Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 4860: La Prairie in France, Mado Hargreaves
3bed/1bath apartment near Daglan, Aquitaine
October 2010, One week
La Prairie is a country property of 13 acres just outside the tiny hamlet of Peyruzel. It is in an area of gently rolling hills near the Dordogne River, which is only a few minutes drive away. The owners are Louise and David, who live in their own home on the property. There are four rental units in three separate buildings. The units offer privacy and a country feeling while still allowing easy access to local sites and amenities. The surrounding area is farm and grazing land dotted with single family homes, accessed by narrow, winding lanes that are nonetheless paved and well maintained.
Although one could walk to the nearby towns of either Daglan or Cernac et Julien each is about three miles away. I don't think there is any commercial business in the nearest hamlet of Peyruzel, which is only a fraction of a kilometer away. Daglan is quite small and has an excellent restaurant, but also has a small grocery, a boulangerie, interesting jewelery store, etc. Cernac has one or more coffee bars, a couple of bakers, a meat market, and a couple of restaurants as well as a full service "super" market.
Although not all of the buildings are historical, David is a builder and has adhered to traditional materials and techniques in restoring the property, so there is a cohesive "country French" feeling throughout. The unit we rented was Mado Hargreaves, which was an historic barn that was first dismantled and then reconstructed and divided into two rental units using the original materials. Thus there was one other apartment in this building. There is a covered carport shared by both units, which have individual ground level entrances that are well shielded from each other.
Upon entering you face a spacious kitchen on the right, the stairs to the bedrooms before you, and a living area to the left with a dining table behind that. Upstairs are the three bedrooms and bath. One bedroom has bunk beds, one has a single bed, and the main bedroom has a double or queen sized bed. The bathroom is small but adequate.
In addition to a private, covered, outside back patio there are numerous places on the property to sit including the very nice pool which is pretty much like an infinity type and looks directly at the nearby hamlet of Peyruzel. It includes a covered open pool house. There are multiple garden areas and open lawn areas with plenty of room to walk or sit. David and Louise have grown children as well as a young son, and they have gone to great lengths to make the property "family friendly," including an inside playroom in a separate building containing the laundry room for rainy days as well as outdoor playhouses. There are toys, books, videos, and DVDs for both kids and adults.
The furniture was comfortable and in reasonably good shape. In keeping with the country theme it is not fancy but everything is quite workable. There is adequate seating for up to six people in the dining area, but this many in the living room would be a bit cramped in terms of seating without using the dining room chairs. The unit was clean and nicely decorated with lots of "bee" theme stencils on the walls, which were painted and decorated by Louise.
We only used the main bed, which was fine. The single bathroom might be an issue depending on how many people were using it and their ages. The only complaint about the bathroom was there was no wall fixture for the European hand-held shower head, which might make showering a bit of a challenge. We did not think it was a big enough issue to bring to David's attention.
The kitchen was more than adequate, with a refrigerator that is large by European standards and range with a full oven. We had no problem cooking or eating at home. Again, there was nothing fancy but nothing that was unworkable or unacceptable.
Problems or Bonuses
Louise provided an extensively researched binder of information with personal notes and comments that was a real prize in terms of exploring and enjoying the area. She and David are friendly and easily approachable and happy to help in any way without intruding on your privacy.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked directly with Louise and David. They are British so of course they speak English. The price at the time was quite reasonable, under roughly $750 for the week.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would absolutely stay at La Prairie again and would recommend it without qualification. We loved the location, feeling both secluded yet not isolated, and quickly felt quite at home. The only caution might be, for some, that the property lends itself to rentals by families with children. We were there in October, after the summer vacation crowds were gone, and were the only renters on the property. While we loved it this way, I'm not sure how tranquil the atmosphere would have been if the other units were rented by younger families. It might still have been enjoyable, but in a very different way.
Things to do in this area
The caves at Font du Gaume, a boat ride on the Dordogne, visits to Domme, Montignac, Belves, Beynac, Montpazier, Sarlat, Chateau de Fenelon, and La Roque Gageac, and more. Restaurants included Le Petit Paris in Daglan, La Pauly in Cenac, Auberge de La Rode Sarl Florian in Domme, Auberge Lys Or in Sarlat, and Le Belle Etoile in La Roque.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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