Old wine store near Saint Palais de Phiolin - PM004532

Saint-Palais-de-Phiolin (3km from Saint-Genis-de-Saintonge), Charente Maritime, Poitou Charentes Reference: PM004532 Advertiser since: 2 December 2015
Property Board Arrival Bedrooms Sleeps Bathrooms
Le Chai (The old Wine Store) Self Catering Flexible 1 3 1

About this property

Characterful Converted Wine Store with Bags of Charm. This cottage/gite is in a village setting.

Le Chai is our stunning stone gite with gallery bedroom (king size bed + single bed), one of a cluster of 4 individually styled character gites at La Fermette France.

Upcycled furniture and exposed stone walls create a unique feel to the gite. The breakfast bar is an old wine press, a cable reel is the dining table and an antique chandelier lights up the gallery.

The gravelled courtyard garden is a real sun trap, ideal for enjoying an evening BBQ with a glass of the local wine and you also have access to the orchard field where you can watch the sun setting over the fields. The Games Barn has a selection of adults and childrens bikes, body boards, table tennis, table football, bats & balls, boules sets, buckets & spades + more. From May to September our shared 10m x 5m saltwater swimming pool is open, although this is weather dependant.

If you love wine it's perfect - close to Bordeaux and Cognac......buy wines or cognac direct from numerous local producers, learn about wine production at the fantastic new wine museum in Bordeaux, visit the Maison du Vin in Blaye for advice about wines to buy, eat at great local restaurants, BBQ your finds from one of the many local markets.......or you could just relax on the beach......

A well equipped kitchen, your own courtyard garden with BBQ, access to the orchard field to watch the sunset (glass of wine obligatory!), bikes to cycle the local lanes, and a 10 x 5m shared swimming pool........live the French dream....

We are set in a peaceful arable farming hamlet but only 2.5km to the nearest town, 35 minutes to the beach, Bordeaux and Cognac close by and easy access to the motorway makes this an ideal location - rural but not remote.

For April, May, June and September our minimum stay is 2 nights - for July and August the minimum stay increases to 3 nights (price per night is the weekly price divided by 7).



Kitchen and dining

The open plan kitchen has a 4 ring gas hob, electric oven, kettle, microwav e, 2 fridges, one with small freezer comfortable, washing machine, iron, ironing board and airing rack.

The breakfast bar is an upcycled wine press and the dining table a recycled cable reel.

Living rooms

The living area is a large open plan space with settee, TV (UK Freeview channels) and paperback books (for us old school types!)


The gallery landing bedroom is accessed by a spiral staircase and has a king size bed plus a single bed, bedside tables, wardrobe and clothes storage.


The spacious shower room with shower, washbasin and bidet is also on the gallery


Wall mounted electric fire in the sitting room, plus freestanding heater in the gallery bedroom


The shared 10m x 5m saltwater swimming pool is open from May to September (weather permitting). There are sun loungers, wicker furniture plus tables and chairs around the pool.

The Games Barn has a selection of adults and children's bikes. Additional more specialist bikes can be hired locally and delivered to our gites.

Garden and outside

South facing gravelled courtyard garden with garden furniture and charcoal BBQ.

The games barn next door includes bikes, table tennis, table football, body boards and bats and balls for the beach, and boules sets. Higher spec or specialist bikes can be hired locally from BikeHireDirect.com

You have access to a separate orchard field with peaches, cherries, plums, quinces, pears, figs and walnuts.......please help yourself to any fruits in season

Parking and garages

Car parking is in the orchard field behind Le Chai a d accessible from the kitchen door at the rear of the gite.

Visitor suitability

The spiral staircase is not suitable for those who have difficulty with stairs or if carrying babes in arms upstairs. The staircase is also not suitable for toddlers due to the spacing between the treads.

Information about any additional facilities

We have written a comprehensive guide to the local area which our guests tell us is very useful and helps them plan their holiday.

We are flexible on arrival and departure days and length of stay, although the minimum stay is 2 nights in April, May, June and September and 3 nights for July and August (price per night is the weekly price divided by 7)

Check out our other gites:
PM0044421 - La Fermette ( sleeps up to 7)
PM004586 - L'Etable (sleeps 4)
PM004645 - L'Ecurie (sleeps 2)

We are registered with the local Mairie as required by French law.


  • Cleaning

  • Internet

  • No smoking

  • Linen

  • Child facilities


Antiques/Brocante Market

Name of nearest antiques/brocante market: Saintes
Distance: 10 km



Name and address of nearest golf course: Royan
Distance: 20 km

Horse riding

Name and address of nearest stables: Bois
Distance: 2 km

Signed wine route

Name of nearest signed wine route: Blaye and Bordeaux


Name/number of nearest marked trail: Montendre


Wine tasting

Name and address of nearest wine producer: Dousseaux Baillif
Distance: 2 km

About the Owner/Advertiser, Mrs Lesley Houareau

We are Lesley & Felix Houareau. We live in a village just outside Bath. We feel very lucky that we live in a beautiful part of the UK but can also spend time in the Charente Maritime area of France with it's medieval towns and great beaches

Year property purchased 2004
Why this location? We looked for a region with good weather but easier to travel to than the South of France. The Charente Maritime is the 2nd sunniest region of France and a hidden gem known about by the French. Lots of great beaches to choose from and great local (small) markets and rolling countryside with towns and villages with lots of character
Unique benefits of property We are in a peaceful hamlet 2.5km from the nearest town but surrounded by fields of sunflowers, wheat and vines and lots of local wildlife. The myriad of lanes around our gites are great to explore by foot or bike (we have a selection of bikes on hand). We are close to the Bordeaux / Blaye wine region as well being able to by the best Cognac locally. Wine, good food, sun and beaches - what more could you want?

The Owner Recommends

Beaches......loads of them !

For relaxation there is the beach, or rather beaches, as the Charente Maritime has over 470kms of coastline. We have details of the best local beaches which include....... small coves backed by cliffs of pale honey coloured stone...... town beaches..... long stretches of golden sand backed by dunes and pine trees.....

Blaye Wine Festival

Just after Easter on 9th and 10th April 2016, Blaye's annual wine festival takes place in the grounds of the citadelle. Blaye is one of the Bordeaux wine regions and the festival is a great opportunity to sample the wine from 80 local producers from the Blaye region and to buy your favourite wines.....entrance is only 6 euros. As well as tasting and buying the wines you can watch demonstrations of how barrels are made, visit artisan craft shops, take a boat ride on the estuary or even a helicopter ride. It's great day out.


.....Home of the famous spirit. Visit one of the Cognac houses or wander along the riverside or through the pedestrianised old town. From 5th - 9th July Cognac hosts the Blues Passion - a week of outdoor concerts in beautifully landscaped grounds. Previous years have included sets from George Benson, Lenny Kravitz, Lily Allen, Sting as well as lesser know artists. Cognac's Annual Festival which celebrates the drink itself is 24th - 22nd July


A local Spa town with elegant buildings. The weekly night market in July and August has music and street food plus some local crafts....... Great atmosphere. For children there is the Antilles de Jonzac swimming pool (indoor but with a roof that slides back in good weather) and also the Aire de Loisirs with man-made beach and numerous other activities


There's a local market nearby every day of the week where you can buy the great local produce to cook at La Fermette.......also several weekly night markets in July and August with street food and entertainment And if you enjoy eating out there is a great choice of good local restaurants including several with Michelin stars


Pretty medieval town close by. Picturesque square overlooking the Donjon - enjoy the view from one of the cafes. Don't miss the Bastille Day celebrations on 14th July, or the medieval festival on 23rd July 2016.

4 Reviews
  • Cleanliness: 8.8
  • Comfort: 8.8
  • Condition: 9.5
  • Facilities: 9
  • Local Amenities: 9
  • Setting: 9.5
  • Value for Money: 9.3
7.8 / 10 Dan & Tara 6 August, 2018

We found le Chai to be a charming little gite. It was perfect for chilling and exploring the local area by bicycle and occasionally by car for places further away like Bordeaux.
The gite is well provisioned with fixtures & fittings and is comfortable (and cool during the 30+ degree heat). We did find a few cobwebs on arrival but nothing 30 seconds with the feather duster couldn't solve. Other than that it was perfectly acceptable. Something I wasn't expecting was the spiral staircase but you get used to it!
The orchard is a nice touch and the best place for sunbathing. Most of the fruit's late summer ripening but the plums we did pick were lovely.
The hamlet of Bribaudon is super quiet and well located. 10 minutes cycle ride from a charming village (St Genis de Saintonge) which has several food shops and 10 minutes drive from a large & fab Supermarket (leclerc) on the A10 junction. The immediate surrounding area is sunflower, vine & corn fields cris-crossed by empty unmarked roads.
There were bikes onsite we were able to use which were functional & modern but not in 'sparking' condition. This didn't stop us riding most days and that fact really turned it from a good to very good holiday.
I would certainly recommend this place to a friend, but on the assumption they were mostly interested in living the quiet country life.
The owners were very polite and helpful - both prior and during the holiday via email (if needed).

Owner response

Thank you for your review. It's good to hear that you enjoyed your stay, and apologies about the cobwebs, the spiders seem to be on overtime this year - perhaps due to the heat. Glad you enjoyed the plums although you missed the cherries and peaches as they were early this year, and as you say the figs, pears, quinces, and all the nuts are later.

Following your point about the spiral staircase I checked the website to make sure we had a photo of it on the website - it's there, and it's also mentioned in the visitor suitability section however I will also now include it in the main description, so thank you for pointing that out.

It's also worth noting that aluminium bikes as well as bike racks can be hired from Bike Hire Direct who are based locally (details in the games barn and the info folder) and they also deliver free of charge. It's a great service.
Thanks again for your review

9.5 / 10 Anna and Rory 30 July, 2018

Le Chai was a lovely place to stay for our 4 night break, perfect for a couple (plus 1 if needed) with plenty of space. Everything was finished to a very high standard and we really liked the quirky style inside. Our hosts were lovely, very welcoming and friendly and on hand if we needed anything which was great. Kitchen would benefit from some oven trays and possibly a toaster but apart from that very well equip. It was brilliant to be able to use the bikes and we went for a cycle down to Mortagne sue Gironde. We also visited Cognac and St Emilion, both beautiful. There are plenty of supermarkets nearby and smaller shops in St Denis if you need them. We cooked most evenings so can't give many reviews for local places except a good takeaway pizza from the place in St Denis. A meal at Terrace Rouge near St Emilion was pretty good and the views of the vineyards around it are stunning.
Would happily return to Le Chai and recommend to others, we wished we could have stayed for longer.

Owner response

Thank you for your lovely review. We are very pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay in Le Chai and made good use of the bikes.....well done for making it to Mortagne in the heat!
Thank you for your suggestion of oven trays and the toaster, we'll act on both.

Hope to see you again next year (when the swimming pool will be up and running!)
Lesley & Felix

10 / 10 KandJ 17 June, 2018

On arrival at Le Chai we were immediately taken with the great styling of the Gite - totally in character with the surroundings and very sympathetic to the building's previous use as a wine store. Entry to the property was easy with the detailed instructions and we were quickly settled in. Tasteful decor and high quality furnishings, comfy bed and well equipped kitchen meant we just needed a quick visit to the local supermarket and we were set for the week. We made full use of the facilities, doing plenty of exploring of local restaurants using a couple of the many bikes available in the games barn. We're not cyclists (haven't ridden for years) but the local back roads are quiet and in the main flat, so we found a ride of 25km easily achievable. There are fantastic deals at the local restaurants so it's well worth consulting the detailed information provided in the site and consulting a map (we bought a cheap iPhone mount for the bike and used Google maps to guide us to our chosen destination which worked really well, although their estimated travel time is a little ambitious for us!). A nice long cycle ride and lunch, followed by picking up a few essentials (baguette, cheeses, bottle of wine) in St Genis and back to the Gite to relax in the orchard was a great way to idle away the week. Our favourite restaurants were Le Pegase (open weekday lunchtimes), Le Cheval Blanc, Le St Genis and Le Locomotif at Mosnac. Thank you Felix and Lesley for a wonderful stay in tranquility.

Owner response

Sounds like you had a wonderful week - what great use of the bikes to cycle to local restaurants. It's certainly a good way of working up an appetite and managing the calories !....and pleased you found the information in the gite useful. It was written to ensure our guests can get the best out of their stay with us (and in the absence of any good guides to the area).

Hope to see you again soon.
Lesley & Felix

9.2 / 10 Sallie and Andrew 7 July, 2017

A charming destination and well appointed rooms. A back door step would be the only improvement. Would recommend to anyone. Well done the owners.

Owner response

Thank you for your review and for your suggestion about the doorstep (which we have actioned). We are so pleased that you enjoyed your stay at Le Chai and maybe we will be able to host you again in the future.