|Minimum Stay||3 nights|
Maison Florence may be rented either with 3 bedrooms for parties up to 8, or with 6 bedrooms for up to 17.
The house is entered from a private courtyard with magnificent views and seating beneath the walnut trees. A large farmhouse kitchen has everything you will need for a comfortable stay (5 ring gas stove, fridge/freezer, dish washer, microwave..) And a big table seating up to 12.
The spacious sitting room has an enormous fireplace (logs provided free from our estate) bread oven and traditional stone sink. There is ample comfortable seating and a mix of antique and modern furniture. From the hall (with downstairs cloakroom) double French doors lead onto a second terrace with enclosed garden, and our pool (available from June).
There are three double bedrooms and two bath/shower rooms, one en suite.
Maison Florence is a restored traditional mountain farmhouse in its own 50 acres of pasture and woodland, with breathtaking views of the Pyrenees and villages in the valleys below. The farmhouse may be rented with 3 bedrooms for up to 8, or with six bedrooms for up to 17. There is only one gite, so there will be no sharing of grounds or facilities.
Watch the wild boar and rare vultures or migrating geese and cranes, or enjoy the diversity of rare and colourful wild flowers on the property. The farm is peaceful and isolated, very private, yet only ten minutes from Arudy with excellent shopping, markets and all facilities. The owners live in a separate building on the property, discreet but always there should you need any help.
Christmas and New Year.: We are happy to welcome Christmas and New Year parties. Its usually a great time for skiing as well!
Spring Flowers and Birds, Wildlife.: Walking here has been described as the best in Europe. Wild flowers are exceptional (many to be found on our own property) and the area features in several specialist botany books of Europe. Migrating flocks, particularly geese and cranes, pass overhead, while kites and vultures are resident with a wide variety of forest, mountain and heathland birds. Foxes, badgers and herds of wild boars roam our woodlands and doormice, pine martens and red squirrels feast on our walnuts and chestnuts.
Artist friends find our views inspirational. Guides can be hired for half days or longer expeditions, either on foot or on horseback. River sports are popular, such as white water rafting and canoeing.
We would be delighted to help with advice and bookings.
Fishing and Biking, local events.: The rivers in the area abound with trout and salmon, and licences to fish cost only a few pounds.
The Tour de France passes through the area every year, as several of the most well known mountain passes are close by. Keen cyclists bring their bikes by plane to explore the routes, while others enjoy exploring the miles of traffic-free lanes, woodland and mountain tracks.
Pau has a well known racecourse, twinned with Cheltenham, and a major three day event in the Autumn. There are two prestigious antiques fairs each year, in the spring and autumn..
Pau will also host a stage of the World Touring Car Championship for the first time in June 2007, one of three street races in their calender.
Hi, I'm Sarah and my husband is Bill. I grew up in the New Forest, south of England, and Bill, who's Australian, grew up in Sydney. After university he became a full time sailor and has spent his life in the sport. These days he umpires events internationally, which means he spends more time at home between regattas.
I read English at Oxford, and after several years working in London, qualified as a social worker and specialised in intercountry adoption.
We have renovated many houses over the years in the New Forest, the Isle of Wight and in France, and love bringing beautiful old buildings back to life. We have two sons who live on the Isle of Wight, and once they had finished their education, we were free to follow our hearts and find more space, as the new Forest began to get too crowded!
Sarah Edgerton purchased this farmhouse in 2002
We searched for somewhere in the mountains, but uncrowded and without too many tourists. We wanted to enjoy the warm summers but also fertile, green countryside and productive gardens. When we discovered the Bearn region, it combined the magic of a 'secret' area with breathtaking scenery and views, history and traditions with uncrowded outdoor activities, fantastic restaurants and sophisticated shopping!
When we found Maison Florence, a semi derilect farmhouse with beautiful barns and its lovely but neglected land and breathtaking views in every direction, we fell in love, a 'coup de coeur', which set us up for years of hard work! We finally completed our slice of heaven a couple of years later, and now live in our converted bergerie, and let the big farmhouse with its own courtyards and gardens.
Florence is named for the family Florence who lived here for many hundreds of years. Although the history of the house is hard do trace, the big barn has a date stone over the door for 1641. The house still has many of its lovely original features, like the stone sink, huge fireplace and bread oven in the sitting room.
Over the ten years we've been here, we've been able to make gardens, plant trees and create a lovely outdoor dining area in the courtyard under the ancient walnut trees.
We love to walk every day, enjoy the amazing views of the mountains and the villages below from the tops of our two hills as well as search out the wild flowers (we have a grant for the preservation of those) in spring or the wild mushrooms in autumn.
We have also made a flourishing fruit and vegetable garden and are always happy to share the produce with our guests, with the beautiful eggs laid every day by the ducks, which the visiting children love to collect.
'what a lovely setting. Peaceful and very beautiful scenery. Sarah, you are a very good cook. Thank you for the warm welcome and hospitality' Chris,Lynn and Ben. 'P.S. I really love the dog!' (Ben aged ten )
'Great skiing, fantastic fishing. Many thanks for a wonderful holiday.' Mike, Ros, Robbie and Kirsty.
'The watercolours turned out very well, and what a great day watching the Tour de France in the mountains. Next year I'm determined to get the cycle club to come!' Katie, Fremantle, Australia.
We had the most wonderful two-week holiday at Maison Florence. The house is so cozy and comfortable and fully equipped with everything you could possibly need. The owners, Sarah and Bill, are lovely and were so helpful in providing suggestions regarding interesting places to see and things to do in the area. The views of the mountains and the valley are spectacular. There are lots of great hiking spots right on the property. We have travelled to some great places through the years but none quite as special as Maison Florence.
We have stayed twice now at Maison Florence and fully intend on staying again this year.
Sarah and Bill have done a wonderful job of restoring the farmhouse which has everything you could possibly need for a ‘home away from home’. The kitchen is perfect for large parties, has all the cooking equipment you could possibly need. There is a large open fire for those perfect winter nights, sitting with a glass of wine and playing cards together.
We stayed with our 3 children who loved Ursa the Dog and were kept entertained by badminton, table tennis, darts and climbing trees! They tell me their favourite night was eating the BBQ under the stars prepared by Bill, followed by Sarah’s homemade cake.
The house is secluded, but only a short drive away from all the local services.
Sarah and Bill are wonderful hosts, keep themselves to themselves, but are on hand for anything you might need. Sarah was especially helpful with some tricky French phone calls to the local garage following a punctured tyre.
You wake up each morning to the most glorious views and go to bed with spectacular sunsets. The House truly is in the most spectacular location.
You will not be disappointed!
Sarah and Bill Edgerton have converted an old farmhouse high in the Pyrenees into a very comfortable Gite with the most stunning views both to the North and the south. For walkers and lovers of wild life this is a truly spectacular area.
The " Tour de France " passes right through this part of the Pyrenees and it is a very popular destination for cyclists during the summer and Skiers during the winter,
Close by is the small town of Arudy, about 10 mins by car, and good for every day shopping .The city of Pau is about half an hour away and has everything you could want.
I have been back to Maison Florence many times over the last few years and have never found anywhere else to compare
A 15 minute drive from the center of Arudy, and you find yourself transported to the most idilic farmhouse setting imaginable. Think Jemima Puddleduck without the puddles. The Farmhouse is impecably presented, and your hosts, Bill, Sarah, dog Ursa, ducks (3) and sheep are helpful and friendly, The cows ignore you.
Strategically placed half way along the Pyraneese, Maison Florence is idealy placed for Walkers, Skiers, climbers, or those, like mysel,f who prefer to gaze in wonderment at lunatic cycalists peddaling at impossible speeds up near vertical hills, while sipping a glass of Juranson in one of the many cafes, will find both the Pyranese and Maison Florence irrisistable.
My family and friends stayed in this property and had the most wonderful holiday.
The house and the sorroundings are beautiful and the hosts friendly, helpful and knowledgable.
There are many local activities including rafting, canoeing, walking, escalape and canyoning though simply spending time at the house and in the pool is also very enjoyable.
We would recommed very highly and can't wait to go back.
One of the best holiday locations ever:
Stunning scenery, beautiful "away from it all" location.
Friendly and knowledgeable owners near-by.
Plenty of activities for a family to enjoy, even without leaving the site.
Amazing wildlife and beautiful little valleys to be explored. Recommend an excursion to "le petit train d'Artouste", which provides a stunning ride through the high mountains.
House very spacious and as per description.
The only hesitation in recommending this location to all nature lovers is that we might struggle to book it again, if it becomes as popular as it deserves.
Arudy is in the Ossau Valley, in the heart of the beautiful Bearn region of the Pyrenees Atlantique with its unique cultural traditions of music, singing and costume. 35 min from the fashionable city of Pau (international airport, cheap flights from London) and the ski resorts of Gourette and Artouste, and Spanish resorts such as Formigal.
Maison Florence, 5 miles from Arudy, is in the National Park of the Pyrenees, soon to be registered as a World Heritage Site. At 2000ft, in the foothills of the mountains, walking and wildlife, wild flowers and bird life are considered exceptional.
Outdoor activities abound, such as hiking, cycling, river sports and fishing. Or alternatively, explore the cultural heritage of cities such as ancient Oloron with its two cathedrals and the elegant city of Pau with its famous castle, fashionable shops, night-life, famous golf curse and well known racecourses.
Other Activities: Hiking, hunting, bird watching, botanising, painting, rafting, climbing, riding, biking
Ski: Gourette, our local resort, is 35 minutes away and is very good value and rarely crowded. Following a major refurbishment it feature excellent facilities for children and beginners with two ski schools. There is wonderful off-piste skiing, and guides can be hired for the day for expeditions to wonderful mountain locations, both cross country and 'randonnee'.
There are several other resorts in the area, both French and Spanish, and our skiing parties have found enough to challenge the most sophisticated!
Foodies are well catered for with Michelin starred restaurants within easy reach, as well as excellent chefs specialising in regional dishes and local produce.