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Review 4618: Six Cottages in France, La Maison des Arcades (Gascony)

www.fhills.hotkey.net.au/~frenchcottage/

Not Recommended
Review by SL Jones from IL who is a SlowTrav Contributor

3bed/1bath house near near Marciac, Gascony, Pyrenees


When

May 2010, 1 week

Review

This house is unique, set into a 14th century arcaded building. It's a townhouse with three floors. The first floor is an entry way, nicely decorated. Up the stairs you will find the kitchen and dining room, very pleasant with large windows overlooking the street. The living room tended to be small and dark, though equipped with TV, plenty of books, and lots of movies and CDs. We didn't seem to be able to find a comfortable well lit place to sit, except at the dining room table. The two bedrooms were large and very comfortable, though not very stylish, and the bathroom was clean and just adequate. There was a washing machine in the kitchen - great. The kitchen was just fine, and fairly well equipped. On a third level was a large open bedroom which we didn't use, as there were just the two of us. The place was a little worn, but it had some nice features.

The street, in tiny Tillac, is visited by tourists, as it is indeed very old and picturesque. It is one short block long. There isn't much else in the town. There is a tower, a church, a small park, two grand houses, a few other houses, a good butcher shop and a small grocery store. That's it ... plus thankfully a wonderful restaurant! We really appreciated Le Relais de Tour because we could wander down there for a drink, a meal, or a lively chat with the couple who run the place. The woman loves to chat and speaks good English. It gave a little bit of life to a town that was otherwise way too quiet for us. For the sake of Tillace, I sure hope they stay in business. While we were there, mid May, there just wasn't anyone around. The closest town was Marciac, and that town has a lot of life in it. The big square is wonderful, with some nice cafes. And there are some good restaurant choices. There is a well known jazz festival there each summer, and concerts every month. If you're into jazz, you'd enjoy that. We found a couple of other small towns which we liked, but not enough to make the area desirable or special for us. They were very small, and you could see them quickly. The agrarian Gers scenery was nice in a quiet way, but we found that we were very ready to leave at the end of the week. We took two trips into the Pyrenees - which you can see clearly on a clear day. In about two hours you can be in them. We certainly welcomed that opportunity.

The Richards, the Australian owners, think of everything. They are very thoughtful about the needs of their renters. There is a lot of information in the house, plus a robust library of books, CDs and DVDs. They own seven rental houses in France. On the website, this house is called Gascony. (We stayed in three of them this trip, all in SW France, and they are all 3 reviewed by us). We found them very easy and pleasant to communicate with about these rentals, and the amount of information they provide is exceptional. It is a great website - very thorough. Most of their guests are Australian, though certainly not all of them.

We do not recommend this place, with qualifiers. The main problem wasn't the rental itself, but the location, the area. If this place had been located in a wonderful area, it would have gotten a thumbs up. If you want something really really quiet, and want a good look at agrarian France, this would be lovely. I compare it with visiting the US and staying in one of the prettier areas of rural Wisconsin. It's pretty, pleasant, and typically American but you'd be thinking of all the grander, more interesting, more scenic, or more unique places you could be spending that week. That was our experience.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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