|Le Moulin de Beaumont||Self Catering||Saturday||3||7||2||Z bed and travelcot can be provided|
Le Moulin de Beaumont is situated on its own, just 20 minutes from the beautiful Atlantic beaches, 3 golf courses, and in an area steeped in history.
Conveniently, it is within walking distance to the traditional village of Cravans with its boulangerie, restaurant and old church with original frescoe and just 3kms away is the town of Gemozac with Super U supermarket, shops, chemist, bank, regular Friday market etc.
This typical old stone Charentaise mill house has been fully renovated to provide a light, airy place to stay with all modern facilities. Set in over 2 acres of land and bordered by the river Beneguisse (actually, more of a stream with small waterfall), the moulin is surrounded by open countryside, where farmers are busy growing fruit and vegetables, along with sunflowers and vines. The stream, with a woodland backdrop, forms a wonderful natural border along one whole side of the garden and the millrace still runs under the garage, through the garden, and can be crossed by a charming wooden bridge.
The garden has proved to be a wildlife haven; the gentle stream often being home to families of ducks, moorhens and coots. Kingfishers and herons are regular visitors and if you're up early enough, you may well see the deer who come to drink from the stream too. The stream provides hours of fun 'pond-dipping' for crayfish, tadpoles and small fish. All we ask is that everything caught is carefully returned to the stream or mill pond opposite the house.
In addition, the moulin benefits from a secluded walled and terraced, private heated pool, which has ambient lighting so you can swim all night or just enjoy balmy warm evenings by the pool.
The moulin's interesting garden is large enough for ball games to be played, endless running around or simply finding a quiet, sheltered spot to tuck yourself away in with a good book or just your thoughts.
With 3 bedrooms, one bathroom, one en suite shower room, open plan well equipped kitchen, sitting room with wood burning stove, tv, sofas and second sitting room with French 'day bed' for those afternoon snoozes, there is plenty of space to enjoy the charms of this property.
Should you need anything during your stay our English and French speaking managers will be happy to help and will look after you during your stay. You may well meet them when they tend to the pool and garden.
As well as spring and summer breaks, why not try an autumn or winter break too and witness the grape harvest, Christmas markets, as well as this beautiful peaceful area. With central heating and double glazing, it really is the perfect place all year round.
The large spacious open plan kitchen is the heart of the house. A large kitchen table seats 8 comfortably, providing plenty of room to eat indoors if you wish. There is plenty of crockery, cooking and baking utensils, picnic cool bag and the important plastic flutes and plates for by the pool or taking on a picnic to the beach.
Frenchdoors lead from the kitchen to the patio with views of the pool, stream, garden, in which many flowers, plants, herbs, fig and persimmon trees grow. Please feel free to pick and use the herbs for your culinary dishes, during your stay. On the patio, you will find a table, bench, 6 chairs and umbrella for shade.
From the kitchen, passed the coat hooks area, is the utility room with washing machine, tumble dryer (for winter lets only), second fridge-freezer and cupboard housing the ironing board, iron and highchair if needed.
Two large sofas, along with a wicker chair, provide plenty of seating in this comfortable sitting room, which benefits from a wood burning stove - perfect for staying in the cooler winter months. French doors also lead from the sitting room to a loggia with a small cushioned wicker sofa, two cushioned chairs. The loggia is ideal for providing some respite from the midday sun and the perfect spot for a morning coffee, listening to and watching the wildlife. In the sitting room, there is a tv with Freesat to view.
In addition, upstairs you will discover a further sitting room with French 'day bed' for those afternoon snoozes or just to relax with a good book. It has also proved to be tan excellent area for teenagers to relax in and watch a film, as there is a dvd player here and second tv screen.
The master bedroom with ensuite is upstairs and overlooks the garden, river and pool, as well as farmer's field beyond. Two bedside tables, wardrobe with hangers, chest of drawers and full length mirror are provided.
The twin room is also upstairs and has plenty of room for a Z bed, should children wish to sleep together.
Downstairs, there is a second double bedroom, which is perfect for guests with slight mobility difficulties. There is a wardrobe with hangers, two bedside tables with lamps, chest of drawers and full length mirror.
All bedroom have fans and shutters to enable a good night's sleep, keeping the room cool when closed in the day and dark when closed at night.
The downstairs bathroom comprises of a corner bath with shower head, separate shower unit, wc and hand basin.
The upstairs en suite shower room comprises of rain shower, wc and hand basin.
There is central heating throughout with a thermostat to control it for the cooler months.
We have found the wood burning stove is so efficient that often the central heating doesn't need to be used.
The moulin is double glazed to retain the warmth in the winter and coupled with the thick walls and shutters, keeps the inside cool in the summer, while retaining the heat in the winter.
There are a wealth of dvds and books, ranging from novels, reference books on the area, children's books and cookery books.
Several board games, including French monopoly, cards and jigsaws can be found in the cupboard in the kitchen.
A radio/cd player can also be found there along with a few of cds.
An iPod docking station is also available but you may need to bring pin adapters should you have an iPod/iPhone.
From the terrace, a path leads to the secluded walled and terraced, private salt water heated pool (10m x 5m). A great sun trap. The extensive terrace has ambient lighting so you can swim all night or just enjoy balmy evenings by the pool. In order to comply with French safety recommendations, the pool is also fenced and gated. 6 sunloungers are provided along with some pool toys/floats.
Around the pool area, lavender, hollyhocks, gaura, helianthus and roses grow, as well as along the banks of the river and in the rest of the garden. A fig and persimmon tree will also provide you will fruit if you stay in the late summer or autumn. There are several shady spots under the trees to allow you to relax with a good book out of the heat of the sun.
As mentioned previously, the garden is a real joy and has proved to be a wildlife haven. Listening to the gentle sound of the water along with the birdsong, will ensure you have a relaxed, peaceful holiday.
There is plenty of parking for several cars on the drive way.
There is also a garage, although there is only room for a small car, but plenty of room to store roof boxes, bikes or anything else you might want to leave in there while on holiday.
We provide 2 bikes and a Weber barbecue which can be found in the garage.
Le Moulin de Beaumont is suitable for visitors of all ages and over the past 10 years, we have had guests staying from 8 months old to 80 years old plus.
We are frequently told that there is something here for everyone.
Although the property is not suitable for wheelchairs due to width of doorways, it is excellent for anyone with slight mobility difficulties, as there is a downstairs bedroom and bathroom.
Children are most welcome at Le Moulin de Beaumont but parents must take full responsibility for the safety of themselves, their children and any older relatives with regard to the dangers of being close to open water - namely, the stream and millpond opposite the house and of course the pool.
Please note that during the months of July and August we are only able to accept bookings of 2 week duration.
We live and work in the UK, but having been brought up by the sea, our love of it has returned and found ourselves dreaming of spending more time by the sea, but somewhere warmer with a sense of community spirit and culturally different from the UK. We spend as much time as we can at the moulin, continuing to make improvements each year and keeping up with the changes guests look for in a relaxing self-catering holiday.
|Year property purchased||2008|
|Why this location?||Having travelled all over France, we decided to buy a property in the Charente Maritime, partly due to it being the second sunniest region, its proximity to the unspoilt Atlantic coast but also because of the large open spaces of farmland and rolling vineyards. Perfect for cycling along quiet country lanes.
We also wanted to be able to reach our house easily by ferry or plane. At around a 5 hour drive from the ports of St Malo and Caen and with Bordeaux and La Rochelle airports about an hour's drive away, it meant we could visit for just the weekend if we wished. It also means we are able to accommodate guests from all over the world easily.
|Unique benefits of property||Le Moulin de Beaumont is an old, detached, fully renovated Charentaise stone watermill, situated in a peaceful location with gentle small river flowing by. The extensive garden, bordered by woodland on one side and a fruit orchard on the other, has proved to be a wildlife haven, with a family of ducks nesting each spring and a heron who likes to swop down, taking fish from the mill stream which flows under the house. Set in 2 acres with a private heated swimming pool and no owners on site or immediate neighbours means that all the facilities are exclusively for guests' use.
The village with its boulangerie and restaurant is a short walk and just a 20 minute drive takes you to the coast, historic towns and pretty villages meaning you can have the best of both worlds; relax in total peace and tranquility or venture out sight seeing in all the area has to offer.
The nearest beaches are about 20 minutes away at Meschers. Here are small coves with sandy beaches where you can go rock pooling; perfect for younger members of the family. Further along the coast, between Meschers and Royan, there are wonderful huge sweeping sandy beaches, like the one at St Georges de Didonne, with lots of space, some watersports and full safety patrols, along with the usual seaside expectations. Just north of Royan, is St Palais-sur-Mer, with creeks, inlets and beaches along here, such as Plage du Platin with Pont de Diable, a natural limestone formation with many legends, as you might imagine. North of here is the breath taking Grand Côte - several miles of sandy beaches with some local beach patrols. A little further along is the Côte Sauvage, with good sandy beaches but where the rollers come in off the Atlantic and therefore, perfect for surfers.
It is the largest resort town in the area and is about half an hour’s drive north of the Moulin. With its superb beaches, covered market with local produce and fish (visit in the mornings), it is all you would expect to find at a coastal resort. There are many restaurants and bars, museums, galleries, wonderful old houses from the belle époque era, Les Jardins du Monde, as well as a wealth of events and entertainment provided by the town, throughout the season. Many open air concerts take place through the summer months and are a delight to witness; the Festival of Icarus, Violin sur le Sable, the parades for the Belle Époque. There is also a huge firework display in mid August celebrating Assumption Day.
Saintes is the ‘capital’ of this part of the Charente Maritime, known as the Saintonge. It is about 20 minutes by car from the Moulin and is a Gallo-Roman city with a wonderful old town to visit and some fine buildings and churches. Also, you will find the remains of a Roman amphitheatre right in the heart of the town, where there are a series of spectacular evening shows in August (check tourist office for details). There are many other places of interest in Saintes including the Abbé aux Dames, the crypt and church of St Eurtrope and the Arc de Germanicus on the riverside, along with the nearby archaeological museum. From here you can take a boat trip along the river Charente. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, there is a regular market in the Place Saint-Pierre, but if you are here on the first Monday of the month then that is the foire, which is an enormous market stretching right through the town and going on all day.
Famous for the spirit bearing the town’s name, Cognac is just half an hour by car. It is situated on the banks of the River Charente, upriver from Saintes. Drinks that bear this name must be made in this area and must be made according to strictly defined regulations, in order to be granted the name Cognac. Whilst Cognac has an interesting historic area to explore, good restaurants and a range of shops, most people who visit the town will want to take a tour around one of the famous Cognac brandy houses. Of these, the best known are Rémy Martin (whose tour has a train ride around their site taking you into the underground caves), Hennessy (which includes a boat ride across the Charente to another part of their distillery) and Courvoisier, situated in the pretty little town of Jarnac, some 20 minutes east of Cognac.
The Gironde Estuary is formed by the merging of the rivers Dordogne and Garonne near Blaye, just north of Bordeaux, and continues to where it meets the Atlantic Ocean at the Point de Grave on the Medoc to Pointe de Suzac at Royan. Its entry into the Atlantic is also marked by the lighthouse, the Phare de Cordouan, and boat trips can be taken to and around the lighthouse from Meschers and Royan. There is a regular roll on roll off ferry service from Royan and Bordeaux over to the Médoc on the other side, as well as a summer passenger boat. The estuary provides beautiful scenery, picturesque villages, abundant wildlife, walks and cycle rides. The enormous skies and clear light are a must for any photographer.
Mortagne sur Gironde - A very picturesque port below the town, which is lively, with several bars and restaurants offering dining along the waterside, to the gentle clink of the rigging; a perfect ambiance day or night. Also worth paying a visit to, is the Hermitage. Mortagne is a busy fishing port, as fishing on the estuary is still a very intense activity linked both to the seasons and to the migration of the fish population. Many of the restaurants feature the fish on their menus, as and when they are in season.
Talmont - A quaint pretty little village with its church of St. Radegonde perched on a rocky outcrop. Well known throughout the world, you can explore the village on foot. Full of artists and craftsmen, the narrow streets and alleys are ablaze with flowers, especially hollyhocks that grow in abundance throughout the village. Talmont is also one of the many places on the estuary where you can have a close up look at the carrelets; the traditional fishing cabins with their suspended nets.
The 3 islands off the coast of the Charente Maritime are particularly interesting for lovers of the coast and sea. Each has different characteristics.
Ile de Ré is very chic and is beloved by Parisiennes as a holiday destination. It is reached by a toll bridge close to La Rochelle airport. It has beautiful villages, ports, sandy beaches and salt marshes. Bikes can be hired and are the perfect way to see the island on its network of cycle paths.
Ile d’Oleron is also reached by bridge, but without a toll charge. It is larger and quieter than the Isle de Ré, being the second largest island in France after Corsica. It boasts superb beaches, wonderful seafood, and numerous cycling trails.
Ile d’Aix is the quietest and most tranquil of the islands. It is a small fortified island, reached by ferry from Fouras, south of La Rochelle.
The island was one of Napoleon’s last homes and there is now a museum here. A browse around the tourist shops in the village and a walk around the coast of this beautiful island are fascinating and makes for a really good memorable trip out.
Set in the forest, the zoo at La Palmyre is really good even if you don’t usually enjoy zoos. It was European Zoo of the Year recently and the animals here, of which they are 1,600, are kept in good open spaces, many free to roam around. There are many conservation and breeding programmes taking place. To enjoy a full day out here, take a picnic as there are plenty of shady spots inside the zoo. The sea lion and parrot shows are from April to end of October, but the zoo is open all year round from 9am. There is usually free parking too under the shade of the pine trees. Also, La Palmyre area has miles of beaches backed by acres of pine forests. It is close to the superb beach at La Grande Cote, north of Royan, so you could stop here after your day to watch the sun set.
About half an hour’s drive from the Moulin, north-east of Saintes towards Rochefort, La Roche Courbon is an impressive chateau, looking like Sleeping Beauty’s castle. It is situated in an ancient forest. As well as the finely furnished castle and beautifully maintained French-style gardens, (which have been raised on wooden piles to avoid flooding) there is a prehistoric museum, some interesting prehistoric caves, the homes of Neanderthal man, and beautiful picnic areas too.
We have just returned from a delightful week at Chez Moulin and we have fallen in love with the house and the area. The house has plenty of space - perfect for us with a 12 and 15 year old - they could have their own space whilst still being with us. Mind you, they spent most of their time in the pool which, being heated, was so pleasant. The house, pool area and garden were really well equipped and Sian and Richard were fantastic in their communication and Keith and Ros maintain it beautifully. We had such a relaxing time at the Moulin that we didn't explore too far but locally in Cravans, the boulangerie was great, and we had 2 fantastic meals at le Petit Gourmand too. Staff in both were super-friendly and helpful. The nearby SuperU's are great for standard provisions and we cooked very well as the kitchen was well laid out and there's a very useful 2nd fridge. The garden was my favourite place and it was very relaxing to sit and read a book in the shade or sunshine - there was plenty of both available. All in all, a tip-top holiday and we'd very happily return.
Thank you for taking the time to write this lovely review of your holiday. We are delighted to hear that it provided the perfect family break for you all, so much so that you'd think about returning. Thank you also for your kind comments towards our managers, Keith and Ros; they are absolutely excellent and we would be lost without them. Naturally, we hope to welcome you all back before too long.