This place was recommended to us by a friend. It wasn't until we arrived we understood how beautiful the place was. I booked it for my son's 21St birthday treat. It is definitely one he won't forget. The barn is outstanding, the owners cannot do enough for you and it's very tranquil. The weather wasn't brilliant but we still swam in the pool and just relaxed in the barn. Excellent place, highly recommended. We will be back.
The barn really surpassed our expectations. The property is beautifully designed and renovated, with wonderful artistic French detailing- this is due to Tony and Sonia's touch, which combines both the rustic and the contemporary, adding a splash of the exquisite to each area of the barn conversion.
As for the holiday it was made truly special throughout the week due to the attentive hosting of Tony and Sonia. They anticipated our needs, offering advice and ideas throughout our stay regarding everything from taxis, to off the beaten track rural escapes, which might fit our diverse family needs. We had both youngsters and grandparents relaxing over the week, which required both excitement and peace- this was mainly provided by the pool, which is carefully maintained, offering fun during the day and an escapism at night, with the thoughtfully placed relaxation areas and to add a little family touch you would often get a
friendly canine companion - especially during early evening BBQ!
To add to the ambience you can even do a little French gift and home shopping on site, as Sonia has a beautiful emporium nestled between the house and barn which offers unique, original Provençal items, ranging from delicately handmade cushions to vintage French earthen ware and signs.
Both Sonia and Toni are the kind of hosts who will strive to make your stay absolutely memorable. For us they were unspeakably kind, creating a dreamy wedding sign for me, with gilt frame and customised message, just to help when I felt overwhelmed with trying to organise my last minute details for my wedding in Riberac. Tony even helped collect stranded guests from the airport! Overall the stay was just divine and I can't praise Sonia and Tony enough for the piece of heaven they have created in France.
Arriving at the house was so lovely - the pictures don't do the place justice. Only half an hour from Bergerac airport, it was easy to get via taxi and be on our way.The house was perfect - well equipped with everything you would need, a lot of space and beautifully decorated.
I travelled with 6 others, and there was plenty of room to dine inside and out, and the kitchen had everything to cook amazing suppers, as well as a barbeque outside. We ate outside every night and sat around the big table with lights surrounding the patio.
The pool was just dreamy in the hot French weather and playing on the ping pong tables was great fun. We ventured out to one of the boundaries of the garden/land (which is huge) where there is a beautiful river and swam along too.
The only time we left was to get wine and and food from the village and visit the award winning boulangerie.
For my 30th, I envisaged briefly running away to a rustic, beautiful old cottage, tucked away in the middle of rural France, with cheese and wine just close enough by to keep me ticking along, but otherwise, peace and quiet.
This cottage couldn't have fitted the bill better.
We had a lovely 4 days - admittedly the barn was a bit more 'stunningly rustic' than 'rustic' with it's very charming decor, and there were the additional pros I probably wouldn't have sought out, but which proved to be well used (ping pong table & trampoline no less).
The gorgeous and skillfully maintained surrounding land proved well worth an evening ramble down to the river, and Ruby, the family dog proved a loyal, if not slightly naughty rambling companion.
Tony and Sonia were both helpful and accommodating at every opportunity. From taxi-ing, to eggs and jam, even the on-site shop was opened at our request, and a little treasure it proved to be too.
Whilst Mussidan has a Proxi and boulangerie (with award winning croissants and bread), which appear to open, quite rightly, when the shopkeeper arrives, I can't help but recommend a little village down the river, where a house with a Kronenbourg sign outside offered a fabulous experience - particularly the outside toilet. I can't remember the name and neither, it seems, can google, but Tony will tell you.
As for taxis when Tony isn't around, I can highly recommend Taxi Gardelle - 00335 53 81 07 96 - the type of patient woman who can get a taxi to you, even when you speak pigeon French and you're not sure of your own address. It cost us 49 euros for 6 of us to get into Bergerac, and, like a French York, it was well worth the visit.
I imagine this would be fantastic for families with young children, but it's probably worth noting that there were 2 ground floor bedrooms and a ground floor wetroom as well as upstairs rooms and bathroom for those less inclined towards stairs.
One word of warning - an outdoor pool in May is not for the faint hearted!
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Of all the places to lay my head there are few that I'd recommend more than Tony and Sonia's beautiful ivy-clad cottage tucked away in rural France.
The property is beautifully presented with a calm river running by, lovely swimming pool, and woods to explore.
The cottage is cosy haven with a tastefully done kitchen, sweetly designed kid's bedroom, and the master bedroom feels like a sanctuary- peaceful and light-filled.
Locally, you will be spoiled with award winning bread and pastry from the local bakery and French home-style cooking from the local restaurant for a ridiculously low cost (5 courses including wine, coffee, and dessert for €13).
I'd recommend a trip to Bordeaux, St Emilion, Lac Jamaye (if you have young children this is a must!), Bourdeilles, and Beynac.
We had the pleasure of visiting in the autumn when, I imagine, the Dordogne is at its finest. The trees flaunted fluorescent yellow colours, the vines were heavy laden with grapes, the air crisp in the morning, and al fresco dining delightful in the evening. Walnuts and sweet chestnuts littered the ground beneath their trees and this season's wine filled the grocer's shelves. Tourist destinations are yours to explore in serenity without the tourist paparazzi.
However, none the previously mentioned things holds a candle to the delight in making a friendship with Tony and Sonia. They are some of the most hospitable and kindest people I have had the privilege of meeting. They immediately made us feel at home and welcome.
Whether your stay be for one or two weeks or even a couple months, I can guarantee it won't be long enough.
Breath a sigh of relief- you no longer need to spend hours researching your perfect holiday destination- you have found it! I'm already jealous of the holiday that awaits you!!