We (three generations: grandparents, mum and dad and two kids, aged 10 and 7) visited the Charente for the first time this summer, staying at Le Tilleul for seven nights, and we had a wonderful time. The farmhouse is great: very spacious, clean and family-friendly. A couple of times we needed assistance and the folks who live locally and look after the property were very helpful. The location is very rural and peaceful and relaxing, but that means if you want to get to lots of family activities you need to be prepared to drive fair distances, which we didn't mind at all but is something to bear in mind for those who would rather have activities nearby.
We had a wonderful time in this gorgeous farmhouse earlier in the summer. The kitchen was very well equipped, the beds were comfortable and the baby items such as the cot and high chair were perfect. As great as the house is, it is the outside space that makes this place special though. Our one-year old particularly enjoyed cooling off in the pool and running around the gardens! Lunch and dinner on the terrace were just a joy and the view of the sunset every night over the fields was simply gorgeous. There are some lovely paths for walking in the fields near-by and trips to Chalais, Aubeterre and Brantome were great. The market on a Monday in Chalais is particularly good for food. We loved it so much we have booked another trip in the autumn!
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Although, on arrival, the housekeeping and pool/ground maintenance, left a lot to be desired, the property is great. Had a great 2 week holiday. Family consisted of 2 seniors, and a family of 5. My wife and I, (the seniors) had the down stairs on-suite bedroom. Our daughters family, including 2 teenage boys and a special needs 6 year old girl, had the upstairs bedrooms. Worked out very well. The only main criticism, is that I generally think of "on-suite" meaning, bathroom with toilet. Be advised that the "en-suites" for 2 of the upstairs bedrooms did not have a toilet. (It was shared across the hall, but no real problem). Such a minor point.
The property, grounds and pool are all of a generous size. Nobody got under each other's feet. Actually the pool was exceptional, and a lot of time was spent in it. Plenty of relaxing areas, inside and out. We would all definitely go again, possibly next year. Definitely on our "to do" lists are Aubiterre-Sur-Dronne and Brantome.
All was just as the owners described while they added still more quality and detail. Their local reps. were just as friendly and helpful, looking after the pool and helping to source anything needed, as well as suggesting the best shops and restaurants.
Rooms are big and full of character, with massive storage, and the kitchen and lounge are exceptional. TV, telephone and WI. Fi. all work well.
I enjoyed walking through the farmlands with their sunflowers, and varied bird life, plus further on, vines, whilst the restaurants in Chalais were good and friendly, using English whenever I needed it. There are more places to visit than I can mention, though I especially enjoyed Cognac - a lively town with excellent public gardens, museums and walks, or boats on the river Charente.
I strongly recommend Le Tilleul and its area for all their varied delights, including the occasional call of a distant donkey. I'll come again - I've booked for the family in for 2016.