|6 bis Chemin du Pinier||Self Catering||Saturday||3||6||3|
Our 3 bed home in France is a recently converted (by us) stone barn in a quiet hamlet in the countryside. Part is arranged over 2 floors, the remainder is single story and all the buildings enclose a gravelled courtyard which is not overlooked, although they adjoin 2 other village houses. The property is reached via a short lane, behind gates and with a private gravelled drive which is suitable for off-road parking. There is plenty of space to sit outdoors either in the courtyard or on an area of decking for relaxing or a terrace for al fresco dining. Sun beds, parasol, chairs and outdoor dining furniture are provided, as well as a bbq. The interior is full of character with beams and exposed stone walls, and with tiled floors throughout downstairs. The living room is spacious and contains sofas, easy chairs, coffee-tables, desk, satellite tv and a cd player. A portable wi-fi router is available at the suppliers current rates- please discuss with owners if you are interested in that. The kitchen is fully fitted and equipped with induction hob, fan oven, dishwasher, microwave, fridge, toaster etc, and has a breakfast table and chairs for 6. There is a separate dining area with table and chairs for 6. Laundry facilities (washing machine, tumbler dryer, iron etc) are provided in a separate utility room. The spacious master bedroom, with a separate shower room, is situated on the first floor adjoining a large landing. The shower room includes twin basins and a large shower. Across the courtyard, away from the main part of the house, are 2 further bedrooms, each separate from the other, one with a double bed, the other with 2singles, and each with an en suite shower room.
There is no lawned garden as such, the open courtyard is gravelled, with an area of stone terracing near the kitchen (with outdoor table and chairs) and a separate area of decking for sitting in the sun, but flowerbeds full of shrubs line the outside walls and the garden walls, and vines cover walls as well, so there's quite a bit of greenery. There is a large bay tree by the decking, and a well (not for drinking water!) by the kitchen.
Please note: As the property is located in a tiny hamlet of 6 houses and is not immediately near larger towns it is only supplied with electricity and is on a fosse tous eaux (aka a septic tank). This means that you should only use fosse friendly toilet paper (provided) and not put anything else not naturally produced down the toilets!! Otherwise the fosse gets blocked and it is very expensive to unblock. (and we will charge for that!!)
Further information on using appliances in the house, a remote controlled velux roof light, waste management, as well as recommendations for places to visit, restaurants, and emergency contacts for doctors etc are contained in a file in the house
The kitchen is fitted and contains a microwave, induction hob, fan assisted oven, cooker hood, dishwasher, fridge and toaster. There is a full complement of crockery, glassware and cutlery for 6. Pans suitable for an induction hob are provided, as are utensils, and picnic baskets. Tea towels, washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets etc provided
There is a table with chairs for 6, a sideboard (containing crockery, tablecloths, mats) and fire safety equipment located at the far end of the kitchen, adjoining a pair of doors that access the terrace area and outdoor table and chairs.
A small freezer is located in the laundry room, along with a washing machine, tumbler dryer, clothes horses, iron and ironing board. Washing powders etc provided.
Off the sitting room there is a separate dining area, with seating for 6, and a sideboard containing tablecloths, mats, additional crockery.
The living room is spacious and is in 2 areas - one with a 2 seater settee, 3 comfortable chairs, coffee-table, rugs, tv (with Freeview box), side tables, table lamps, sofa table, a wood burning stove, lots of games and books.
The other part of the living room has a settee, large footstool, rug, desk, cd player and table lamps.
There are 3 bedrooms. The main bedroom is above the living room and has a queen sized double bed, side tables, lights, chest of drawers, easy chair, wardrobe and large footstool at the base of the bed. It has its own bathroom adjoining. Duvets, pillows and all bed linens and towels are provided.
The other 2 bedrooms are located on the ground floor on the opposite side of the house. They are self contained with their own lockable doors. One contains a double bed, bedside tables, chest of drawers, chair and wardrobe and en suite shower room. The other bedroom contains 2 single beds, bedside chest, chest of drawers and en suite shower room.
All duvets, pillows, bed linens and towels are provided for both these 2 bedrooms as well.
There are 3 bathrooms in total. One is located adjoining the main bedroom on the first floor of the main part of the house. It is equipped with a shower, wc and twin washbasins.
The 2 other bathrooms are en suite shower rooms with walk in showers, vanity units and wcs.
The heating is by electric radiators. These are normally shut off in summer as it's far too hot to have them on. There is a wood burning stove if it should get chilly on summer nights (not actually known to happen) - wood is provided in the adjoining cellier.
There is no air conditioning however; we use open windows.
A satellite tv tuned to the UK with Freeview box. There is no dvd. There is a cd player/radio. There are games and books provided.
We don't have a house landline or fixed internet. However, we have a portable wi-fi hotspot router from SFR - a French telephone/broadband supplier. This will provide internet for up to 5 appliances. We use it as pay as you go, and buy SIM card topups from a shop in the nearby town of Saujon. 4GB lasts us around 4 weeks with 2 appliances, use of the internet, emails , web browsing, but not videos or games. A top up can be provided, and the arrangement is if we can we will buy one if we are there immediately before guests arrive ( as its a case of use it within a month or lose it). We would charge for top ups (happy to discuss further) or we can leave details of where to buy top ups (nb. get the shop to activate the connection - we do this at the shop, as without a French mobile it's impossible. Its also difficult with a French mobile too!)
There is a large open gravelled courtyard, which gets very hot in the summer sunshine. There is an area of terracing near the kitchen where the outdoor dining table is normally located, and a separate area of decking for casual sitting or sunbathing. Outdoor seating, deckchairs and loungers and sun umbrellas for use at the house are provided. There is a gas ( bottle) bbq provided.
Off street parking for 2 -3 cars is provided on the gravelled drive behind the gates. Please do not park on the open courtyard area as parts of the fosse system are located under there and the French authorities do not want any weight over these systems!
Suitable for adults and children over 12. Not suitable for wheelchairs because of gravel and steps into the property. Not suitable for pets. No smoking inside the house.
We love France and bought the property after many years of looking for something that would suit us. We saw this old barn and its potential- et voila! - it's a comfortable home from home. Now we are retired we visit a lot and love the area. It's a 4-5 hour easy drive from either St Malo or Ouistrehem via motorways (toll charges) so its not an arduous journey there and back either! We have made lots of friends in the area and enjoy our time in France and the French lifestyle.
|Year property purchased||2008|
|Why this location?||It's quiet and peaceful in a small hamlet, yet it is within easy reach of nearby towns (5 minutes by car to Saujon and its supermarkets, shops, banks, restaurants for example), many different sorts of beaches (nearest within 20 minutes drive) from the family friendly to the wild Cote Sauvage, many other activities, facilities and attractions, such as local chateaux or the River Charente for boat trips. There's always something going on, or something new to see.|
|Unique benefits of property||An old barn converted by us as a second home, it's comfortable, spacious and well equipped. It's in a quiet spot and easy to look after. It has a courtyard garden which is very private and not overlooked, with decking and a terrace for outdoor dining.|
This is our nearest main town, less than 10 minutes away. It has plenty of choices of supermarkets, an indoor market, a very large street market on the second Monday in the month, banks, pharmacies, good restaurants, pizza places, other shops (boulangeries, patisseries, charceuteries ) and amenities. The area known as the Port du Riberou, down by the River Seudre, hosts outdoor music and other events, particularly in summer.
Saintes is a major city 20 minutes away. It has everything you could want. There's a lovely cathedral in the pedestrianised zone as well as Roman remains, an amphitheatre and truimphal arch. Situated on the Charente River, you can take boat rides as well. There are lots of restaurants - particular favourites are La Cave passe A Table (in a side street) La Terrace (by the river) and for a special occasion- Le Parvis near the river. For all day brasserie food Le Point Central is not too expensive and serves food all day or Le Procopio in a side street near the cathedral serves Italian food and pizzas.
This is the main seaside town and resort 20 minutes away. It has a full range of facilities, as well as its many beaches and a ferry across to the Medoc. There's something going on all year round - particularly in summer when the Violons du Sables event is on (music and entertainment on the beach at night) as well as many other on street festivals, concerts in churches. Look at their web site or Facebook pages for full details. It has a full range of shops, markets, restaurants and cafes, banks, pharmacies, cinema, theatre etc. Hard to recommend places to visit as there's plenty of choice. There's the Musee de Royan, a casino (both in the area known as Pontaillac), several beaches, boules courts. We use a little restaurant known as Le Petit Plage, near the harbour, for inexpensive dining, friendly and good food- the bouillabaisse is recommended.
Immediately next to Royan, to the southeast, is St Georges du Didonne, more on the Gironde estuary, with a long safe sandy beach, it's centre has markets, shops, restaurants, cinema showing films in English, as well as cafes on the beach. There is also the Parc de L'Estuaire with its many outdoor activities all set amongst trees.
Pontaillac, Vaux sur Mer and St Palais are next to Royan but further north west. They have lovely beaches, restaurants, shops etc, but are smaller and with different characters.
Going further north you can reach the Royal Royan golf club, La Palmyre with its famous zoo, all the way tp to the Cote Sauvage and the beaches beyond the pine forest known as Foret deLa Coubre
A designated 'ville fleurie', this is a pretty little place on the marais (marshes). Its quaint, with an historic covered market, lovely church, and a pleasant place to spend time wandering round the galleries, craft shops etc, and eating in the many restaurants or cafes. In the high summer there are little cabines by the water for a 'degustation' - oysters, wine wine and bread!
An historic bastide fortified town built by Edward 1 in 1284 to protect his assets! The church of St Radegonde was built in 1094 and the town was built around it.Today it is a tourist attraction with many little shops and galleries, restaurants, and some residents. Its narrow cobbled streets are lined with irises and hollyhocks, and from the church you get fabulous views of the Gironde estuary.
Parking outside (chargeable) and walk in, no cars allowed. For a table d'hote we would recommend the Hotel/restaurant L'Estuaire - outside the town, just up from the car park areas. They do a good set lunch for around 26 euros.
A major port town on the Charente River, the town developed around its military harbour when Louis XIV, in the 17th century, had an important naval base built here on what was previously a region of swamps and marshes. It was the naval base and the resulting wealth it brought to Rochefort that shaped much of the architecture.
The town itself developed around the harbour and the associated naval buildings as a carefully planned 'new town', with a grid of straight streets and a large central square. The straight lines of houses remain much as they were originally laid out, and most of the houses in this part of Rochefort are also the original 17th - 19th century properties.
Lots of everything to do and see, including The Arsenal and Corderie, the markets, a marine museum, the old port where a splendid 18th century ship, the Hermione, is being meticulously recreated and where you can see the impressive work in progress. Also recommended for aviation enthusiasts is the Musee de L'Aeronautique (check opening times) outside the town centre.
Although the beach and the oyster port are the main attractions in La Tremblade there are some monuments to see in the town itself such as the 19th century Church of the Sacre-Coeur, built to replace the Protestant church that once stood there.
The brick and stone market hall in the town was built in 1864 and is still used for the local oyster market, as well as lots of fresh produce- look out for the cheeses.
Apart from the town centre, there is also a traditional harbour area used largely by oyster fishers known as La Grève - be sure to enjoy some in the many fish and seafood restaurants lining the side of the canal when you visit! You can see several of the traditional cottages used by the oyster farmers along the waterside.
Originally a salt trading town by the sea, by the 17th century the sea had retreated leaving the town high and dry on the marshes but was at this time that Richelieu had the town fortified as an arsenal - the fortifications were built in the middle of the 17th century.
The main highlight of a visit to Brouage is the military citadel and the associated fortifications, including one of the substantial doorways that pass through the ramparts called the Royal Doorway (porte royale). The other original entrance is no longer visible. It is possible to walk along the top of the ramparts, a walk of approximately two kilometres.
The little town with its cobbled streets has plenty of general interest, including the 17th c church, galleries, artisan shops and cafes.