Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 849: Simply Perigord, Ste Alvare ALV053 (Dordogne)
3bed/3bath house in Le Bugue, Aquitaine
September 14 - 28, 2002, 2 weeks
This lovely house, in the heart of Perigord Noir, is just 10 kilometers from the market town of Le Bugue and is within easy access of several attractions in the area. There are just three houses at the end of the lane so this property offers complete privacy without being isolated. Views from the house are of lovely gardens and pool, and the countryside. The tranquility is intoxicating.
Ste Alvare’s commercial area is small yet charming. It’s an hour’s leisurely walk from the house, on a quiet lane that passes farms and vast fields, mostly of corn. The café (sells newspapers) has outdoor seating and one can first buy croissants and other pastries in either of two boulangeries just steps away. Ste Alvare has a tiny grocery too. Le Bugue, with marvelous outdoor markets on Tuesday’s and Saturday’s, offers the commercial shops one might need: four supermarkets, pharmacies, dry cleaners, hair salons, banks, wine sellers plus restaurants.
The house is an old stone farmhouse, with lots of light streaming in, which has been carefully restored and furnished.
The grounds are delightful, with grassy areas as well as trees and bushes. There’s a front terrace under an arbor with table and chairs, affording views of the countryside. Off to the side of the house, is a huge pool, with plenty of solid, comfortable loungers and chairs. Indeed, one could happily spend two weeks at the house, without going anywhere, and be more than content.
Owners of the house have furnished it tastefully; it doesn’t at all feel like a "rental". Furnishings are in traditional style, so suited to a converted stone farmhouse. Equally important, every room is comfortable.
Bedrooms are comfortable and spacious. Upstairs are two large bedrooms, each with its own modern, roomy bath. There is more than ample storage for clothes and toiletries. Downstairs there is a third bedroom, equally as roomy, and a shower room (shower, wash basin, and WC).
Kitchen is open-plan and huge (cooking area plus breakfast table) and completely equipped (lots of tableware, pots and pans, bowls, utensils). One could easily prepare complete meals (if not tempted to dine at the many terrific restaurants nearby!).
Problems or Bonuses
In spite of every effort to select the "perfect" house abroad, one doesn’t know for sure until arriving. We were delighted with the house, which suited us ideally, both inside and outside. It is clean, well-maintained and comfortable. Further, with so many windows and French doors, it is light and airy. In all honesty, there wasn’t one issue on which we would ask for improvement. The house was everything we expected – and more.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency is the best. They’re committed to servicing their clients, and it seems their being nearby (in Le Bugue) insures they are totally on top of the condition of their properties. While no one expects things to go awry, we were comforted knowing they are minutes away in their offices and seconds away via telephone, just in case. From the beginning of our dealings, the agency bent over backwards to insure we were matched with the house that best suited us (about which at times, we weren’t even sure!). That service level continued as we bombarded them with questions while planning our trip (e.g., trains, rental cars, directions, etc.) and throughout our stay. For example, we were impressed our first morning in the house when someone from the agency came by to replace a light bulb (it’s all in the details). Their binder of house instructions (how to run washing machine, dishwasher, etc.) and brochures (local market day schedule, sites, activities, tours, restaurants, etc.) is particularly useful.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Things to do in this area
With its limestone cliffs and green terrain, Dordogne and Vezere Rivers, charming villages dotted with timeless churches and castles, The Perigord cannot be beat. In this ancient part of France, where the Hundred Years War was fought, one discovers quiet calm, beauty, and a wealth of history and prehistory. Weather-wise, summer and autumn offer glorious sunshine (occasional rain too); there are even days of eating outside as early as April and as late as November. Besides by car, biking, canoeing and kayaking are three marvelous ways to explore. Villages and towns tend to be quite near one another so one can see many in two weeks.
We particularly enjoyed Limeuil, Le Bugue, Sarlat, La Roque-Gageac, Beynac (where "Chocolat" was filmed), Castelnaud, Perigueux, Hautefort and Rocamadour. Further, the boat tour (300 feet underground) of the caverns at Gouffre de Padirac is amazing. Indeed, following the local open market schedule by day is a delightful way to see the quaint villages, striking countryside and incomparable vistas; enjoying the wines, foie gras and seasonal local cuisine is a perfect end to the day.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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