A TRULY SOPHISTICATED VILLA ON THE TREMOLAT RIVERBANK WITH A HEATED SALT POOL
- English, French, Italian
About Donald Collie
My love for France began when, as a young Australian doctor, I was lucky enough to work at L’Hopital Americain de Paris in Neuilly, suburban Paris. The experience changed my life. I came to appreciate the 'joie de vivre' of the French, I learnt to love the French culture, style, food, wine and countryside. I travelled to the Dordogne in that first year, 1978, and was spell-bound by the beauty of the region, the river and all that it encompassed. After my time at the L'Hopital Americain, I returned to Melbourne, completed my training as an eye surgeon, had further specialist training in Holland, the UK and in Cleveland, Ohio in the USA and then set up practice in both private and public hospitals in Melbourne. For many years, I was involved with Aid trips to treat blindness in the Pacific Islands – Vanuatu, Solomons, Kiribati, Tonga and Tuvalu. Wonderful people, simple lives, beautiful places, bountiful natural supplies. These are the things I love and in its own way, the Dordogne embodies all of them. In April 2014, I travelled to the Dordogne and met Gary Gunas who, with his partner Billy Rosenfield, had restored this magnificent 300 year old barn on the riverbank, now known as Le Chabrol, just a stone’s throw from one of the loveliest villages in the region. Gary and Billy were reluctantly selling the property to purchase an apartment in Paris and we were able to purchase Le Chabrol with all their beautiful, original art, superb furnishings, a fully equipped kitchen. We were also able to keep their wonderful staff: Brian and Cheri as managers, Corinne to keep the house spotless, Simon Batt to keep the lawns perfect and Jan of Jardins de Perigord to maintain fine gardens.
Donald Collie purchased this House in 2014
Why Donald Collie chose Calès
We love this property for the way it addresses that great rule of Location, Location, Location. Location #1: The Dordogne itself. We've vacationed in this region since the late 1970's and we believe it's the loveliest corner of France. This is an area of exceptional natural beauty, steeped in history, glowing with sun and fine weather, with outstanding cuisine at every turn. Our fellow expats here claim, and we agree, that for certain people there's a definite magnetism here that draws you in and just doesn't let go - kind of a mystical, visceral pull, in fact. Location #2: Our little corner of the Dordogne. The Périgord Noir, as it's called, is the heart of the heart of the region, known for its indigenous black truffles and the black shade of the pine forests that still stand in many areas, however open to farming and scenic vistas it may be today. We have far less of the tourist-jammed traffic of the Sarlat area, 40 minutes to our east, and far more of the sumptuous tranquility which is the region's greatest asset. Location #3: Our own plot of land. Turning our backs on our quiet little road, we overlook our own pool and gardens, and beyond that the open fields and river, with our own land blending into the neighbours' as far as the eye can see. Giant sky, total privacy. Sweet. When our now good friends, Gary and Billy bought this property, it was a very tired working barn - cows were still living on its mud floor! They designed the renovation to be in harmony with the region's architectural heritage. From the street, it still looks rather like the barn always was - large-scale louvers around the front door reflect the house's original heritage as a tobacco-drying barn. But from the back - the side facing the river - it's clearly more like the 'Relais et Chateau' properties that inspired its design. More than one friend has called our house a Tardis - a seemingly-modest box by the road, with a whole other UNIVERSE inside and out back.
What makes this House unique
We love to cook -- elaborate meals, for lots of friends and the kitchen was designed to suit this joy. It's got everything you could possibly want in terms of equipment -- fish poachers, cherry pitters, cake and tart pans of all sizes, the works. And given the quality of even the most basic foodstuffs here -- from the daily farmers' markets or the superb Grand Frais shop in Bergerac and other specialty shops like Arvouet Foie Gras in Le Buisson -- well, you can cook the same recipes you use at home and come up with flavours you never thought possible! But you can also use our many French cookbooks (all in English) and cook like you've never cooked before. What sets us apart from most other rental houses in the area is that it's really a HOME, and not a calculated, Ikea-furnished rental property. The house was designed and furnished with basic calm and good taste and decorated in muted colors, with subtly elegant fabrics and authentic French country antiques. When you compare ours to many other properties, you won't find 'that' sofa here (as one of our guests recently exclaimed with relief)! Further, while it's indeed our home, we always de-clutter it completely before any guests arrive, so that you're never living with any of our 'stuff' -- every closet and cupboard is completely empty and sparkling clean. No clothes, photos or toys. You're not working around us; the house is all yours when you're here. We rent HomeAway homes on our own holidays, and a key factor for us is just this -- not feeling like we're bunking in with strangers! We want this to be your very own home away from home.
100% refund for cancellations more than 60 days before check-in date.
beautiful house in quiet area with lots to do
this is a stunning property. The house is in a lovely location on the banks of the Dordogne with a mooring and picnic area overlooking the river. The grounds are extensive and beautifully kept, and the house comfortably furnished and well-equipped (the best selection of sharp kitchen knives we have ever found ). Perhaps the easiest description is that this is not a rental property but a second home, it is equipped and furnished as such with lovely linens, selections of books, and a very good kitchen, with everything needed to fully self-cater.
The roads were quiet in May and the driving no problem. There are a number of local restaurants for those not wanting to cook. The care taken by the owners is outstanding, the house has details of everything, from how to work appliances to lists of local amenities. We especially appreciated the list of local food markets and enjoyed trying local produce. We had one issue which arose shortly before departure and the owners did everything they could to resolve this, going to a lot of trouble to ensure we had the best holiday. The local contacts were brilliant, friendly and could not have been more helpful. There are many attractions within an easy drive, but the house is so lovely that we could happily have stayed there all the time.
A DREAM PLACE BY THE RIVER
Coming back to a place you have loved in the past is sometimes a risk - there is always a chance that our memory paints things in better colors than what they really are.
Yet the years since our first visit to this magical place have not done anything to reduce it's charm - only the blossoming trees have grown larger, and the new owners, Donald and Maureen, have added their personal touch and made the house even more beautiful and welcoming. This is an ideal holiday place for a family like ours, traveling with two children still not in their teens and my mother-in-law who allowed us to leave the children at the house while exploring the wonders of the Dordogne. The rooms are comfortable, the kitchen fully equipped, the sofas cozy, the garden and the house blending together in perfect harmony. Everything was immaculately clean, every little detail taken care of, up to fresh flowers everywhere and a chilled wine bottle in the fridge. We have booked again another two weeks for later this year, and would warmly recommend LE CHABROL to everybody.
Thank you Nik
It was a pleasure having you and your family at Le Chabrol, especially as returning guests. We look forward to seeing you in the future now that you have purchased a home in the beautiful Dordogne!
Donald and Maureen
Another dreamy month at Le Chabrol ! What a wonderful experience ....the house and local are beyond spectacular and first rate . We could not have been happier returning now for our 5th month in total at the house. We and our family loved every single moment in this darling place. We so hope we can return for another perfect holiday in the Dordogne at Le Chabrol that we love beyond words!
Martha and David
We feel so privileged to have guests like you, Martha and David. You chose Le Chabrol for a four month stint in 2016 and returned for a month this year!
Thank you for enjoying the place as much as we do. Donald
Two Weeks at Le Chabrol August 2018
We had a lovely two weeks stay at Le Chabrol. The property and outside facilities are of a very high quality and the maintenence and care is excellent. The house feels like a home rather than just a rental. It is very well equipped and the furnishings are of a very good standard. As well as the heated swimming pool, the garden leads to the Dordogne river and has its own landing and a ladder down to the water to enable swimming in the river as well. Tremolat is a great location from which to explore the Dordogne Valley. The owner (Donald) and the property managers (Brian & Cheri) have been extremely helpful and welcoming. For anyone who is considering a holiday in this location we would have no hesitation in recommending this property for your stay. Steve, Sarah and family.
Thank you Steve - it was a pleasure having you and family and we were so pleased to hear how much you had swum in the river.
Look forward to welcoming you again.
Le Chabrol is just a fabulous place to stay. A beautiful property with a fantastic location and extremely well appointed. We spent 3 weeks here and couldn't fault it!
It was a pleasure having you, Chris and family
Look forward to welcoming you back!
Donald and Maureen
Quintessential French country house of the highest quality.
The house, pool and furnishings are superb and better than the excellent pictures and descriptions provided on the website. The property is beautifully maintained with loads of flowers, fruit and nut trees, a small her and strawberry garden, and expansive lawn. The location is great, with most caves, prehistoric sites, some well-preserved bastide villages being within a 30 minute drive. Some of the most picturesque villages are also a short drive. Communications with the owner were excellent, and support provided by Cheri, Brian and Corinne who live in the next village over, was perfect. Highly recommended.
Thank you for your review Dennis and Jean - we are so glad you enjoyed Le Chabrol as much as we do, and yes, our local support team certainly bend over backwards to ensure you have a good stay. We hope you will return! Donald and Maureen
Just half an hour from Bergerac Airport (Ryanair) or a couple of hours from either Bordeaux or Toulouse, we are situated on the banks of the Dordogne River just a short walk across the bridge to the centre of the gorgeous village of Trémolat, where we usually collect our morning croissants. Tremolat is perfectly situated halfway between Sarlat and Bergerac, at the very heart of this fabled part of the Aquitaine.
A leisurely 30 to 40 minute drive to either town takes you through all the tourist attractions of this justly-famous region -- pastoral farm scenes of sunflowers, corn and wheat, cliff-top castles on the riverbank, roadside foie gras shops, the amazing farmers' markets, bakeries, vinyards and wine shops. Stunningly beautiful bends and cliffs along the river, pre-historic caves and caverns, tranquil canoeing on the river, hot air ballooning, it's all here.
The walk to Trémolat village brings you to the glorious Michelin-starred, Relais-et-Chateaux inn, Le Vieux Logis, and its popular Bistrot d'en Face. And just down the road you can rent canoes, pedalos and bicycles, or board the train to Bordeaux and Paris.
Other Activities: Chat with our French, English and Dutch neighbors. Play petanque in any village square. Picture the troglodytes who hunted in our fields. Fish!
Golf: There are a dozen golf courses within a 40-minute drive. Many will rent clubs if you haven't brought your own.
Pick wild flowers along the quiet country lanes, forrrage for wild strawberries, figs or walnuts.
The area is wonderful for cycling and we have a couple of bicycles to get to town more quickly or for a lazy jaunt to nearby villages or along the river. Fishing (pike and perch, in particular) and horseback riding are a treat here, and public tennis courts are everywhere. The more sedate of you can take in the historic towns and villages, including the fortified bastide towns which still bear the scars of the 14th-Century Hundred Years' War, or see Europe's earliest art treasures, the cave paintings of early man at Lascaux. Or visit Les Milandes, where Josephine Baker raised her rainbow tribe of orphans, or gape at the stunning natural rock formations in the region's many spectacular caverns. Or cross from our Perigord Noir over to the Perigord Pourpre, where you can visit the vinyards of Bergerac and Bordeaux.
Or stay home by the pool and enjoy all the modern conveniences of your home-from-home, 'Le Chabrol'.
To 'faire le chabrol' by the way, is to swirl your last drops of wine across your plate at the end of dinner, then slurp up the 'soup'. Leave it to the French to find a socially-acceptable way to lick your plate!
Superbly located minutes from many villages and their weekly markets, river swimming and canoeing from our own jetty, picnic at our table by the river or 10 minutes away on the lovely little pebble beach at Limeuil (classified as one of the most beautiful villages of France). Drive up the road out of Tremolat for lunch high above the river at the charming restaurant, Ferme Auberge Belvedere. From here, the view of the bends in the river (google the 'Cingle du Tremolat'), the bridge into Tremolat and our house, was described by the french author, André Maurois, as one of the wonders of the world.
Limeuil is on the way to Le Bugue, a gorgeous village on the Vezere, and the Le Bugue market is one of the best in the region. Limeuil itself has some fine restaurants and is at the confluence of the Dordogne and Vezere rivers. When in Le Bugue, don't miss the Julien de Savignac wine shop or Le Bugue's best boulangerie, the Moulin.
Sarlat, Domme and Beynac are less than 45 minutes drive. The famous Sarlat market is on Saturday but beware Sarlat traffic can be horrendous on market days. If you are in Sarlat in the evening, you will love the lighting in this beautiful town and the buskers are noit to be missed near the Sarlat town hall.
Beynac has a wonderful castle with views along the river to the castle at Castelnaud. Beynac and Castelnaud were constantly at war and the fortifications are still present at Castelnaud. The film "Chocolat" was filmed, in part, in Beynac.
The beautiful Jardins de Marqueysac are 10 minutes from Beynac, above La Roque Gageac. Just across the river, Domme a lovely bastide village high up on the hill, has the best ice-cream in the area and the view from Domme down the river is spectacular.
The lovely village of St Cyprien is about 15 minutes away. St Cyprien also has a great market, shareing the same vendors as Le Bugue, and at the St Cyprien market, don't miss the marvellous fromagerie.
One of France's most visited museums is at Les Eyzies. This museum tells the story of pre-historic and troglodytic life in the area. There are some marvellous caves near Les Eyzies, including Lascaux, with extraordinary pre-historic wall art. Les Eyzies is easy to reach on the alternative road to Sarlat