SUMMER 2014 IS NEARLY GONE -- ONLY FOUR WEEKS REMAIN !
Featured in the (UK) Times' ''Top Holiday Villas' 18 April 2009 and AGAIN 28 Feb 2010, our light and airy home sits in a prime location, under mature trees, by a vast field running out to the riverbank beyond. The open yet separate spacious gourmet kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances will please the most demanding cook. Shop every day in a different farmers' market, then enjoy your treasures under the cherry tree by the pool, at the table on the riverbank, in formal grace under the grapevines on the terrace, or indoors at a fine oak table seating 6 to 10 in easy comfort. The gardens are full of cutting flowers for you to pick, plus snackables like cherry tomatoes, cherries, figs, pears, grapes and physalis, each in its season. Elegant 'American' bathrooms with strong spacious showers with unlimited hot water. Enjoy hot air ballooning, cliff-top castles, antique markets, the Bergerac and Bordeaux vineyards, canoeing, Cro-Magnon caves, fine dining and much more. Sky TV and WiFi.
More About the House: As recent retirees, American Broadway producers now living mostly in London, we take great pride in this place. It's a long-standing dream come true: a tranquil, romantic spot located in what we believe is the loveliest corner of France. This is an area of exceptional natural beauty, steeped in history, glowing with sun and fine weather, with outstanding cuisine at every turn. We designed the renovation to be in harmony with the region's architectural heritage, and have decorated the house in muted colors, with subtly elegant fabrics and authentic French country antiques. We love a bit of luxury, and a really good barbecue. We feel that the house is intimate yet expansive, cheerful but calm. In summer we live by the sparkling salt-water swimming pool, lunching under the cherry tree with a great bottle of the local Bergerac wine and maybe some BBQ. In winter, we love that big fireplace! Come enjoy our happy home - we think we've set very reasonable prices for what you get!
The Restaurants: There's a list of our favourites in the kitchen, and you'll surely have done some research on your own. Tempting though it is to eat at home every night (and al fresco, at that -- NO BUGS!!!), there is fantastic food to be had here at every price range. Trémolat alone has its renowned Michelin-starred Vieux Logis AND the best pizza restaurant in the region. Within a half-hour radius you can find restaurants ranging from world-class refinement to a retired couple who serve the best confit and foie gras in the world on tottering little tables in their pretty back yard. Note to autumn and winter visitors, GET THEIR CASSOULET!! The classic cuisine of Périgord features, besides duck and goose, the other key regional products which it grows and ships throughout France and around the world: strawberries, walnuts, truffles, Bergerac wines and the elegant Sauternes-like Monbazillac. In summer, don't miss the night markets, where you dine outdoors on regional specialities in rustic village squares throughout the region.
Enjoying the River: The Dordogne, shallow in summer and rather slow-moving in many spots, is considerably warmer than you might expect, and a delight to swim in. There are many beaches along the roads from which swimming is fun, quiet and easy. (Our own bit of the riverbank is protected for the blue herons, wild swans and ducks that have adopted it. It's very scenic, but a little rocky for easy swimming.) Canoe rentals are available throughout the region so you can enjoy any number of leisurely hour-long scenic spectaculars. Waterskiing and pedalos are available at the Trémolat Bassin Nautique, where you can also hire a canoe or kayak for a few hours, or for your entire stay -- there are locking rings on our little boat dock so you can keep it secure during your stay.
Short barge trips can be booked in the fantastic carved-into-the-cliffsides village of La Roque Gageac on the road to Sarlat. Rent a bike and cycle the tranquil towpaths beside the local canals which skirt the occasional rapids which made it rough sailing when goods from the region drifted downriver to Bordeaux two centuries ago. Climb Richard the Lionheart's spectacular fortified castle in Beynac.
Recently retired, my partner and I now live our life-long dream of having four sweet homes and living in whichever strikes our fancy at a given time. To cover the bills, all the properties are rented on HomeAway whenever we're not in them. Managing the rentals has turned into quite a pleasant, though very time consuming, new profession for us, wherein we meet (or at least correspond with) the loveliest people from all over the planet. We've had nearly 200 guests in the past three years, and not a single bad experience. Phew! (46 reviews so far, over the four properties, and every one a full FIVE STARS !!) And we have great local staff for each property, so each home is always up to our own high standards for comfort, cleanliness and beauty.
Before retiring in 2005, I spent more than 30 years working on Broadway and in London's West End -- first managing, then producing, big musicals (mostly) plus handfuls of plays and concerts. I was part of the original productions of GODSPELL, DREAMGIRLS, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, and many dozens more, and producer of The Who's TOMMY and JEKYLL & HYDE, to name a few. Broadway concerts include Bette Midler, Michael Crawford, Frank Sinatra and even a very elderly Josephine Baker (a New Year's Eve concert, at the Palace, of course), whose chateau is just down the road from our house in France.
My partner Bill Rosenfield was for many years what Time Magazine wrote of him: 'RCA Victor's Man about Broadway'. He produced more than 60 Original Cast Recordings -- just pick one up at home if you have one -- if it's from the 1990's or early 2000's, his name is probably on it: CHICAGO, TOMMY, RAGTIME, CABARET, on and on. Billy's now retired from that and actively engaged in his one true passion: playwrighting. This new career is just budding, but already showing great progress. He does most of his writing in a cute little shed at the bottom of the garden behind our London flat.
We love this property for the way it addresses that great rule of Location, Location, Location.
Location #1: The Dordogne itself. We've vacationed in this region since the late 1970's and we believe it's the loveliest corner of France. This is an area of exceptional natural beauty, steeped in history, glowing with sun and fine weather, with outstanding cuisine at every turn. Our fellow expats here claim, and we agree, that for certain people there's a definite magnetism here that draws you in and just doesn't let go -- kind of a mystical, visceral pull, in fact.
Location #2: Our little corner of the Dordogne. The Périgord Noir, as it's called, is the heart of the heart of the region, known for its indigenous black truffles and the black shade of the pine forests that still stand in many areas, however open to farming and scenic vistas it may be today. We have far less of the tourist-jammed traffic of the Sarlat area, 40 minutes to our east, and far more of the sumptuous tranquility which is the region's greatest asset.
Location #3: Our own plot of land. Turning our backs to the quiet little road that we're on, we overlook our own pool and gardens, and beyond that the open fields and river, with our own land blending into the neighbours' as far as the eye can see. Giant sky, total privacy. Sweet.
When we bought this property, it was a very tired working barn -- the cows were still living on its mud floor! We designed the renovation to be in harmony with the region's architectural heritage. From the street, it still looks rather like the barn is always was, with large-scale louvers around the front door to reflect the house's original heritage as a tobacco-drying barn. But from the back -- the side facing the river -- it's clearly more like the 'Relais et Chateau' properties that inspired its design. More than one friend has called our house a Tardis -- a seemingly-modest box by the road, with a whole other UNIVERSE inside and out back.
We love to cook -- elaborate meals, for lots of friends. And so we designed the kitchen to suit this joy. It's got everything you could possibly want in terms of equipment -- fish poachers, cherry pitters, cake and tart pans of all sizes, the works. And given the quality of even the most basic foodstuffs here -- from the daily farmers' markets or the superb Grand Frais shop in Bergerac and other specialty shops like Arvouet Foie Gras in Le Buisson -- well, you can cook the same recipes you use at home and come up with flavours you never thought possible! But you can also use our many French cookbooks (all in English) and cook like you've never cooked before.
What sets us apart from most other rental houses in the area is that it's really a HOME, and not a calculated, Ikea-furnished rental property. We applied some basic calm good taste to it and have decorated the house in muted colors, with subtly elegant fabrics and authentic French country antiques. When you compare us to many other properties, you won't find 'that' sofa here (as one of our guests recently exclaimed with relief)!
Further, while it's indeed our home, we always de-clutter it completely before any guests arrive, so that you're never living with any of our 'stuff' -- every closet and cupboard is completely empty and sparkling clean. No clothes, photos or toys. You're not working around us; the house is all yours when you're here. We rent HomeAway homes on our own holidays, and a key factor for us is just this -- not feeling like we're bunking in with strangers!
We want this to be your very own home away from home.