Holiday Homes In France
Idyllic Farmhouse With Pool In A Superb Setting
Monbazillac, 6 km from Bergerac in the Dordogne, Southwest France
5 bedrooms and a dormitory, sleeps 10/14 + a baby, in comfort
L'Eyssalle is situated on the southern edge of the village of Monbazillac, but within walking distance of both the renowned Chateau de Monbazillac and the less famous, but more beautiful Chateau de Bridoire (a deserted, mysterious castle, which resembles Sleeping Beauty's). Monbazillac is also justly famous for its wine, a heady, aromatic sweet wine, which the English prefer as a dessert wine, but the French appreciate drunk chilled with pâte de foie gras.
The house is only 6 kms from Bergerac and the Dordogne river and is superbly situated to explore the countryside, wine and history of South West France. Bergerac is a charming medieval river port which, in the old quarter, still has its quays, beautiful bridge and timbered warehouses. It is also the bustling shopping centre for the area and has excellent shops, supermarkets, restaurants, a large country market on Saturdays, a covered market on any weekday and many attractions for visitors.
L'Eyssalle was converted 20 years ago from a ruined, probably 14th century core farmhouse, with a half-finished new wing and four barns. The joy of the house is the central dining, living, kitchen area with its soaring beamed ceiling, huge fireplace and stone walls. It was the cow barn and is blissfully cool in summer. It has the advantage of ample space for a large party, superb cupboards and work surfaces in the kitchen area, which enable several people to cook happily in comfort. There is a huge oval table for up to 14 guests to eat at and similar numbers can relax in front of a blazing log fire if the weather is cool.
Next door is an entirely separate sitting room (séjour), also with a large wood burning stove and comfortable sofas. This leads into the main ground floor bedroom wing, where there are four bedrooms and three bathrooms. Two of the bedrooms have French windows to the garden; the one with the en suite bathroom is suitable for those with reduced mobility. Three of the rooms have twin 3' beds (which can be converted to a super king size double) and the fourth bedroom has a double bed.
At the other end of the house there is a double-storied wing. On the ground floor is a large playroom, with an all weather ping-pong table (it can be taken on to a terrace, if the playroom is needed as a bedroom), a toy box and 1 sofa bed (which converts to a 4’ double) and 2 full sized x 2 bunk beds. Above the playroom is a landing with a drop-side cot, and a large master bedroom, with a king-sized double bed and a superb en-suite bathroom with separate shower, huge bath, toilet, bidet and fitted basin.
L'Eyssalle is a family house, used and loved by the family for much of the year and it has been equipped and furnished as such. The bedrooms are carpeted and curtained with lined curtains (including blackout lining for the playroom and landing to enable children to sleep on long summer nights). There are duvets, pillows and linen including flat sheets for hot nights and electric blankets for chilly nights. The sejour and central room have terracotta quarry tiles. The house contains a mixture of family antiques, some French antiques and good quality modern furniture. The white goods and equipment are all of good quality by well known makers (Miele, Bosch, etc). And we believe, hope that, everything that guests might want is there - an American fridge/freezer with ice cube making facility and another refrigerator for wine, a Range cooker with a 5 ring gaz hob and a large electric oven, microwave, electric mixers, beaters, liquidizer, good knives and saucepans and a dishwasher, large washing machine and tumble dryer.
We have ample plates, cutlery, glasses, dishes, jugs...We have two high chairs (one antique, an attachable high chair for outside, drop-side cot and new travel cot. There is a cupboard full of games for a rainy day, a dressing up box and bookshelves full of books. We also have a good CD player in the sejour and a portable one for elsewhere, but no television because we believe it would destroy the atmosphere.
French windows from the kitchen lead on to a large roofed terrace, with long trestle tables and barbecues for alfresco eating, from there a path leads to a walled and fenced 12 m x 6m swimming pool with an electronic alarm and another covered terrace alongside. This area has a lockable gate and the pool is adequately safe for small children, although a determind, disobedient, unsupervised child could still probably climb over the wall. We have our own, full size, quick drying hard tennis court and adult and children's bicycles for guests to use. Our own grounds are largely grass slopes and terraces with trees, shrubs and a few flower beds.
As the 17 year old grandson of one of 2009’s tenants wrote: “The house struck a very clever balance between a luxurious holiday villa and a robust family-proof home. While lying by the pool in the baking sun you could almost imagine you were in some five star St Tropez hotel".
We find most of our guests do not get beyond our tennis court, swimming pool, croquet, or bicycling. But for golfers there is a first class championship course at Château des Vigiers, which is 20 kms away, close to Ste Foy la Grande and Château des Merles, an excellent 9-hole course, 20 minutes by car. The Dordogne and Vezere rivers offer either tranquil, or exciting canoeing. There is a riding stable very close to us near the Chateau de Bridoire and there are masses of country roads and tracks to walk or bicycle on.
L'Eyssalle is half way up a hill with panoramic views over a valley with our own vineyard, fields and woods. There are two small houses in the vicinity and a hunting lodge at the end of the valley and one can see two villages in the distance. The wildlife in theis rural retreat is wonderful. There are deer, leverets (small hares), coypu, loir (edible dormice!), frogs, lizards, mice, owls, buzzards, hen harriers, swallows, hoopoes, wonderful butterflies, moths and a myriad of wild flowers.
For historians of almost any period Aquitaine is utterly fascinating. From prehistoric sites such as the caves at Lascaux and Les Eyzies, it became the heartland of medieval Europe, of Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries, castles and the Angevin empire of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine and their son Richard, duc d'Aquitaine (his secondary role was King of England!).
For wine lovers, you do not need to get in a car, because you can bicycle to some good vineyards in the village. We have compiled a guide to many of them and not only do they make Monbazillac, but good Bergerac dry white, red wine and rosé. Their owners are all characters and are all delighted to see people who want to taste their wine! Marginally further afield, the other side of Bergerac is the valley of Pecharmant and St Emilion is only 40 minutes drive.
Bergerac has many excellent restaurants. One of the best, Le Tour des Vents, is in Monbazillac, 5 minutes drive from the house. The village also has a ‘Night Market’ on Sunday evenings adjacent to the Mairie and the Bistro, where you can buy food and wine from stalls to eat at long tables, as well as many other things. However shopping from local markets and cooking on our barbecues on a fabulous summer evening with the moon and the milky way above is difficult to beat.
Prices and booking information
All prices are per week Saturday to Saturday
arriving at 4pm departing at 10am
The price for the out of season months i.e: April, May and October
is negotiable on the number of people (including children) in the house.
Our prices include electricity, water, linen, towels, laundry and
telephone (excluding calls), gas, cleaning between tenants and 4 hours cleaning during the week.
Booking is confirmed on receipt of a 30% deposit.
Full payment and a damage deposit of £300 is required 8 weeks before arrival.
Please ensure that you are fully insured against cancellation.
Please mention Vacation France when contacting the owner
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