Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 5598: Owner, La Fontaine
5bed/4.55bath house near Monpazier, Aquitaine
June 2013, 1 week
La Fontaine is just outside the bastide town of Monpazier, in the Dordogne region of Southwest France. From the house there is a lovely view of the town, less than a kilometer away. You can easily walk to town on a wooded path, or take the more roundabout driving route which takes less than five minutes. The house itself is on a very quiet road with wonderful views over the countryside. There are a few other properties on the street, but the house is on a huge lot and is very private.
Monpazier is a beautiful town, with several nice restaurants, and a full complement of cafes, bakeries, banks, and small grocery stores. There is a weekly market on Thursday, and ample parking in a lot just outside the walls.
There is also a large supermarket a few kilometers away, up the road near Beaumont.
This is a perfect house for a family gathering or a group of friends. There are five bedrooms, four full baths, a half bath inside, and another near the pool. One of the bedrooms is in the pigeonnier, which was the original historic structure, and would be a great sleeping area for kids. The rest of the house, which was added later and has been extensively remodeled, is on a single level. There is a huge living/dining area, with couches and a long dining table. Everything inside is new and in excellent condition.
Outside is a beautiful private pool and patio, with a large grill and big outdoor dining table. There is also lots of space around the house where kids could run around.
It was quite refreshing, after so many Ikea-furnished rentals, to stay in a home that was so beautifully furnished. Everything was in perfect taste and very comfortable. There was certainly ample seating space for a group of 10 people, although we were a smaller group.
The only thing lacking for me was some kind of desk or work table with a nearby electric outlet, since there was not a good place to set up a laptop. It wasn't that I wanted to work on vacation, but I do like to have a convenient place to use my computer when traveling -- for email, web browsing, backing up photos, etc.
The WiFi system in the house did work very well.
Our bed was extremely comfortable, and the bedroom had plenty of storage space. The master bathroom was gorgeous, with both a tub and a separate large shower, as well as heated towel rack. The only thing I don't understand is what Europeans have against shower doors. The shower only had a partial glass enclosure, so that it was impossible to use it without getting the floor and bath mat soaking wet. But this is pretty much the norm in Europe, so we have gotten used to it.
All the bedrooms were very nicely furnished, and all the bathrooms seemed to be in top condition.
The kitchen was very well supplied and had lots of counter space. There were plenty of dishes and all the cooking utensils we wanted.
There is a separate laundry room with washer and tumble dryer. All the appliances worked well.
Problems or Bonuses
A minor problem we had (not specific to the house, of course) was the weather, which was unexpectedly chilly for late June. We did not expect to need heat that time of year, and we did have a bit of trouble figuring out the heating system, which we never did get working to our satisfaction. The owner's representative, who lived nearby, did stop by but he wasn't really able to solve the problem either. We were okay with it, since it wasn't freezing cold, but it would have been nice to have a bit more heat at night.
Other than that, everything was perfect. The house is pretty much exactly as it appears on the website and we loved staying there.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owners of the house live in the UK, and were very responsive to email. There is a representative (also British) living nearby who greeted us when we arrived, and was easily reachable in case of questions or problems.
The house is not cheap (rates are on the website), but I think it was well worth the price for the size, location, and all the amenities. For us it was a bit of a splurge, but we were celebrating a major anniversary and wanted a special spot -- which we definitely got in La Fontaine!
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would unhesitatingly recommend this house as a perfect vacation spot for a family gathering or group of friends. It definitely deserves a five-star rating!
Things to do in this area
La Fontaine is well located for all the wonderful attractions of the Dordogne. I posted about some of the things we did during our stay here on the Slow Talk forum, From the Dordogne.
There are lots of other recommendations in the links on the La Fontaine website. This was our third trip to the area, and we had already visited many of the best-known sites, so those aren't included in my write-up. I will say that we found Monpazier a more relaxing and less crowded location than some of the better-known towns nearby.
For anyone who stays at La Fontaine: Do not miss the nearby restaurant, La Table du Moulin, which I referenced in the forum. It was truly outstanding!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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