Beautiful Holiday Home in the Allier 03. 100m2 habitable, 1 bed, en suite bathroom. Very quiet peaceful location, in 5 acres of meadow, Ideal walking, cycling
Adrian and Shamsiah Collett
- english, french, Malay
About Adrian and Shamsiah Collett
Shamsiah and I are kind of retired. Until recently we had a small business helping Anglophones to find and purchase properties in the Allier. We also had a training consultancy business in England. We spend much of our time at Les Houllins during the spring, summer and autumn. Once the grass starts growing and the vegetable garden gets under way it is difficult to leave because there is so much work to do. We also have a flat in Eastbourne We love the countryside and apart from working on the 'estate' we play tennis, walk, cycle, enjoy the local social activities, listen to music and read, mostly in French. In the winter we like to travel in warmer climes.
Adrian and Shamsiah Collett purchased this Cottage in 1991
Why Adrian and Shamsiah Collett chose Pouzy-Mésangy
We were advertising Les Houllins when it was for sale in 1991, fell in love with it ourselves and decided to buy it. After 5 or 6 years of flying visits to dig up floors, chip the decaying crepi off the walls, lay new floors and replace the roof, etc. we had the house in a more or less in habitable state. Then came the second house on the end of the barn which is now the house which we let. We also fell in love with the area which is easily reached by car or train from the UK, has lovely countryside of meadows, hedgerows, deciduous forest, lakes and rivers (Le bocage Bourbonais). The crime rate is very low, almost no traffic on the roads, a very lively local French community with lots of cultural and sporting events and activities all the year round. Above all, lots of sunshine.
What makes this Cottage unique
The location is very quiet with no near neighbours and virtually no passing traffic save the occasional tractor. It is the only house to let on the property so visitors don't have to share facilities with other visitors. Although we live on site the gite is very private with its own terrace out of sight of our house. It has it own pond full of fish and other wild life which is a constant source of joy to our guests. We have a country restaurant within walking or cycling distance, a local town with all the facilities which is also cycling distance - and we provide a choice of road or cross country bikes (we have 10 altogether). There are also masses of other things to do in the locality including two 18 hole golf courses, tennis courts, swimming outdoors or indoors, riding, canoeing, etc.
Please consider the following guidelines when booking this property:
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
This well equipped gite is situated in a quiet corner of deepest rural France. As a barn conversion it provides very spacious generous accommodation and lovely gardens to stroll around and sit in late into the night watching the stars appear in a coal-black sky, uncorrupted by light pollution. Hosts Adrian and Shamsiah are attentive and helpful without being intrusive, they manage to get the balance just right. The beautiful medieval villages and towns, the intriguing history of the region and the proximity of rivers and volcanic landscape (a day out to Puy de Dômes is a must) make this undiscovered area a gem awaiting the wave of commercialisation that tourism will, one day, surely bring. Paddle down the Allier in the C2 canoe to Apremont, it's well worth it! The only criticism I would make is nothing to do with the gite. If you're an angler and you read the tourist rhetoric, you'll think that this area is great for fishing- it's not! Most of the lakes are private and the Allier is very hard fishing. Fly fishing on the Sioule is the best option in the South of the region.
If you like your French experience unsullied, calm, traditional and tranquil, this gite is for you!
Thank you Don & Sarah
You were great guests and it was lovely to meet you. We are surprised you didn't mention your adventure with the Pine Martins in the roof! Your research into how to get rid of them humanely was of immense help.
Our French Dream
France is a long way from our home in Australia. We dreamed of leisurely touring the French country-side, visiting small villages, markets and historic places, while living in an old cottage in a tranquil setting. This cottage delivered all of this and more. Located on a beautiful small farm the old cottage (converted barn) was a treasured home for a week, from which we daily roamed and explored this beautiful region. The accommodations were all we imagined and our hosts quickly became friends, offering a welcome tourist service and as much as they could possibly do to help us fulfill the dream.
Absolute heaven of a five star holiday.
Seeing is really believing with this property! The photos do not do it justice. Large, airy rooms, with high, beamed ceilings full of everything you could possibly need. All spotless, top quality furnishings, bedding, kitchen appliances and utensils etc.
Outside, a choice of seating areas for meals/ relaxing in a most beautiful garden, which is private, huge and pretty, including a pond full of delightfully musical frogs!! Wildlife all around to enjoy, bikes to ride, and a canoe trip beyond compare. Plenty of interesting and photogenic places to visit nearby, and handy shops, banks and petrol stations.
We cannot recommend this property and it's wonderful owners highly enough. We are booking for next year!!! Look out lovely Adrian and Shamsiah, - we're coming back!
Seeing is believing - an absolute gem of a property
After reading the description of this property prior to booking, I was expecting somewhere a little bit special, set in a quiet and peaceful location - and I was not disappointed in any way. In fact, if anything, I believe the description is a little understated!
Right from the start of the booking, the owners Adrian and Shamsiah were more than helpful - providing detailed directions from the main French ferry terminals, which was a good job as the property is off the main road up a very small lane that would be very easy to miss.
There is a refundable deposit, as well as a reasonable cleaning charge - which means you don't have to worry excessively about cleaning the property at the end of your stay.
On arrival, Adrian and Shamsiah were friendly and helpful, giving me tips on places to go and things to do. A bonus for me was the range of bicycles they have available for you to use at no extra charge. The property itself was very clean and tidy, well appointed and spacious comprising of an ample kitchen, dining and lounge area whilst the bedroom on the first floor was
Peaceful location, lovely cottage
Our week's holiday was very relaxing and enjoyable. Adrian and Shamsiah were perfect hosts. They have put a huge amount of effort into making sure that the cottage is homely and very well maintained with everything you need. The surrounding countryside is beautiful and offers some wonderful walking routes. We wouldn't hesitate to return.
Tranquil, relaxing and chrming
We had the most wonderful and relaxing stay in rural Allier. The cottage was beautiful, spacious and so comfortable, clean and charmingly decorated. Our hosts, Adrian and Shamsiah, were so welcoming and ready to advise on any aspect of our stay. Heaven is a slow lazy morning enjoying the peace of the patio and garden, a gentle cycle ride (bikes included) to a recommended local farmhouse restaurant (superb food) then an afternoon cycling around the area on quiet lanes where meeting a car is an unusual event. Alternatively let Adrian take you down to the river Allier where you can drift down the river and picnic on the banks in complete tranquility watching the kingfishers fly by. It should be possible to prescribe a week at Les Houllins on the NHS - no better way to relieve stress!
There are 2 lakes for swimming within 20 minutes driving time of the cottage, both of which have sandy beaches.
The nearest airports with low cost flights are Tours and Limoges, both about 2.5 hours from Les Houlins. We are only 6 hours drive with stops from all of the channel ports except the extreme westerly ones. The other method of reaching us is by Eurostar to Paris and then train from Gare de Lyon to Moulins (2.5hrs) or Nevers (2 hrs). If you are prepared to cycle to the nearest shops, we will pick you up from the station and take you back at the end of your stay.
The nearest supermarket is in Lurcy-Lévis (6km) or Bourbon-l'Archambault (16km). There are also small shops in both these towns as well as in the surrounding villages (Le Veurdre, Franchesse, Couleuvre, Cérilly, etc.) There are many other places of interest to visit in the area too numerous to mention here, but we can provide this information and there are also excellent local tourist offices.
There are many local restaurants that we can recommend. One in particular is set in a converted sheep barn and run by a young couple who do the cooking and front of house themselves. The food is marvellous, inexpensive, and includes lots of fresh vegetables, salads, meat from the family farm, vegetarian dishes, etc. People come from miles around for the set lunches during the week at 13.50€ per head, including 4 courses, wine and coffee. Marvellous! and only 8kms from Les Houlins. So you can walk or cycle there without having to worry about drinking.