Staying in a villa is a wonderful way to experience a quieter, more private holiday. I loved having a private pool and the only sounds I could hear were the cicadas in the trees, bees buzzing in the lavender bushes and my nephews mischeviously giggling away planning their next endeavour. I think experiencing France in this quiet rural way has made me fall in love with Dordogne life. All I can think about is exploring more of France, the scent of freshly baked bread and having canelé with my coffee.
This was my first view upon entering the house via the side door. All I can say is what a view! My initial thoughts were about how expansive it was, the high ceilings with wooden beams, the large windows letting in all the light and the shabby chic style decor. The house felt like a home, it had everything you could need – a kitchen with more than enough pots, pans, trays and cooking utensils, a living room with a television, mp3 player, large comfy sofas and a coffee table and several dining areas so you could eat inside or outside. It was rustic but had enough modern technology and home comforts that made for an enjoyable stay.
This bread oven is part of the decor in the hallway and living area. It has the date 1722 on it and would have originally been outside the house. I imagine the smells of freshly baked bread coming from here would have been utterly mouthwatering. There was a boulangerie (bakery) located in every single village that we drove through in France. My sister-in-law Katie told me that its French law to have one in every village. And to be honest, that is a law worth having. Its one of the most basics of food that we consume and lets not forget, smells amazing freshly baked. Unfortunately, this oven is no longer in use but there is an oven in the kitchen if you did want to bake your own bread. Not that you’d need to with a boulangerie in the village of St Pompont just a five minute drive away.
Round the corner from the bread oven and door to the courtyard is the kitchen and dining area. I have fond memories of the kitchen at La Maison Du Rey, often waking up to the scent of croissants warming in the oven and hearing the kettle boiling ready for cups of tea or coffee. Breakfast is my most favourite meal. We all woke up at different times but generally we’d gather here in the mornings. Even if some of us had already eaten breakfast it was still nice to catch up and say good morning and enjoy another cup of tea or coffee.
The farmhouse style kitchen has all modern appliances you need including a dishwasher, large cooker, microwave, coffee machine and a fridge freezer. There are more than enough pots, pans, trays and utensils for cooking all kinds of food as well as enough serving platters, bowls and plates to eat your meals. I used the black pan hanging over the mantle for sauteing some potatoes. Delicious!
Luckily for us, there were also a few other kitchen necessities such as cling film and foil and a few cleaning products. No doubt kindly left by previous guests. The kitchen was well stocked as you can see from the picture below and everything was fairly easy to get to. The cooker was large and had five rings and a large oven so cooking a meal for a family was easy. You could have several things on the go at once and if more than one of you was preparing a meal the space was more than enough. We used the kitchen like it was our own. I’ve got another post about what we cooked and ate planned so you can see what kind of food was easily available in the supermarkets.
We mostly used this dining table for breakfast as with the weather being so beautiful and warm we ate dinner outside. This room was the coolest part of the house and was usually the busiest around early afternoon when we all needed some time inside away from the heat of the day.
My bedroom was the only one I photographed during my two week holiday. I had seen the other bedrooms as we explored the house when we first got there. This room was cosy, it was the smallest in the house. It was located just off the kitchen and I think was one of the oldest parts of the house. Above our window the date 1701 is inscribed. I think this must have been when the house was originally built. Thats 315 years old. How crazy is that? I wonder if its always been a bedroom?
My favourite part of staying in rural France is undoubtedly the undisturbed view of the night. I absolutely loved sitting on the patio after dinner just watching the sun go down, listening to the bugs and taking in the evening smells. Thats the very best thing about summer, warm evenings. We stargazed every night, researching the constellations we could recognise, drinking red wine and then tea, for when it got really dark. Sometimes the evenings got a little chilly but it was nothing that a blanket or a cardigan couldn’t fix. It just makes it all the more amazing if its a little cold if you ask me, only a little though.
Ok so thats where I stayed, but my next few posts will explore in a bit more depth, food we cooked and ate, the towns of Sarlat and Daglan, Chateau Castelnaud, my thoughts on driving on the right and my visit to Gauffre de Padirac. I truly have fallen for all things French at the moment and I keep finding myself googling patisseries, bakeries and canelé moulds.