Lovely country home with pool, nr Cognac - PM006088

Saint-Bris-des-Bois (9km from Cognac), Charente Maritime, Poitou Charentes Reference: PM006088 Advertiser since: 30 January 2018
Property Board Arrival Bedrooms Sleeps Bathrooms Additional info
Maison Calme Self Catering Flexible 4 8 3 One baby in own travelcot

About this property

Elegant Country Home with Private Swimming Pool. This villa is in a rural setting.

This elegant Charentaise country house stands in one acre of grounds surrounded by rolling vineyards in a beautiful hamlet. The situation of the house and cottage is truly special - in a large garden with a pretty front courtyard completely surrounded by vines and at the end of a no through road with no passing traffic.

The heated swimming pool (10 metres by 5 metres) has a large terrace flanked by flower beds with lavenders and roses with views of vines all around. There is a large dining terrace with a shaded tiled gazebo and 8-10 seater dining table above the pool with lovely vine views. Set apart from the pool terrace and overlooking the vines is a large new deck area (2016) with comfortable rattan seating for 8 - a fantastic place for an aperitif in the cool of the evening.

Within easy walking distance is the historic 12th century Abbaye de Fontdouce in lovely gardens and grounds where picnics can be taken. The owners of the vineyards surrounding the house also maintain a large potager from which seasonal fruits and vegetables may be purchased, together with free range eggs, preserves and chutneys.

The nearby village of Burie (2 miles) has a well-stocked Carrefour supermarket, baker, excellent butcher with a good deli counter, chemist, bank with cash dispenser and an all hours petrol station. In the other direction and a couple of miles from the house, Saint Bris des Bois has a fantastic artisan baker for excellent breads, savoury tarts and a selection of patisserie. The historic city of Saintes has wonderful food markets every day of the week - most notably the Saturday morning market at the foot of the cathedral.

This lovely stone house is full of original features including beamed ceilings and a Charentaise fireplace and has been completely restored by the British owners. Work on the property during 2014 included the installation of a new kitchen (with completely new equipment and appliances) and redecoration and restyling of interiors throughout.

In addition to the main house which has 3 bedrooms (2 king and one twin) and 2 shower rooms plus a ground floor toilet, there is a self-contained and completely refurbished (2016) stone cottage sleeping 2 (1 king) with a spacious shower room, sitting room and kitchen area. The delightful stone cottage lies just outside the main front gate of the property and is very well equipped (wi-fi, Freesat HD tv, dvd player, woodburner, electric heating, full kitchen, sitting and dining area) to offer additional privacy, independence and flexibility.

The cottage is only available as part of the booking for the main house and will never be let separately. For smaller parties of up to 6 people, the cottage can be excluded from the booking at a lower discounted price. Please see SPECIAL OFFERS for applicable rates.

The whole property at Chez Billon has been renovated and equipped as the owners second home and as such we are told it stands out from other rental properties terms of its attention to detail and total relaxation. Comfortable and elegant interiors throughout with high quality furnishings, linens, fluffy white towels and pool towels all included in the rental.

The house and cottage are professionally managed by English agents who live locally and are on hand if problems arise. They also organise the weekly linen change and undertake pool cleaning and maintenance so guests can relax.

The hamlet of Chez Billon is extremely pretty and includes the site of the font (natural spring) for a noted historically important 12th century abbey (partly restored) which is within easy walking distance for picnics and concerts including an annual summer festival. The location of the property is totally peaceful and there are lovely walks (including 'Grande Randomee' (GR) hiking trails, footpaths and bike rides from both the front and back of the house (4 bikes provided).



Kitchen and dining

The kitchen of the MAIN HOUSE has very large windows to either side making this a fantastically light room. French windows give access to the pool terrace and dining gazebo (8-10). There is also a dining table in the kitchen and in the dining hall.


Induction hob & built-in oven
Built-in microwave
Double butlers sink
Full height built in fridge (freezer in nearby utility)
Washing machine, steam iron & large ironing board + airer (utility)
Crockery, cutlery & glassware for 12
Le Creuset/John Lewis pans
Espresso machine & insulated cafetieres
Four slot toaster & kettle
Stick blender; chopper/slicer and liquidiser
Extensive kitchen utensils & selection of cook books

The COTTAGE has a full corner kitchen and a separate dining table. EQUIPMENT includes:

Induction hob & built under oven
Built under fridge
Single butlers sink
Crocker, cutlery, glassware, dishes/pans for 4
Two slot toaster & kettle
Kitchen utensils
Small island

Living rooms

The SALON in the MAIN HOUSE is an elegant room with tall windows to the front garden, original shutters and beamed ceiling. Key features include:

Original Charentaise fireplace with Chesney woodburner
Two large book cases filled with books, games and dvd's
Flat screen HD tv with Freesat providing most UK channels
Wi-fi broadband
Bose Bluetooth speaker
Bose cd player
Two large comfortable quality sofas and two Laura Ashley double seating stools providing seating for 8-10
Large central coffee-table and other occasional tables
Original tiled floor and sisal rug
Side lamps and standard lamps including one reading lamp for variable lighting

The beamed DINING HALL in the MAIN HOUSE leads from the front door and exits to the salon and out to kitchen and upstairs. Table and comfortable chairs for 6; old painted armoires and bureau.

The COTTAGE has a living area with:

Sofa, easy chair & footstool
Tv with Freesat & dvd
Original fireplace & Chesney woodburner


In the MAIN HOUSE there are 3 bedrooms on the first floor in the following order off the landing:


King sized sleigh bed
Wardrobe with hanging and shelving
Small chest of drawers
2 large windows overlooking front garden
Bedside tables and lamps
Door to en suite and to landing
4 hanging hooks & towel ladder


King sized divan bed with padded headboard
Wardrobe with hanging and shelving
1 large window to front
Bedside lamps and tables
4 hanging hooks & towel ladder


2 single divan beds with padded headboard
Wardrobe with hanging and shelving
1 large window to front
Bedside lamps and tables
4 hanging hooks & towel ladder

In the COTTAGE there is one bedroom built under the beams

King sized wooden bed
Bedside lamp and table
Built in wardrobe & separate chest
Door to en suite
Window to front

NOTE: Beds have new pocket sprung mattresses, mattress protectors and cotton pillow protectors. 1 hairdryer per room.



EN SUITE TO MASTER: (renovated 2015)

White tiled shower cubicle & chrome fittings
Chrome ceiling spots
Chrome fitted toiletries basket
Electric towel radiator
Double wall cabinet
Large inset sink in vanity unit with 2 large drawers under
Plug socket & shaving mirror
Window (high so private) to rear

MAIN BATHROOM (new 2017)

Large shower cubicle & inset tiled toiletries storage with built in spot
Chrome ceiling spots
Wall hung toilet
Marble topped vanity unit with inbuilt white basin and chrome fittings
Large double wall hung mirrored cabinet
Plug socket & shaving mirror
Chrome towel radiator
High window to rear

There is also a separate ground floor TOILET with small basin off the corridor to the kitchen next to the pool terrace

In the COTTAGE EN SUITE (first floor):

Walk-in shower cubicle
Built in basin & cupboards under
Table & storage bench
Electric towel radiator
Dual aspect windows to front & rear


The MAIN HOUSE has a highly efficient electric central heating system which can be controlled through a central control box or via individual controls on each radiator.

The heating system was installed in 2015 to provide background heating in the cooler months and full central heating in the winter. In addition there is a highly efficient Chesney wood burner in the salon and all wood/kindling is provided for a winter stay.

New double glazed windows and a new front door - all in the old French style -were installed in 2015 ensuring that heat stays in the house in the winter months.

Double glazing in conjunction with the original external shutters protect the house from warm air in the high summer months. The house is built with very thick stone walls and provided the sun is kept off the windows and windows are closed the internal temperature is similar to air conditioning.

THE COTTAGE has new electric radiators and a Chesney wood burner and is fully double glazed.



Flat screen tv with Freeat and most UK channels
An extensive range of fiction and reference books plus some relevant cookery books in the kitchen
Dvd player and a good selection of dvd's including boxed sets
Very good range of board games in the sitting room including all the essentials like cards, dominoes, Trivial Pursuits and Scrabble.
Bose Bluetooth speaker can connect to all enabled devices so you can play your favourite music from your iPhone or Spotify
Cd player if you prefer the old technology & a limited range of cd's


Flat screen tv with Freesat and most UK channels
Dvd player
Books, dvd's, games etc can be borrowed from the main house

Garden and outside

The MAIN HOUSE and COTTAGE share the outside spaces:

Large pool (10 x 5) with new liner (2016) and electric cover for safety and heat retention
Pool is heated in cooler months and where necessary in the summer
Extensive pool terrace surrounded by lavender & mediterranean style planting in gravel beds with scented climbers
2 large cantilevered parasols for shade on the terrace and elsewhere
Shaded gazebo - large dining table and 8 chairs looking out over the pool, garden & vines
6 quality light loungers with rear wheels & 3 small folding tables for drinks. Deckchairs provide additional seating on the terrace or elsewhere in the garden
New large wooden deck area above the vines with lovely views and comfortable cushioned rattan furniture for up to 8
Small table and chairs in a side courtyard leading to the front
Large Weber bbq
Outside candles
Front garden: table & chairs for 6 with matching bench - sun trap in the morning and delightfully shaded in the afternoon

Parking and garages

The MAIN HOUSE and COTTAGE share the parking

Old French style galvanised zinc front gates (newly installed 2015) are fully lockable and enclose the front courtyard which is a large gravelled area with extensive parking for cars.

There is a pull up area outside the cottage (just outside the front gate) for unloading if necessary. Most guests park up inside the front courtyard and the cottage and main house are a few steps in either direction

There is a small open barn attached to the main house enabling one small car to be parked under the roof if required

Four all terrain bikes are kept securely in the open barn as well as logs and bins for the house and cottage

There is a renovated old stone wall connecting the cottage and the barn which has a wooden gate giving access from the cottage via the front garden to the pool terrace and rear.

Visitor suitability

We have had visitors staying in the house and cottage of all ages from babies to teenagers, pensioners and beyond!

The cottage bedroom and shower room have areas of restricted height but we have found that once guests are aware there is no issue.

Guests who enjoy privacy and quiet will love the location as there is an absence of traffic noise and the sounds of birdsong and country life are all around.

Active types will enjoy the proximity of the GR routes (GR4 passes very close by) and there are biking trails and foot paths from the front and back door making this a lovely location for strollers or serious walkers!

The pool and terrace are enclosed by hedges and shrubs providing privacy and safety for families with younger children. The pool cover fulfils French safety requirements and is easy to open and close as needed.


  • Internet

  • No smoking

  • Linen

  • Private pool


Antiques/Brocante Market

Name of nearest antiques/brocante market: Saintes
Distance: 9 km



Name and address of nearest golf course: Golf du Cognac, 2 Rue de la Maurie, 16100 Cognac
Distance: 9 km


Name/number of nearest marked trail: GR4 Alps Atlantic trail (St Bris des Bois)


Wine tasting

Name and address of nearest wine producer: Hennessey Cognac
Distance: 9 km

About the Owner/Advertiser, Ms Eileen Gravelle

We are a professional couple currently living in the beautiful South Downs National Park near to the lovely market town of Midhurst. We have been visiting France for many years for both business and holiday reasons - usually short trips on our own. Like many people in the UK, we day dreamed about buying a house in France but it was only after our children moved out of the family home that we decided to do something to turn the dream into a reality before it was too late.

Year property purchased 2014
Why this location? We first visited the Charente Maritime in the summer of 2013 on a house hunting trip largely prompted by its reputation as the second sunniest region in France. We were immediately bowled over by rolling hillsides full of vines and sunflowers, pretty stone villages, the wide river Charente running through ancient cathedral cities and all with easy access to contrasting coastal delights: white sandy beaches, elegant harbour towns, chic holiday islands and old estuary ports. We were hooked!

We wanted our second home to be within easy striking distance of the ferry ports in the north but far enough South to enjoy more sunshine hours over a longer period. The proximity of regional airports like La Rochelle and Bordeaux were an added bonus making even a short break easy to arrange.
Unique benefits of property Chez Billon is a special place - a small number of stone houses at the end of a country lane with no passing traffic. Our 18th century Charentaise stone house is the last one in the hamlet giving it a delightfully peaceful rural setting surrounded by the vines below. A short stroll out of the front garden brings you to the lovely grounds of the historic 12th century Abbey de Fontdouce - in fact the crystal clear waters of the font rise in the hamlet close to our garden.

Sit in the garden or by the pool on most days and you are unlikely to hear anything other than birdsong or the occasional sound of French voices in the fields. Get in the car and in 20 minutes you can be shopping in the pretty pedestrianised streets of the old Roman city of Saintes or visiting a world famous estate in Cognac. Truly the best of both worlds!

The Owner Recommends

Ile de Re

Within an hour's drive you can be at the impressive bridge connecting the mainland to this enchanting small island. Chic shops, restaurants, ancient port villages and pretty beaches abound and the island is a cyclists heaven - either bring your own (ours if you have a bike rack!) or hire when you get there - it is the best way to enjoy everything the Ile de Re has to offer.

Abbe de Fontdouce

Literally on your doorstop within walking distance of the hamlet of Chez Billon is the delightful ruined 12th century Abbey (now restored and occupied). The remaining abbey buildings are worth looking around especially the lovely cloisters and the garden with font douce (sweet spring) running through is a lovely spot for picnics. Book for the Font douce festival held in midsummer which is now a well know attraction and enjoy a mix of excellent musicians in a balmy open air setting.


Lovely cathedral city with an ancient roman arch and amphitheatre picturesquely situated on the Charente and within an easy 20 minute drive. Great selection of shops, cafes and good range of restaurants in a lovely pedestrianised area. Catch the fresh fruit and vegetable market held at the base of the cathedral on Saturday morning and wander inside the main market building for a breathtaking selection of cheese, meat, pates, breads and fish. An easy option for eating out or just having a coffee and a wander about with plenty of time to get back for a dip and laze by the pool during the day

Gironde Estuary

Within half an hour's drive a wonderful selection of places to visit like Talmont one of France's 'plus beaux villages', Mortagne sur Gironde with its attractive harbour and lovely seafood restaurants, Meschers with its limestone cliffs and pretty beach. Drive a little further south and investigate the historic citadel of Blaye where you can take a ferry across to the glorious vineyards of the left bank including Chateaux Margaux


Within a short drive, the city of Cognac offers a wide range of activities: river trips, historic sites, restaurants and shops and, of course, tasting tours of famous distilleries - Hennessey is probably the best but you need to book in high season. Look up the different tours offered on their website and phone to book in advance (usually English speaking operators)


Within a very short drive there are a many pretty riverside villages along the Charente - one of our favourites is Taillebourg. Several lovely quayside places to eat or wander around and take your own picnic.

Chateauneuf sur Charente

Pretty town on the Charente which offers a lovely destination for a day out - about 45 minutes drive in the Cognac direction. Little town is full of shops, bars and cafes with many side streets to wander round. Head to the river "beach" for a seaside experience without the sea - very well done and in keeping with the natural beauty of the river. Playground areas for little ones and bike/walking trails on both sides of the river. A couple of good riverside restaurants offer excellent Sunday lunches or buy provisions in the town and head for a nice spot for a picnic.

Saint Savinien

Elegant old town on the Charente - one of the best of the stone villages of Saintonge. Lovely just to wander around with a 12th century church worth visiting. For young children head to the Ile des Grenouillettes where there is a wonderful mini port with scaled down versions of a fantastic range of boats (including a paddle steamer). The even better bit is that the children can drive them on the safe waters of the mini port area.

2 Reviews
  • Cleanliness: 10
  • Comfort: 10
  • Condition: 10
  • Facilities: 10
  • Local Amenities: 9
  • Setting: 10
  • Value for Money: 10
10 / 10 Alliepants 30 October, 2018

From the moment we walked through the door, we knew we were going to have a lovely time! The property was truly amazing! We are frequent visitors to France and have stayed in many homes but, this one has to rate as the best! The lounge and kitchen are the best! There is nothing you could possibly find that wasn’t top notch. Thank you so much for the extra thought that you put in and for the card, chocs and fizz, we had an amazing honeymoon! If you are reading this review, honestly, look no more and book now!!! Thanks again, Mr and Mrs Wheeler.

Owner response

I am so delighted you had a totally memorable start to your married life together. The setting of the house is really special especially with wonderful Autumn light and great weather! Obviously we love the house and taking the time to give us your feedback is much appreciated - Eileen

10 / 10 Katharine 17 July, 2018

We had a wonderful stay at Chez Billon. It was very well appointed with a spacious, well-equipped kitchen, very pretty garden and lovely pool, and the terrace with covered dining area which had a view over a neighbouring vineyard, all very picturesque. It is a very rural setting but that meant it was very quiet and perfect for a very relaxing holiday. I would definitely recommend.