Great place for a relaxing family holiday. Steph (owner) goes out of her way to make sure you and your kids have what's needed to enjoy the stay - whether that's suitable toys, local tips, weather forecasts or taking your kids with her to feed the chickens and tortoises. She cooks amazing dinners for arrival and two nights per week. You are also given space if / when that's what you want. We'd love to go back with the extended family, as the courtyard is set up really well for larger groups (having 3 separate gites) as well as for individual families.
A holiday that incorporates engaging activities, relaxation and a taste of the French rural idyll that's also perfectly designed for families.
Set in a typically beautiful French landscape that's all white sandstone, sweeping vineyards and vast skies the Courtyard is....both a perfect destination to chill by the pool taking in the views and also ideally located to enjoy the best of this beautiful and unspoilt region of South West France.
The gites have been sympathetically restored preserving the ancient character of the buildings whilst adding effortless modern style and comfort. Steph and Charlie are fantastic hosts with valuable local knowledge and advice on everything from the best supermarket wines to the most beautiful river beach to swim at.
I'd highly recommend taking advantage of the evenings when Steph cooks for everyone, the food is both imaginative and flawlessly presented. Being typical socially awkward British introverts we weren't sure about the idea of eating communally with the other guests but it was great fun and became the highlight of the week; great wine and Cognac and interesting conversation. Our 8 year old loved making friends with the other children, walking the two friendly dogs and feeding the chickens every morning.
Arriving sweaty and flustered from our journey it was so great to have home cooked food and local cheeses waiting in our Gite and the pool open for a cooling swim. This and many other details like the BBQ being laid and ready to light, fresh cut roses on the table.... make the courtyard a step above most other villas or gites we've been to before.
Toasting marshmallows on the fire and enjoying an early evening beer with the other guests and the general friendly and communal aspect makes this something more than the ordinary holiday experience.
Highly recommended, we hope to return.
We came on holiday to The Courtyard at the beginning of August as return visitors this year. Everyone has their reasons as you will see from the reviews, but for us it was the feeling of being somewhere warm, welcoming and beautiful, with amazing people!
We drove through the night via the tunnel (there are other quicker ways such as flying or the new quick TGV service, but our young family comes with a carful of luggage) and spent the day in Poitier before the final drive to St Catherine. Within minutes of the car doors opening, our son and daughter had made friends with the other families' children and headed off to play!
The gites are clean and very well appointed with every piece of equipment you could ever need (stairgates, cots, childrens toys, well equipped kitchens, dishwashers, even Tassimo machines!) The arrival dinner is extremely welcoming after the long drive and gives a taste of what's to come.
Our kids LOVE the two dogs Suzy and Lyla, and had a great time feeding and watching the chickens roam through the yard. The swimming pool and play area were a big hit, and it was hard to keep the kids away from them!
In terms of activities, chocolate making is a must, as is the horse riding and crafts. 90 mins drive will get you to the seaside and the amazing zoo situated on the coast. Although a reasonable drive, we thoroughly recommend it. Angouleme and Cognac are close, and pretty towns to visit and look round.
Of course, the holiday wouldn't be complete without sampling Steph's amazing cooking. My wife is dairy and gluten free, and Steph didn't disappoint, going out of her way to make sure we were catered for! The children get their food first, then head off to do a number of activities after dinner.
We've spoken about the children, but equally important for any family is how Steph and Charlie look after the adults. They have a way of making sure the children are occupied so the adults can get on with the important task of relaxing with some good food, drink and a bit of socialising! On a family holiday the adults are just as important as the kids. We spent most evenings of our week on the terrace chatting to Charlie, Steph and the other families long after the children had gone to bed, and for us this made our week. To sit on the terrace watching the sun go down and chatting about non child related subjects was bliss!
Our week was capped off when adults and children all jumped in the pool at once (search for the photo on this page). The children even got certificates to say what they enjoyed best during their week- a really nice touch.
Sorry for the long review, but its hard to do the Courtyard justice any other way. You have to experience it to believe it- We promise you won't be disappointed!
We stayed for a week, fantastic escape into real France! The cottage was full of character, done out tastefully and the kids love their room with the big sofa, toys and DVD player for chill out time. The hosted evenings were AMAZING! So relaxing and Stephanie's food was fantastic! She recommended lots of fun activities which we all really enjoyed! Could have stayed longer!
We stayed in Maison Caché for the most part of April-July 2017 and had an absolutely splendid time! Everything was beyond what we imagined it would be when we booked. Stephanie, Charlie and Finn were excellent, warm, helpful hosts providing us with endless toys and activity suggestions for our kids, some of the most delicious food and wine anyone could ask for, and a really relaxing, fun home away from home experience! The location was a great place for sightseeing and exploring the rest of the Charente, including Cognac, Jarnac, Angoulême, and lovely beaches on the Atlantic coast. The Courtyard was a relaxing retreat with everything you needed, including heated pool and all the home comforts on your return from a day out! Beds were super comfy and cleanliness gets top marks!
We would whole-heartedly recommend The Courtyard of Sainte Catherine to anyone, and we hope to return again, next time bringing our friends with us! ;)