Paguetout is an enormous Maison de Maitre in the forest in southwest France and is situated in a pretty hamlet. We have been coming here since 1985. The hamlet is 5 km from a small village, Sabres, where you can find all the basics you need. There is a petrol-station, post-office, a grocer's, 2 bakers, a coffee-shop, a restaurant and a bar. For a supermarket you need to drive to Labouheyre, 17km. The house is about 90 minutes from Bordeaux and 40 minutes from the coast. The huge white sand beaches are the most beautiful in France and we can tell you where to find a deserted spot even in the high season!
Les Landes is an enormous pine forest and the region has a low population. Driving through the forest you will find sleepy hamlets, pretty villages and churches dating back to the 11th or 12th century. There are plenty of places of interest to visit in the area - please see below for a list of sites and activities.
For me the special charm of the house is the space, peace and tranquility it provides. This house is the perfect location for holidays with friends or family. The interior and exterior spaces are very large and welcoming and there are so many activities for children. Once guests arrive, they often want to stay at the property and relax, enjoying time in each others' company.
The only sound you hear outside is birdsong and the breeze in the trees. At night deer come and explore the garden. There is a small local road nearby that serves the local hamlets but it is a no-through road so has very little traffic, maybe 10 cars a day.
Guest frequently spend as much time as possible outside in the beautiful grounds. There is a grove of mature oak trees to the front of the house, gardens to the sides and fields and woods stretching further away, 4 hectares in all. You can walk directly from the gardens into the surrounding forest.
There are 3 exterior dining areas, 1 on the terrace by the pool, 1 on the north side which remains cool even in mid-summer, and another in the charming bread oven.
Children love the property as there is so much space for them to run around. We have a large variety of games and toys such as swings, a slide, 2 climbing frames, a tree-house, a trampoline, ping-pong and table-football to keep them entertained.
We are very happy to provide guests with with guidance on what to do in the area. Below are some examples:
ACTIVITIES AND PLACES OF INTEREST NEARBY -
Mexico Activity Centre, 10 minutes drive from the house. This canoeing centre which offers a range of outdoor activities for kids as young as 4 and adults including:- Stand-Up Paddle, archery, trampolining, paint-balling, orienteering, tree-climbing..... Idle down the very pretty, tree-shaded Leyre River in a canoe for two.
Le Ranche d’Elvire, Equestrian Centre, Trensacq, 5 minutes drive. Well-loved and groomed ponies are available for trekking in the forest, and children as young as 3 can take lessons for €10 an hour. Haras du Capdessus Route de Sore 40630 TRENSACQ
Marqueze, Eco-musée, Sabres, 5 minutes drive. An open-air museum showcasing local life up until the end of the 19th century. Take a 1930s train to a traditional ‘Landaise’ village with its own working mill, bakery and farm. Children will love the traditional games on offer, as well as the chance to meet very friendly pigs, sheep and working oxen. A great look at the local architecture.
Les Palafitos Activity Centre, 25 minutes drive. Orienteering, quad-biking, archery, treasure hunts for the kids, water polo, boules, pony-trekking by a lake, freshly made pizza and paella available
Nature Reserve - Courant Huchet, near Léon.1 hour's drive. Trek through the forest alongside the network of streams which lead to the ocean in this reserve, home to a wide variety of aquatic species including the eel, or travel upstream in a 1920s style traditional punt with a guide
Pedalos at Brocas, 20 minutes drive on pretty, rural roads. There is a large lake where pedalos can be hired in July and August. There is also a museum dedicated to the iron forgery once very important to the area.
Arjuzanx Lake, 25 minutes drive. This vast lake is home to the biggest community of common cranes in France. The birds spend their winters here, and their summers in Scandinavia. The area is a nature reserve, and is a beautiful place for a walk or a swim. There is a path encircling the lake which makes bike rides with kids easy. The ‘beach’ area is a great place for a family picnic. Small exhibition on the nature-reserve. Ice-creams and snacks are available.
The Lake at Labouheyre, 20 minutes drive. Just outside the town of Labouheyre is another lake which warms up nicely in the summer and there’s a sandy beach. Good for a dip with young kids.
Eco-lieu Jeanot, Rion des Landes, 40 minutes drive. Residential organic farming community offering courses in yoga, bee-keeping, permaculture and eco-cuisine among other things ecological and sustainable. Concerts and shows are occasionally put on too, during which you can sample the organic vegetables, eggs, trout and bread produced here.
Walking and Cycling in the forest
Healing springs of Les Landes
Morcenx, 20 minute drive. The market on on Wednesday from 9.a.m.-12p.m. is a joy! For a true taste of La Belle France pick up all your groceries here - from locally produced fruit and vegetables to wonderful charcuterie, olives and tapenades, wine, beer, fish, meats and local speciality cakes. Look out for delicious heather honey and the selection cheeses at the Palais de Fromage. Head for the stand selling freshly-grilled pork marinated in piment d’espelette, whole roast chickens, and huge vats of paella.
Thursday mornings there’s a much smaller market in the local village, Sabres. Here you can pick up all your fruit, vegetables, meats and fish. On Thursday mornings there’s also a market in the pretty village of Sore, a 20 minute drive. Head to the Cercle de la Paix bar for a coffee or a pastis after your shopping.
On Saturdays head to the medieval town of Roquefort, a 35 minute drive, where there’s a large market. There’s also a great one in the town of Mont de Marsan, 40km from the house.
On Sundays, drive 20 minutes to Labouheyre.
SITES OF INTEREST FURTHER AFIELD
Armagnac region, La Bastide D'Armagnac,45 minutes drive. A garrison for the English during the 100 years war, this village dates from 1291 and is widely held to be one of the prettiest in France. Armagnac can be sampled and bought in the cellars of the many producers based here, or head to the shop near the carpark. At the end of October or the beginning of November, the village holds its annual Fete, La Flame D’Armagnac.
Beaches - The Cote d’argent, or silver coast, is a 400km stretch of shoreline stretching south to Spain. Clean, sandy, and seldom crowded, these are some of France’s best beaches.
The nearest beach is a 40 minute drive to Mimizan. Go to Mimizan Plage Sud for the sparsest crowds.
Hossegor : Home to international surf competitions, laid-back and chic. About an hour’s drive.
Cap Breton, near Hossegor, great sea-food restaurants overlooking the beach, and a fabulous fish market at the port every morning, and sometimes from 3-6pm in the afternoon.
Sssshhhh: The Secret Beach! Near Lit-et-Mixe. Park your car under the pines, walk 25 minutes through forest and over the dune to your own "private beach." Don’t attempt it on the hottest days of summer!
Bassin D’arcachon - Driving time from the house: between 1 hour and 2 hours, depending on traffic! The Bassin is chic,and much more densely populated than Les Landes. Come here for oysters and fine wines on trendy terraces. The beaches on the bassin are great for kids because there are no waves, but often, the tides are out and swimming is impossible.
Archachon: the biggest town on the bassin, a good place to take a boat trip on the bay.
Dune du Pyla Europe’s biggest sand-dune has to be seen (and scaled) to be believed. Views over the Bassin D’arcachon are stunning. An hour’s drive.
Gujan Mestras Lunch at one of the many brightly-painted oyster-cabins perched above the water, serving up fresh prawns, bulots (whelks) and mussels as well as the famous oysters. Crisp white wine and rosé are available with the meal.
Theme parks near Gujan Mestras:- Aqualand, La Cocinelle, a small & accessible children’s amusement park, best for children between about 2 and 10. Kid Park Another children’s amusement park next door to La Coccinelle.
Bird-watching at the Reserve du Teich, home to a fantastic array of birdlife. We recommend you allow 3-4 hours to cover the whole sanctuary on foot.
Eugenie Les Bains - Michel Guerard’s hotel, spa & restaurant. An hour's drive. One of France’s best chefs, 3 Michelin starred, he runs 4 restaurants and a hotel/spa, set in a beautiful cluster of stone farm buildings in Les Landes, designed to suit different budgets.
In Belhade, about 25 minutes’ drive away, is a Michelin-recommended brasserie, Le Restaurant D’Euloge. The same Chef runs Le Grill D’Euloge at Sore, about 20 minutes drive away.
Luxey - Musicalarue festival in August. 20 minutes drive, Pop, rock and urban music festival.
Chateau Cazeneuve (Préchac) and Chateau Roquetaillade (Mazères) In the South Gironde, about an hour’s drive from the house are two chateaux both of which played a key role in medieval French history.Each are well worth a visit.
St. Emillion, about an hour and 20 minutes drive. This beautiful UNESCO world heiritage site was settled by the Romans. St. Emillion now produces some of the region’s best wines. Go for tastings and to enjoy the town’s gorgeous architecture.
Bordeaux! 1 hour's drive. The joys of this magnificent city can not be captured in a neat little paragraph. You must experience the elegance and buzz of this urban playground for yourselves!
We are very happy to provide further advice on what to see and do.
Thank you for reading