Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 3025: La Villas des Consuls, Montesquieu
2bed/1bath apartment in Sarlat, Aquitaine
May 26-June 5, 10 days
Villa des Consuls is in the heart of medieval Sarlat, in the Dordogne region of France. Located on the more residential side of Rue de la Republique, Villa des Consuls is a modern, renovated space in 13th, 17th, and 19th century buildings.
Sarlat is a beautiful medieval city in the Perigord region of France. It can become very touristy, but at the time we were there (May 25-June 5, 2007), it was very calm. If you stay there for a while, as we did, you'll most likely be visiting the outlying areas and won't be in Sarlat when the tourists hit. David, is a very helpful host who speaks very good English.
Everything you need is within walking distance from Villas des Consuls. The town square is filled with restaurants and shops, and Rue de la Repulique has a variety of shops, from banks to tabacs to boulangeries and patisseries. Sarlat has a good market on Wednesdays and a great market on Saturdays. There are plenty of shops to take care of all your needs and two large supermarkets on the edge of town (best visited with a car). Parking is free in certain spaces around town; David also offers use of a garage for €7 per day (we never needed that).
The apartment we stayed in, Montesquieu, sleeps up to six comfortably. Up a modern but steep, circular staircase, the apartment sits on the second floor of a 13th century building. Montesquieu has two bedrooms with large, comfortable queen beds as well as a pullout sofa in the living room. As you enter the apartment, you must put your key tag into the light switch to turn on the lights.
The ceilings are wonderfully high, creating spaciousness to an already spacious apartment (without making it feel cavernous). The apartment is painted with cream colored walls and curtains and bedspreads that are sunny but not unattractive. The floors in the living areas are tile, wood in the bedrooms. All rooms are air-conditioned although we never needed it -- opening the windows was perfect. While you can hear the noises of pleasant families across the courtyard or the bells from the church tolling, they only add to the atmosphere. One warning for weekend nights, though: this particular apartment is next door to a small bar, and we did have to close the windows due to a man who liked to sing (not a professional -- more a circumstantial singer, I believe!) However, David has taken the wise steps of using thick, modern soundproof windows throughout the building. There is also a small portable heater if needed.
As you enter the apartment, you see the door to the first bedroom, a good sized one with two closets with shelves, two end tables, a rack for a suitcase, windows that open to the courtyard, and a French door that opens to the terrace. Unfortunately, there is no dresser in which to put your clothes, but the closets and shelves there are enough.
The heart of the apartment is an open kitchen/living area. Large French doors open to the terrace, where you can lounge on two comfortable chairs or dine at a table. The kitchen itself has a tall window over the sink that opens to a tiny courtyard (no view but of the walls across the way), a sink, a small dishwasher (tablets supplied), a four-burner smooth cook top, a microwave, and a small refrigerator. There is no oven. As well, there is a coffee pot and an electric tea kettle along with enough pots, utensils, plates, and glasses for a family of four to make do. I made all of our meals but two in the kitchen, and it was fine. We dined at a comfortable table for four at the center of the room.
The living area adjacent to the kitchen has a small desk with a phone and lamp, a small TV high on the wall (mostly French language programming, BBC and SKY news). The sleeper sofa sits against the wall across from the desk and TV and is upholstered in yellow vinyl (more comfortable than it sounds).
The bathroom, water closet, and second bedroom are down a short hall from the living area, separated by a door. The bathroom is large and modern with a shower-tub combo and has good water pressure and showering! The second bedroom also has doors leading out onto the terrace. The terrace itself is not completely private as it overlooks another terrace that is entry to a young family's home, but there is the quaint factor: you know you're in France, sitting on your terrace, part of a the community of this sweet courtyard. You also have a view of the rooftops of Sarlat and even the hills and sky beyond.
Each room has either the lower courtyard or its own terrace.
Problems or Bonuses
We encountered no problems either at Villa des Consuls or in Sarlat. Laundry is free if you have your own detergent or €.50 if you get some from David; the laundry is located across from the front desk and has new machines (three washers and three dryers). They were pretty good, too. Internet access is available at a computer next to the reception desk; it's €6 for the first hour and three euros for every hour after that. Internet time is done via a password he gives you and is added to your bill at the end of the stay.
The terrace, the spaciousness, the location, and David: all of these are the bonuses to Villa des Consuls.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The website has a wealth of information and has accurate pictures depicting the property. It's even better than the pictures!
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Our family loved staying here, particularly in this unit. David was helpful with whatever we needed, the shopkeepers along Rue de la Republique were friendly and patient (in my ten days in Sarlat I learned how to speak French with their patience and help!), and it was a relaxing way to start a French vacation. We were on our way to Paris after our time in Sarlat, and this was a great transition for us from America.
Things to do in this area
With a rental car, you have so much at your feet: prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux, Peche Merle, and Grotte du Font Gaume, myriad chateaux, vineyards, walks, hikes, canoe trips ... so much to explore near Sarlat!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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