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We had a warm and friendly welcome, helped by our ability to speak French (Paul and Genevieve admit that they have very little English!). Be prepared with provisions and fuel when you arrive as the nearest shops are some distance away and likely to be closed at inconvenient times (for the English at least!). The only road into the village (3 houses!) is long and very narrow, testing the driver's manoeuvring skills in the unlikely event of on-coming traffic.
We arrived at the start of Autumn with cold nights and occasionally hot days. The heating system could easily cope with this, but we needed several days to fathom the complexities of the underfloor heating for the downstairs; the electric radiators upstairs were efficient and easy to set. In general, the operation of systems and appliances really needed more explanation (and in proper English too!)
This little hamlet is a great base for exploring the Auvergne, and there are three well signposted walking routes starting from the gite. Touring by car needs careful planning as filling stations tend to be well spaced out and restaurants and cafes are few and far between. We had a lovely Sunday lunch at the La Bougnat hotel/restaurant in Blesle, but book in advance as it rapidly filled up with locals.
Be aware that the gite has no Wi-Fi (but our hosts were quite happy to allow access to theirs in their adjacent house). Nor was their any mobile phone coverage, and there was no landline to the gite. In this modern age (?) this may be a serious handicap for some, so we have taken away one star from this otherwise 5* gite.
But for us it was all part of the charm and peace of this very comfortable gite, which we would definitely recommend.
We had a wonderful week at Vieille-Brioude with our 3 children. The villa is immaculate and equipped with absolutely everything you could wish for. The rooms are clean and comfortable, each with its own bathroom, and the kitchen complete with dishwasher and croissants for breakfast. The pool was perfect for our children. Verena the owner was extremely welcoming and kind, offering us suggestions for things to do near by and generally making us feel secure and welcome. Highly recommended.