4 bedroom 2 bathroom house with great views of Dordogne valley
- english, french
About Catherine Bourne
I live in London with my husband our two children and our dog Oscar. In 1973 my husband's parents bought a cottage in the Dordogne, where they have holidayed happily and contentedly for the last almost forty years, and continue to do so. In 2010 the opportunity arose to buy the small farm next door to their house - we took it, renovating the house and installing the pool. My mother-in-law is a keen gardener and over the years has transformed the hillside into an oasis of bamboo, roses and hibiscus.
Catherine Bourne purchased this Farmhouse in 2010
Why Catherine Bourne chose Castels Et Bézenac
My family have visited the Dordogne for seventeen years, and my husband's family have holidayed there since 1971 (when he was 7), buying a house there in 1973. We love the food (goat's cheese, bread, patisserie, mushrooms, pate, duck, fruit, vegetables, ice-cream from the baker's...) from the shops and Sunday morning market in St Cyprien (1.5km down the hill) and Lucco's patisserie and bakery (1.5km away at Bezenac). We love the river, for swimming in and canoeing down and picnicking by, the castles to visit and clamber over, the caves for their amazing prehistoric paintings (one you travel into on a small train), the gentle empty countryside and the friendly people. The eighteenth-century farms, the old churches, the interesting walks, the wildlife, the speed of life, the peace and quiet.
What makes this Farmhouse unique
The house is an easy 25 minute walk or 3 minute drive from the amenities of St Cyprien (Sunday market, chemist, butcher, supermarket). From the house you can walk out into the countryside to explore neighbouring woods and hamlets. It is a 5 minute drive to the river, where there are beaches for swimming and canoe hire. We are a 20 minute drive from the historic medieval town of Sarlat (or you can take the train from St Cyprien). In half an hour you can be in the valley of world-famous prehistoric caves that begins at Les Eyzies. Or you can just stay by the pool - the house faces south, making the pool a sun trap - and we provide beach towels so you can travel light.
Check-in: 4:00 pm
Check-out: 10:00 am
Children not allowed
no children under 7 years old
Minimum age of primary renter:7
no sharp objects in the pool - they damage the liner
100% refund if cancelled at least 30 days before arrival date. 50% refund if cancelled at least 14 days before arrival date.
Beautiful, peaceful setting, lovely house and pool with everything you need.
The house is in the most idyllic, tranquil setting, with far reaching views over the Dordogne valley. Having just spent 2 weeks lapping up the gorgeous views from the veranda, morning coffee will not quite be the same again.
Nicely, and recently refurbished, the property comfortably housed the four in our family, it could easily take 5 and up to 6 at a stretch. Equipped with all white goods and equipment you need. Plenty to keep you entertained with new BBQ, good TV / Sky / DVD set up, table tennis table, and a wonderful pool (salt, not chlorine, which was another nice bonus). The house is directly south facing, with a semi circular sun trap around the pool and is decked out with excellent sun loungers, tables and parasols.
St Cyprien is just about walkable, with a lovely 20-25 minute, mainly downhill walk on the way there, but a 25-30 minute fairly steep up-hill return "home". Not knowing the topography, we naïvely did this in 33 degrees on Sunday market day. Would be a lovely walk in cooler weather, but we never dipped below 32 degrees the whole 2 week of our stay, so we stuck with the car and the air con thereafter! Reasonable selection of restaurants in St Cyprien.
Great location, with Sarlat, Beynac, Domme, Castelnaud, Milandes, Marqueyssac, Saint Cyprien, Dordogne canoeing all within 20-30 minute drive.
We had no issues with the property whilst we were there, however, there was a very attentive local couple who I am sure would be happy to help with any queries or issues. They were certainly very helpful with hints on the area, as they came by most days to check on and clean the pool.
I think it only fair to advise, that the house suited our family (parents and 2 teenage children) perfectly. The area around the house and parts of the property itself are steep, and there is no fence / gate security around the pool, so caution advised for families with young children.
Would highly recommend and we'd love to go back at some stage in the future.
All the pool furniture, parasols and loungers were renewed and replaced in 2017. As per the notes on the site, we do not let the house to parties with children under 7 years old because of the safety issues. Very glad you enjoyed your stay!
Good House with amazing views
This is a comfortable property that can readily accommodate 4 or 5 people, it might be a bit tight for more. The House has pretty much everything you need from Washing Machine to Dishwasher to Sky to Picnic Baskets and Weber BBQ! The property is truly rustic, not a luxury villa but a real taste of rural French living. Its probably due for a bit of TLC regarding decor and the Garden and I'm not sure the cleaning / garden staff are pulling their weight at changeover but beyond that it was all very good. The views however are fantastic and you can watch the Dordogne Valley change through the day, the terrace is a great place to dine, although the table only seats 4! The pool is an immense asset and is a winning feature of the property, being a sensible size and with good paved areas for lounging. It gets sun all day from 9am through til 6pm and is a genuine sheltered sun trap. The loungers are probably in need of replacement as are the parasols, all had some damage, unfortunately the pool cleaning chap didn't clean the pool once in two weeks, so we ended up doing it ourselves, thankfully we know how to do it from ownership experience but many wouldn't.
Access is challenging, if you don't like driving this one possibly isn't for you. The road is very narrow and very steep but it is manageable. We have an X5 and it just (10mm clearance) goes between the neighbouring cottage & the house. We did it every day with no problem but again its not for anyone who isn't confident behind the wheel, however in a smaller car then I am sure its much less challenging. You can park at the top of the Hill and walk down 80m to the Cottage which course negates this problem!
The location is fantastic though, wth good amenities in St Cyprien and the surrounding areas. Quite challenging climbs back to the House on bikes but its a good workout. Lots of amazing places to visit and activities so a great place to be based for 2 weeks.
We had a wonderful stay, thoroughly enjoyed it. Despite the few very minor criticisms we would go back, especially if the small concerns are tackled for 2017.
The pictures on the web site don't do the House or the views justice - it really is in an amazing location and I would recommend this to anyone subject to the comments above.
A very comfortable house with all mod cons. We were absolutely "blown away" by the views, the pool and the setting. The gardens and the wildlife were extraordinarily beautiful.
The house was wonderfully cool, even on the hot days and the vine covered terrace was a real treat and a lovely place to sit at all times of the day.
The approach to the house was at first daunting, especially with a large car, but actually once you've mastered it a couple of times its good fun!
Good facilities in a pretty, private setting
Lovely house, with everything we needed. Good sized pool and fantastic views across the Dordogne valley. Slightly tricky car access but makes it more secluded. Not too far from tourist attractions.
Thank you, we are really glad you enjoyed your stay.
Special interest holidays:
The area surrounding Castels is full of wonderful excursions. As well as the dramatic countryside around the Dordogne River (we specially recommend canoeing trips), within a short drive you will find prehistoric caves including amazing cave paintings at Lascaux and elsewhere, medieval chateaux, old fortified towns and markets as well as tennis, fishing, horse riding, cycling and hiking. And of course, some of the best food and wine in the world.
Fly Ryanair from London Stansted to Bergerac. From Bergerac airport (where there is car hire) it is an easy one-hour drive.
You can take the Eurostar to Paris and then train to Brive (car hire, also one-hour drive).
Other drive times:
Bordeaux – 2.5 hours
Limoges – 2 hours
Perigueux – 1 hour
Paris - 7 hours
Southern Channel ports 8-10 hours
The house is situated in one of a number of tiny hamlets in Castels, which is a scattered canton with no real “centre”, in open countryside overlooking the Dordogne valley.
A walk of about a mile will take you to neighbouring St Cyprien. Ancient houses and narrow streets cluster around its 12th century abbey. In and around the main street are cafés, restaurants and shops and there is a busy market on Sunday mornings. Look out for specialist craft and food markets on summer evenings. There are also supermarkets and anything else you may need such as medical or dental services, and a station with rail links to beautiful old towns such as Sarlat or Tremolat along the Dordogne valley..
You are a short drive from the Dordogne and its swimming, canoeing and the Air Parc.
A half hour drive will take you to the medieval jewel that is Sarlat – or to Les Eyzies, the capital of the prehistoric world.