A very welcoming old farmhouse where the living is easy, outdoors and in. It’s the much-loved holiday home of English owners with a passion for music, cooking and French life in this peaceful hamlet, with its endless skies and vineyard views. Big windows and beamed ceilings, Charentaise stone and neutral paintwork, give an airy feel to the open-plan living area. Everything’s fresh and cared for: comfy sofas flank a grand fireplace, bookshelves proffer interesting novels; a friendly mix of traditional and modern furniture, with splashes of colour in paintings and fabrics. The kitchen is great, with surely all you’ll need; hanging pots and pans, cookery books galore, a pantry – cupboard doors made from old shutters. The rustic, comfy downstairs bedroom looks over open fields. A winding stone staircase leads to more cottagey rooms: the triple has space to play in, the double a super king-sized bed. In the walled garden there’s a stylish eating-out area shaded by sails; games room too with pool table, board games and jigsaws. Good local cycling, bikes to borrow, and your own field – for picnicking, flying a kite and kicking a ball.
Step inside from the walled garden into the open-plan living area – big windows and beamed ceilings, Charentaise stone and neutral paintwork, give it an airy feel. Everything’s fresh and cared for: comfy sofas flank a grand fireplace, bookshelves proffer interesting novels; a friendly mix of traditional and modern furniture, with splashes of colour in paintings and fabrics. There’s a large dining table too, with enough space to comfortably seat 8.
Wander now into the kitchen… It’s a well thought out cook’s kitchen with all you’ll need. High quality, hanging pots and pans, cookery books galore, a pantry and cupboard doors made from old shutters. There’s a Nespresso machine to make a delicious coffee with no mess, no fuss and a quality double oven as well as a microwave. A large family size fridge-freezer gives plenty of space for chilling and there’s extra fridge and freezer capacity available for large groups – you only need to ask. Food can be served direct to the garden table via the large French windows or to the dining table if you choose to eat indoors.
Next is the bathroom which is tiled with a white brickwork pattern and has an impressive double shower – perfect to kick start your day. It’s a spacious room with drawers to house your toiletries and white, vintage style fittings. Right next door is the laundry, where you’ll find a washing machine, drier and a ceiling drying rack as well as a handy extra toilet and wash basin.
One double bedroom is situated downstairs and has a large aspect window with uninterrupted views over open fields. A tall, free-standing mahogany wardrobe provides plenty of space to hang clothes and a bedside bookshelf houses some good reads plus space to pile up your own collection.
Attached to the main house by a covered walkway is a separate games room with a full sized pool table and plenty of board games and jigsaws – perfect for evening tournaments or if the weather is not being kind.
Now let’s explore upstairs …
The Master Bedroom is stylish and comfortable with its super king sized bed, white-washed walls and natural sisal flooring. Built in wardrobes provide plenty of storage space, for both hanging and folded clothes. Antique side cabinets flank the bed, with lamps to facilitate comfortable reading, while a generous dressing table provides ample space for bits and bobs.
The landing area is bright and spacious and houses a comfortable day bed which can also be converted into a bed if required.
Across the landing is the Triple Room. A solid wooden floor, thick Charentaise stone, white-washed walls and a beamed ceiling give this beautiful room the feel of a typical French style family bedroom. There are three comfortable, single beds with antique side cabinets and lamps and there’s ample storage space in a wardrobe and chest of drawers. You’ll find plenty of room to lounge or play and we especially like the room’s three beanbags – perfect for cosying up with a good read.
PROPERTY & AREA
A high quality, private and spacious farmhouse enclosed within a walled garden. It has been designed with families or couples in mind and has recently been fully renovated. Built from buttery Charente stone with shutters painted in traditional maritime blue, the house is southerly facing and you need only open the shutters to flood the house with light. Inside, Charentaise stone, white-washed walls and exposed wooden beams throughout create a feeling of stylish simplicity. Interior furnishings are eclectic and elegant and it is fully equipped with everything you might need. Our lovely, English housekeepers, will always try to help you with your questions. They can probably resolve most things over the phone but if not, they only live a short drive away.
THE WALLED GARDEN - Enclosed in a charming walled garden with beds of lavender, L’Échappée Douce has a southerly facing aspect. This peaceful space is laid with beds of mature plants, separated by gravel paths. Its outside patio is shaded by stylish sails with a generously sized family table to enjoy al fresco dining at any time of the day. Joining the house to the Games Room is a covered terrace with antique, wooden seating – perfect for morning coffee or an evening nightcap.
THE MEADOW - To the rear, framed by country pathways, is an expansive grassed meadow that belongs to the house – excellent for kite flying, games of cricket and football or free play. Be sure to take some time out to breathe in the fresh air and the incredible uninterrupted views of the stunning French countryside.
THE PRETTY HAMLET OF MORTAFOND - L’Échappée Douce, with its striking blue shutters, is the first house you see as you enter the pretty hamlet of Mortafond. Home to 11 stone houses built at the turn of the last century, it is surrounded by fields, open forest and vin-de-pays vines. The village is quiet, the neighbours are courteous and gentle and the surrounding countryside is breath-taking.
THE NEARBY VILLAGE OF NÉRÉ - Néré is the closest village to L’Échappée Douce, approximately 3 minutes by car. In the village you will find a boulangerie to buy freshly made croissant and bread as well as an excellent butcher, post office, supermarket and Bistrot St Pierre – a bar/restaurant where you will always get a warm welcome. There’s also a convenient pharmacy and a doctor’s surgery should you need them.
THE EXTRA MILE
We know that small things matter .... and with this in mind, we go the extra mile to think through all the details of your holiday and offer our guests some additional options to make your stay even more special. We can do your food shopping before your arrival, prepare a picnic or deliver everything you need for a first night barbeque. And at the end of your holiday, we can even do your laundry so that you don’t return home with a mountain of washing!
THINGS TO DO
The meadow opposite L’Échappée Douce comes with the house, so feel free to use it as you wish for picnics, impromptu sports games or watching the sunset with a glass of rosé … you get the idea. We have footballs, a cricket set, a boules set and kites – all ready for you to help yourself.
We’re perfectly positioned for walks (both long and short) along 'chemin blancs' which start literally on the doorstep. There’s a lovely circular walk through the vineyards and the forest from the house or take the back route down to Néré and treat yourself to a drink at the bar when you get there.
We do appear to have the National collection of bikes at L’Échappée Douce (3 men's, 3 women's/teenager's, 2 children's and 1 tag along). This comes from being a family of keen cyclists and having children who don’t seem to stop growing! There are lots of cycle routes in the area and we have a selection of maps to help you on your way. Take a bike out in the morning sunshine and bring home fresh croissants.
The local village of Néré (2 mins by car) is home to a friendly restaurant/bar with English speaking staff & there's a weekly visit from a fantastic food truck. Don't miss the incredible local markets - stalls piled high with delicious, fresh produce.
Catch dinner at the local trout lake, pick your own vegetables at the organic farm in nearby Angoulême, escape from the Maize Maze or make friends with a monkey at La Vallée des Singes.
Within an hour's drive of the Atlantic coast with beautiful sandy beaches. Enjoy the islands of Oléron and Ré or the very cosmopolitan, La Rochelle. Take a tour of Cognac's famous distilleries or cruise along the river at Saintes.
There are chateaux straight out of fairy tales, donkeys wearing traditional pyjamas & locally produced wines and cognac. Throw in an average of 2,600 hours of sunshine per year & you can feel sure that the region has plenty to offer for a perfect holiday!
LOCATION & HOW TO GET HERE
L’Échappée Douce is one of 11 stone houses in the pretty village of Mortafond. Néré is the closest village which is approximately 3 minutes away by car. We are in central France – 1 hour east of La Rochelle or 2 hours north of Bordeaux.
BY AIR -
La Rochelle is the closest airport and is approximately one hour’s drive from L’Échappée Douce. Bordeaux airport is a two hour drive from L’Échappée Douce. Car hire is available at both airports from a variety of providers.
BY CAR -
You can reach us in 5-8 hours by car from the Channel ports depending on crossings.
BY TRAIN -
The TGV (high speed train) is available between Paris and Angoulême. The average travel time between Paris and Angoulême is 3hours 10minutes. The quickest route is 2hours 28 minutes. There is an average of 29 trains a day between Paris and Angoulême, leaving approximately every 29 minutes.