Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 1537: Owner, La Maison des Deux Clochers
2bed/1bath house near Beaune, Burgundy
May 26 - June 2, 2005, 1 week
Maison des deux clochers is in a very small town (rumour has it there are 800 people, but I think it is more like 200), just outside of Beaune, and close to Nuits St. George and Dijon. The countryside around there is gorgeous, and the location is great for sightseeing, wine tasting and enjoying the outdoors.
The house is located on a main street in what is otherwise a small town. There is some street noise, especially noticeable in the morning, when it seems that the road funnels workers from the countryside going into the larger town. It was noisy enough that we slept with the windows closed. The building isn't air conditioned, so in the heat, that might be uncomfortable. It is also across from the church and the mairie, which has the 2 bells, hence the name. The bells ring twice each hour, and several times at 7am and 7pm. I though it was quite charming (there are also roosters in the morning), but it bothered my partner for the first few days.
The accommodation is all on the second floor, the first floor probably originally being used only for animals or storage. Entry is from a courtyard, which is quiet, with a private garden across from the entrance available to renters.
I have rented several holiday homes and apartments in France and Italy, and this was one of the best in terms of its facilities. All modern appliances were available (although we didn't use the washing machine - it was easier and faster to wash things by hand, and hang them on a drying rack on the small deck). There were lots of kitchen things - including quite good knives, a kettle and coffee maker, adequate stove and oven, and toaster. The fridge is large by European standards. The bathroom is new and very clean, with a large tub. Several towels and wash cloths (rare in Europe) per person were provided. The main bed was very comfortable, and the comforters were warm and cozy. We didn't use the other bedroom, through which you must walk to get to the main bedroom, except to store our clothes. We don't travel light, and the wardrobe in the main bedroom wasn't big enough for both of us.
The living room has a great dining table, and is well finished with comfortable chairs, a sofa, and a good selection of books. There is a TV, with several movies to watch on the VCR. The owner, a Canadian woman, who is extremely helpful, has set out several walks, drives, and lots of information on local shopping and restaurants. We tried 2 of her recommended restaurants, which were both excellent and not too expensive.
The town has no facilities, but it is a fairly easy walk, maybe 10 minutes, along a quiet country road, to a larger town that has a convenience store and a bakery. We tried their croissants on a Sunday morning, and they were delicious. Other shopping was done in larger stores in Nuits St. George, which was very close.
The big thing is the wine, and you could spend all day, every day, stopping at wineries in the neighbourhood. The owner left us a good bottle of red, and we tried several others purchased just along the main highway between Beaune and Nuits St. George.
I was very impressed by the countryside - it is rolling, and very pretty. There are lots of castles, Beaune is good for a morning and afternoon, and Dijon, which our travel agent had told us would be very complicated, was a good town to visit for the whole day. Every day we went for a walk around the town and into the countryside, and the roads are quiet and easy to walk along. There are farms, cows and horses, and nice views.
There is nothing locally to buy in the particular town where the rental is, except possibly wine, but we didn't figure out where to go for it. However, there is lots of food shopping in the nearby towns, none more than 5 miles away, and the owner has helpfully suggested, in written materials in the living room, her picks for wine, bread, pastries and meats. There are local markets, as well, although we didn't get to any of them.
I suspect the buildings are all originally farm buildings. The neighbours were around - we could see them in the morning, and hear the chickens across the road. The apartment is in very good shape, and is the only one in the building, although others seem to be attached at the corners.
There is a small balcony, comfortable for 2, but too small for any more, and a table and chairs are set up out there. It is quiet and peaceful, but only one person gets a view - the other is looking at the farm walls. The view is just of the houses in the town, and is nice, but not spectacular. However, the swallows were interesting to watch. We didn't use the garden in the courtyard - although there were chairs available to sit there if you wished. There is no pool, and I didn't see any local swimming pools. We were there at the end of May and beginning of June, and the temperature was quite hot in the day, but very comfortable at night.
All the furniture and beds are in good shape and quite comfortable. We fell asleep a couple of nights, after "tasting" the local wine, in the living room chairs, which were very comfy.
The apartment is quite cozy for 2, and might be ok for a couple with one child, or 2 small ones - as noted above, you have to go through the smaller bedroom, which has 2 single beds, to get to the main bedroom. I don't think it would be good for 2 couples, or 4 adults, unless you were very comfortable with each other. You could eat in the dining room, but each of the kitchen and the outdoor deck are really only good for 2.
See above. The kitchen was very well set up for cooking, and we prepared some very good meals there.
Problems or Bonuses
My only hesitation in recommending this was the traffic noise. It wasn't a problem in the day, or even later at night - it was mostly noticable first thing in the morning. The house is literally on the road - there is no sidewalk to speak of, and the owners caution against leaving the shutters unhinged, since I think passing trucks might hit them. The main bedroom is on the road, whereas the litte one is at the back, and the back of the house, which is where the entrance, deck and sitting area are, is quiet and pretty, with lots of flowers.
There are not a lot of places to rent in Burgundy - you could spend a week looking at accommodation for Tuscany on the internet and still not see it all, whereas there are only a couple of listings at most rental sites for Burgundy. The owner was so helpful, and price so reasonable ($750, Cdn. per week), that I thought the noise was a small detraction only.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
I had no problem getting in touch with the owner by email before we left, and she was very accommodating, answering questions and putting up with many changes to the dates.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I'm not sure I would stay again, since I think I would rather try other areas in Burgundy next time. But, for a first visit to Burgundy, I would recommend it - it is not surrounded by beautiful views, but the views are there as soon as you get in the car, and the accommodation, while certainly not luxurious, was quite comfortable. For sightseeing in that part of Burgundy, I would recommend it. The house is good value for the money - its comfortable, but not fancy.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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