I’ve started to learn something about my travels recently that I want to share with you. The older you get, the more complicated your search criteria becomes for holidays and accommodation.
A few years ago, it was a simple ‘accommodation for 2 / 4 / 6’. No longer.
Now the search criteria involves infants, cots, cribs, does the property take dogs, if so how many, is there car parking space, is it close to local amenities. The list goes on.
At the start of the year, it was time to put that search criteria into action. A group of us decided we wanted to visit the Loire Valley, and have a week of roaming around the French countryside, eating bread and cheese, and drinking our body weight in Loire Valley wines. We were looking for a French farmhouse (gite) that slept 6, had plenty of outside space, room for 2 infants, car parking space, ideally a swimming pool, and lastly a place that was not too far detached from civilisation. Oh, and one that wouldn’t break the bank.
Not too much to ask, right?
Many were too expensive. Many of the dates we wanted for certain properties weren’t available (we wanted the dates to run over the last May Bank Holiday so to save annual leave allowance…coincidentally that was also half term week). Some didn’t have the space we wanted. My searching took me across Airbnb, French Connections, Homeaway, Chez Nous, and plenty of other niche sites. Only a few fitted the bill.
Then I found Les Deux Chenes, purely by chance. I came across their website, and looking through all the criteria we were after. In fact the farmhouse fitted the bill, and then some.
- Private outdoor heated pool – CHECK
- Three double bedrooms, each with their own en-suite and shower – CHECK
- Loads of living space (two big lounges and a nice kitchen area) – CHECK
- Outdoor space (LOADS) – CHECK
- Games room (bonus!) – CHECK
- Good location – CHECK
- Parking – CHECK
- Tennis court (bonus!) – CHECK
- Available on the dates we wanted – CHECK
It was a no brainer.
The costs? £1200 for the week between 6 of us. We booked our deposit, then sorted ferry costs.
Fast forward to the day of arrival. We pulled into the gravel drive, and were met by our friendly host David, who lives in the small house next door. He gave us a tour of the house, the pool and the tennis court, and even gave us a bottle of local sparkling wine, and a nice message on the fridge to welcome us to the Loire Valley 🙂
Now let me show you the rest of the house. Firstly, the front of the house. Loads of parking space, and flowers in full bloom.
Step through the entrance and you’ll see the first of two lounges to your left…
….followed by a second lounge to the right. This gave people the chance to read, chat or do a jigsaw whilst the others could watch TV or DVDs in the second lounge.
Moving through the first lounge, you pass the stairs to the first floor, and step into the kitchen area (first picture, shown above). Then you step outside onto the patio area, where we made the most of the garden in the Spring sunshine, playing badminton, having BBQ’s and drinking the local wines 🙂
Around the corner to the left, and through a door that connects back into the kitchen, you have the large barn which acts as a games room….
…which also houses lots of garden games and looooooooads of information about local wineries, chateaux and attractions.
I didn’t take any pictures of the bedroom as I got too excited about what the rest of the outdoors had to offer (I’ll come back to that in a mo), but there was a large king sized bed downstairs (off the TV lounge), then a further two large double rooms upstairs (pic below from the Les Deux Chenes website).
Back to the outdoors.
As well as a tennis court…
….and the pièce de résistance, a large outdoor heated swimming pool. We used this daily!
The farmhouse is located in a hamlet called Basse Baffrie, just North of Bouillé-Loretz and South of the main town, Doué-la-Fontaine. It is also a 30 minute drive to the stunning riverside city of Saumur.
One a good run from Calais, the farmhouse is around a 5 hour drive, but be aware of tolls and other driving considerations.
Overall, it was a brilliant farmhouse, a brilliant find, and a brilliant week in France. It your search criteria is similar to mine, have a peek at the website and chat to David. We had great fun!
I must confess, I’m still working my way through bottles of the local rose and white wine. Thankfully my criteria for a good wine is much shorter than for a holiday farmhouse 🙂