Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 5041: Owner, La Maisonette du Coteau (#255275)
3bed/2bath house in Beynac-et-Cazenac, Aquitaine
June 10-17, 2011, 1 week
This house is located adjacent to Chateau de Beynac, on the path leading up to the Chateau from the lower village. The house itself is quite attractive, and tourists walking up to the Chateau often stop to take photographs of the house. The garden on the back side of the house is shielded some what from the path, and is relatively private, although it can be seen from the neighboring house just down the path.
There are two restaurants in the upper village, although they are not always open for dinner since they seem to cater to the daytime crowds visiting the chateau. Although it is possible to walk to the lower village for groceries, most people would drive. The parking area for the house is located 150 yards away from the house, in a parking lot reserved for residents of the village (and closer to the chateau than the parking lot used by visitors). A grocery store and patisserie are located on the edge of Beynac, on the road leading form La Roque, and served by a convenient parking lot, less than a five-minute drive away.
The building is about 600 years old, apparently having been built as the "fuour banal" or common break oven for the upper village. It features thick stone walls, with a kitchen, dining area, and small sitting area on the ground floor, then two bedrooms, a bathroom, and small TV room on the first (second American) floor, and a master suite (with bathroom) in the attic level.
The house contains three small outside areas, two of which are shaded and have tables and chairs, with nice views of the little valley where the road leads to the lower village.
The dining table can seat six, but the other areas (seating area downstairs and TV area upstairs) offer limited seating. The house was very clean and well maintained, having been totally renovated by the current owners in 2008. It offers all the modern conveniences that one would expect, except, perhaps, for broadcast or cable TV (the TV in the house was hooked up to the DVR, so to keep up with what's going on elsewhere, it is advisable to bring a laptop computer and use the WiFi).
The queen beds were comfortable, although the smaller twin beds are probably better for children than adults. The lower bathroom had a shower, while the one in the master suite had a tub with a spray nozzle. The bathroom in the master suite has a partition from the sleeping area, and is not completely private from the bedroom, so its usage by guests staying downstairs is somewhat problematic, but for four adults, we found the bathroom space to be adequate. Two couples would find it even more accommodating.
The kitchen was well appointed with a good stove, oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and all the pots, pans and dishes that one would require. We did not attempt to cook a full meal in the kitchen, but did use it for final preparation of food we brought back to the house from the market.
Problems or Bonuses
The house comes with WiFi and Internet based phone which provides unlimited calls to the US and to European landlines (but not, unfortunately, European cell phones). However, while we were there, they had to replace the modem, so while we had Internet connections pretty much the entire time, we only had phone service the last two days. It was quite handy when it worked because cell phone reception in this area is limited -- in order to get enough signal to text, I had to step out on the edge of the patio -- calls from this location were not possible on my cell service. The walk up the hill to get to the parking lot is not very long, but it is uphill on a rather steep, and somewhat tricky cobblestone street. It would not be a good location for someone with mobility issues, but then again, I wouldn't recommend the Dordogne region to someone with mobility issues.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owner (lives in Seattle) was easy to work with, as was his local agent (who spoke English). Even the French speaking maid was very helpful. The property lived up to its portrayal on the web site and was exactly what we expected. We paid €995 for a one week rental in mid-June (I believe they have raised prices since we booked this listing in September of 2010).
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would recommend this location for anyone but those with mobility issues. It is a rare opportunity to stay in an historic property that is part of a major tourist site. I would stay here again.
Things to do in this area
We stayed a week in the Dordogne without driving any farther than Les Eyzies for the Font du Gaume tour and never ran out of things to do. Between the various chateaus, canoeing, and the towns of Sarlat, Domme, and La Roque, there is plenty to see and do. We ate at two restaurants in the village (La Petite Tonnelle and one overlooking the river whose name escapes me) and enjoyed both of them, along with other dining options in nearby La Roque Gageac (five-minute drive and convenient parking on the east side of the village). A great area, and one that more Americans should see.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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