|Minimum Stay||2 nights|
Large 1st floor sitting room with wood burning stove set in 15th century granite fire place. Comfy sofas. Large cherry armoire. Grandfather clock.
TV, DVD, games and books.
Large ground-floor kitchen/diner with electric/gas hob and oven, microwave, fridge/freezer, dishwasher and washing machine. Limoges crockery and all cooking utensils supplied.
Panelled master bedroom with four-poster bed.
Double bedroom with walnut bed.
Twin bedroom with canopied sleigh beds.
Attic bedroom with two iron bedsteads.
Travel cot available-please bring your own bedding for this
Downstairs WC with separate shower.
Ground-floor walk in shower/wet room. Separate WC.
2nd floor bathroom and WC with over-bath shower.
Towels, kitchen and bed linen are provided.
The stairs in this house date from the 17th century and so are broad and easy to climb.
The patio behind the house can be accessed through the cave which has been hewn from granite. Alternatively, you can walk around the side of the house.
These unique houses date back to the 15th Century and stand on the site of a 10th century chateau in Bellac, a small town between Limoges and Poitiers The houses have been carefully conserved by the English owner, retaining original features including floorboards, tiles, fireplaces, panelling and wattle and daub walls. They are situated in the Place d'Eglise where there is ample free parking. There are small patio gardens with views over the Vincou valley.
Both houses are available for rent, either separately or together.
I have a long background in the conservation of old buildings. I was a director of Nimbus Conservation and was involved in working on the Tower of London, Windsor Castle and Wells Cathedral, among many others.
I am an artist and the house includes contemporary pieces of mine and others.
The people in the town have been fabulously welcoming and have made every effort to understand what I'm on about.
Michael Chapman purchased this house in 2005
I have always wanted to own and preserve my own medieval house and was delighted to be able to buy our property in Bellac in 2005. It was in a sorry state, and needed urgent structural repair. Parts of the building were on the verge of collapse. I have worked hard there and it has taken much longer than I had imagined, of course. I have maintained as much of the original features as is compatible with modern living, and have added some contemporary twists too.
We chose the region as my sister had just moved nearby- she promptly left for Portugal, but we had fallen for the area, which is quiet and rural-another forgotten corner of France.
It's a home from home for us. We tried to make the place like a Landmark Trust property, only affordable, and have enjoyed furnishing and decorating a place on a very different scale to our cottage at home in Somerset. There are some quirky touches-some take a bit of seeking out, which we hope people will enjoy doing. We have made friends locally and know where to shop, eat and swim etc. Everything is really accessible and close. We didn't want to have to get in a car in order to buy our morning baguette, or to go out for a meal. The Limousin has the feel of the Cotswolds or the Lake District, but without the traffic and you somehow feel lighter whenever you're there.
Our 3 night stay at Le Grand Fort was a last minute decision for my wife and I while travelling through the Bellac - Limoges area. With only one day's notice, Michael was very obliging and confirmed acceptance within an hour or two of our request.
The house itself was nothing short of amazing. Great character and history, and Michael has done a fantastic job in restoring it. With the church next door and views overlooking the river and viaduct out back, my wife describes it as "magical". Beautiful quiet location in Bellac and thoroughly recommended.
From the start the owners were helpful and answered any questions and have good knowledge of the local area. The house was just so nice and very well equipped for the stay. It was so interesting to look round and see what a wonderful place it was and how hard the owners had worked to bring this house back to life. All the rooms were comfortable and had extra blankets for when it go cold and there is heating in all of the rooms, just keep the doors closed to keep them warm. So nice to collect the wood from the cellar and have the fire going in the evening and play board games and enjoy a glass or two ....... of wine. Outside area to the rear of the property has a nice view and listen to the water from the river and look up at the stars in the evening with not much light pollution to spoil the view.
We had a wonderful 2 weeks at 2 Rue du Fort. This property is absolutely unique and quirky. Whilst benefitting from up-to-date facilities and WIFI you get a real sense of entering into a past world with sloping floors, authentic woodwork and walls and old furniture. It's located in the church square, a 2 minute walk to the shops but the house is in a really quiet and peaceful location with breath-taking views. This was a truly enjoyable and memorable holiday for all of us.
Lac de St Pardoux is 20 minutes drive away. It has a free beach, cycle paths, sailing and pedaloes.
Eurostar from London St Pancras to Poitiers or Limoges, via Lille or Paris. There is a commuter train between Poitiers and Limoges, which stops at Bellac. The house is 10 minutes walk from the very small railway station.
From Stansted, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool or Southampton by Ryanair and Flybe, to Limoges Bellegarde Airport (30 mins by car or taxi to house)
Via ferries to Caen, Le Havre, Cherbourg or St Malo. Then a 6-8 hour drive to Bellac.
Ancient villages of Mortemart, Chateauponsac, Montrol Senard and le Dorat all 15-30 minutes away.
Close to the Blond "mountains".
Limoges-30 minute drive. Poitiers-1 hour. (Both easily accessible by train). Futuroscope (great for kids) - one and a half hour drive.
Oradour sur Glane-a village destroyed by the Gestapo, maintained as a moving memorial-25 mins.
There is a tennis court and open air swimming pool with slides a 10 minute walk from the house, a boules pitch by the river a 5 minute walk away. Licensed fishing is available on all the rivers and lakes in the vicinity, and there is a golf course outside the nearby village of Mortemart.
There are many excellent restaurants in the area. The Limousin is famed for its beef, and also has a reputation in France for some of the finest lamb. Although wine is not made locally, the Limousin borders many wine producing regions and therefore offers a wide variety of wines at delightfully low prices.