Au Marcassin, gite to let near Parthenay

Saint-Paul-en-Gatine (134km from La Chataigneraie), Deux Sèvres, Poitou Charentes Reference: PS002083_A Advertiser since: 5 December 2005

This location has multiple holiday properties

Property Board Arrival Bedrooms Sleeps Bathrooms
Au Marcassin Self Catering Saturday 2 4 1

About this property

One of 2 Gites, Natural Pool, Sunbathing Area & Playground. This cottage/gite is in a rural setting.

Awarded 3 stars in 2016, "Au Marcassin" is one of 2 comfortable gites set in beautiful, rolling countryside. Excellent for walkers or cyclists (old bikes available but you will want to bring your own or hire better bikes if you are keen!) as there is a network of well signposted local paths and I have added others to my folder of laminated plans/maps both around the gite and further afield. 
It has a double room and the second bedroom has 2 singles, a child length bed and a cot. So although it can only take 4 adults, there is room for a child and a toddler too.
There is a shower room with separate toilet leading off, a dining/living area, and a terrace with garden furniture, parasol and bbq. The open plan kitchen has a cooker, microwave, fridge, dishwasher and freezer. The barn contains a well-equipped laundry and a gamesroom with darts, table tennis and table football. Upstairs is a small snooker table, a cupboard full of games and jigsaws, table and chairs and a comfy relaxing area.
The swimming pool is natural and chemical-free, there is a sanded children's playground, a boules pitch, a field edged with fruit trees and off-road parking.
The area is rich in castles, forts, and quaint old parts of the towns. The scenery is lovely and there are natural reserves and the wonderful Marais Poitevin (Nicknamed 'Green Venice' this huge system of canals and waterways is a must for hot days!) and locally there are go-karts, treetop adventures, fishing, golf, an ostrich farm, boat trips, a small zoo and an amusement park.
Puy du Fou is 40 minutes away, Futuroscope an hour and the coast an hour and a half.
Boulangerie, bars, restaurants, coffee shop, post office, banks and a small supermarket 3km. Bigger supermarkets are 11km away.
Linen, towels and electricity are all included.



Kitchen and dining

The kitchen area has a full size electric cooker (oven and 4 rings), fridge, dishwasher, microwave, 4 drawer freezer, coffee-maker, toaster, kettle, pressure cooker, slow cooker, wok, ample cutlery and crockery, tea towels, oven gloves. Double sink and drainer. If there is an implement you need that is not there, I've almost certainly got one in my kitchen to lend you!

The dining area has a round table and 4 wooden chairs, there is a folding chair for an extra person and a contraption which converts a chair into a highchair.

Living rooms

The living area has a two-seater settee and three easy chairs. There is a reading light on the coffee-table and a large selection of adult and children's books for you to choose from. You can watch tv or a dvd from here by turning the chairs around.


The first bedroom has a double bed, with a bedside table and light each side. There is a wardrobe and chest of drawers, a hairdrier and an alarm clock with extra large luminous numbers for the partially sighted.
The second bedroom has two single beds, a child's bed (140cm x 75cm) and a cot suitable for 0-2 year olds. There is a wardrobe, drawers, shelves and a cupboard. Each of the single beds has a bedside table and light.


In the bathroom is a shower, a bidet and a unit with cupboards below, inset washbasin and mirror above. Each guest is supplied with 2 bath towels and a hand towel. I leave out courtesy soap and toilet paper. The toilet is separate but you have to pass through the bathroom to reach it. There is also a toilet in the barn to save going back to the gite. There are facecloths and a first aid kit in the cupboard.


There is a big radiator in the main room which runs off the house system. There are 2 electric heaters as well for really cold weather. Each bedroom has a small electric heater. So rooms can be heated or not as you wish. For the hot weather there are fans in both bedrooms and in the main room.


In the gite
The satellite tv has about 40 channels, mostly French. You can use it to play dvds (there is a shelf of adult and children's dvds below) There is a radio/cd player and a few cds. Shelving holds a good selection of books and you can also borrow from my library in the house. Wi-fi internet access is available free.
In the barn
The games room has table tennis, table football, two dartboards, games and an exercise bike. Upstairs is a small snooker table, a cupboard full of boardgames and jigsaws and a table to play them on. This year I have set up a small area with cushioned seating for chilling out. Available to anyone who can limbo under the low beam to get to it!!
There are nine bikes from adult down to tiny ones with stabilisers. One of the ladies' bikes has a child carrier. They are maintained but old so not guaranteed to stay problem-free.
Around the pool
Bats, balls, frisbees, toys and inflatables are kept in the poolhouse.

Garden and outside

Au Marcassin's terrace is hedged and fairly private. You can eat outside at the table, use the BBQ, relax under the parasol on hot days.The natural swimming pool has a shallow, gravelled side, good for watching frogs or tadpoles hiding under the waterlilies. The pool itself is 8m x 4m and 1.5m deep. There is a large paved social area with tables, chairs, sunloungers, hammock and parasols. Between the pool and the playground is a grassy area (sunbathing, games or chasing grasshoppers) The sandy playground has swings, a metre-wide slide, balance beam and somersault bars. There are buckets, spades and other sand toys for castle building. The boules pitch has a floodlight for tardy games (a set of boules in both gites). The sloping field has a small pond and a variety of fruit trees. It is on this field that guests can, if they wish, make the aquaintance of Coco and Geni, my neighbour's two old horses.

Parking and garages

Good sized car park a stone's throw from the gites. You can park right outside the gite to load and unload your suitcases and provisions.
The kennel is a 4m x 4m building and therefore big enough to house up to 7 bikes or 2 motorbikes to keep them secure and out of the rain overnight. (The kennel is for leaving dogs for the day when guests go somewhere their 4 legged friends are not welcome, so is empty at night) Bikes are stored upright on bike hangers. Unfortunately I don't think a motorbike and sidecar would fit through the doors!

Visitor suitability

From enthusiastic walkers (dogs welcome too) and cyclists, to those who just want to relax in the quiet of the countryside. My village is between Puy du Fou and Futuroscope (the 2 biggest attractions in France after Disney) which makes it an ideal base for people wanting to visit both during their stay. Folk with learning difficulties welcome, or groups helping disadvantaged city children. (I have worked with special children in my previous career) The house is built on a slope and has steps everywhere so those with mobility problems would find it very difficult and wheelchair access would be impossible..

Information about any additional facilities

The barn has a laundry with 3 washing machines, a tumble drier, a sink and a drying rack. Ironing board and iron are in the gite. There is a drier outside the gite for hanging out the washing on fine days.
I speak French so if you need someone to ring up and book a table, find out opening hours etc I am happy to help.
There is a large kennel with a grassy run where you can leave your dog on those long days out when it would be too long to be left in the gite. There is no extra charge for this. If they would like it and are biddable, I am happy to walk your dog during the day when I walk my own mutt, Jeffery.
If you would like a tour of the neighbour's farm I can organise it, and an evening game of boules against my neighbours and their children is often popular.


  • Internet

  • Pets welcomed *

  • Linen

  • Child facilities

  • Shared pool

* Vet details: Alphavet, 37 Rue de le République, L'Absie, 79240 Tel: 05 49 95 92 15


Antiques/Brocante Market

Name of nearest antiques/brocante market: Coulonges every Tuesday (list of local markets in each gîte)
Distance: 20 km


Fishing nearby

Species of fish: Carp, black bass, perch, trout, pike
Name of nearest fishing location: Pescalis Lakes
Distance: 10 km


Name and address of nearest golf course: Golf du Petit Chene 79310 Mazieres en Gatine
Distance: 25 km

Horse riding

Name and address of nearest stables: Ferme Equestre Pedagogique 85120 Saint Maurice des Noues
Distance: 16 km

Mountain biking



Name/number of nearest marked trail: Grande Randonnée 364, Circuit des Collines de Gatine + several others starting from La Maison de la Randonnée in St Paul en Gâtine.


About the Owner, Mrs Fran Ashworth

I retired from my job in the UK in late 2014, so now I am able to be in France for more of the year and keen to extend the bookings out of the summer holidays. I do most of the gardening and maintenance myself so am always pottering around the place. I speak good French so can help with bookings and translations. I know the area well and can recommend things to suit people's preferences and budgets. I have a setter x spaniel called Jeffery who goes with me everywhere. And I'm usually on a diet!!

Year property purchased 2001
Why this location? The area has a high sunshine average without having to go all the way to the south of France.
I'm midway between 2 of the biggest tourist attractions in France: Futuroscope (75 mins) and Puy du Fou (40 mins)
Deux Sèvres is not overdeveloped, still lots of beautiful unspoilt countryside but over the years more attractions have opened up to keep all the family happy.
Local food is available from the weekly markets but I also have a booklet of local producers where you can go and buy your meat, organic veg, cheeses etc direct from the farm, often with a discount!
And the local people are exceptionally friendly!
Unique benefits of property The natural pool is unusual and especially beneficial for anyone allergic to normal pool water.
There is plenty to keep children amused both indoor and out.
My neighbour's 2 horses are happy to come and visit and if you want you can go for a short ride (they are old however so not for experienced riders who want to go for a long hack).
The area is well known for its walking trails. Directions and maps for a selection of walks of different lengths and difficulty are in each gîte. There are also cycle trail descriptions, though most do not start from the gîtes so you would need a bike rack. If you are going off cycling or visiting an attraction which doesn't admit dogs you can leave your dog behind in my comfy kennel with grassy run and if I'm free then your dog(s) can come for a walk with me and Jeffery.
The view down the valley from the gîte windows is lovely whatever the time of year.

The Owner Recommends

A Selection of the Local Restaurants

*L'Absie. (3Km) L'Etoile, Popular place, buffet selection for entrée. Never had a bad meal there. O'Bistrot. Not long open, good food and friendly service. Chez Chantal. 5 course lunches at a ridiculously low price but shuts for part of August.
*Chantemerle (6Km) Le Chaudron. Very basic but a good plain meal for a low price.
*Vernoux en Gâtine (8Km) La Petite Noisette. Opened in 2016 and very soon became popular. Excellent food and not overpriced. Need to book.
*Moncoutant (10Km) O'RestO (opposite the town hall) undersells itself as a 'snack' because the menu has a reasonable range of full meals as well. Friendly service.
*La Chataigneraie. (11Km) La Terrasse. High quality food in an up-market setting. Relais de la Poste. Very cheap lunches. Good food but tables a bit squashed together.
*Secondigny. (13Km) L'Ecu de France. Buffet starter and dessert, reasonable choice for main course. Reliably good.
*Neuvy Bouin. (15Km) Le Relais des Saveurs, Reasonably priced lunch menus. Evenings and weekends à la carte and more pricy, but superb food.
*Le Beugnon. (15Km) A la Bonne Vie, Good quality food and well presented. Lovely view from the restaurant windows or in summer eat on the terrace.
*Vouvant. (18Km) Le Pic Vert. Pizzas, steaks and much more. Nice position by the river, where you can hire boats.

Activities Close By

*Karting (4.5km) Go-karts for the speed freaks amongst you.
*Treetop adventure (4Km) Apparently the adult one is quite challenging so you need to be fit. Smaller version for children. Mini golf, bouncy castles and picnic area means you can make a good half day of it.
*Bungee jumping at Breuil-Barret (4km) Saturday and Sunday afternoons every 3-4 weeks. *Fishing (10km) Pescalis has several lakes, a shop for souvenirs and hiring tackle, a restaurant, children's play area and mini golf. It's also a great place to walk the dog!
*Les Noues de Puy Jean (11km). Farm visit with walks, cart rides (pulled by tractor or donkey), aromatic garden, rare breeds. Picnic area or buy your meal at the farm. Pleasant, inexpensive, low-key outing.
*Parc de Pierre Brun at Mervent. (20Km) The entrance fee is for the day and no discounts if you go in the afternoon but families who have spent the day there have loved it, rides, boats, petting zoo, play area, restaurant. Excellent selection of walks and cycle rides through the forest of Mervent (maps and directions in the gîtes)
* And of course on-site at the gîtes you have indoor and outdoor games, 2 horses to pet, swimming and cycling.

Along the Coast

The nearest coast is 75km away but the roads are good and it usually takes about 1.5 hours. L'Aiguillon has sheltered swimming with amusements, La Tranche-sur-Mer and La Faute-sur-Mer have lovely beaches and sand dunes. La Rochelle has boat trips, a million harbourside cafes, interesting history and architecture and one nice beach. The Ile de Ré is lovely for walking and swimming but unfortunately the entry to it is via a toll bridge. Rochefort (further south) has coastal walks, naval history, a ropeworks and a museum of everyday life.

Focus on Animals

*Ostrich farm (17km) with maze, wagon rides, a quiz and a close up look at the birds. Another Ostrich farm further away (about 45Km) does a fascinating visit and has a shop selling ostrich steaks, paté, sausages... and jewellery made from the eggshells.
*Mouton Village (25km) Everything you ever wanted to know about sheep! Petting area, tastings, displays.
*Vallee des Singes for a close look at monkeys or Ile des Serpents for a close look at snakes!! *The zoo at nearby Mervent is small but well kept.
*Zoodysée is 45 mins away and features European animals in generous enclosures.
*The Aquarium at La Rochelle is very impressive and well worth a visit.


Just North of Poitiers this is a 75 minute drive but well worth it if you love adventure. Hair-raising virtual rides, computer games, robots, 3 dimensional films. You have to be 1.2m tall to go on the best rides so not a good idea for families with small children. Loads of bars, restaurants, outdoor play areas and picnic sites. Your ticket includes an evening show which finishes at 10pm so it is a long day.

Local Towns

Coulon (40km) is a pretty town on the Marais Poitevin network of canals. Hire a boat and find your way around the backwaters. Poitiers (80km) is an interesting town, good shopping, pretty parks, lots of history. Go to St-Benoit, just south of the ring road for a picnic by the water. Niort (50km) is good for big shops but has an interesting old centre, castle and river. Parthenay (30Km) has an interesting historical quarter. Ask at the tourist office about guided tours or just wander along the narrow roads and medieval bridges by the river. Bressuire (25Km) has little of historical interest but is where you go for MacDonald's or 10-pin bowling. The nearest town, La Chataigneraie (11km) has 3 supermarkets and a few small shops in the square which struggle to survive. The Tourist Office is worth a visit as they often have tickets for Cinescenie (the evening show at Puy du Fou) when the internet says they are sold out! There is a huge old church, in use but under repair which is crumbling faster than the funds come in. A good swimming pool and several restaurants, bars and snackbars.

Location and Activities

The house is in a tiny village on a hillside overlooking a wooded valley. There are many things to do in the area including fishing, pony trekking, golf, assault course through trees, go-karts, a maize maze, ostrich farm, mouton (sheep) village, farmers markets, castles, walled cities, abbeys and churches. The beach is an hour and a half away by car but also there is a new cheap return train facility from Cérizay to Les Sables d'Olonne (wonderful beach) Futuroscope is an hour and a quarter away (great rides!). Puy du Fou is 40 minutes away (fantastic day out watching gladiators, jousting, vikings, musketeers etc).


There is a covered market every Saturday in La Rochelle and street markets every Thursday and Saturday in Niort. The market every Tuesday in Coulonges includes small livestock in front of the Halle. At Pescalis there is a small Farmers Market every Sunday morning with the expected produce but also unusual treats like ostrich steaks and snail paté! Other local markets are less frequent (consult the list in your gîte)

Nearest Restaurant

L'Etoile, l'Absie (2 miles).

Places to Swim

8m x 4m swimming pool at la Chanduriere, just a step from your gite. No chemicals, naturally cleaned water. Especially good for those with allergies. Indoor heated pools at Parthenay, La Chataigneraie, Moncoutant (part of the sports complex) and Cerizay (with slides) Or swim in the lake at Mervent (with canoes to hire and snack bar). Or choose virtually any spot along the coast for a day of sand and sun.

Puy du Fou

Amazing park with villages built as they would have been at different times in the past from 1000AD to 1900AD. The craftsmen and women who work in them use the materials and techniques of the time, so you can buy a pendant made in a 1000AD forge or a stained glass mirror made using medieval techniques. There are spectacular live shows from gladiators to Vikings to knights in armour (terrific horsemanship!) The show featuring birds of prey is a stunner! Need a 2 day pass to see it all. Not to be missed. 40 minutes drive away.

The Area

An hour inland from lovely beaches and the bustling port of la Rochelle, this gite is in rolling countryside with lovely views down the valley. The stream in the bottom is actually the tiny beginnings of the Vendee river. It is next door to a farm and if you are interested the farmer will show you around and answer your questions about his cows and rabbits (yes rabbits!) The nearest town is l'Absie (3km) which has a supermarket, post office, bread shop, grocery, chemist, bars, newsagent and banks.

Walking and Cycling

In each gite are laminated cards showing maps and directions for walks and cycle rides. They start with the shortest and get more ambitious! Many start from the gîtes but I have included several in other local areas so cyclists will need bike racks. There are bikes you can borrow but they are not new!! Enthusiasts will probably want to bring their own. There is a secure building to lock them away. There is a tumble drier and a drying rack in the barn in case you get caught by the rain. The area around the gites is challengingly hilly. In contrast the rides described around the Marais Poitevin are flat. So you can pick your level of difficulty!

1 Review
  • Cleanliness: 7
  • Comfort: 7
  • Condition: 7
  • Facilities: 8
  • Local Amenities: 8
  • Setting: 8
  • Value for Money: 8
7.5 / 10 Sheena 2 September, 2013

Good points
Lovely rural and peaceful location. Good facilities - games room with table football, pool table and table tennis, darts and other games, swimming pool with play area and extra toys/equipment, and laundry room for guests to use. Comfortable furnishings and plenty of pots/pans etc. - well equipped in this respect. Good local outings within half an hours drive with other more popular outings, such as Futurescope in easy reach. Very good information available and the owner is extremely helpful.

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