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La Gibardiere is a great place to stay if you're looking for a rustic retreat, with access to many places to visit. We stayed for 10 nights in July and had a great time visiting the canal at Briare, Gien, vineyards, chateaux, the potteries at La Borne and Euro Disney (for the day). I would highly recommend the Spectacle at St Fargeau in July/August. We also visited the local swimming pool at Briare twice which has a waterslide and area for small children. There are many leaflets in the house and a Helpful Tourist Information in Briare.
The farmhouse is a traditional rustic French farmhouse style with space to sleep 10. We were a party of 5, which included an 11 year old and my parents who are in their 80s. There are 2 double bedrooms on the ground floor and a toilet and wet room. On the first floor there is a separate double, a large room with a double and 2 singles and a bathroom and toilet. The kitchen is well equipped and there is a utility room with a washing machine and tumble dryer (if required).
In the garden there is garden furniture, a trampoline, sun loungers and BBQ available. We enjoyed a BBQ one day and ate in the huge barn where there are tables and chairs available. There is a pond/lake in the garden which is teaming with wildlife (frogs, fish, dragonflies etc) and swallows have nested in the outbuildings and it's fascinating watching them feeding in the air.
The farm is a working cereal farm, which has been owned by the same family for many years. Most days there is some farm activity, however this did not interfere with what we were doing and was also interesting to watch. The farmer lives nearby, so once his work is done you are alone on the farm with LuLu the farm dog for company. LuLu is a very friendly dog who is taken for a walk daily and kept in her own barn when the farmer is not on site.
The nearest supermarkets (Carrefour and Lidl), petrol and restaurants are in Briare . I would highly recommend Le Petit Saint Trop restaurant in Briare and advise booking a table as it's very popular. There's also a lovely cafe in the central square L'Agriculture where you can sit and people watch and Herve Roussel by the aqua duct is great. There are two Boulanger, a charcuterie and a bar in the local village. As this is rural France the food service hours in restaurants are pretty set, particularly at lunch time 12-2.
I would definitely consider staying at La Gibardiere again during the summer and have recommended it to friends.
What a wonderful holiday. My family of 8 enjoyed the French life for almost two weeks in beautiful surrounds and in a wonderful unique house. The village of La Bussiere was a good base from which to explore the Loire valley visiting local towns and chateaus. The restored priory was roomy so everyone could find their own space, coming together for meals and games. The house was well equipped and each member of my family thoroughly enjoyed the time in the beautiful old house. The local La Bussiere Chateau and its grounds were a delight to visit and explore. Gien and Briare were visited regularly during our stay as they were close by and offered more variety in grocery shopping and markets. However the local store in La Bussiere was fairly well equipped and the shop keeper very helpful and friendly. Our other trips included Montargis, Orleans, Fontainbleau, Chambord and Sully Sur Loire as well as many little places in between. Being so close to Paris we were able to drive and park and then catch a train into the capital to explore its offerings. It was all relatively simple. We enjoyed exploring chateaus and particularly liked the fairytale castle at Sully Sur Loire. The boat ride on the canals at Briare was a unique experience too.
The only issue I had with the property itself was that the lawns needed mowing and the gardens tending. Upon leaving there was some confusion about the sheets but that was sorted with a phone call. I will be recommending this property to family and friends.