Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 2180: Owner, Chez Freddie
6bed/6bath house in Chérigné, Aquitaine
June 2006, one week
Tucked in the country, and perfect for those who want to follow the Romanesque church route, or look at the footprint of Eleanor of Aquitaine, while enjoying the peace and serenity of a lovely country setting. Deliciously quiet, with a lovely river running at the foot of the property and a wonderful salt water swimming pool to yourselves, and fabulous birdsong as an accompaniment. Nearest town is tiny Breaux-Sur-Boutonne, with a fine bakery. Just 15 minutes away is Melle, an enchanting and unspoiled village with a wonderful arboretum, three beautiful romanesque churches, great bakeries, market, etc. Explore from Poitiers to La Rochelle, depending on whether you want to leave lovely Chez Freddie. This is truly an untouristed area riddled with small and unspoiled villages and enough history and monuments to offset its rural peacefulness. The house itself is grand: Ianthe and Richard are wonderful, thoughtful and unobtrusive English hosts who will help you plan and execute your vacation wishes. Beds are comfortable, the kitchen is wonderfully equipped for those of us who love shopping and cooking in France, and the grounds offer plenty of room for conviviality and separateness. We were eight friends who often travel together and this house could accommodate 10 - 12 without stress.
You must drive to the Intermarche in Breaux-sur-Boutonne, about 10 minutes. Restaurants are within a 10 minute to 30 minute drive, depending upon how fancy you want.
There are no other rentals, it is a lovely old farmhouse, lovingly restored and expanded and fully equipped with six bedroooms and six baths, a swimming pool, and private and well-maintained grounds.
Pool and garden/sitting area, plus walkway to lovely Boutonne River.
Plenty of space for the eight of us. The living room might be tight for more than 10, but the dining room easily accommodates up to 12.
The showers were excellent. All bedrooms had their own baths/showers but only one bedroom has its own internal toilet. Two toilets are well-placed between the six bedrooms on the second floor and there is another bathroom on the first floor. The pool house has a changing room and bathroom as well.
Nothing lacking. We cooked full meals for eight with no problem at all.
Problems or Bonuses
Surprised by the wonderful birdsong and the delightful resident cats. For us, a pleasant surprise. If you are allergic to cats, not necessarily good for you!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Ianthe and Richard are English, devoted to their property, and committed to serving the interests of their guests. Couldn't be nicer.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would stay again and our only qualification is this isn't a choice for somebody who wants to do city touring and eat in Michelin-starred restaurants every day. It is truly rural though it has good roads and fine access to locations such as Saintes, Poitiers, La Rochelle, and many smaller cities and villages with lovely churches, roman ruins, and chateaux. It is a low-key area of France and if you want "action", this isn't your stomping ground.
Things to do in this area
Market days vary and the local markets in L'Ezeray and Melle are wonderful, for all the usual grand things (in June, strawberries, cherries, the white asparagus) but particularly great for fish, oysters and mussels. Bakeries are terrific. The Herald Tribune can be picked up in Melle. We liked the inexpensive Au Cheval Blanc in Breaux-Sur-Boutonne for lunch and the desserts at the fairly pricey Le Glycinage in Melle. If you go as far as Poitiers, try Alain Boutin for dinner or lunch and if you go to La Rochelle, Les Flots is excellent and expensive but there are many inexpensive and simple oyster/fish places. Don't miss the Romanesque churches in Melle, Saintes, Aulney and Poitiers if you like this architecture and the amphitheatre in Saintes. A brandy tour in Cognac is also worthwhile and a walk along the lovely riverfront.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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