5 Bedroom, 3 Bathroom, 2 En-suite With Breathtaking Views And Private Pool.
Lesley and Toby Dorman-Groves
- English, French
About Lesley and Toby Dorman-Groves
We both decided a change of lyfestyle was in order, and we left our careers in the UK in 2004 to come to the Charente for a more relaxed pace of life and an occupation that would give us time to travel. Toby was the general manager of an electrical engineering company and I was a project manager in reprographics and print. We renovated a farmhouse and converted two barns and then built a cattery, and after a lot of hard work we made a very successful gite complex. Two years ago we decided to sell the property in the Haute Charente, do some more travelling and then do the same again. More than one person questioned our sanity, as we sometimes do ourselves, but as always wished us the best of luck and many of our friends have since been out to help! We did a recce in Langedoc/Roussion and in the Lot Valley before deciding one of the prettiest areas in France was only and hour or so south of where we had previously lived, in the South Charente on the Dordogne border. We found Fresignac with its incredible potential, stunning views and total peace and tranquility and promptly bought it and began our renovations much to the despair of our parents! We call it 'Little Tuscany' as that is what the countryside reminds us of. Two years later, here we are in a place which must be one of the prettiest and most peaceful places, but in an area with so much to see and do. Maybe now we will finally hang up our renovation boots and enjoy the delicious food, wine and lifestyle out area has to offer!
Lesley and Toby Dorman-Groves purchased this Barn in 2014
Why Lesley and Toby Dorman-Groves chose Montmoreau-Saint-Cybard
We looked at many properties once we had decided on an area and we had three main criteria in mind. One, that the properties should be away from any main roads so we can enjoy the many sounds of the countryside uninterrupted by the sounds of cars or trucks, especially at night. And two, that our properties should be detached, so people have nothing and no one else to worry about when enjoying their holiday to the max! Also that the properties had lots of potential and original features to renovate in a sympathetic style to reflect the area.We wanted to be close to a town or village with all the amenities for our guest and in an area that offered our guests plenty to see and do. One of our main aims was that if our guests, as so often is the case, need to escape to France after a hectic life in their own countries for a week or two of pure relaxation and a good wind down, then that is what our property would have to offer......and it does in spades! All these things we found in Fresignac and we didn't have to ponder too long before putting in an offer.
What makes this Barn unique
We are in a stunning rural area, yet only 2 km from all amenities. Les Hirondelles is a detached property with its own private grounds and private 10 x 5 m pool. It has 5 bedrooms one of which is on the ground floor for those who may struggle with stairs, but also has 3 bathrooms which is very important when 12 people are sharing. The night sky offers amazing star gazing with no light pollution, and for those craving total peace and tranquility, this is the place for you.
Cancelled bookings will not receive a refund.
The perfect escape
What can I say, absolutely wonderful accommodation in a beautiful part of France! Our hosts were so accommodating; there if we needed them but not at all intrusive. Our breath was quite literally taken away by the stunning view across open fields when we arrived and we ended up spending many nights watching mesmerising sunsets accompanied by glasses of cheap but delicious wine. Although a little chilly in April, my Dad braved the pool and we all enjoyed playing darts and boules on the gravelled outside area.
Inside, the main living area is open and spacious with plenty of seating. The kitchen is well equipped with every possible utensil and the ample table is more than big enough if the house is full. All of the bedrooms and bathrooms were immaculately clean and tidy with comfortable beds.
The property is ideally situated close to both Angouleme (perfect for a wander and containing many high street stores) and Chalais (visit the market on a Monday). Aubeterre is also beautiful and perfect for a morning or afternoon out. Our favourite times though were spent sitting outside the property in the peace and quiet..it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of every day life.
Hanger and views are fantastic
We had a fantastic week at Les Hirondelles in August 2018.
We are a group of 11 of us (3 families) who have been holidaying together for many years and so have experienced many villas in France. This is our favourite by far!
The views are just incredible. There was lots of time spent around the pool, exploring in the fields and many an hour spent playing games in the hanger. We also enjoyed a great day at Aubeterre (just down the road) visiting the underground church and having fun at the river beach. Supermarket also very convenient.
Lesley and Toby were fantastic hosts. They gave us our privacy whilst being on hand to change a bulb etc - they couldn't be more helpful. The most impressive being us messing in passing that a small bit of decking board was slightly loose. It was fixed the next morning!!
We will definitely be returning. Thank you.
Many thanks for taking the time to review Les Hiondelles, its very much appreciated. We are so pleased that you enjoyed your time here, the children certainly seemed to love the pool! It would be great to welcome you all back again in the future and we hope you enjoy the rest of the summer.
Lesley & Toby
Can't recommend this gites highly enough.
Excellent facilities and location. Everything you could need provided or available locally.
Peaceful, quiet , relaxing. Loads of room ,space etc.
Local village for morning supplies , local attractions. Visit Aubeterre sur Dronne , Villebois lavalette. Great restaurants, La Lavatelle and Le Terrace. The bistro in Monmoreau. The Cognac /Pineau vineyard in Bors is a must.
Definitely needs visiting again.
Many thanks for taking the time to review Les Hirondelles, it’s very much appreciated. We are so pleased that you and your family enjoyed the gite so much and all this stunning area has to offer. We hope to welcome you back again in the future.
All the very best
Lesley and Toby
Breathtaking view; total serenity;spotlessly clean
Tons of space; loads of detail. Beautifully decorated. Pool was stunning. Everything we needed had been carefully thought through and provided. Hosts were delightful. We will be back. No question.
Many thanks for taking the time to review our property, it's very much appreciated. We are so pleased that you enjoyed your stay and hope to welcome you back again in the future.
All the best
Lesley & Toby
We had the most wonderful time here. The location is beautiful and accomodation was clean, spacious and very comfortable. We had everything we needed and Toby and Lesley were delightful and happy to help if we needed. The pool is great and the outdoor area is perfect for al fresco dinning or an evening drink as the sun goes down. I will definitely be returning.
Many thanks for taking the time to write a review, its very much appreciated. We are so pleased that you all enjoyed your holiday and look forward to hopefully welcoming you back in the future.
Lesley & Toby
Propriété de cinq étoiles!
Our first mistake was only staying a week at this fantastic location. The first thing we noticed was the panoramic view - not the sweeping Dordogne hills, but the actual size of the lounge area. The images on the website do not do it justice. We are a family of six adults and avoided tripping over one another in this ample sized property.
The English owners who live in the adjoining property were on hand to answer our queries and share local tips on where to go and what to see. The house is nestled in an area peppered with pretty villages with cosy restaurants and quaint bars. Bordeaux is just over an hour away and the Cognac area is about 40 minutes to the north. We avoided the expensive and rather sterile tours offered by the famous cognac houses, opting instead to take Leslie’s advice (one of the owners) and visit a local independent Cognac producer. A memorable morning was spent sampling his Cognacs and excellent sparkling fizz, resulting in us purchasing several cases - very good value.
Having spent a short time at the property I can highly recommend it along with the professionalism of its owners, Leslie and Toby.
Dear Adrian and Gerry,
Many thanks for taking the time to review our property and we are so pleased that you all enjoyed yourselves....and the local fizz! We hope to see you again in the future, maybe for a longer stay next time.
Very best wishes
Lesley & Toby
We are situated in the south east Charente region of France very close to the border of the Dordogne and are surrounded by rolling hills and woodland, maize and sunflower fields.The Charentais life is decidedly gentle and is the place to visit if you're after a slice of traditional French rural life, and where age-old traditions are still strong. There is some lovely walking and cycling from the gite, and we are only 2km from the pretty town of Montmoreau St Cybard which has all amenities including butchers, bakers, bank, post office, bar and a little restaurant and a large supermarket.
The stunning town of Aubeterre sur Dronne is only 15 minutes away with its unusual Romanesque monolithic underground church and voted one of the most beautiful villages in France. It has a variety of great restaurants, a wonderful beach and river to swim in or you can sit with a chilled glass of wine or cold beer in the square watching the world go by. There is also a lovely golf course in Aubeterre with terrace, bar and restaurant which make children very welcome, and an activities facility where you can arrange to take a canoe downstream for 12km to St Aulaye or 8km upstream to Petite Bersac Aube.
The area has a wealth of charm and tranquility, from the South Charente with its echoes (but fewer tourists) of the next door Dordogne to the gently sloping vineyards of the wealthy Cognac producing West Charente. Spend your time visiting the many wonderful local markets including Aubeterre, Brantome, Riberac, Chalais and Villebois Lavalette with its feudal chateau dominating the region from its hilltop. Villebois has a market every Saturday morning where you can enjoy a dish of fresh oysters with a bottle of Miscadet under the ancient, covered market square and only 15 minutes away.
The attractive hill town of Angouleme, a walled city built around the magnificent Cathedral St Pierre is 35 minutes away. Best know for its stunning Romanesque cathedral, international comic festival and the Cirque de Ramparts motor racing held each year. After strolling around the ramparts, you can sit and enjoy a 'plat du jour' at one of the many restaurants in the squares or winding mediaeval streets. As the commercial and cultural capital of the Charente it offers a buzzing cultural calendar and is a festival venue for comic strips, rock and world music, vintage cars, toys and games. Also for kids there is the Nautilus water park just outside Angouleme. A giant water park with flumes that go on for ever, water slides, wave machines and just very very large pools and lakes.
Spend a day tasting the wonders of the great houses of Cognac, under an hour away, and learn about the history and production of this glorious amber nectar. Here you will encounter cellars full of ageing cognacs and taste some of the exceptional matured amber that is Cognac, described by Victor Hugo as 'The Liqour of the Gods'.
Brantome Known as "the Venice of the Perigord", is a charming medieval town built on an island on the river Dronne. Its a stunning town with pretty shops and great little restaurants. You can even take a pleasure boat cruise around the town and down the river, or for the more energetic hire a canoe; its great fun attempting the weirs! Visit the vibrant Friday morning market, again stacked with local products
The coast to the north of Bordeaux with the famous towns of Royan and La Rochelle is between 1 1/2 drive from Montmoreau.
There is also a fantastic Safari Park at Guizengeard. Visit two parks of several hundred ha in a 4x4, where you will discover semi-wild stags, deer, wild sheep and bores.
These are but a few tasters of what our area has to offer, and if it all proves too much, take time out to relax by the pool with a good book and a chilled glass of wine taking in the breathtaking views around you, not to mention the utter peace and tranquility this gite offers.