|Minimum Stay||7 nights|
La Garde is the perfect place for a large family or for two families vacationing together. It is situated in the Haute Saintonge, between the Atlantic beaches and the Dordogne, on five acres of park-like setting on the south slope of a hill overlooking vineyards, sunflower and maize fields and scattered farmsteads. The property is secluded, with the closest neighbor 250 m away. A long chestnut tree alley leads from the country road up the hill to the house. The small forest on the hilltop is part of the estate and separates the property from the nearby little village with its 13th century church. The grounds and facilities - which are shared with the renters of the near-by cottage (Property #573482)- include a pool (12 x 6 m), a small orchard of fruit trees and berry bushes, a boules (petanque) court, several outbuildings and ample parking space.
As this once was a working farm, there are several buildings on the property. Close to the main house is the former baking house, now converted into a vacation cottage, also available for rent (sleeps 4-5). Extending from the main house are former utility rooms and servants’ quarters (now the owners’ apartment) and a large barn, today used as a storage facility. Of the former stables only some walls remain; a car park now occupies part of that space. A huge barn, that once also contained the equipment for making and storing wine, cognac and pineau, stands at the eastern end of the property.
The main house, built in 1868, is a large “maison de maître”, completely renovated, with all modern amenities. It is furnished partly with traditional French furniture, including several sleigh beds and large armoires, and partly with modern furniture to satisfy today’s needs and tastes. The house is centrally heated and is wired for WiFi internet access. The water comes from the public water supply system.
The front door opens into a central hallway, with one sitting room to the right and another to the left, each with working fireplace and ceiling chandelier. Two large windows in each of these rooms look out towards the South. The room on the right has two sofas, of which one is convertible into a queen-size double bed. There is a combination radio, tape and CD player. A desk is located in one corner. The sitting room to the left, which adjoins the kitchen, has two couches, two coffee tables, a large antique bookcase with assorted literature and a large flat-screen TV with satellite reception (French, English, German programs).
The large country kitchen has oaken ceiling beams and traditional tile flooring and doubles as dining room when the weather precludes outside eating. It has a huge traditional working fireplace and is equipped with all modern amenities: double-sink, four-burner gas stove, electric oven, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator/freezer, blender, coffee makers, water heater and lots of pots, pans and dining ware. There is ample storage space in wall cabinets, under-counter cabinets and an antique buffet for additional dishes and supplies. The long wooden dining table comfortably seats ten, more if the side table is joined to it. A door at the side of the kitchen leads to the pool and to a grassy breakfast terrace shaded by a maple tree. In front, the kitchen opens to the large terrace with its splendid view, the favorite place for evening meals and conversation.
Behind the kitchen is a pantry with storage shelves, a utility sink, a second refrigerator and a separate freezer; a door leads out to the big back terrace. Adjoining the pantry is the furnace room, which also contains closets with housekeeping supplies. There also is a shower and a separate toilet in the furnace room, with outside access from the pool area.
In the corridor running behind the main sitting room from the central hallway to the kitchen are two closets for storing vacuum cleaner, luggage, coats, games, etc. In the opposite direction this corridor runs behind the other sitting room towards a WC, a bedroom (two single beds 190 x 90 cm) and the laundry room. The latter has two washers, two dryers, a built-in ironing board, a folding table and a utility sink. (The corridor continues past an apartment that is occasionally occupied by the owners and into the garage, neither of which are accessible to renters.)
The stairs to the upper story ascend from the back of the central hallway and lead to a large landing that connects to three bedrooms and a separate full bathroom with tub.
The master bedroom with its exposed ceiling beams and two large south-facing windows contains a traditional French double bed (190 x 130 cm) and a smaller French sleigh bed (180 x 120 cm). A ceiling fan provides comfort during hot summer nights. The en-suite bathroom has two sinks, a shower, a toilet and a large storage cabinet.
The bedroom at the opposite end also has exposed ceiling beams, two large windows facing south and a ceiling fan. It has a traditional French double bed (190 x 130 cm) and a slightly smaller sleigh bed (190 x 120 cm), a built-in closet and its own en-suite bathroom with shower, sink, toilet and storage shelves.
A third bedroom between the other two sleeps three in a two-story bunk-bed and a single bed (all 190 x 90 cm). A large window overlooks the front yard and the chestnut alley. The associated bathroom is at the end of the landing and has a bathtub with shower, a sink, a toilet and built-in shelves.
A crib and a high chair are available for a small child.
A large terrace extends along the front of the house. Teak outdoor furniture allows for leisurely evening meals while enjoying the light of the setting sun on the countryside below and later the huge sky with the Milky Way overhead.
The huge back terrace, also with outdoor teak furniture, is reached through a door at the back of the central hallway and also from the pantry behind the kitchen. It faces the gently rising slope that leads to the boule court, the orchard and the children’s swing-and-slide set. The barbeque, at the side of the small pump house for the pool, is a few steps up the hillside.
The 12x6 m in-ground pool is just a few steps from the house. It is 2 m deep at one end, rising to 1 m at the shallow end, where steps descend into the water. It is shared with the occasional renters of the near-by cottage. To ensure safety, pool and pool terrace are completely fenced in. The water is continuously recycled and purified through salt water chlorination, which does not use chlorine.
Flower beds adorn the front of the house, the breakfast area and parts of the pool area. The front lawn is spacious, with a deep old well in the middle (locked with an iron safety grill); another well is in the back, also locked with a safety grill. The large grassy area in the back leads up the hill to the woods, where red squirrels, lots of birds, a badger family and an occasional deer make their homes.
The nearest substantial village, Archiac, is 5 km away; there are: a small supermarket with gas station, a very good butcher shop, a good artisanal bakery, two small grocery stores, a pharmacy, hair salons, car repair shops, a bank, a post office, etc. The larger town of Jonzac, 10 km away, has four supermarkets and all other essential urban facilities, including banks, doctors, dentists, hotel, hospital, restaurants, brasseries, train station, thermal baths, a casino and a large indoor water adventure world. It has market days on Tuesdays and Fridays and an organic market on Sunday mornings. A small airfield operated by the local aero club is nearby and some of the club members offer sightseeing flights for about 150 Euro per hour (up to 3 passengers).
The region is famous for the production of cognac and Pineau de Charente, and there are numerous activities and sights to enjoy, including day hikes and bike rides, visiting nearby villages, markets and old village churches. 15 minutes away is Pons with its impressive donjon and the old pilgrim hospital, both from the 12th century, and a picnic area where one can rent boats to paddle on the Seugne. 25 minutes away is Cognac with its famous distilleries. 35 minutes away is Saintes with its Roman amphitheatre and triumphal arch, its magnificent old churches, its shops and restaurants. 45 minutes away are Meschers and Royan with their fine beaches and water sports facilities; along the way are the fishing and leisure port villages on the north shore of the Gironde. 45 minutes away is the beautiful mountaintop city of Angouleme. Day trips are possible to Bordeaux (75 minutes), Blaye (70 minutes), where a ferry takes you across the Gironde into the Medoc, Arcachon (3 hours), the oyster beds at Marennes (80 minutes), Rochefort (90 minutes), La Rochelle (130 minutes), the Ile d’Oleron (120 minutes) and to Aubeterre (60 minutes), Riberac (80 minutes), Brantome (100 minutes) and the Dordogne.
The closest train station is in Jonzac, with connections to Bordeaux, Saintes, Rochefort und La Rochelle. The closest TGV connection to points north and south is in Angouleme (about 45 minutes by car). The nearest entries/exits to the Superhighway A 10 (toll) Paris-Bordeaux are near Pons (20 km) and Mirambeau (25 km).
Our 5-day stay at La Garde was fabulous! My two friends and I enjoyed having our own rooms, bathrooms and even two living rooms! The large country kitchen was well equipped and we could shop nearby for things we wanted to enjoy in our "new home". It was easy to go on our winery tours and nearby great restaurants from there. I enjoyed staying there, relaxing, and taking in the lovely environs.
Our week-long stay at La Garde in July 2015 left us wanting to return to discover more of the magic that we found on our first visit. La Garde isn’t just a place; it’s an experience––living life in rural France as the French do. This experience starts with the quest of finding the place. Even though the directions we received were very clear (we took the TGV from Paris to Angoulleme where we rented a car), La Garde’s location is quite remote and surrounded by vineyards and fields of sunflowers, which creates its enchantment. With a glass of wine (or three) in the evening twilight, or watching the changing light in the early morning, the view from La Garde is a living version of an impressionist painting. It’s only a short stroll to the hilltop town of Sainte-Lheurine with its 12th century church and on to a restored windmill, but that short walk is a journey back in time to Medieval Europe. The beautifully restored manor house at La Garde is as graceful as its setting. Even though the house possesses every modern convenience a demanding traveler might want (including an extraordinary swimming pool), those conveniences never overpower the historic character of the house. Despite its seeming remoteness, we took day trips to several fascinating destinations ranging from the many distilleries in Cognac to the urban delights of Bordeaux. But the best part was being able to share this experience with both old and new friends. Gotz and Ellie have created a treasure at La Garde that is absolutely perfect for a large group of friends or family (there were 14 of us in the main house and cottage). On days when we just wanted to relax, we swam, learned to play boule ball, and had impromptu yoga sessions on the lawn overlooking the vineyards, and then everyone would come together in the evening after their day’s adventures for another glass of outstanding Bordeaux wine and dinner on the terrace. We’re so lucky that Gotz and Ellie are willing to share this gem with their guests—we would return in a heartbeat.
While staying at Le Gard with a large group, we spent our days either relaxing at the beautifully maintained house and grounds or took off on day trips. We strolled through the vineyard to the windmill and to the beautiful old church in the village, followed by cooling off in the swimming pool. If we opted to take a day trip, the gracious owners offered help with driving tips and suggestions on where to go.
The rooms were all spacious and comfortable. The large kitchen had modern appliances and two refrigerators; our bedroom had a very comfortable bed and plenty of space for suitcases and belongings. Even during the heat of summer, the house was a comfortable temperature.
The house is surrounded by endless vineyards and sunflower fields that were best enjoyed while dining outside on a warm evening with a glass of wine and in the company of friends. We would return in a heartbeat!
La Garde is the perfect retreat for a family or large group. We stayed in the main house with 6 other people and never felt crowded. Much of our time was spent outside overlooking the beautiful French countryside. In the mornings you can take walks and some rode bicycles. There is a wonderful swimming pool that was perfect on hot afternoons. The large kitchen was cozy and convenient for making meals. There are many choices for activities meandering into the small town of Jonzac, touring around the countryside in our rented Fiat or taking the train into Bordeaux all convenient and easy to do. We took the train from Paris and rented a car in Angouleme. Gotz and Ellie are great hosts and keep the house immaculate. I would go back in a flash.
Magnifique lieu dans une maison de maître, au milieu du vignoble du cognac . Randonnées pédestres dans un paysage avec point de vue culminant le pays de Haute Saintonge. Accueil chaleureux et lieu propre très bien tenu offrant toutes les commodités et une très belle piscine. Idéal pour se ressourcer. Nous y retournerons !
Wonderful place in a mansion in the middle of the Cognac vineyards . Hiking in a landscape with high point of view the country of Upper Saintonge. Warm and clean place well kept with all the amenities and a great pool . Ideal for recharging . We will return !
Wundervolles Hotel in einem Herrenhaus in der Mitte der Cognac Weinberge. Wandern in einer Landschaft mit hohen Sicht das Land der Haute Saintonge . Warm und sauberen Ort gut ausgestattet mit allen Annehmlichkeiten und einem großen Pool gehalten . Ideal zum Aufladen . Wir kommen wieder!
Our stay at LaGuarde was a memorable visit. The place is well maintained and has an excellent kitchen where we prepared home cooked meals and feasted on local delicacies purchased at the nearby local open air market in Jonzac. It is a perfect retreat for large families who want a quiet, safe place to for a week in the French countryside. We had three families, two with small children who were free to play on the grass. Nestled in a vineyard of cognac grapes, there is complete quiet. A perfect get away. The city of Cognac is about 1/2 hour drive and Bordeaux is about an hour drive. We took theTGV fast train from Paris that starts from Charles DeGualle airport, and got off at Angoulleme where we rented a car. It's about a forty-five minute drive to La Guarde.
|Refundable damage deposit||$322|