House in Eglisolles, Puy-de-Dome, Auvergne, France - A Flexible And Spacious Summer Home For Families Or Friends Holidaying Together
- english, french, german, italian
About Sarah McQueen
As a family we lived and worked abroad in various countries for many years; when we moved back to England in 2006 we missed having space to roam. Buying an old mill and converting it gradually has been a real adventure and has provided us with enough space to invite both friends and family, whilst getting away and relaxing ourselves. The sheer delight every year when we arrive and the kids and dog run around checking out the rooms and garden seems incremental - each time we leave we miss it more and each time we return we value it more. One day we may live here full-time but until then it seems a shame to leave it empty and not to share!
Sarah McQueen purchased this House in 2006
Why Sarah McQueen chose Églisolles
We really loved the Auvergne and had been holidaying nearby for a few years. We planned to get something small and sensible, but fell in love with the house at first sight, despite its original condition, and especially the wildness of its secluded garden bordered by a stream and tall trees. This spot feels special both geographically (part of the volcanic mountain range of Puy de Dome)and historically. The house was built into the rock of the hillside early last century but there has been a mill on the site since the Cassini map in at least the 17th century. Coming here is always a great escape; a chance to reconnect with nature, whether foraging for wild blueberries or mushrooms in the woods or sitting around a bonfire under the stars.
What makes this House unique
Every year we holiday at Straw Angel Mill with friends and family, and each year we find something new to explore. It is great to have plenty of outdoor space for the kids and the dog to run wild; barbecuing, dining al fresco, walking, foraging, cycling, swimming, watching regenerates us for another year back at work in England. David Arnold, a furniture designer-maker living in a converted 1920's hydroelectric station in nearby Usson -En-Forez, has been gradually transforming the house with his beautiful arched bespoke oak windows, doors and shutters. In 2012 we had our first guests who booked a three week block. Encouragingly, they booked a 2 month slot for 2013 which is quite an endorsement!
100% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 7 days before arrival date.
We had a great time in the house.
We liked the nice house located in the nature. Everyone who is looking for a nice and calm holiday in nature will be delighted. We will come back again.
Dear Annette and Ulrich,
Thank you for your kind words! We are very glad you enjoyed the house and the area and your stay, and we would love to see you again in future.
Great place to stay
We had an excellent week here, the house is beautiful and very comfortable. The sound of the stream sends you to sleep every night and having breakfast on the deck was a lovely start to the day. We cycled in to Viverols most days to get croissants and the walks around are amazing. The property is particularly well stocked with maps, walking guides and information. The mountain activities place above St Anthelme was fantastic: the 800m zip wire is quite an experience. We also walked to the local Auberge (Relais du Vermont) for an excellent lunch - really good food. Would definitely go back.
We are truly delighted you all had such a good time and such an action-packed week - it seems that you have made the most of every second and were a very good match for both Straw Angel Mill and the Auvergne. Thank you very much for your kind words and we look forward to your next visit!
Sarah & David
A great get away from it all place!
We had the most fantastic 2 weeks here - Clean air, lovely walks in the woods and characterful villages.
We received a warm welcome and the house was is good shape. Hope to return next year.
Thanks very much - great to host someone who appreciated what this place has to offer- we hope to see you again very soon on reduced rates ! Sarah
Fabulous house & setting.
We had a lovely time at Straw Angel - loved the house and the area. The house was beautifully presented and the welcome provisions were extremely welcome at midnight when we eventually arrived. Charlie was very helpful and pointed us in the right direction for a Vide Grenier and a high wire activity place near Le Puy - we picked up a handful of leaflets and left them in your activity folder - Canopy en Foret I think they were called. We went there on the Monday and the guys who now run it were excellent and the afternoon good value. We hired extra bikes one afternoon and suffered for it riding from Usson to St. Bonnet Le Chateau visiting the Resistance Museum on the way. Towards the end of the week the weather was fabulous and we went rafting near La Privat (?) - again left leaflets at the house. That was fantastic and I would strongly recommend it to everyone - you travel down a particularly beautiful gorge and there is just enough leisurely paddling and white knuckle riding to suit everyone in the family and again the guys who run it were excellent at their rather enviable job.
I think your house is lovely and well equipped, comfortable and warm and your guests, like us, very lucky to stay there. I'm sure we'll be in touch again soon to book another week.
We are delighted you and your lively family had a great time and appreciated what Straw Angel Mill and the Livradois Forez has on offer. Thank you for such a descriptive and informative review; can't wait to try out the rafting. We look forward to your next visit- you and your family will always be most welcome.
Perfect for a relaxing holiday
We had a lovely week at Straw Angel Mill - the accommodation was wonderfully quirky and had everything we needed, and more! The local area is beautiful - ideal for walking and hilly cycling.
From breakfast overlooking the garden in the early morning sunshine to lazing around in the hammock by the river - time slowed to the perfect holiday pace!
Delighted you had a great holiday! Thank you very much for the review and we hope to see you again another year.
I think Straw Angel Mill must be enchanted; I woke up to our first morning with ideas for my new book already flowing fast. I find time out in a beautiful, wild, peaceful place such as this is essential for reflection, restoration and inner renewal.
One of the advantages (to us) of going to the Forez in the spring is that all the creatures are so much more visible: on walks from the house we saw a young grass snake, red squirrel courtship, newts and tawny owls; during one quiet hour sitting on the hangar a mountain hare ran across the hillside beyond the stream, a black woodpecker visited the pines, and a vole popped out from a hole in the wall to eat stitchwort flowers. Wagtails, coal tits and redstarts were nesting all around us, and on our last morning a fox trotted across the garden and jumped the stream.
The Auberge at the top of the hill gave us two extremely good meals and accommodated our particular diets very well, and we were able to buy all our provisions in the friendly town of Viverols. There is a shop in nearby Saillant selling eco-friendly products but sadly it was closed for holidays for the duration of our stay. We came on the train this time and really appreciated having the bikes, which made it easy for us to get into town for essentials (such as the excellent local liqueurs!), and to check emails in the lovely old library with its helpful staff. We enjoyed choosing from the films and books in the evenings, and watching the stars through the skylights at night. Special thanks to Sarah in England, and David and Charlie in France, for helping with travel arrangements!
Thank you for such delightfully descriptive feedback- as you have now visited in summer, autumn and spring you now know what there is to see better than we do ourselves. Your appreciation and enjoyment of the house and area is infectious - and educational!
Special interest holidays:
We do not provide any special interest holidays but whilst the first floor is recently renovated with new oak windows and newly laid wooden floors, the big, open plan partially-converted sawmill room downstairs is suitable for messy large scale painting and the covered balcony area overlooking the garden suits musicians composing or practising (no neighbours near enough to disturb). The surroundings are inspiring and peaceful for writers, painters, musicians or composers alike. It is also a good base for birders or other wildlife enthusiasts to explore the Parc Livradois Forez nature reserve, with buzzards circling and mewing above the garden and falcons occasionally swooping in after our nesting redstarts. There are many species of butterflies in the garden and surrounding area.
There is a sandy beach at the local mountain lake in the picturesque mountain village of St Anthème, only 15 minutes drive away, as well as a diving platform, canoe & pedalo hire, a lifeguard and a small cafe. Half an hour away is another charming lake among pine trees with a long wooden pier small cafe and pedaloes, just outside Chaise Dieu.
Easyjet fly from a number of UK locations to Lyon which is 2 hours away.
Flybe fly direct from Southampton to Clermont Ferrand which is 1.5 hours away.
Nearest small towns: Viverols,(5 minutes); Usson En Forez (15 minutes)
Nearest larger towns: Ambert,(30 minutes), St Bonnet Le Chateau (25 minutes)
Nearest city: Saint Etienne (1 hour)
Nearest airports:Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport /Clermont Ferrand Airport (both 2 hours)
Nearest outdoor concert & theatre venue: Volcan De Montpeloux natural volcanic amphitheatre(15 minutes)
Nearest festival of classical/sacred music: La Chaise Dieu (40 minutes)
There is a good auberge (restaurant)5 minutes up the mountain from the house at the mountain pass Col De Chemintrand (free coffee if you tell them you are from the mill!) It is a gentle 2 km walk through the fields to the medieval town of Viverols. There are two new adult-size bicycles available for use; so it is a pleasant challenge for visitors to walk or cycle into Viverols to get fresh baguettes or pastries from its traditional family-run bakery which is open daily. It also has a few small shops, two bar/cafes which serve food, a bank & an old library in the main square with Internet access in a wood-panelled room with a view over fields & the castle ruin. Pony-trekking is available 15 minutes away near the lake in Usson-En-Forez or in Baffie. Usson also has its own community-run cinema.
For those looking for an active holiday, there are many beautiful walks in the nearby forests & mountains of different difficulty levels as well as a network of signposted VTT mountain-bike trails. For those who like heights there are tree top activity centres with zip wires & Tarzan swings 30 & 40 minutes away or a hot air balloon can be booked in Viverols for breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding area.