Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 4395: Sarlat Holiday Homes, Passiflore
3bed/3bath house in Vitrac, Aquitaine
Octobeer 17 - 24, 6 days
The house was a very nice old stone house in the style of the area that appeared to have been part of a complex of houses on a farm. There were several other rental houses on the same property rented by the same owner. This house was just over the Dordogne River, about 100 yards from the small city of Vitrac that is about 10 miles from Sarlat. It is basically in the country since the city of Vitrac consists mainly of a few hotels and a few small stores. About 100 yards away, and across the road was a canoe rental facility (closed at this time of year) that one could easily walk to. The area was very quiet, with a very attractive large yard and swimming pool.
It would be easy to walk to Vitrac to eat at one of the hotels, e.g. La Treille but there was not much else to walk to in the city of Vitrac. To get to a grocery store one would need a car for the short drive away. To get to a bakery one had to go about 4-5 km. to a nearby town where there are two bakeries. Other than the one restaurant mentioned above, it would be necessary to drive 4-5 km to a place to eat. There was a very nice restaurant in Domme that I highly recommend Cabanoix et Chataigne. I would not advise eating at La Lys d'Or in Sarlat.
The house appeared to be an old farmhouse with a steeply slopped and shingled roof and a small tower that is typical of the area. Because of the steep roof there was ample room upstairs for two bedrooms and two bathrooms (shower only). One upstairs bedroom had a full sized bed and a crib and the second upstairs bedroom, somewhat smaller, had two twin beds in it. The ground level had one nicely sized bedroom with a queen bed and bath adjacent, again, shower only. Also the ground floor had a very nicely sized living area with fireplace and a similarly sized kitchen with a fireplace. Each fireplace was wood burning (Hint: if you go in cool weather, brush up on your fire building technique). The kitchen was well furnished with dishes, implements, gas stove top but with electric oven, dishwasher and clothes washer(we finally figured out how to wash a load of clothes with less than a three day cycle, or so it seemed). There is an outdoor clothesline and a drying rack for indoor use. The house has WiFi with TV with cable (English channels were available).
There was a rather large back yard, neatly kept with various trees planted and several bunny rabbits. Additionally, there was a swimming pool, covered at this time of year, and an outdoor shower along with a place to use as a grill. Near the entrance to the kitchen was a picnic table on a bricked patio. All was very well kept and attractive. The yard and pool were private to the house.
Everything in the house was in tip top shape. Nice comfortable furniture, clean new looking bed linens. There was a very ample supply of local travel information on the coffee table and a real comfortable chaise lounge in the living area. Everything was quite clean as it should be since you pay a cleaning fee when you leave.
All beds seemed to be comfortable enough with adequate bed linens. There were three baths so each of my kids had there own bedroom and bath. One of the bathrooms upstairs was a little cramped being right under the roof and all and my son complained that it was lacking in some air circulation. There were two pedestal style electric fans available that possibly might have been of some benefit had we chosen to use them.
The kitchen was large with good appliances and what I consider an ample supply of cooking utensils, of course depending on what one chooses to cook and how much. We found it adequate for simple meal preparation, e.g. pasta with tomato sauce, etc. There is a microwave, toaster, coffee pot (filter type)and a good supply of wine glasses.
Problems or Bonuses
This was my third experience at renting a house. The first in Provence proved to be successful, the second in Nice was a joke and we walked away from it. This one exceeded my expectations in terms of size, and adequacy of furnishings, etc. We arrived later than expected, about 9pm and found a large gift basket waiting for us that saved our lives, at least for that night. The basket contained a bottle of local wine, bread, two cheese, candy, meats, etc. Otherwise we would have gone to bed hungry.
The owners, Bob and Bernadette, were very responsive to any questions or problems we had. There is a problem in that the main breaker switch turns off occasionally and one has to go to the basement and reset the switch. Bob explained that that happens infrequently, and is true all over France, but it happened twice while we were there. Another quibble, perhaps a personal issue, is that there were no soap dished in the downstairs bath. I suggest that you take a small dish with suction cups on it.
Although when we rented the house we knew that checkout time was 9:30am, when it actually arrives it seems awfully early. I would have preferred a later check out time since being on vacation we had gotten lazy about getting up and off.
The location is ideal for seeing all the local sights. Just minutes away from Le Roque, Domme, Lascaux and a longer but perhaps 45 drive to Gouffre de Padirac and Roquemadour.
Due to the season, Bernadette gave us a reduced price for the cleaning service and in spite of the early checkout time, my wife managed to get the kitchen cleaned up satisfactorily for the cleaning lady!
I highly recommend this property or any others these people might have.
Thank you for reading this.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Both Bob and Bernadette are Scottish. Our price was €750, down a bit due to the season. Bernadette communicates very promptly and precisely. No surprises. She provides good information before you arrive with precise and readable directions.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
As above, yes.
Things to do in this area
Domme has a remarkable viewing area to see the valley below. In addition to the restaurant mentioned above, there is a hotel right at the balustrade that reportedly has a good dining room as well. From the viewing area we walked along the path behind the hotel and around the city until we got to the residential area. It is a very pretty city with lots of good views all around.
In warmer weather there is a lot of river activity, canoes, etc. Bernadette told me that in the summer the river would be jammed with canoes. Also, the crowd at the Gouffre de Padirac was rather sparse. The guide said that in the high season they would take 5,000 people a day through the cave.
I would recommend making the drive to the Font de Gaume. This is a small cave but the paintings are authentic although somewhat faded. Still very impressive.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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