Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 4718: Owner, Le Grenier (#409648)
Studio apartment in Sarlat-la-Caneda, Aquitaine
July 2010, 1 week
Le Grenier is a studio apartment (for 2) right in the heart of the Cite' Medievale of Sarlat. Its building is only a few steps from the main Place de la Liberte'. If you see photos taken from the Place de la Liberte' looking towards the cathedral of St. Sacerdos, you will see a building on the right with a turreted tower. Le Grenier is on the top floor in back of the half-timbered building next to the tower building. The location was not totally quiet, as the main window of the apartment is above two courtyard restaurants below, and in July when we were there the restaurants stayed open til almost 11pm every night. But, we actually enjoyed the sounds of people happily dining, talking and laughing in the courtyards below us in the evenings.
It was so easy to walk to any restaurant in Sarlat because we were right in the middle of the town. The hard part was choosing where to dine! There was a small grocery store about a five-minute walk away on the rue de la Republique. However, there is a Carrefours supermarket just a mile or so north of town and it was not a problem to go there. There is also a gas station at the Carrefours market and the prices for diesel there were €.10 per litre cheaper than other stations in town or the surrounding area.
The building the apartment is in was built in the 1400's, but the apartment itself was probably built out within the past 10 years. It is not totally new but was in good shape and we were more than happy with it. There are other apartments in the building but we never saw or heard anyone else the whole week we were there. However, because it is such an old building and the apartment is on the top floor, the only way to reach it is 75 steps up a spiral stone staircase, so you have to be able to do stairs. It was very hot while we were there, so we often had to take a break halfway up to the apartment to catch our breath. But the climb to the apartment got easier as the week went on.
You can view the property directly: Le Grenier.
No, there was no outside sitting area other than one of the cafes in the Place de la Liberte', which was just fine with us.
The furniture was basic (no antiques) but in very good shape. There was a small, comfortable sofa/love-seat and arm chair in the living room area, and a drop-leaf table and two chairs for dining. There is no air-conditioning in the apartment and since it's on the top floor, it could get quite warm in the middle of the day. But, we were usually out and about during the days, so it wasn't a problem for us. Also, there is a large oscillating fan in the apartment, and during the day we would put it in the window during the day to move the air around, which helped a lot.
The bedroom area was actually in a quite roomy alcove, off the main apartment area. It has three original stone walls. There are also old, original beams that you walk through to get to the bedroom area. The owners have hung sheer curtains on the sides of the alcove, so you can "close off" the bedroom from the main part of the apartment if you want to (we did not). It was actually quite cozy and romantic. The bed was really comfortable and we slept well every night. We also moved the fan to the bedroom area every night, which helped us sleep better too.
The small kitchen was quite usable and had everything we needed, except perhaps one more small saucepan. We ate dinner there on three nights that week and had breakfast there almost every morning. There were some basic cooking supplies, however, the owners do offer to go shopping for you before you arrive if you'd like to have basic supplies (i.e. milk, coffee) already on hand once you're there.
Problems or Bonuses
Only good surprises - I was surprised how very close we actually were to everything in Sarlat! Everything in the old town was within very easy walking distance. We loved being in the middle of all that was going on, and especially strolling through medieval streets in the evenings, watching the street entertainers and musicians and trying to decide where to have dinner or coffee. We also loved being in the middle of Sarlat for all the Bastille Day festivities. There was lots going on and it was really fun to celebrate the day with everyone else in town.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
After sending the initial inquiry through HomeAway, we dealt directly with the owners after that. The owners are a lovely Irish couple who moved to the Dordogne area five years ago. They are so very helpful and are a pleasure to deal with. They sent us a lot of information about Sarlat and things to do in the area after we made the initial booking. We called them when were were about an hour away from Sarlat and they met us at the train station and led us to the closest parking lot to the apartment. They also helped us get our luggage up to the apartment. The studio itself was as described on the website and we felt the rental price was a steal for a week in the height of the summer tourist season - €395.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We really want to go back to Le Grenier, but in either May or late September next time. Sarlat was fun and really jumping in mid-July, but the heat and humidity took a bit of a toll on us sometimes. I'd definitely recommend this apartment to my friends, with the caveat that you have to be able climb the 75 stairs back up to the apartment every time you go out and, if you have a car, the easiest free parking lot is about a five minute walk away.
Things to do in this area
All the restaurants we ate at in Sarlat were very good. We took day trips every day to other places in the area - the chateaux of Beynac, Castelnaud, Les Milandes (Josphine Baker's former residence), had lunch at La Belle Etoile in La Roque Gageac, visited Montignac and Lascaux II (even if it is only a replica), Limuel, Tremolat, Domme. We took took a tour on the Dordogne River on one of the gabarres out of La Roque Gageac, and then our last day in the area, we did the 25 km canoe trip from Carsac to Les Milandes - a wonderful day!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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