Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 2031: France 2012 Part 3 - The Haute-Loire
By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2012
Trip Description: A week spent exploring the Haute-Loire Region of the Auvergne.
Destinations: Countries - France; Regions/Cities - Other France Region
Categories: Vacation Rentals; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People
Page 1 of 34: Background
Le Betz de Verne
We enjoyed Brittany so much last year that we decided we wanted to see more of France this year. We decided on a week in the Loire Valley (Trip report 2029) followed by the Auvergne. This is mountainous country with many narrow winding roads. I soon realized that this covered a large area and looking at the maps driving times would be slow. We decided to spend two weeks based in two different areas. This report covers the second week spent in the Haute-Loire. Trip Report 2030 covers the week in the Cantal.
We wanted to use Brittany Ferries to book ferry crossings and accommodation. We decided we wanted to be based near Le Puy-en-Velay, and there was only one suitable property, Le Betz de Verne, about 40km north east of Le Puy-en-Velay.
Verne is a tiny hamlet on the D105 with a school and a bark processing plant. The gîte in Le Betz was down a side road which led to a quarry. It was rather a scruffy approach to the gîte with parked cars and industrial machinery. The gîte was a typical old stone farm building with barn attached at the end of the road. There was a plentiful supply of free logs and kindling in the shed. It was surrounded by lawns with a few trees and the old well house. It overlooked rather unkempt farmland.
The building had very thick walls with small windows so was quite dark inside. Rooms which weren't used were cold and possibly a bit damp. Downstairs there was the main living room which also served as the dining room. This has a wood burning fire which kept the chill off and also provided some heat to the bedroom above. Off it were the kitchen, downstairs toilet, scullery and small living room. Upstairs were two double bedrooms, twin bedroom and bathroom with shower.
Electricity is metered. We used the washing machine twice and didn’t use the cooker. Even so we only just scraped into the free electricity allowance.
There was no-one to meet us, but a note was left on the door saying the owner was at work, go in and make ourselves at home and they would call round tomorrow. The wood burning stove in main living room had been lit for us and provided welcome warmth. We went in and made ourselves at home only to discover there was no bed linen. We left messages on the answer phone of the contact number and also Brittany Ferries. We then put on the washing machine only to find that it didn't spin and the washing came out sodden. Not the best of starts. Fortunately Sunday was a glorious day so we got the wet washing dried outside.
We left a sign on the door when we went out next day saying back 7pm, and we have no bed linen... It was still there that evening and no one came to see us. We tried the washing machine again, pressing in different buttons this time but it still didn't spin. We decided then that we would hand wash clothes but the towels would have to last all week.
On Monday we rang Brittany Ferries and asked them to contact the owner for us. The caretaker appeared almost as soon as we got in that night with bed linen. She spoke no English so we chickened out of reporting the problem with the washing machine until we left.
After that there were no other problems. I’m not sure that I would choose to stop here again, although there were no other properties in this area on the Brittany Ferries web site.
The nearest village to the gîte is Lapte which has a bakers, butchers and newsagent. It must have been quite an important settlement once as there were a lot of very large stone houses with three or four floors often with a teagle at the top. The church, built on top of the hill, dates from 1889 but is thought to be on an earlier Roman site. It was always locked.
The nearest supermarket is Yssingeaux which has a SuperU and an Intermarche.
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