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Martin and Anne Thatcher

Member since: 2009
Speaks English, French
Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance +44-800-085-3815

Delightful stone cottage, peaceful countryside, good access to beaches

13 Reviews
Bedrooms 2
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 3 - 31 nights

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Photos and Description of this 2 bedroom holiday cottage in Saintes area - Benèze

Well equipped with private garden and open views over the surrounding farmland

Our two-bedroom country cottage in Charente-Maritime is comfortable for up to four people. The cottage is a tucked away in the peaceful hamlet of Chatenet near Cravans in Saintonge Romane region of Charente Maritime. Built from local stone the facade is south-facing with a tiled terrace and private walled garden to the front.

The main double french doors from the terrace open into the full-height living space with exposed beams, stone walls and fireplace with wood-burning stove. There is ample space for the seating, dining and kitchen areas in this room. The kitchen area is fitted with high quality units, a full-sized cooker, 11/2 bowl sink, dish washer and fridge/freezer. The main, ground floor, double bedroom has stone walls and tiled floor; the double glazed window and door open directly onto the terrace. Shower room and separate toilet are also on the ground floor. Stairs lead to the second twin bedded room. Secure stone built out-house with a washing machine & storage space.

Benèze: Benèze is a local dialect word which means 'feeling happy and at ease'. Loosely 'Je suis benèze' could be translated as I am cool or I am chilled. We chose the name for our cottage many years ago because it summed up how we always felt when we were on holiday there over 20 years worth of visits. Now we have moved permanently to France and experienced our own 'Grand Design' self-design building project whilst living full-time at Beneze and we want you to enjoy being 'beneze' too.

To help you get the Beneze buzz, we are always at hand in our home just between Chatenet and Cravans. Our aim is to leave you in perfect peace to experience this special place, but you will know we are nearby if help is needed.

Benèze is not part of a 'gîte complex', it is a stand-alone, detached property.

Off-season short and long lets: A short break or a longer stay to refresh and reflect. Talk to us about what you want to achieve and we will see if we can help. With the low-cost airlines offering deals outside normal holiday times why not take advantage and spend a few days in a completely different environment? All the downstairs rooms in Beneze have electric radiators and the wood-burning stove offers the possibility of snuggling down by the fire with a drop or two of the local produce. We can stock the cupboard and fridge for you (milk, bread, champagne, oysters etc.) just give us your shopping list and we will give you an estimate of the cost.

Terms for long lets are negotiable.

Activities and culture: Charente Maritime works hard to maintain its reputation as a attractive holiday destination. That's not just about clean, sandy beaches and sunshine. There are a host of events throughout the summer months from the classical music festival in Saintes and blues festival in Cognac, evening concerts in the local churches and 'proms' on the beach in Royan to the village atmosphere of the quatorze juillet celebrations down the road in Cravans. There really is a lot on offer.

The history of the area is much in evidence with the remains in the ancient Roman city of Saintes the excavations of the Roman port at Fa near Barzan. The old fortified port towns of Rochefort and Brouage are nearby and La Rochelle is worth a day trip. Or just wander round the local villages to admire the dressed stone Maisons de Maitre that speak of the rich heritage of the area.

Then there are all these vineyards. Whether it is wine, pineau the local aperitif or cognac there is an unlimited supply of places to visit

More Details
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • children welcome
  • limited accessibility
  • non smoking only
  • pets not allowed
Martin and Anne Thatcher (Owner)
Member since: 2009
Speaks English, French

About Martin and Anne Thatcher

Hi, we are Anne and Martin Thatcher, your hosts and the owners of Benèze. We have owned Benèze for nearly 30 years and have been residents of Cravans since 2007. Anne is French and Martin is English. Prior to moving to retire in France we lived in England. Apart from England and France we have also lived and worked in Belgium and Switzerland.

Our aim is for you to have the best holiday possible and we will do our utmost to help you achieve this.

Martin and Anne Thatcher purchased this cottage in 1986

Why Martin and Anne Thatcher chose Saintes area

Following a holiday spent in a rented a cottage in Chatenet we bought a tumble-down farm building that was destined to become Benèze and our family, holiday home for more than twenty years. Over that time both the cottage and the Charente Maritime region gave us the peace and tranquility that makes for restful, fun and reinvigorating time away from the pressures of work.

What makes this cottage unique

Benèze is first and foremost a family holiday home that we created over the years. It is not just a property that we bought with the idea that we would let it to provide an income.

The cottage is completely self-contained and independent (not part of a 'complex') we live nearby but not next door.

Guestbook comments from the owner

- Lovely gite, very comfortable with excellent facilities. We were made to feel very welcome by hosts.

- Séjour trés agréable dans un gite bien équipé. Calme et soleil ont apporté un plus à cette semaine reposante.

- We have had a wonderful two weeks at Benèze. We have visited this region quite a few times but this stay was special because of the peaceful and relaxing location of this beautiful cottage.

- The weeks were just flying away. We felt like being at home in this nice cottage with its warm atmosphere.

- Excellent gite and hosts. Peaceful and so quiet leading to a relaxing time and deep sleep.
Aug 2013
  • 1 of 4


based on 13 holidaymaker reviews

Delightful stone cottage, peaceful countryside, good access to beaches
average rating of 4.8461537 based on 17 reviews
Vermilion, Alberta, Canada

Idyllic, wonderful location

  • 5 of 5

Idyllic! We rely on reviews to help us pick gites for our holidays, and the great reviews written about Beneze were spot on! Location, comfort and cleanliness, beauty of surroundings, warm welcome and good advice were all as fantastic as so many others had said. We bragged in our postcards to relatives about enjoying meals out on the terrace in the peaceful Charentes countryside, serenaded by birdsong. We could easily have spent more than one week, there were so many interesting places to visit in the area. We loved Saintes (Sunday market, Roman ampitheatre), Pons (impressive Donjon), Blaye (citadel, lovely wines), Talmont-sur--Gironde (picturesque fishing shacks on "stilts" by seaside), Coulon and Arcais in the fascinating Marais (tried eel fricassee there), Cozes (small, authentic Wednesday market - great fish!), La Tremblade (fascinating oyster production, great seafood at restaurant "La Pilotis" with lovely view over oyster beds), beautiful beaches between La Tremblade and La Palmyre, Ars-en-Re and La Flotte (charming coastal towns), Brouage (very cool fort with town inside, surrounded by marshlands), and Jarnac and Cognac (lovely river fronts, and fine cognac of course!). Martin and Anne made for us the best sort of home to return to each day: well equipped (bicycles and picnic set were used almost daily), comfortable, serene, and beautiful. We would highly recommend Beneze to friends and family.

  • Review Submitted: May 28, 2015
  • Date of Stay: May 2015
  • Source: HomeAway
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Beautiful, peaceful property

  • 5 of 5

We have just returned from a wonderful 2 weeks at Benèze and totally fell in love with the place. The house is spotlessly clean and extremely we'll equipped and comfortable. The garden is lovely and we ate every meal out there in the peace and quiet. Our 3 year old loved running around in the safety of the large garden.

Martin and Anne couldn't have been more helpful or friendly offering advice about where to visit and the best beaches etc.

The location is perfect, a short cycle ride to a great boulangerie, 5 mins from a larger town with a supermarket and around half an hour from the coast.

I can't recommend this property highly enough, I'm sure everyone who walks through Benèze's door will love it just as much as we do.

  • Review Submitted: Jul 4, 2014
  • Date of Stay: Jun 2014
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for your kind words. Just one comment regarding the "large" garden - perhaps large enough for a three-year-old to explore for a couple of weeks, certainly enclosed, private and safe. All things are relative so..... large-ish?
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Essex, UK

Excellent place to have a relaxing break.

  • 5 of 5

We choose this for a quiet stay and were not disappointed. All reviews are accurate, but words can not fully describe the peaceful sleeps.

Property looks delightful in photo and it really is in real life.

Garden walls are low enough to allow views out over countryside and the cows grazing in adjacent fields.

You can walk, or cycle around virtually traffic free lanes. Cravans village centre is a short walk on such lanes, where the Boulangerie and Bar/ Restaurant (La Petite Gourmand) were very good.

country lanes.

As well as locations mentioned in other review Pons was very good to stroll around.

Owners, Anne and Martin, are very helpful and friendly.

We can recommend this property wholheartedly.

  • Review Submitted: Dec 10, 2013
  • Date of Stay: Sep 2013
  • Source: HomeAway
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Beautiful and traditional cottage

  • 4 of 5

The cottage is situated on the edge of a small village. It is in a hamlet of 4 or 5 homes including a farm. The cottage is surrounded by vineyards. It is in a beautiful rural location. The cottage is old but has all the mod cons. It is beautiful both outside and inside. Unfortunately we were not blessed with good weather and did not have the opportunity to sit outside. We enjoyed a drink with the owners of the house, Martin and Anne, who live close by and were very helpful. It is in a great spot to visit many of the great beaches and historic sites. We really enjoyed our stay and would recommend the cottage to anyone wanting to visit Charante Maritime.

  • Review Submitted: Nov 14, 2012
  • Date of Stay: Oct 2012
  • Source: HomeAway
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Peaceful and relaxing Benize

  • 4 of 5

A most enjoyable stay in a lovely area. Benize is a lovely cottage in a quiet and peaceful area yet close enough to lots of interesting and beautiful villages and chateaux. Martin and Anne are very welcoming and are on hand if you should need them.The area around Benize is flat enough to enjoy cycling around the area or just down to Cravans for your daily bread from the well stocked Boulangerie. Talmont and Meschers-sur Gironde are a must see and are no more than (1/2 hour) 25km away. Royan is also within easy reach as is the Zoo at La Palmyre. Family of 3 adults

  • Review Submitted: Aug 13, 2012
  • Date of Stay: Jul 2012
  • Source: HomeAway
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A lovely week at Beneze cottage

  • 5 of 5

A beautiful cottage in a peaceful location. The cottage was clean and well equiped, including having a washing machine which was very useful. Our eleven year old daughter loved the updstairs bedroom.

Martin and Anne were very friendly and helpful and had provided a very useful information pack, including lots of leaflets on places to visit.

We would recommend the beaches at St Georges, there was lots of parking close to the beach. The zoo at La Palmyre was excellent, one of the best zoos we have been to. If you visit Bordeaux we would recommend using the park and ride which only cost 3E for the whole family including the tram. Saintes was lovely too, especially if you like looking at roman remains.

We would certainly recommend this cottage for a holiday.

  • Review Submitted: Aug 29, 2011
  • Date of Stay: Aug 2011
  • Source: HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
100 Kilometres
Nearest Barpub
1 Kilometres
Nearest Ferry
433 Kilometres
St Malo
Nearest Train
15 Kilometres
Nearest Motorway
12 Kilometres
Nearest Restaurant
5 Kilometres
Nearest Beach
25 Kilometres
St Georges de Didonne
Car: recommended

Located on the west coast of France just 100 kilometres north of Bordeaux, Benèze is 12 kilometres from the nearest exit of the main north-south, Paris to Bordeaux A10 autoroute that connects to all the channel ports. The nearest airports are Bordeaux and La Rochelle both of which are well served by low-cost airlines from UK during the summer months, Bordeaux also has year-round scheduled and low cost flights from London. Eurostar/TGV trains from Paris stop at Angouleme with connections to Saintes, or from Bordeaux trains arrive at Pons.

Gemozac 5km is the nearest town of consequence with supermarket, shops, post office, doctors etc. Saintes is the most active of the nearby towns with daily food markets and plenty of restaurants. The coast is within easy reach with a wealth of resources from the small fishing and recreational ports along the estuary, the resort beaches of St Georges, Royan etc. to the more open, natural beaches of the Grande Cote and Cote Sauvage.

Other Activities: music festivals, village fetes, fireworks on the beach, cultural visits

Golf: For the golfer the immediate area offers three main options 1) the Saintes golf course in Fontcouverte just to the north-east of Saintes 2) the Royan course that is near the Grande Cote and 3) Cognac golf course.


Prices & Availability

Prices for this holiday cottage in Saintes area, Charente-Maritime

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rental Period Minimum Price Additional Nights Weekend Night Weekly Monthly * Event Price
Summer 2016
2 Jul 2016 - 2 Sep 2016
7 night minimum stay
for 7 nights
Late summer 2016
3 Sep 2016 - 1 Oct 2016
3 night minimum stay
for 3 nights
My Standard Rate
31 night minimum stay
for 31 nights

Additional pricing information

Fees No additional mandatory fees
Refundable Damage Deposit £100

Capacité maximum de quatre personnes (jeunes enfants et bébé inclus).
Sont inclus dans le prix: le gaz, l'électricité et un panier de bûches, les draps, housses de couettes, taies d'oreillers.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 100% refund for cancellations more than 60 days before check-in date.
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Available arrival


Accommodation and facilities for this holiday cottage in Saintes area in Charente-Maritime

Property Type:
  • cottage (detached)
  • Self-catering
Floor Area:
  • 75 m²
Location Type:
  • near the sea
  • rural
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Activities Guide
  • Baby Gate
  • Fireplace
  • Firewood
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Room ...
  • Local Maps
  • Parking
  • Parking Off Street
  • Washing Machine
  • Wood Stove ...
  • 4 Ring Stove
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Freezer
  • Grill
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Toaster
  • Child's Highchair
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 4 people
  • 1 Bathroom
  • Bathroom 1 - Shower Enclosure , separate toilet
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 4
  • Bedroom 2 - 2 Single Bed
    Bedroom 1 - 1 Double Bed
  • Bedroom 1 is on the ground floor with a door opening onto the patio. Access to the first floor bedroom is via a relatively steep staircase and may not be suitable for toddlers or those with reduced mobility. A cot, high-chair and stair gate are available on request.
  • Books
  • Books - Fiction / Non-fiction
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player
  • MP3 Dock
  • Radio
  • Stereo ...
  • Television ...
  • Bicycles
  • Terrace ...
  • Garden
  • Outdoor Furniture
  • Barbecue ...
  • Patio
  • Terrace
  • 4 garden chairs
  • 2 deck chairs
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • children welcome
  • limited accessibility
  • non smoking only
  • pets not allowed
  • botanical garden
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • museums
  • restaurants
  • ruins
  • water parks
  • winery tours
  • zoo
Leisure Activities:
  • bird watching
  • gambling casinos
  • horse riding
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • deepsea fishing
  • equestrian events
  • fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • sailing
  • surfing
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • wind-surfing
The whole ground floor area and the tiled terrace are on one level with no steps or slopes.

Learn more about this holiday rental at the owner's website:

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