THE FRENCH HOUSE

LES COTEAUX - ENJOY PEACEFUL FRANCE IN OUR BEAUTIFUL HOLIDAY HOUSE

Les Coteaux is an old house in the peaceful village of Brigeuil le Chantre, in the Vienne district of Poitou-Charente. It sleeps six in two double and one twin bedrooms. The house was built as agricultural workshops a century ago, and many original features were retained when it was converted into comfortable holiday accommodation less than ten years ago.

The house is on a green lane off a small village square, a two-minute walk from the plentiful parking in the main square. There is a large kitchen/diner in the original kitchen of the workshops, and a big living room with wide views of the river valley and the woods. This room is heated in the winter by a giant Godin wood-burning stove. There is a television/DVD player with English Freeview and a small selection of DVDs, as well as an extensive English library of fiction and non-fiction. A wooden staircase leads up to the three bedrooms and family bathroom with bath, toilet and shower.

From the living room, the original stable-type doors open onto the shaded top terrace, with table and chairs for al fresco meals and armchairs for sitting and relaxing. The terrace looks out over the wooded valley of the l’Asse river, to the road winding its way through the trees to the bigger road beyond the woods. In summer months this road, the D10, is used by local cycle races and vintage car enthusiasts for rallies.

A wide path leads down from the top terrace past the woodstore and the old stables of the house to the lower terrace above the orchard. This terrace has more privacy and is suitable for sun-bathing, although in the summer it can become very hot. Here too there are tables and chairs for relaxing or eating. The orchard has been recently replanted and guests are welcome to harvest apples and pears in the early autumn.

Brigeuil le Chantre is a large village and the centre of a Commune. The village is typically French, with a large medieval church in the central square, a small general store/post office, and a restaurant/bar. The quiet streets are ideal for gentle evening strolls down to the pretty river l’Asse, which can be heard at night from the terraces of Les Coteaux.

The village is on an extensive network of walking routes which stretch for many kilometres through the gentle countryside around the village, and which can be reached from the house without driving. It is possible to take a short afternoon’s walk or to plan more ambitious journeys of many kilometres. The walks are all on farm tracks which service the fields and, as they hardly ever use the metalled roads, are safe for children. Maps for these walks are in the local-maps-and-leaflets folder in the house.

Brigeuil is situated just off the A675, a major trunk road connecting the village with local towns such as Le Dorat, Bellac and La Trimouille. Le Dorat and Bellac are well worth exploring, with their winding medieval streets, ancient churches, cafes and restaurants. La Trimouille has an excellent antiques/flea market in late July or early August, and a renowned Moroccan restaurant as well as the incredible L’ile aux Serpentes, a collection of rare and beautiful snakes from around the world. They have a sister-organisation, Planete des Crocodiles, north of Montmorillon at Civaux.

North of La Trimouille are the beautiful towns of St Savin, with its World Heritage Site abbey, and Angles-sur-L’Anglin, famous for the enormous ruins of the Bishops’ Palace towering over the river. Both have plenty of cafes and restaurants on shady squares and pretty streets, and are about forty minutes north of Brigeuil le Chantre.

The nearest big town is Montmorillon, about half an hour away. This has large supermarkets as well as a lively weekly market. The pretty old town has many bookshops, some with English books, as it hosts a festival of books and writing in the early summer. Montmorillon has many cafes and restaurants and a large Tourist Information building on the central market square. The town is dominated by the ancient church of St Catherine, famous for its medieval frescoes. St Catherine’s is one of a number of churches on the fascinating ‘Valley of the Frescoes’ trail, a collection of beautiful wall paintings in out-of-the-way churches, which runs up the river Gartempe to the World Heritage site at St. Savin. The Valley of the Frescoes can comfortably be seen in a day, and is a great way to see the small villages along the river.

Further afield are the attractive cities of Limoges and Poitiers. They are about an hour from Brigeuil le Chantre or can be reached by train from Montmorillon. They offer bigger shops and department stores, restaurants and pavement cafés, ancient churches and museums, in fact all the bustle of modern French urban life.

  • Sleeps 6 in 3 bedrooms
  • 1 King, 1 double, 1 twin
  • Electric cooker/oven
  • Washing machine
  • Dishwasher
  • Microwave
  • Fridge/freezer
  • Well equipped kitchen
  • Sheila maid
  • Wifi
  • Tv with DVD player - British to channels
  • Cot
  • Outside furniture
  • 2 terraces, lots of places to sit outside
  • Woodburner
  • Electric heaters upstairs
  • Orchard
  • Rich and varied wildlife
  • Perched on hillside over looking river and woodland
  • Great walking routes from the door
  • Quiet and tucked away but in the centre of the village for the shop