The house is a large ex-mill house, built in 1697, on the meeting point of two very old rights-of-way.
It has four bedrooms, plus a large study/games room upstairs, a large kitchen, a small snug and a storage room,
with the old mill machinery still intact, a large dining room-come-sitting room and a small room at the back,
which we have no idea what to do with yet.
The house has 3 acres of land, mostly mature woodland or steep hillside.
There are several hundred trees, both scrubby elder and mature trees, three ponds and a small stream
flowing through the grounds, with three bridges across it and what might well be a roman ford.
Flowers are very beautiful, including a quite unusual and widespread carpet of purple toothwort in the spring.
Amongst the wildlife we’ve seen are red squirrels, a hedgehog, a coypu, lot of butterflies, hummingbird moths,
damselflies and dragonflies. Pictures of various insects
Admin for Visitors
There and back again
The house is 1-11/2 hours distant from three airports
Nantes has the best service. There are direct flights from the UK, Ireland and Schipol (though Schipol costs a fortune).
Ryanair flies from Stansted to La Rochelle and Poiters. KLM/Air France flies from City airport to Nantes.
Car hire at Nantes is quick and easy
You can also travel by TGV. TVG Map of France: http://www.tgv.co.uk/FlashMaps/france.html
The closest and most convenient station is Niort. You can take the train from Paris or (morning and evening) from Charles de Gaulle.
Routing through Paris is slow, as you need to change from Gare du Nord to Gare Montparnasse, which cannot be done in less than 45 minutes.
The Paris-Niort trains take 2.10-2.30 hours; alternatively, there are Poitiers trains which take only 1.30-2 hours, and aren’t that much
further away if you are being picked up or hiring a car.
We are in the Vendee in Pays de la Loire, close to the border with Deux Sevres in Poitou-Charentes.
Vendee: Deux Sevres:
This is the Multimap link direct to the house: http://www.multimap.com/our house
Niort is the closest large town, with Poitiers a bit further away and a bit bigger. Fontenay-le-Comte is 20 minutes away. The Vendee has no big towns.
A good intro guide to the Vendee: http://www.the-vendee.co.uk/intro.htm
Wikipedia’s history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vend%C3%A9e
Climate and Weather
The climate is warm in summer but pretty chilly in Dec-Feb. It’s in a ‘sun pocket’
and claims to have nearly as much sun as the Cote d’Azur (though it’s nothing like as hot). Spring and summer both come early. June-August is the classic summer.
By March everything is blooming and the raspberries are ripe by June.
The nearest Yahoo site: http://weather.yahoo.com/forecast/FRXX0166_c.html.
Some Child-friendly attractions:
(not been yet, to be honest)
The extraordinary Puy du Fou: http://www.puydufou.com/uk/
(which is open in the summer only but must not be missed if you are a newcomer).
The Parc de Pierre Brun in Mervent forest http://www.mervent-foret.com/
(which is aged and rickety but still pretty good if you have younger kids)
Some Stuff to Do:
Sitting drinking wine and listening to the river. My personal favourite.
Its an agriculrual area of rolling farmland, a bit like Oxfordhire or parts of irelabd, very strong aming community, not particularly exciting geographically.
Golf - There are at least five courses in the Vendee and three in Deux Sevres.
Golf des Fontenelles - http://www.golfethotel.com/golf-france-detail.cfm?idGolf=44
Golf de St Jean de Monts,
Golf des Olonnes,
Golf de la Domangere - http://www.golfethotel.com/golf-france-detail.cfm?idGolf=428
Golf de Port-Bourgenay -http://www.formule-golf.com/fr/visitez_les_golfs/Port-Bourgenay-Golf/Accueil.aspx
Les Forges - Golf Club Chateau des Forges, off the D524 between Vasles and Coutieres (east from Parthenay).
Mazieres-en-Gatine, just south of the town on the D743 between Parthenay and Niort, has a Formule Golf chateau hotel.
The Tank Museum. We went to the tank museum at Saumur and thought it was outstanding for boys and older boys.
All sorts of tanks from WW1 on .
It is the Musee des Blindees, 1043 Route de Fontevraud, 49400 Saumur. Opening hours are on www.musee-des-blindes.asso.fr
There are several restaurants in villages around 10-20 Km away. In La Chateraignerie, there is
The blue restaurant at the end of the road (Walking distance)
S very nice pizza place in St Hilaire de Viost
L’Auberge de la Terrace in Le Chataigneraie (Fancy)
Hotel de la Poste (nice and simple) in le Chataeigneraie.
We have’t really done this justice though (children).
Farmers’ markets etc. Oysters are plentiful as most are local; lots of local produce, including quite a bit of small game, rabbit etc.
Lots of seafood.
Wine and cheese obviously very good. Well, better than that. Truly outstanding.
For practical shopping, Fontenay or Niort are best. For fashion, best just not.
Extraordinarily popular in the area. We are close to the very large Pescalis: http://www.pescalis.com/.
Its pricy and practices catch and release, both rather spoiling the point in my book.
Very popular and seems pretty good but haven’t tried yet.
A little too far away for a day trip unless you make an early start.
The big centre is: http://www.lessablesdolonne.fr/, but La Rochelle is closer, prettier and has excellent cafes and seafood.
Yep, just round the corner. Only runs a few times a year. Le Grand Sot is its name. Hmmm…..
We are an hour from the Loire valley
And two from Bordeaux:
Local Vendee Wines ("Fiefs Vendéens) are not particularly well known. The main ones arer around Brem, Mareuil, Vix, and Pissotte.
- Brem Fiefs,
- At Beaulieu sous la Roche, the Cave de l'Atrie,
- Mercier Frères - http://www.mercier-groupe.com/Anglais/AGroupeMercier/Avignoblesmercier.htm,
- closest vinyard to us is La Pissotte: http://www.welcome-vendee.com/vendee/vins-pissotte-coirier.htm
- Fontenay-le-Comte and the nearby region is worth a visit. http://www.ville-fontenaylecomte.fr/
- The Marais Poitevin is close by, south of Fontenay, and is said to have great bird watching
- The Châteaux of the Loire valley are an hour and a half away and some are truly amazing.
- Vendee Revolutionary battlefields seem to abound also.