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We had a large group of seven families stay here during August 2017. We have done several holidays of this type and for the first time have found a place we would return to. The house is lovely and very spacious. The rooms are all quite big and most have some kind of en-suite, with several suitable for 'bunk rooms' for the kids. The downstairs living space is lovely, particularly the large lounge. Outside, the pool area is fenced, and very nicely done. The terrace at the front of the house is perfect for drinks / dinner in the evening. The grounds generally are expansive and well kept. Ivan was responsive and helpful before, during and after the holiday. We all agreed we would probably go back next year, which i guess is as good an endorsement as you can get.
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.