Le Fournil at Le Clos du Comte was originally built as the bakehouse for the hamlet of Mas de Cause, about 2 km above the village of Daglan, and was subsequently extended to become a home. It has now been tastefully renovated to create a charming and characterful 2 bedroom cottage, still with the original bread oven, but with all the modern conveniences you expect.
Downstairs, the accommodation comprises a large open-plan living/dining room with a brand-new fully-fitted kitchen. Next to the living room, what was once a pigsty has been extended to create a double bedroom with a king-size (150 cm) bed, plus an en-suite bathroom (shower, basin and toilet). Upstairs, there is a very pretty, spacious bedroom with pine-panelled ceiling, two single beds and another large en-suite bathroom. The cottage is ideally suited to 2 couples or a couple with children, and there is plenty of room for a cot upstairs. Guest comfort is one of our most important priorities: most of the furniture is new - but solid oak in keeping with the character and age of the home - mattresses are high-quality, towels are fluffy Egyptian cotton. Heating in the cooler months is provided by electric radiators, and there are heated towel rails in both bathrooms.
On one side, the cottage looks out over a peaceful grove of walnut trees. On the other side, there is a delightful little orchard of plum trees, with an original stone-built chicken house. At the back there is a gravelled terrace with table and chairs, which then gives on to a forested area.
There is a 12m x 5m pool (shared with one other gite) with plenty of chairs and loungers, heated to 27C in summer and cleaned daily for your enjoyment.
The estate of Le Clos du Comte is truly idyllic. It sits on 18 hectares (approximately 45 acres) of unspoiled, utterly tranquil forest and pasture. Almost the only sounds you’ll hear are birdsong, or the chirping of the crickets on a summer’s day. Almost the only light you’ll see at night will come from the moon or the stars. It’s a nature lover and stargazer’s paradise, with an abundance of wildlife.
Activities are too numerous to mention. Locally, Daglan is a very pretty village, with a small supermarket, a bakery, and a variety of artisanal shops and activities. The village is becoming quite the artistic colony, with the recent addition of a sculptor. The church is worth a visit, and there is a market on Sunday mornings.
Within 10 km, there are the chateaux of Castelnaud, with its military museum, Beynac, La Roque Gageac, Milandes (once home to the American-born dancer and singer Josephine Baker), and Marqueyssac, with its hanging gardens of topiary. The village of Domme has wonderful views over the river Dordogne. The medieval town of Sarlat-la-Caneda, 22 km away, has been beautifully restored and much of it is pedestrian only. A bit further afield, there are the caves at Lascaux with their prehistoric wall paintings, the town of Rocamadour, which clings to the cliffs overhanging the Dordogne, and the village of Collonges-la-Rouge, so named for its buildings of deep red stone.
If you’re feeling energetic, you can swim in the warm pool or in our local river, the Céou, walk through the estate or across the hills, play tennis in the village, canoe on the Dordogne, go horse riding or fishing, or play golf on one of several local courses. Hot air ballooning is a popular activity, and we frequently see balloons floating over on calm evenings. If you’re feeling lazy, you can read a book in the peace and shade of one of the walnut groves.
There are plenty of places to eat out, with 3 restaurants in the village (La Cantine, the Café de la Fleur and the more upmarket Petit Paris), a pizzeria in St Cybranet, and a wonderful restaurant – a secret which we only reveal to guests! – a 10 minute drive away.
The estate teems with wildlife year-round. In September and October, during and after rutting season, the red deer stags converge in the walnut groves with their harems to battle it out and, when the fighting is over, to graze. Roe deer can be seen any time – and frequently make a nuisance of themselves in the garden! The wild boar are most visible on winter evenings, when they’ll emerge from the forest to eat any walnuts missed by the harvest. Spring and summer are the time for birds. Our resident kestrels have returned to nest in our bedroom wall for the third year running. The smaller birds such as black redstarts and blue tits make their nests in every nook and cranny. In summer, the hawks soar on the thermals, and we see or hear blackbirds, robins, cuckoos, hoopoes, owls, woodpeckers, finches, nuthatches, wrens …… I could go on. In spring and autumn, we’re right under the migration route of the cranes. And there are butterflies everywhere.
The local region is known for its wealth of history, and Le Clos du Comte has its own history, too. During renovation work, we’ve found fossilised figs and a boar tusk. The land has clearly been worked for millennia – we’ve also dug up a variety of prehistoric stone tools. Our own farmhouse, which dates from before the French Revolution, was originally a convent with its own chapel. At some point, the property became a farm, producing wine; it stayed that way for centuries, and our reception is in the original winery. During World War II, the wine became the subject of dispute between the occupiers and the Resistance, the then-owners fled, and the forests were taken over by the Maquis. Nowadays, the land is altogether more peaceful, producing walnuts and hay.
We know that we are privileged to live in such a fabulous place, and we love to share its peace and beauty. Come and see for yourselves, and we hope you’ll agree that Le Clos du Comte is truly wonderful!