A TRULY SOPHISTICATED VILLA ON THE TREMOLAT RIVERBANK WITH A HEATED SALT POOL
- english, french, italian
About Donald Collie
My love for France began when, as a young Australian doctor, I was lucky enough to work at L’Hopital Americain de Paris in Neuilly, suburban Paris. The experience changed my life. I came to appreciate the 'joie de vivre' of the French, I learnt to love the French culture, style, food, wine and countryside. I travelled to the Dordogne in that first year, 1978, and was spell-bound by the beauty of the region, the river and all that it encompassed. After my time at the L'Hopital Americain, I returned to Melbourne, completed my training as an eye surgeon, had further specialist training in Holland, the UK and in Cleveland, Ohio in the USA and then set up practice in both private and public hospitals in Melbourne. For many years, I was involved with Aid trips to treat blindness in the Pacific Islands – Vanuatu, Solomons, Kiribati, Tonga and Tuvalu. Wonderful people, simple lives, beautiful places, bountiful natural supplies. These are the things I love and in its own way, the Dordogne embodies all of them. In April 2014, I travelled to the Dordogne and met Gary Gunas who, with his partner Billy Rosenfield, had restored this magnificent 300 year old barn on the riverbank, now known as Le Chabrol, just a stone’s throw from one of the loveliest villages in the region. Gary and Billy were reluctantly selling the property to purchase an apartment in Paris and we were able to purchase Le Chabrol with all their beautiful, original art, superb furnishings, a fully equipped kitchen. We were also able to keep their wonderful staff: Brian and Cheri as managers, Corinne to keep the house spotless, Simon Batt to keep the lawns perfect and Jan of Jardins de Perigord to maintain fine gardens.
Donald Collie purchased this House in 2014
Why Donald Collie chose Calès
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 on our quiet little road, 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 our now good friends, Gary and Billy bought this property, it was a very tired working barn - cows were still living on its mud floor! They designed the renovation to be in harmony with the region's architectural heritage. From the street, it still looks rather like the barn always was - large-scale louvers around the front door 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.
What makes this House unique
We love to cook -- elaborate meals, for lots of friends and the kitchen was designed 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. The house was designed and furnished with basic calm and good taste and decorated in muted colors, with subtly elegant fabrics and authentic French country antiques. When you compare ours 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.
Check-in: 3:30 PM
Check-out: 10:00 AM
Room to run fields to play in
NEVER leave the pool uncovered if you are not at home or have gone to bed. France imposes extremely heavy fines if an unattended pool is uncovered.
Please do not change the settings on the automated irrigation system. If there is a leak, kindly advise Brian or Cheri, our managers.
Strictly NO SMOKING or animals in the house. Please remove all your rubbish and clean the BBQ at the end of your stay.
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.
What a wonderful property to stay in. Everything is to a very high standard. The armchairs and sofa were comfortable which is not always the case, and the superbly equipped kitchen even has sharp knives - unique in our experience! The kitchen area is large and really has everything you could want to make the most of the produce from the local markets and the garden. A bottle of good local vin blanc waiting for us in the fridge was a nice welcome. Most of the bounty from the garden has gone by October, when we stayed, but we were delighted by the herb beds! Bedrooms, bathrooms... super comfortable.
This property is probably at it's best in the summer, making the most of the thick walls and open doors and windows to provide a cool base for the amazing pool, field and river; which we didn't really use. However the underfloor heating, efficient radiators and cosy furnishings also made the couple of chilly days we had very comfortable.
If you are staying here you will want to explore and enjoy the area with it's town markets and tourist sights; and this is a very well located base from which to do so.
Cherie and Brian were always available if needed and promptly answered the occasional question. They really have local knowledge and suggested places to visit. They and the owners put every care and effort into welcoming you to a five star property for your holiday.
Thank you Mark
We are glad you had some lovely weather, even in October, as well as a couple of chilly days - we love winter around a cosy fire in Le Chabrol
A dream come true!!!!
We had the most wonderful 3 weeks at “Le Chabrol”. I could have stayed forever. This does not seem like a rental home but simply your own amazing home on the Dordogne. We rented bikes, hosted family and friends, swam and read and slept and poked around the whole area. Markets were amazing and were followed by candle lit dinners around a big communal table. The hosts and property managers were very responsive and a delight. Couldn’t recommend this property more highly!
Thank you so much for your review, Willa. We know that previous guests, now friends, who have stayed on two occasions (the first for 4 months!) recommended Le Chabrol to you and we are so glad you were not disappointed.
We would love to have you back
Absolutely nothing beats Le Chabrol
Le Chabrol is truly one of our favourite places. The villa is simply divine and surrounded by beautiful gardens. With the pool and the river at the back door step, it’s an amazing place to relax, swim and enjoy the picturesque views. The villa has big open and spacious rooms, was impeccably clean with a country style feel. It is equipped with complete cooking facilities, as well as a big open fire place. It is an absolute stand out!
We loved visiting the surrounding towns, eating at incredibly delicious restaurants, canoeing down la dorgogne and visiting local markets, all of which was a short drive away.
It is definitely a place we would like to go back to and spend much more time exploring the countryside.
Thank you Jessica
September can be a really lovey time of year - trees starting to change, mild weather and quieter villages.
We are so glad you enjoyed yourselves
Le Chabrol more than lived up to expectations. The hours spent trawling the net were certainly worth it. Donald and Maureen have created a truly magical home and we feel so lucky to have had the chance to stay. The house is beautifully furnished and absolutely spotless. We love cooking and the kitchen certainly didn’t disappoint with everything you could need.
The garden is simply stunning- we never tired of the view. Our boys had hours of fun swimming in the pool. The view out over the river at the bottom of the garden was also magical.
The guide to the house and area that Donald and Maureen have put together proved invaluable. We visited plenty of the nearby towns and villages. Visiting in August we did find the larger food markets overwhelmingly busy but everywhere else felt very relaxed. We loved that we were so close to Tremolat. It’s a lovely village and great to have places to eat out without getting into the car every time. Brian’s and Cheri were on hand and really helpful whenever we needed them. We will certainly be back!
A fairy tale view!
The reviews are true this home is wonderful! I am an artist and I was captivated by the beautiful Dordogne river bridge view from a short path in the backyard. It looked like a fairy tale. Donald the owner is a dream host who truly cares. Cheri and Brian look after the home and were very helpful. Everyone was prompt in getting back to me when I had any questions. The home is a perfect place to relax. If you are like my family you will be exploring the many amazing things to do in the area. Donald offers a helpful information book with plenty of suggestions. It will also be helpful if you research ahead of time, not everything is open everyday and you will need to purchase tickets for certain things in advance.
Thank you Sue
We are so glad you enjoyed the property, our river frontage with the beautiful Tremolat bridge and the surrounding region which offers so much to see and do. We also hope you got some inspiration for your painting!
This is an amazing rental property which I can only say positive things about! My family and I stayed at Le Chabrol for a week during July 2019 and simply loved our experience.
On arrival the check in process was super easy, which really helped us as we were travelling with two young children (7 and 2) and therefore weren’t sure what time we’d arrive. The owner had left us a comprehensive brochure about the property which after a 10 minute read told us everything we needed to know about how everything worked - super clear and helpful, with great tips on restaurants, places to visit, things to do.
The house itself is wonderful. Large open plan downstairs with huge kitchen, large dining space and really cosy lounge area with Tv and all the entertainment needed! The kitchen was superb, all the equipment you could need, coffee machines x3!, large fridge/freezer and really well equipped with everything you’d need to cook and prepare food for a feast!
Upstairs there are three beautifully presented double bedrooms with an en suite to one and good sized bathroom also. For the four of us there was ample space! And I can imagine plenty of space for 6 also.
Outside the gardens and pool area are fantastic. Gorgeous pool with easy to use cover. Loads of space for lounging by the pool on lazy warm days (it was 42 degrees Celsius for three days during our stay so was very well used!!).
A huge bonus is that the Dordogne river is directly at he end of the garden with private steps into the river. We loved our swims in the river and look forward to hiring Kayaks to explore the river direct from the property when our kids are a bit older.
This doesn’t feel like a rental property at all, it truly feels like you have everything you need at the house as if it were yours. A particular highlight of mine was using the owners bikes to cycle to Trémolat ( a 5 minute ride) to the boulangerie each morning for fresh pain and croissants. Cycling over the dordogne bridge each morning - a delight.
Couldn’t have been happier with our stay, and we’ve rented a number of properties in the dordogne over the last 5 years. This one was the best we’ve had so far! We’ll definitely be back.
Thank you very much Andy. It was certainly hot while you were at Le Chabrol and we are so glad you enjoyed not only the pool but also swimming in the river - one of our delights. Thank you for all the kind and lovely things you have written - we would welcome you all back anytime
Just half an hour from Bergerac Airport (Ryanair) or a couple of hours from either Bordeaux or Toulouse, we are situated on the banks of the Dordogne River just a short walk across the bridge to the centre of the gorgeous village of Trémolat, where we usually collect our morning croissants. Tremolat is perfectly situated halfway between Sarlat and Bergerac, at the very heart of this fabled part of the Aquitaine.
A leisurely 30 to 40 minute drive to either town takes you through all the tourist attractions of this justly-famous region -- pastoral farm scenes of sunflowers, corn and wheat, cliff-top castles on the riverbank, roadside foie gras shops, the amazing farmers' markets, bakeries, vinyards and wine shops. Stunningly beautiful bends and cliffs along the river, pre-historic caves and caverns, tranquil canoeing on the river, hot air ballooning, it's all here.
The walk to Trémolat village brings you to the glorious Michelin-starred, Relais-et-Chateaux inn, Le Vieux Logis, and its popular Bistrot d'en Face. And just down the road you can rent canoes, pedalos and bicycles, or board the train to Bordeaux and Paris.
Other Activities: Chat with our French, English and Dutch neighbors. Play petanque in any village square. Picture the troglodytes who hunted in our fields. Fish!
Golf: There are a dozen golf courses within a 40-minute drive. Many will rent clubs if you haven't brought your own.
Pick wild flowers along the quiet country lanes, forrrage for wild strawberries, figs or walnuts.
The area is wonderful for cycling and we have a couple of bicycles to get to town more quickly or for a lazy jaunt to nearby villages or along the river. Fishing (pike and perch, in particular) and horseback riding are a treat here, and public tennis courts are everywhere. The more sedate of you can take in the historic towns and villages, including the fortified bastide towns which still bear the scars of the 14th-Century Hundred Years' War, or see Europe's earliest art treasures, the cave paintings of early man at Lascaux. Or visit Les Milandes, where Josephine Baker raised her rainbow tribe of orphans, or gape at the stunning natural rock formations in the region's many spectacular caverns. Or cross from our Perigord Noir over to the Perigord Pourpre, where you can visit the vinyards of Bergerac and Bordeaux.
Or stay home by the pool and enjoy all the modern conveniences of your home-from-home, 'Le Chabrol'.
To 'faire le chabrol' by the way, is to swirl your last drops of wine across your plate at the end of dinner, then slurp up the 'soup'. Leave it to the French to find a socially-acceptable way to lick your plate!
Superbly located minutes from many villages and their weekly markets, river swimming and canoeing from our own jetty, picnic at our table by the river or 10 minutes away on the lovely little pebble beach at Limeuil (classified as one of the most beautiful villages of France). Drive up the road out of Tremolat for lunch high above the river at the charming restaurant, Ferme Auberge Belvedere. From here, the view of the bends in the river (google the 'Cingle du Tremolat'), the bridge into Tremolat and our house, was described by the french author, André Maurois, as one of the wonders of the world.
Limeuil is on the way to Le Bugue, a gorgeous village on the Vezere, and the Le Bugue market is one of the best in the region. Limeuil itself has some fine restaurants and is at the confluence of the Dordogne and Vezere rivers. When in Le Bugue, don't miss the Julien de Savignac wine shop or Le Bugue's best boulangerie, the Moulin.
Sarlat, Domme and Beynac are less than 45 minutes drive. The famous Sarlat market is on Saturday but beware Sarlat traffic can be horrendous on market days. If you are in Sarlat in the evening, you will love the lighting in this beautiful town and the buskers are noit to be missed near the Sarlat town hall.
Beynac has a wonderful castle with views along the river to the castle at Castelnaud. Beynac and Castelnaud were constantly at war and the fortifications are still present at Castelnaud. The film "Chocolat" was filmed, in part, in Beynac.
The beautiful Jardins de Marqueysac are 10 minutes from Beynac, above La Roque Gageac. Just across the river, Domme a lovely bastide village high up on the hill, has the best ice-cream in the area and the view from Domme down the river is spectacular.
The lovely village of St Cyprien is about 15 minutes away. St Cyprien also has a great market, shareing the same vendors as Le Bugue, and at the St Cyprien market, don't miss the marvellous fromagerie.
One of France's most visited museums is at Les Eyzies. This museum tells the story of pre-historic and troglodytic life in the area. There are some marvellous caves near Les Eyzies, including Lascaux, with extraordinary pre-historic wall art. Les Eyzies is easy to reach on the alternative road to Sarlat