Our home for our stay was this centuries-old water mill located in the tiny village of Poudenas in the Lot-et-Garonne départment. The host at this former Michélin-starred restaurant is the groundbreaking woman chef, now retired, Mme Marie-Claude Gracia-Rey. This gracious and generous "Belle Gasconne" turned the Moulin over to us and it truly felt like home (if your home had a professional kitchen and walk-in refrigerator!). My amateur chef husband was in heaven, even more so when Marie-Claude arrived with gifts like her freshly-made baguette, rice pudding, the abundance of her organic vegetable garden and her recommendations for local markets and restaurants.
The house is situated in the village that surrounds the beautiful Chateau de Poudenas. Although photographs show little change since it was a working mill, the bathrooms are modern and there is ample hot water and water pressure. Six good sized bedrooms have crisp cotton sheets and down pillows. One room has a small adjoining sitting room, perfect for our guests with a small baby. A rustic back porch overlooks the river, where we took most of our meals, although a sunny front patio was popular for breakfast and aperitifs.
The pool is located within a lush walled garden and has an outdoor shower and lots of loungers. An outdoor kitchen with a sink and fridge has a barbecue and a plancha grill.
While there are no grocery shops within the village, the nearest town Mézin (4 km) has several boulangeries and butchers, plus a twice-weekly market that includes an excellent fishmonger on Thursdays. There is a large supermarket in nearby Lavardac (10 km). Marie-Claude's son, Jean-Claude, makes excellent pizza at his restaurant across the street from the Moulin, while his sister Marie-Christine has a café next door where you can have a coffee or a glass of wine and catch up on the local gossip. On Wednesdays and Fridays a small kiosk opens by the river serving rotisserie chicken and salads that can be eaten at picnic tables nearby.
Besides eating and cooking, we took long walks on the many paths across the area, picking blackberries as we went. There is a kayak at the house for a gentle journey along the river Gélise.
For two stressed out New Yorkers and our extended families this was exactly the getaway that we needed. I can't recommend it highly enough.
We had the most wonderful week in Sos! The house was spacious, filled with everything one may desire while being in vacation ( the little welcome treats were delicious). Sos is conveniently located to so many other villages, each with its own charm and farmers market!!! Above all the people in Gascony are incredibly friendly ( we met a lot of locals during an evening forest walk followed by a nice communal dinner), the food and wine are tasty and the landscape - sunflower fields, vineyards, tree cathedrals- is oh, so bucolic! Don't hesitate, stay at Marion's house and you'll be treated with true French hospitality