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Cognac distillery renovated to provide 2 spacious holiday gites - Le Chai

Derek and Lesley Sando

Member since: 2005
Call Owner
Enter your email address to view the phone number
Speaks: english, french
Bedrooms 2
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 3 - 7 nights

Contact the Owner

Derek and Lesley Sando

Member since: 2005
Speaks: english, french
Response time:
Within 12 hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
May 9, 2015
Tell the owner when you would like to travel.
Call Owner
Enter your email address to view the phone number
Pay with confidence
Pay with confidence
Guaranteed, secure, with no booking fees
Add vacation protection services to your booking
Three services to protect your trip:
Protect your payments in case you need to cancel.
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Ensure you're prepared in case of accidental damage.

Cognac distillery renovated to provide 2 spacious holiday gites - Le Chai

Bedrooms 2
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 3 - 7 nights


Saintes area Cottage Rental Photos and Description

Les Tilleuls is a lovely old Charentaise farmhouse and distillery set in 3 acres of meadowland surrounded by rolling hills and cognac vineyards, ideal for holidays. The old barn has been renovated to provide a spacious 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom self catering gite. The ancient cognac distillery, which still retains the original alembic, has been converted into a cosy 2 bedroom gite. Each gite has its own private patio area, access to the meadowland and stunning views over the surrounding countryside. Les Tilleuls is situated in the rural hamlet of Echebrune in the Charente Maritime region of south west France renowned for its exceptionally sunny climate and is only 10 minutes from junction 36 of the A10 motorway making for easy access from northern ports and the airports at Bordeaux and La Rochelle. The 12 X 6m pool, with safety alarm, is surrounded by raised decking ideal for relaxing on a sunlounger or watching the children play.

Explore the Charente Maritime: A holiday at Les Tilleuls offers a variety of choices from lazing by the pool, just pausing for a cooling glass of the local wine or reading that best seller under the shady walnut tree to, when more action is needed, a cycle along the chalk lanes through the vineyards and sunflower fields, visiting the many local Roman churches and pretty villages. Or, visiting the local town of Cognac and making a tour of one of the many famous distilleries. Or, a visit to Saintes spending a day seeing the Roman amphitheatre, the Abbaye des Dames, taking a boat along the Charente. Or, taking the Green Route along the estuary, stopping off at one of the many little ports for lunch by the quay and then on to the beaches of Royan or even further to the miles of pine forest and sand dunes for some windsurfing. Or, improve your golf at one of the superb local 18 hole courses. The choice is yours!!

Welcome Pack: A French Welcome Pack is provided to all guests on arrival when a meal can be also be served. Please contact us for further details.

Family Bookings: Les Tilleuls can also be let as whole with inter connecting doors between the gites and offering accommodation for up to 12 people.

More Details

Details for Le Chai 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 4, 1 Bathroom

Le Chai is a 2 bedroomed ground floor gite thoughtfully converted from the original wine store and cognac distillery. The bright kitchen and dining area lead on to the lounge which features the original “swan’s neck” alembic, here the wine was distilled into cognac and with the exposed beams and stone walls it makes an amazing atmosphere! A hallway leads from the kitchen to the shower room and toilet and to the bedrooms, one with a double bed the other with twin beds. There is also a private patio area with barbeque, ideal for watching the glorious sunsets. There is a walkway to the enclosed parking area and access to the pool and children's play area. 12 x 6 m pool, with safety alarm, is surrounded by raised decking, ideal for lazing on a sunlounger or watching the children. Roman steps lead to the 1m depth and a gentle slope leads to the 2m depth.
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • children welcome
  • pets considered
Derek and Lesley Sando (Owner)
Member since: 2005
Call Owner
Enter your email address to view the phone number
Speaks: english, french
Response time:
Within 12 hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
May 9, 2015

About Derek and Lesley Sando

Derek and Lesley bought an old charentais house and distillery in 2003 and over the next 18 months worked to renovate the property to provide a family home and 2 spacious gites for both families and couples. By adding modern touches but keeping the original character of the property we have made a rural corner of France into a very special holiday venue, away from the noise and crowds and yet near to beaches and towns. We have landscaped the grounds which were overgrown and uncared for into gardens and a pool area so there is plenty of space for games or just relaxing in the sun. There's even space for our 2 friendly goats. We are proud of Les Tilleuls and over the last 7 years we have met some lovely people, some of whom have come back on a regular basis and, we hope, provided a very happy holiday venue for many,many people of all nationalities.

Derek and Lesley Sando purchased this cottage in 2003

Why Derek and Lesley Sando chose Saintes area

Location, location, location!!!! Set in a stunning position, no neighbours, complete privacy but close to towns and villages.

What makes this cottage unique

Central for airports, motorway connections, close to the coast, towns and easy to find.

Why HomeAway

Bedrooms 2
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 3 - 7 nights
Pay with confidence
Pay with confidence
Guaranteed, secure, with no booking fees
Add vacation protection services to your booking
Three services to protect your trip:
Protect your payments in case you need to cancel.
Guarantee the rental meets your expectations
Ensure you're prepared in case of accidental damage.


based on 3 traveler reviews

Write a Review
Le Chai
average rating of 5.0 based on 3 reviews

Excellent family accommodation and location!

  • 5 of 5

We traveled with our two young children (3 and 6) and found the gite to be perfect for our needs. With a good-sized master bedroom and a lovely twin bedroom for the kids, we all had the space we needed.

The living room was spacious and well-equipped with UK freeview TV, plenty of games, books and even a large box of toys!

The kitchen had all of the major appliances including a washing machine and a dishwasher. I was overjoyed to discover a selection of mugs (as opposed to those silly little cups you get abroad!)

Outside there was plenty of garden to explore, a generous swimming pool, swings and plenty of sun-loungers. In addition, Le Chai has its own private terrace outside the front door and this was lovely to sit outside in the evenings when the children were in bed.

Derek and Lesley, the owners of the gite, were very helpful and always on hand if we needed anything. That said, they were very respectful of our privacy and, despite living in the adjoining house, were never intrusive. They provided a lovely welcome pack which included, amongst other things, some local wine, cheese and fresh bread.

Location-wise, the gite is well positioned to take in the local sites. Pons has a beautiful castle and gardens, and we took in the beaches of Royan on a number of occasions. We took a slightly longer trip out to La Rochelle which was gorgeous, and would have liked to take in Cognac and Bordeaux however too much to do and so little time!

We would highly recommend this property and would probably stay here again if we were visiting the area.

  • Submitted: Aug 13, 2013
  • Stayed: Aug 2013
  • Source: HomeAway

1000 out of 10

  • 5 of 5

It's the little things that make a holiday special and Derek & Lesley demonstrate that nicely. From our first email they have provided local advice, knowledge and help to ensure that our holiday was perfect. Things like letting us know about local vets for our dog’s pet passport, ensuring the fridge has the basics in it when you arrive, arranging for fresh bread & Croissant to be delivered to your door daily to a personal tour of the local farm & vineyard. Even extended to Derek being the referee for the ‘inter gite’ football match! They have created a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where nothing is too much trouble.

Les Tilleuls has been restored to a high standard providing all the French character that you could wish for from a converted Chai with exposed beams and original features, but at the same time offering you the modern comforts of things like dishwashers and a good shower. The swimming pool and grounds are perfect for family being very well looked after and a good size. The little court yard with BBQ around at the Chai was a real sun trap in the evening overlooking the sun flowers. Just perfect with some local wine!

In terms of location Les Tilleuls has a nice balance of being near Cognac with its vineyards but in striking distance to some good beaches at Royan and St Georges. Pons is just next door and provides a good supply of local restaurants and supermarkets. Derek & Lesley provide lots of good advice about what is going on in the local area so that you can take advantage. For us that gave us the opportunity to visit an open air concert on the beach in Royan which was very nice. Even when the weather turned there was plenty to do and we were only 1.5 hour away from Futuroscope, which is highly recommended for kids and even bigger kids;-)

I guess you are wondering about the 1000 out of 10. Well, that’s our 12 year niece’s marks for Derek & Lesley’s welcoming meal but for us it summed up nicely everything about our holiday at Le Tilleuls. Highly recommended as I'm sure we will be back.

  • Submitted: Aug 24, 2011
  • Stayed: Jul 2011
  • Source: HomeAway
Sandbach Cheshire

A Perfect 3 weeks in France

  • 5 of 5

We wanted our break in France to be a very special holiday as it coincided with our silver wedding anniversary.

We had stayed in northern France on many previous occasions with the children and had ventured into the Loire in our Motorhome in recent years. However, we decided to head further south into the Charente Maritime for this special holiday so that we could hopefully enjoy more sunshine and explore a new area.

Our holiday exceeded our expectations !

We flew into La Rochelle and hired a car for the relatively short drive down to Echebrune. We were greeted by Lesley and Derek and were soon sampling the local wine and enjoying a tasty evening meal prepared for us.

We stayed in the Chai, the smaller of the two gites; the one with the fabulous alambic in the lounge and the view of the stars through the large velux window in the master bedroom.

The gite is ideally placed for exploring the area. We visited Cognac, the beautiful little village of Talmont on the estuary and the golden sandy beaches of Meschers and Royan. We also travelled south to Bordeaux to view the architecture and of course the many shops.

We were also fortunate that our stay coincided with the Cognac Blues festival in Cognac and also the ‘Violins on the sand’ at Royan. The latter being 3 nights of free classical concerts on the beach with a firework finale – great !!

Local shopping for food etc. is available from nearby Pons or the larger Auchan hypermarket in Cognac. Bread & Croissants however were delivered to the door every morning by the mobile baker.

Our hosts could not have been more helpful. On one day Lesley accompanied us to a local vineyard where we were given a personal tour by the owners and sampled their local produce. Derek was always on hand to help with any practical matters relating to the gite.

And finally the weather…. Three weeks of ‘wall to wall’ sunshine ! We couldn’t have wished for better weather. We still treasure the photographs taken of the sun setting behind the fields of sunflowers next to our patio !

I would highly recommend this accommodation and location for either a peaceful break for a couple or as an ideal holiday for the family.

  • Submitted: Mar 13, 2010
  • Stayed: Jul 2009
  • Source: HomeAway


Nearest Airport
50 Miles
Bordeaux and La Rochelle
Nearest Barpub
2 Miles
Nearest Ferry
250 Miles
St Malo
Nearest Golf
16 Miles
Nearest Train
4 Miles
Nearest Motorway
7 Miles
Junction 36 A10
Nearest Restaurant
4 Miles
Nearest Beach
13 Miles
Car: recommended

Echebrune, with its beautiful hilltop XIth century church, is just 4 miles from the pretty town of Pons which, with its mediaeval keep and pilgrims hospital, provides supermarkets, banks, post office, bars and restaurants and a twice weekly market. Les Tilleuls is also conveniently situated for the old town of Cognac with the houses of Hennessy, Martell, Remy Martin, etc offering fascinating guided tours of their cognac distilleries which, of course, include tastings! The Roman town of Saintes, with its Roman amphitheatre and bustling shopping centre, is also close by as are the beaches around the resort town of Royan. The pretty fishing ports of the Gironde estuary are within 30minutes. For children, visit the renowned zoo at La Palmyre, discover the Chateau des Enigmes at Pons or enjoy a day at the ‘Antilles de Jonzac’ an aqua playground of 10,000 sqm. Or just simply relax, explore the pretty surrounding villages and try Pineau des Charentes, the local aperitif.

Other Activities: go-karting, quad-biking, canoeing, fishing, walking, horse riding, cycling

Golf: There are three 18 hole courses in easy reach of Les Tilleuls. The par 72 Golf du Cognac, located on the banks of the River Charente, is gently sloping and dotted with water hazards as it twists between vineyards and woodland. At Saintes, Golf de Saintonge is a rolling, par 68, wooded course which combines the pleasure of the game with some technical skill. A kilometre inland from the Cote de Beaute, in the heart of the Coubre Forest, lies Golf de Royan, a slightly narrower par 71, that gently follows the line of the sand dunes. All have buggies and clubs for hire.


Rates & Availability

From £58 Per night

Saintes area Cottage Rental Rates

Rental Basis:
per property
Rental rates quoted in:
Convert Currency
Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event
Mid Season
May 23 2015 - Jul 3 2015
3 night minimum stay
High Season
Jul 4 2015 - Sep 4 2015
7 night minimum stay
Mid Season
Sep 5 2015 - Oct 30 2015
3 night minimum stay
Low Season
Oct 31 2015 - Dec 18 2015
3 night minimum stay
Xmas & New Year
Dec 19 2015 - Jan 2 2016
7 night minimum stay

Additional information about rental rates

Fees No additional mandatory fees
Notes Out of High Season mid-week bookings can be accommodated so that advantage can be taken of cheaper flights, ferries etc.
A 25% non-refundable deposit is requested on booking with the balance due 6 weeks prior to the holiday, payment may be made by cheque in sterling or by bank transfer. A refundable Damage/Cleaning Deposit of £100 per gite is required with final payment.
Prices include all uti
Enter dates to see total


Saintes area Cottage Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • cottage
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 81 m²
Location Type:
  • Beach
  • Near The Ocean
  • Rural
  • Village
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Activities Guide
  • Alarm Clock
  • Fireplace
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Local Maps
  • Local Restaurant Guide
  • Parking
  • Parking Off Street
  • Sunbed
  • Toilet Paper
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Wireless Internet
  • 4 Ring Stove
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Freezer
  • Grill
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Child's Highchair
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 4 people
  • 1 Bathroom
  • Bathroom - toilet , shower
  • Shower room with shower cublicle, toilet and basin vanity unit
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 4
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 queen
    Bedroom 2 - 2 twin/ single , 1 baby crib
  • 1 large double, 1 twin, 1 cot
  • Books
  • Books for Adults
  • Books for Kids
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player
  • Games
  • Games for Kids
  • Radio
  • Satellite / Cable
  • Television
  • Toys
  • VCR
  • Video Library
  • Barbecue
  • Beach Chairs
  • Beach Towels
  • Bicycles
  • Child's Swing
  • Golf Clubs
  • Lawn / Garden
  • Outdoor Grill
  • Patio
  • Sand Box
  • Wood Deck
  • 4 garden chairs
  • 10 beach chairs
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • children welcome
  • pets considered
Pool / Spa:
  • Outdoor Pool
Onsite Services:
  • Massage
  • caves
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • marina
  • museums
  • playground
  • recreation center
  • restaurants
  • ruins
  • theme parks
  • water parks
  • winery tours
  • zoo
Leisure Activities:
  • bird watching
  • gambling casinos
  • horseback riding
  • paddle boating
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • fitness center
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • golf privileges optional
  • hiking
  • sailing
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • wind-surfing
Le Chai is attached to La Grange, a larger 4 bedroom gite and the property can be let as a whole sleeping up to 12 people if required. All linen, bedding and towels are supplied - pool towels are available. A welcome pack is provided on arrival. We would prefer no smoking inside the cottage.

Other Vacation Properties

$1,850 - $2,200 per week
3 - 7 night min stay
  • 2 BR,
  • 1 BA,
  • 1 HF BA,
  • Sleeps 4

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