This classic stone farmhouse dates back to the 1700's but has been fully restored and designed for ease, comfort, and fun both indoors and out, and is wheelchair accessible as well. The home is beautifully situated in the Dordogne countryside, with a long veranda, deck and heated swimming pool overlooking the verdant grounds and rolling hills beyond. There are mature walnut trees, and with twenty-five birdhouses on the property, bird watching is superb. The grounds are extensive, with a gentle looping path where you can take in the view at benches in various spots along the way.
The veranda and pool-side of the house face southwest, so you will see spectacular sunsets while BBQing, sipping aperitifs and dining al fresco.
There is so much to see and do in this area of France that it is difficult to be brief. While out and about, you can visit the ubiquitous and magnificent Renaissance hilltop castles, as well as explore cathedrals, churches, monasteries, and cloisters; stroll the tiny streets of lovely unspoiled medieval villages; shop at antique and farmers markets; and, of course, wine and dine at the superb restaurants of this gourmet region. Speaking of wine, we are very close to the largest wine producing area of France: the wider Bordeaux region has over 8,500 producers or 'chateaux.' You can go wine tasting as you drive along the Bordeaux Wine Route. (Just make sure you have a designated driver!)
If you want to explore further back in time, you can visit the stunning reproduction of prehistoric art at the original site of Lascaux. It is estimated that early humans painted the cave around 17,300 years ago. There are literally hundreds of prehistoric caves in the Dordogne and many are open to visitors. There are two types of caves: caves that contain prehistoric art; and caves of stalactites, stalagmites and other incredible rock formations. Both are fascinating.
For physical activity, you can canoe and take boat rides down the lovely Dordogne River, as well as swim at its many beaches. (It's a 20 minute drive away.) There is hot air ballooning, bicycling, hiking, horse riding, and even go-carting. A languorous picnic at a spot of your choosing is an enchanting way to spend an afternoon, for which you can borrow our portable picnic table that fits neatly in a car trunk. (For a comprehensive website of activities in the Dordogne, )
You will enjoy peace and privacy in the gîte, but please know that our home is next door so we will be on hand to help in any way we can. It will be our pleasure to provide you with whatever information you need to ensure your holiday is as exciting, fun, and memorable as possible.
More about the house: the rooms are spacious, sunny, and inviting, freshly decorated with original art and comfortable furniture. The kitchen is open and airy, has all modern conveniences, and a table that seats 6. There is plenty of counter-space, including a central wooden butcher's block, so preparing all the local farmer market treasures you discover will be a pleasure.
The living room is bright and breezy, has two couches and chairs, and a large coffee table where you can enjoy playing many of the games on hand. There is also a cosy separate room where you can watch English satellite tv and CNN. Both these rooms open onto the veranda from their own wide French doors. If you are here when the weather is chilly - which will not be in the summer! - the ground floor is tiled with underfloor heating throughout and the upstairs bedrooms have radiators. There is, of course, wi-fi which benefits from a state of the art wired network and extends onto the terrace for outdoor use.
Outside, the veranda is a delightful area, extensive enough for various simultaneous activities. The heated swimming pool is large enough for the entire family; the timber pool deck has room for four chaise lounges and further along the veranda, still in the sun, there are another two chaise lounges, as well as a small French gueridon (iron table) with four chairs. Under the shaded part of the veranda are a day bed full of comfortable pillows for lounging and siestas, a BBQ, as well as a teak dining table that seats 6 for long warm relaxing dinners. The night sky will mesmerize you: the absence of city lights makes for dazzling stargazing.
More about the area: The property is situated in the heart of the Perigord Pourpre, named for the grapes and wines of this part of the Dordogne. It makes for a perfect home base to explore the region. The largest nearby town is Bergerac, located 20 minutes from the property, and its airport is the most common arrival point for this area. Bordeaux is about an hour and a half to the west.
The Dordogne is steeped in history and natural beauty. The countryside is full of rolling green hills as far as the eye can see, fields of wildflowers, ancient farms and vineyards. You will see many cows, goats, pheasant and ducks in this agricultural area. The region is best known for foie gras, duck, truffles, wine, walnuts and strawberries.
There are many small medieval Bastide villages dotting the area, unspoiled by tourism, and well worth a visit. The lovely village, St. Alvère, is ten minutes away. St Marcel du Perigord is charming and has an excellent restaurant, Lou Peyrol, and is twelve minutes away.
The spectacular town of Sarlat is only an hour away, and other scenic and historic villages such as Domme, Issigeac, Belves, Monflanquin, Castlenaud-la-Chapelle, La Roque Gageac are all easily within reach. Every day of the week, there are fascinating farmers markets to visit, not to mention restaurants serving the delicious cuisine of the region. It is truly a foodie's heaven.
This is also a castle rich area and they are magnificent to see from afar as well as up close. For example, you can visit Chateau Monbazillac (35km southwest); Chateau du Lanquais (24km south); Chateau Biron (54km south); Chateau Beynac and Chateau des Milandes (47km east); Chateau de Castelnaud (51 km east), and many others. There are also fortresses and manor houses to be seen everywhere as you make day trips in the area.
Here's a travel tip everyone already knows but that bears repeating: visit off-season. The peak tourist time is July and August and, in addition to tourists visiting from around the globe, it seems that almost all the French go on their 'grandes vacances' during these two months. As with all beautiful holiday destinations these days, there can be swells of tourists at popular sites. If at all possible, it's a good idea to come during less-visited times of the year.
We get all four seasons here. Winters are cold but have their own austere beauty, and there is a range of activities wide enough to attract tourists – and usually at cheaper rates. The outdoor markets continue in winter and you will definitely benefit from a more soothing atmosphere. This season can be perfect for a calm winter break or a romantic getaway.
In spring everything really wakes up and greens up. Fruit trees blossom and lots of wildflowers dot the hillsides. The fresh air is perfect for walking and hiking. Many people prefer outdoor activities in the cooler months because summers can be very hot.
The same is true for autumn. Temperatures are much milder and the fall colors are stunning. The light at this time of year is my favorite as it is much less harsh than in summer: it is soft and golden and highlights the gorgeous autumn reds and oranges. Beautiful!
Don't worry, though: regardless of what time of year you visit, the food is always spectacular. :-)
One more travel tip, courtesy of a friend:
'Travel Often. Getting lost will only help you find yourself.'