Le Tabarit stands on a large plot about 4 miles from the town of Aulnay-de-Saintonge in Nouvelle-Aquitaine (formerly Charente-Maritime) and 3.5 miles from a good-sized Intermarché supermarket so a car is essential although there are a few bicycles in the garage. The area is given over to arable farming - largely sunflowers, wheat and barley. The house is roughly in the middle of a triangle formed by the cities of La Rochelle, Poitiers and Angoulême.
It sits on a quiet lane that runs N-S. To the east and west are long views across the fields with spectacular sunsets on summer nights. There is a house about 100 yds. to the south and another (rarely inhabited as it is a holiday home) a little to the north. Le Tabarit is therefore a hamlet of three houses. The house and garden are wonderfully quiet save for the sound of birds. In May you can hear nightingales almost 24/7 when they arrive from South Africa for the mating season - John Keats would have loved it. Other birds include hen-harriers, buzzards, owls and swallows. The accommodation is all on one level and comprises three double bedrooms, study/fourth bedroom, utility room with 9kg washing machine, large fridge and large chest freezer, separate WC, bathroom and a large living room/kitchen. The kitchen is well equipped with fridge, Bosch dishwasher, four ring induction hob, electric oven, microwave and a breadmaker. The living room has a woodburner, two large sofas, TV (with UK programmes via satellite) and a DVD/CD player along with a selection of DVDs annd CDs for both adults and children.
The whole house was rewired in 2017. There is broadband, again via satellite, and wifi which can be 'extended' to the pool terrace by plugging the gizmo into the poolside socket. Although there is ample room to park on the lane there is a large garage/workshop and possibly the use of a BMW Z3 (two-seater) soft-top - sheer delight on a sunny day.
Leaving the house there is a small conservatory and outside to the left is a barn. The south-facing in-ground heated pool (10 x 5 x 1.4m) is at the back of the barn and gets the sun all day long. It has an electric 'hard' cover which is childproof and rolls up when not in use (please see pictures). The pool has lights in the side which are handy when the sun goes down. There are ample wooden chairs, sun loungers, li-los and various toys for children to enjoy.
If you need extra sleeping accomodation I can erect a large tent (sleeps 3/4) in the garden.
It is ideal for cycling being largely flat and there are several bicycles in the garage for various ages. On Google Earth (street view) you can take a virtual 'drive' around the locality. There is very little traffic on the roads. NB. The street view was taken in about 2012/3 and shows the top of an above-ground pool that has now gone. The aerial view was taken by the US Navy in about 2015 and shows the present pool under construction.
Aulnay, the local town, has a couple of bars and a fairly basic restaurant as well as a thirteenth (I think) century Romanesque church which is a world heritage site. It has some wonderful stonework.
Further afield there is Dampière-sur-Boutonne (about ten miles) with its chateau, river and bar. It also has a restaurant.
Cognac is about twenty two miles away and is a delightful town on the river Charente with a world-famous jazz and classical music festival in the summer. The town's buildings have a black mould on them which derives from something used in the distillation of the famous local drink. There are tours around the distilleries, including one that includes a river trip that ends with some cognac tasting.
La Rochelle is a pretty port/city, especially around the harbour. The Saturday market (get there about 10.30am) expands out from the middle of the old town and has the most delicious produce.
In fact, during the summer nearly every town and village has its own festival and these are family affairs with a really fun atmosphere.
Saint-Jean-d'Angély is about ten miles and has some excellent retaurants and large shops. Do try Le Scorlion in the grounds of the abbey although you will need to book (0033 5 46 32 52 61).
I usually go Portsmouth - St. Malo with Brittany Ferries. If you quote my Club Voyage number there is a 10% discount. If you leave Portsmouth at 8.15pm you will arrive at around 8am next morning and you should arrive at the property around 1pm (280 miles). There are overnight cabins available.
There are many flights from Stansted, Gatwick and East Midlands (and, I expect, other airports too) to La Rochelle and Poitiers - about 80 minutes flight time. You can hire a car at both airports and the house is about 45 miles from each.
There are no house rules but do please note the following:
1) All liquid waste and toilet paper from the house is pumped into a fosse septique in the SW corner of the garden where it drains through gravel and is broken down by bacteria. It works very well but cannot cope with sanitary products I'm afraid.
2) The pool is great fun but at 1.4m deep can be dangerous for children. Please, please ensure that children are not left unattended by or in the pool and that the cover is put on when the pool is not in use. With the cover on the pool is safe.
3) I would ask that you do not use glass/ceramics on the pool terrace as breakages can cause splinters that will end up in someone's foot or else in the pool where there will tear the plastic liner. There are ample plastic glasses and plates (not as good, I know) in the kitchen.