16thC character Poitou home with private pool - PS003088

Vancais (17km from Melle), Deux Sèvres, Poitou Charentes Reference: PS003088 Advertiser since: 16 January 2013
Property Board Arrival Bedrooms Sleeps Bathrooms
Le Manoir des Couts Self Catering Saturday 3 6 2

About this property

16th C Manor House with Exclusive Use Pool. This cottage/gite is in a rural setting.

Enjoy the charm of a 16th C manor house, relax in its pretty, enclosed garden, have fun in its new, exclusive use 8m x 4m pool (with sunloungers!).
The house, the garden and the pool are all to yourselves (the owners live two miles away, easily available if required) and there are no other gites on the premises.

“Quiet and magical property”, “the most wonderful house”, “unique, lovely house”, “beautifully restored, delicate house”, “the house is lovely and so full of character and the garden is beautiful" are a few of the expressions taken out of the comments left by our visitors. Two articles concerning this house can be found in the 18th January 2017 issue of FrenchEntrée Magazine and the January 2006 issue of French Property News Magazine.

Nestled in a tiny hamlet, a few steps from the river Dive, within the Natura 2000 wildlife protected zone, this charming 16th century manor house is ideally situated to discover the Green Venice, Poitiers and the Futuroscope (45mns), La Rochelle and the Ile de Ré, Cognac, the many local medieval villages and Romanesque churches and the wonderful nearby Lezay market.

Painting Lessons:
Should you wish to seek inspiration from the beautiful local surroundings and improve your painting skills, Keith Dunkley, former tutor and trained at the RA Schools, London will be pleased to offer advice and the possibility of painting lessons. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more details.
Keith is fully registered with the Maison des Artistes, siret no: 400 663 316 00018



Kitchen and dining

The kitchen is newly equipped with a Smeg stainless steel gas cooker, microwave, fridge-freezer, dishwasher, electric coffee-machine, toaster and kettle. A glazed door leads to the pretty, enclosed garden.

The dining room has an impressive stone arched sink and an antique buffet with a table and 6 chairs.

The utility room houses a washing machine, hoover, iron, ironing table, clothes- rack, clothes cupboard and cleaning utensils.

Living rooms

The living room has a gothic fireplace and stove, comfortable sofas, armchairs, and a hand painted antique buffet, French and UK sat tv, dvd player, a choice of books and many old fashioned wooden games and boardgames.


En suite double bedroom 1 - With a double bed, a wardrobe and a shower room.
Bedroom 2 - With a double bed, one wardrobe and one chest of drawers.
The twin bedroom has 2 single beds and one chest of drawers and wardrobe.
Boudoir/ Playroom/4th single bedroom with a single bed, a wardrobe and a desk.


En suite shower room
Shower room 2 both with a thermostatic tap and a glass door, toilet, washbasin and cupboard.


Wood burning stove and electric radiators.


Free wifi
French and UK sat tv, dvd player, a selection of dvds, a choice of books and many old fashioned wooden games and boardgames.

Garden and outside

The property is situated within the Natura 2000 wildlife protected area so you won't have far to go to enjoy plenty of wildlife..

The Garden
Enjoy our new 8m x 4m exclusive use pool (with sunloungers!). The pool model will be the same as per picture but the landscaping will be slightly different..
Enjoy the delicious Moroccan mint for hot or ice cold tea, help yourself to more herbs from our garden for your barbecue, dine under the wooden pergola covered by ancient vines. Relax and enjoy the scent of the old roses, lavender, eucalyptus, jasmine or the smell of a good barbecue!

The garden is very sheltered, a veritable heat trap, much appreciated by all our visitors, it is very peaceful, private and fully fenced. Keep an eye and an ear open for the interesting birds: hoopoes, bustards, cuckoos, nightingales, barn owls, falcons, buzzards and protected species in nearby fields

Parking and garages

Outside parking.


  • Cleaning

  • Internet

  • No smoking

  • Pets welcomed

  • Linen

  • Child facilities

  • Private pool


Creative arts


Family activities

Fishing nearby

Species of fish: Small fish
Name of nearest fishing location: Lezay
Distance: 4 km

Horse riding

Name and address of nearest stables: Lezay/Melle
Distance: 15 km


Name/number of nearest marked trail: Vançais


About the Owner/Advertiser, Mrs Francine Dunkley

Both Keith and I are trained artists (Royal Academy, London & Edinburgh College of Arts) who have fallen in love with the wonderful Poitou heritage. We share our time between looking after our two 16th C homes and their gardens and making sure our visitors are happy.. If/when there is any time left (!..), we get our little paint brushes out!

Year property purchased 2002
Why this location? The Poitou Charentes region is the second sunniest region, overall the weather is very pleasant, the Deux Sèvres department features outstanding heritage : Neolithic, Roman, Unesco listed romanesque churches, medieval sites but it is within easy reach of La Rochelle, the Ile de Ré, Poitiers and the Futuroscope, the Green Venice, Cognac..
Unique benefits of property Enjoy full privacy, a rare luxury! The spacious house, the pretty garden and the new 8m x 4m solar heated pool are available all to yourselves, you do not have to share with other gites and the owners live 2 miles away..
Enjoy the character of a 16th century home featuring carved windows with interior stone seats, a gothic fireplace, huge flagstones and beams, a stone arched sink. The house has been carefully restored, respecting local traditions and we have searched for beautiful solid wood French antique furniture to suit the house rather than the latest trends as seen anywhere in the world!
During heat waves, the thick stone walls keep the house beautifully cool, ecologically! The house is situated within the Natura 2000 wildlife area, lots of birds around! All our visitors comment that they love the garden. All in all, we do things with our heart, a very time consuming affair, we look forward to meeting and welcoming like minded people!

The Owner Recommends

Painting Lessons

Painting lessons by RA trained tutor available - please enquire.

Lezay and its wonderful weekly market!

Much appreciated by all our visitors and only 5 mins away from home, don’t miss the very large and colourful market on a Tuesday morning, one of the largest in the region. There are also a few restaurants, bars, shops and a supermarket open even on Sunday morning until 11.45am.


The property is situated in a small hamlet, 5 mins by foot from the river Dive within the Natura 2000 wildlife protected zone. Perhaps you could catch a glimpse of some of the 15 protected species of birds, including the Little Bustards, Honey Buzzards, Montagues and Marsh Harriers, Wood Sandpipers, Short Beard Owls, Black and Bed Kites, Stone Curlews etc.

Green Venice/Le Marais Poitevin

Green Venice/Le Marais Poitevin is a large area of marshland forming a maze of picturesque, leafy man made canals, many of which you can now explore, by either hiring a guide or rowing yourselves. You may also hire bicycles. The Marais Poitevin is only 45 mins away.


The local lanes and roads are ideal for cycling and walking, however we cannot supply bikes ourselves. If you wish to hire bikes, we suggest you contact BikeHireDirect which could deliver bikes for you, check their website for info : www.bikehiredirect.com

Antique/Brocante Markets

Our favourite Sunday morning exercise! During the summer season, there are large brocantes nearby:
Château de Javarzay, Chef Boutonne: 3rd Sunday of June, one of the best ones if not the best.
Abbaye Celles-sur-Belle: 1st Sunday of July, very large, beautiful settings.
Sainte Soline: 3rd Sunday of July, very large, nearest to the house.
Sauze-Vaussais: 2nd Sunday of August, very large.


Under 20 mins away is a very nice town with 3 beautiful Romanesque churches, one of which is Unesco listed, an ancient silver mine which you can visit and a lovely walk organised around the town. You will also find plenty of shops, bars, restaurants, supermarkets.


Approx 45 mins away, you will find a very good selection of shops for children and adults (it’s not everywhere you will find a Zara shop in the vestiges of a Romanesque church!), there is plenty of amazing heritage, from a very rare 4th century baptistère St Jean, the famous Romanesque church Notre Dame la Grande, the Palais des Ducs d’Aquitaine where the famous Alienore lived a while and plenty of bars, cafés, restaurants etc.
The famous Futuroscope park just outside Poitiers is of course a great attraction.

La Rochelle

Its wealth was acquired through its sea trading is still very evident through its rich heritage, nowadays, the old port medieval towers only guard yachts and the many restaurants and bistros which spread around it and create a great ambiance. It features the largest marina on the Atlantic Coast and plenty of shops in the old town. Don't miss the wonderful aquarium! The trendy Ile de Ré and its lovely sandy beaches should not be missed either.

The Hermione

The Hermione was a 12-pound Concorde class frigate of the French Navy. She became famous when she ferried General Lafayette to the United States in 1780 to allow him to rejoin the American side of the American revolutionary War. She grounded and wrecked in 1793. In 1997, construction of a replica ship started in Rochefort, Charente Maritime, the new ship is named “L’Hermione” (Wikipedia).


Several impressive and rare tumuli which date back 4700 years BC, in a big park and a well designed museum which presents exhibitions on related themes and organises activities for children.

Le Musée du vitrail et le Site Gallo-Romain de Sanxay

A well conceived little museum (please check their website which is enough to make you want to visit!) situated approx 30 mins away, in Curzay-sur-Vonne, you could then continue your trip to visit the impressive Gallo Roman site in Sanxay.

Le Château d'Oiron

Situated in the north of the department, near Thouars, this beautiful 16th century château features a collection of contemporary art based on the "cabinet of curiosities" theme but also offers rare 16th century frescoes and features which make it well worth the visit.


Another medieval city worth a visit.