Cottage in Countryside, near Tonneins, Lot-et-Garonne, Aquitaine, France
- english, french
About Sue Hedinger
After a lifetime of living and working in and around London, we decided to retire with our two dogs to France – a country we had come to love through many years of summer holidays. We started looking in early 2007 and within weeks had found and fallen in love with an old farmhouse and a tumble-down cottage that we transformed into our comfortable, secluded gîte.
Sue Hedinger purchased this Cottage in 2007
Why Sue Hedinger chose Varès
We chose South West France and specifically Lot-et-Garonne because of its climate, tranquility and beautiful countryside.
What makes this Cottage unique
Our guests tell us that staying at Larrival Cottage is like "home from home". This, in part, is because our spacious property is not "just" a gite but also where we live in winter and is therefore constructed, furnished and kitted out to the highest standard of comfort. The cottage sits within its own land and is totally secluded, so you have your own private space. However, if you need help or want suggestions for what to do whilst here on holiday, we can be on hand. And not least, for our guests who are dog lovers, Vita (our Airedale) and Bertie (a rescue mongrel) will take you to their hearts and contribute to the enjoyment of your holiday.
100% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date.
A beautifully retored cottage a peaceful setting
This cottage has been fully and professionally restored and is set in beautiful, peaceful countryside. It is equipped with absolutely everything that could possibly be needed for a comfortable stay. All the furnishings, fittings and appliances are of a very high standard and the owners provided a very impressive welcome pack which was far beyond our expectations. The private pool was a wonderful place to relax, read and cool down in the heat of the day. There is no shortage of restaurants and places of interest to visit when not sunbathing , with plenty of stunning scenery, rivers, countryside and pretty bastide towns to visit, all within easy reach of the cottage. The creperie in nearby Clairac is not to be missed.The owners, Tod and Sue, were always on hand to provide information or assistance when we needed it and made sure we had everything we required for a comfortable stay. This is a fantastic place to spend a holiday and we will certainly be returning.
Thank you Marilyn so much for your lovely review and so glad that you had a good time with us. We (and Bertie and Vita of course!) look forward to having you stay here again in the future.
Treat yourselves to something really special!
It is hard to find enough superlatives to describe just how special this holiday destination is. I use the word "special" because you will find that a holiday at Larrival Cottage is a real treat. Thanks to Sue and Tod's attentive and caring congeniality, you will feel well and truly spoilt from the minute you arrive. Greeted with your own choice of welcome pack upon arrival, it is a great relief not to have to go and do a huge shop straight away. Sue and Tod will have thought of everything...fruit and fancy biscuits on the table...olive oil, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, salt, pepper and vinegar...coffee, bread, milk, butter and jams. Travel plugs, mosquito repellent, fans for every room, air conditioning, washing liquid, dish washer tablets, kitchen and loo roll, wi-fi, loads of towels, bath robes, extra blankets, matches, numerous games including petanque, DVDs, puzzles, books...not to mention the amazing huge Smart TV. In each drawer, there is a pretty shopping list and pen. Equipment for the pool includes inflatables and balls. The barbecue has all equipment provided. You will want for absolutely nothing...there is even a very generous "Help Yourself" artists box of paints, brushes, pads and canvases. The Cottage is very spacious and comfortable. Sue and Tod have obviously spent a great deal of time and energy into compiling a very comprehensive guide on information and instructions for operating all the Cottage equipment, as well as providing lots of local information and advice such as places to visit, restaurants, attractions and markets. One evening, they very kindly packed us up a cool bag with tablecloth, cutlery, plates and cups for the night market at Laparade, five to ten minutes drive away. (Something a bit different, an open air communal dining area, where you can select a variety of local produce which is cooked before your eyes, washed down with the local beers, wines and fruit juices and all accompanied to live music). With access to the property via a long farm track flanked by a field of sunflowers and sweetcorn, one of the great things about Larrival Cottage is its remoteness...yet its easy access to the town of Tonneins (10 min drive away) that meets all your needs with its range of restaurants, huge Leclerc and excellent Lidl supermarkets. The Lot et Garonne region is truly beautiful, varied, traditionally French - many photo opportunities with its attractive villages, imposing Churches, pretty river beaches, vineyards and Chateaux.
Thank you so much for your lovely review. It was really special having you all stay again and a real pleasure to welcome you because you get such enjoyment out of being here and are so appreciative. We do hope we will see you again. Sue & Tod (and Bertie and Vita, of course)
What an amazing holiday!
This is our second year at L'Arrival and it certainly won't be our last. Sue and Todd are the most accommodating and welcoming owners, as are Bertie and Vita, their lovely dogs. The property is always clean and well stocked and it is found within a lovely French countryside. The pool is an added attraction and is welcome on a hot day. The cottage has everything you would need for a holiday - all you need to do is bring yourself and some suncream. Next time we may fly over instead of driving as we didn't need half the things we brought with us! Thank you Sue and Todd for yet again making our holiday a memorable one. Pam, Mark, Jasmine and Freya Jones.
Thank you Pam, Mark, Jasmine and Freya for your lovely review. Yet again, it was a real pleasure to have you stay with us. Thank you so much for being so appreciative. And we do hope you are able to stay again in the future. We look forward to it. With best wishes Sue, Tod and of course Vita and Bertie.
Great cottage. Great location
We are just back from a 2 week stay in this fantastic cottage. We have stayed in Gites all over France for the past 13 years and this is truly the best cottage we have stayed in. The cottage has been thoughtfully restored to a very high standard and is extremely comfortable with everything (and more) that you might need. The pool area was kept immaculate with plenty of loungers both in the sun and shade. The pool was a joy to use. Our hosts Sue and Tod were extremely helpful and hospitable giving advice about the area when asked but at the same time keeping a low profile. Sue even supplied a cold box filled with all the necessary table wear for the night market at a Laparade, which was well worth a visit. We were visited daily by the lovely Vita and Bertie which we loved and they made a great contribution to our holiday. We were blessed with very good weather so were able to sit in the many areas around the cottage and admire the views across he countryside. If we could give more than 5 we would. The Gite and owners come highly recommended .
Thank you for your super review. It was a real pleasure having you stay here. All of us (including Vita and Bertie) are so glad that you had a good time.
Simply Wonderful !!
Just back from a wonderful 2 week stay at L'arrival Cottage - phew, where do I start?
First off, Sue & Tod are great owners - their communication leading up to our stay was brilliant from asking what we would like in our welcome pack to providing detail instructions on how to find the cottage once we left the main roads. Very helpful.
The cottage itself is amazing - so lovingly restored by Sue and Tod. I recommend reading Sue's blog on her website (or the hardback book in the cottage itself if you stay there) on the journey to restore it from a derelict barn - such an amazing transformation and something they are rightly proud of.
Inside it is spacious and has everything you could ever need for your holiday (and more) - we took as number of 'bits' with us as we do when we stay in cottages but all we kept saying was "oh, they've provided that already".
The outside dining area provides great views across the countryside - we enjoyed some great warm evening bbq's here with the odd glass of wine!. Perfect for relaxing at the end of the day.
The pool is great to be around on sunny days with plenty of sun loungers - for those who struggle in the sun there's a nice shaded area by the pool also.
Sue and Tod are brilliant hosts - they went out of their way to make our stay enjoyable and the help they provided on numerous occasions will always be appreciated (especially the bike hire and the hamper things for the night market at Laparade).
So the Cottage is great and Sue & Tod are great but the stars of the show are Vita and Bertie, their 2 dogs. They were great to have around, so friendly and it was lovely when all of a sudden Bertie would appear out of nowhere and just roll over for his tummy to be tickled.
I've rated this 5 out of 5 but somehow it doesn't seem enough so I'm going to use the Chris Evans Radio 2 show feature "I did this for the first time today" scoring system and give it a million out of 5.
Thank you Sue and Tod - we can't wait to come back.
Wow! What a wonderful review. Thank you so much. It was just lovely having you all to stay and we (especially Vita and Bertie) really look forward to you all being here again.
Ten stars - five isn't really enough!
For me this is amazing place is perfection. Just everything is just right. The kindest, best, most thoughtful hosts. Beautifully clean. Comfy beds in spacious rooms. Brilliantly equipped with far more than you might think you would ever need. Lovely pool and gardens, with various locations to eat, seat and be, so you can follow the sun or the shade as you prefer - my own favourite place for breakfast meant enjoying the gentler morning sun with gorgeous views of the countryside, surrounded by pots of flowers. The owners have created a very comprehensive, excellent & interesting guide filled with things to do, places to visit, plus all the practicalities (shops, restaurants, markets) and much much more. They go above and beyond to ensure you'll enjoy your visit and/or make the most of relaxing. Bliss.
Thank you so much for your wonderful review. Lovely to have you stay here again.
We have a salt-water swimming pool (more pleasant to swim in than chlorine), with a surrounding terrace and pool house, catering for both sun-seekers and shade-lovers..
Our surrounding countryside is ideal for walking, cycling and the keen bird watcher. Our most frequent garden and adjacent field visitors include Redstarts, Hoopoes, Golden Orioles, Kestrels, Buzzards, Kites, along with (among others) legions of common birds such as tits, finches and thrushes and in the evenings you can listen to owls and nightingales.
With our clear, pollution-free night skies star-gazing is a delight - early August with its Perseid meteor shower being a special pleasure.
This can be a place to laze in and do as little as possible. Or, if you are the get-up and go type, through July and August, Lot-et-Garonne is buzzing with tourist attractions (concerts, exhibitions, shows) many of them free and outside in the warm summer evenings. Nearly every village has its night market - a great opportunity to have a meal under the stars, sampling the local produce. We are close to one of the best in the region - 15 minutes from Laparade with its stunning views over the Lot valley.
We are spoilt for choice for restaurants in the area from excellent value fixed-price menus, creperies and pizzerias through to the special indulgence of a gourmet repast.
There are bastides (old fortified villages and towns) to explore, castles, chateaux, museums, churches, grottos and old windmills to visit, two great rivers and the canal to enjoy.
Vares (5 minutes drive) has a village shop which offers all the basics including fruit, veg and fresh bread / croissants. It also has a large fishing lake.
Tonneins, our local town (10 minutes drive away) is amply provided with quality supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, tourist information etc and has a thriving Saturday morning market.
Tonneins and Clairac have Sunday morning opening supermarkets and the Vares village shop is also open (useful if you are flying in late on Saturday).
Casteljaloux (30 minutes drive) has excellent thermal baths with saunas, steam rooms, massage jets and an indoor/outdoor swimming pool.
In July and August there are canoes / kayaks for hire on the Garonne and beaches to swim from on the Lot at Clairac and Castelmoron.
At Temple there is a famous water lily nursery - the inspiration for the artist Claude Monet's garden at Giverny.
Marmande, Villeneuve, Agen and, further afield, Bordeaux all have historic centres to explore and good clothes shops, boutiques, galleries, museums, restaurants etc.
For enjoyable day-trips, head for the Atlantic coast with its miles of fabulous sandy beaches. A two hour drive can take you to the elegant, sheltered seaside resort of Arcachon (famous for its oysters) or to the rolling surf of places such as Mimizan or Lacanau-Ocean.
Or maybe head further south to the beautiful coastline of Biarritz and Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
Nearest airport: Bergerac (Flybe, Ryanair) 50 min drive
Bordeaux Merignac (BA, Easyjet, Ryanair) 75 minutes
Toulouse Blagnac (BA, Easyjet, Flybe, Jet2) 2 hours
St Malo 6 hours (without traffic)
Calais 9 hours (without traffic)
Nearest train station: Tonneins 10 minutes (with direct links to Bordeaux, Agen, Toulouse and the TGV)
As we are in a rural location a car is essential. (Hire cars available at all airports.)
Vares (local village shop) 3 km
Grateloup (energetic walk to village with some great views) 4 km
Tonneins (local town on Garonne) 7 km
Clairac (attractive local village on Lot) 9 km
Marmande (bastide town steeped in history on the Garonne) 21 km
Villeneuve (old walled bastide on the Lot) 33 km
Agen (attractive riverside capital of Lot & Garonne) 48 km
Bordeaux (UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding architecture and the base from which to explore its wine country) 108 km