worked in education for all out lives. John has now retired and is starting a new life as a cook. We hope to retire to France permanently soon. At the moment John is in France as often as possible and Jane during the school holidays. Our cottage and barn are located in a very small and peaceful hamlet. We have always loved it here and enjoy the large garden, terrace and above ground pool.
|Year property purchased||2014|
|Why this location?||The airports are nearby. It possible to drive from the northern French ports in a day. The location is peaceful. The weather is usually good and it is not a crowded tourist area. There are nice towns nearby. It is in the cognac area of France with a producer in the village. There is a lot to do within a short distance and even more a bit further out. We love Bordeaux which can be done in a day from us.|
|Unique benefits of property||This is an old stone cottage with character.The Cottage is on the same footprint as the Barn were we spend as much time as possible. However, the Cottage has a real sense of privacy with its own private terrace. At the same time guests can make use of the large garden and above ground pool. We lived in the Cottage while we were renovating the Barn and loved it. It has a wood burning fire which is great in winter. We have very fond memories of summers and winters with friends and on our own.The Cottage is cosy and above all has a 'friendly' feel. There are 3 double bedrooms which while not huge and with lowish ceilings are perfect for holidays. The kitchen, bathroom, decor and quality is goods we lived in it as a our own holiday home rather than treating it a 'just' a rental property. John loved it so much he didn't want to move over to the Barn when it was finished!|
In the same village is Pierre Lecat. This company produce fantastic cognac, Pineau des Charentes - Pineau des Charentes is a very smooth beverage born in the 16th century. Created by blending grape must and young eau de vie. This is Cognac's little brother and is refreshing, aromatic and long. They also produce a white, red and rose wines. They do tastings. http://www.cognac-lecat.com/en/
There is a beautiful swimming lake about 5-7 minutes away. It has a sandy beach, a life guard during the summer and a children's playground. There is also a really, really good wood burning pizza van as part of the outside cafe that serves stunning pizzas in the evenings.This lake is easy to cycle to avoiding the roads.
Ruffec is about 16km away and has a market every Saturday and Wednesday morning. This is the place to buy amazing fish, browse the fruit and vegetables. Look at all the meat and charcuterie. In the summer the Charante melons you can buy here are the best you will have ever eaten! In Spring the white asparagus is the key thing to look for. On Saturday there is a roasted chicken stand where you can order chickens, roasted pork and a paella to collect when you have looked around the market. The potatoes are fantastic! There are cafes nearby to sit in the sun and watch the world go by. Ruffec is a small town that is not a tourist trap but has some good restaurants (Les Caprices du Marché does really nice and very large burgers), interesting shops, butchers and bakers.
Aigre, which is 11km away, has a market on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
This is a great water area with a river, shallow streams, spaces for picnics and a very good restaurant (Restaurant Le Réjallant). Here you can spend the day playing in the river, hiring canooes, stand-up paddle boards and pedalos. When friends come with kids to visit this is a must!
This is one of our favourite villages. James Martin was here as part of his French Adventure series sampling the stunning brioche made in the beautiful water mill; which also has a cafe and restaurant. A stunning riverside village with its fairytale Château and six venues for food and drink
The village is overlooked by the beautiful chateau which can be visited at certain times independent on the time of year. These visits are booked though our favourite wine bar bar in the main road La Regie. Wines by the glass and by the bottle. The wine shop sells some of the best wines in France and spirits from around the world. In winter the open fire blazes away and you will never want to leave.
Angoulême is about 40 minutes away. It is a lovely city in its own right and is worth a visit. It is the cartoon capital of France. It has a stunning cathedral and some lovely restaurants. However, if you have children the attraction will be the water. Just outside of Angoulême is the Naautilis. A water park with slides, chutes, a pool with a wave machine, an Olympic sized indoor pool, spas. A place to spend most of the day.
Nautilis sits alongside the lake which offers a lot more waterspout activities (swimming, boating, sailing school... Monitored bathing from June 30 to September 02 included: Every day from 2pm to 7:30pm.
For the last few summers they have also erected a floating obstetrical course. It is great fun. You are given life jackets and swim out to a series of floating connected pontoons which you climb up and over while sliding off and falling in the water LOTS! There are lifeguards there.
Futuroscope, one of the most popular French theme parks, is about an hours drive away. This park is very nice, for both children and adults. Futuroscope is known for its simulators and other media related attractions. It is a fantastic, fun and fairy-tale experience with over 25 original experiences.in multi-media, sensory theatres. There are heart-thumping adventures, outrageous thrills, mind-blowing journeys, the fairy-tale evening show and fascinating attractions deliver delights to suit all tastes and ages! Futuropolis is a new feature for younger children.
About 40 mins away
Discover the largest concentration of chimpanzees in Europe. Meet 34 primate species in a place where more than 450 animals roam within 18 hectares of a natural wooded park area. Chimpanzees, and the largest gorilla colony in France.
Watch feeding-times throughout the day. Since it opened, Monkey Valley has seen over 700 births.
Discover what goes on behind the scenes at the Valley as various exhibits show you what happens when a new monkey arrives, teach you about their everyday routine, and discuss research conducted at this site. A film also shows the birth of Kwanza - one of the 5 baby gorillas born the Valley of the Monkeys !
If you come by plane Poitiers is the airport nearest to us about 1 hour 10 minutes away. However, you wont see anything on this beautiful city from the airport of the journey to us in Villeret.
Poitiers has one of the oldest universities in the country, established in 1432 and today a linchpin of this small city: students make up 25% of the population.
The oldest part of the city has a maze of narrow, hilly streets encircled by boulevards that follow the line of the ancient fortifications. The great artistic wealth of Poitiers is not immediately noticeable, for its many old monuments are dispersed throughout the city. Notre-Dame-la-Grande church is a good example of Romanesque architecture, with a remarkable 12th-century facade containing a profusion of fine sculptures.
The town's centre is picturesque, with generally well-preserved architecture and a recently re-zoned pedestrian area. There are numerous shops, cafes and restaurants in the town centre.
This beautiful town is a 2 hour drive away. However, it is possible to drive to Angoulême (50 minutes) and catch the train. Bordeaux is my favourite city in France.
Bordeaux, hub of the famed wine-growing region, is a port city on the Garonne River in southwestern France. It’s known for its Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André, 18th to 19th-century mansions and notable art museums such as the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux. Public gardens line the curving river quays. The grand Place de la Bourse, centered on the Three Graces fountain, overlooks the Miroir d’Eau reflecting pool.
We are about 90 minutes away from the coast. The towns of La Rochelle, Royan and the beautiful islands of Ile de Re and Il d'Oleron are all accessible for a day trip.