The Story of a Bed and Breakfast in France
A Bed and Breakfast in France
Les Trois Chenes is a beautiful stone farmhouse in the heart of the countryside with extensive gardens and views overlooking wild flower meadows and the chestnut woodlands of the Limousin. We are only minutes away from the Dordogne and Charente.
The farm consists of the main farm house, the sheep fold and bread oven, in the background of the picture below, the big barn, and a separate barn which housed the pigs and the tractors, now converted into a three bedroom gite.
We also have a lovely vegetable garden, a play area with swings, and a hay meadow which in the spring is a picture of wild flowers.
We are just ten minutes from the medieval town of Rochechouart, half way between Limoges and Angouleme, and near the swimming lake and nautical centre of Videix. Brontome and Mortemart, two of the most beautiful villages of France are within easy travelling distance
Contact me for more information by e-mail at email@example.com, by phone on 0033 (0)5 55 48 29 84 or take a peek at our website: www.lestroischenes.com
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The property was built, as far as I can gather, at the turn of the century. I was surprised that it was so new, but then realised that it has been constructed with traditional materials, wood and stone with clay tiles and in the traditional local manner and style, and so it is identical to many much older buildings.
The stone work of the farm house itself is fascinating. A meteor fell in the region of Rochechouart, and many of the buildings have been built from this stone which the locals call 'Pierre de Lune' or 'moonstone'. This stone gives the area immediately around Rochechouart a very distinct and immediately recognisable character. The way the stone was used is also interesting and very much of the region.
It is said that the stone masons of Creuse, Limousin, built France. In the 19th century thousands of men and boys would walk to the Capital and principal towns of France to build. They would use irregularly shaped stones, and, working on one layer a day, gradually build straight walls using a chalk and sand mix to joint the walls.The walls are half a meter to a meter thick, with large stones on the outside and a filling of smaller stones and mud on the inside; This makes the houses warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Things to do at our bed and breakfast in Videix
- Play on the swings in the play area
- Use our new trampoline
- Have a BBQ
- Picnic on the garden tables on the lawn
- Watch our hens
- Relax in the shade of the cherry tree or sunbathe on the lawns
- Admire the flower gardens
- Take a walk through our wildflower meadow
- Paint and draw around the house, barns and orchards
Painting holidays in France? Join my painting and drawing courses
Great for activity holidays in France
Our new tramoline! Great for the kids and keeps them amused so that you can get a bit of peace and quiet. Having said that, our Mums and Dads can't resist a bounce. Excellent way to keep fit.
You'll also find great short walks that link up with long distance footpaths right outside our door. My son and I recently walked to Rochechouart along footpaths mostly with short stretches or small, quiet lanes.
Where is Limousin?
Les Trois Chênes is situated on the borders of The Limousin, The Dordogne and The Charente, South West France- we get the best of all three. We are also in the Natural park of Périgord Limousin, an area of natural beauty, rich in wildlife.
Half way between Limoges and Angoulême we have excellent transport links, each city is about 40 minutes away. The historic town of Rochechouart is ten minutes, La Rochefoucauld thirty minutes and Nontron in the Dordogne is about forty minutes away.
The Lake of Videix is just five minutes away. It has a beach, swimming area, a nautical centre, restaurants, crazy golf, and play areas.
Our three star gite or holiday cottage in FranceClick thumbnail to view full-size
The fermette when we arrived in 2002
We arrived in 2002 and set about converting our 'fermette' into a guest house and the pig sty into a three-bedroom gite. the garden was more or less field and bramble, except for the beautiful enclosed vegetable plot. The first thing we tackled was building a bathroom, (the house had a wash basin, a WC and a bidet! All occupying about two square meters. At first we washed in a tin bath that I found in the barn. We had installed a wood-burning stove, and we put the bath in front of the stove for a cosy soak! In summer we rigged up a hose pipe that lay in the sun and passed over the guttering at the side of the gite. At times the water was scalding, so we became adept at moving it from sun to shade to get a nice warm shower. No photos of this I'm afraid!).
We had to learn French, cut brambles and repair the roof tiles fairly constantly. Gradually, we redecorated the 'built' side of the house, created a modern kitchen and added two more bedrooms and three more en-suite bathrooms upstairs, with a shower room downstairs at the back of the house for us to use.
When we had finished all these, we began converting the building opposite that served as a pig sty, tractor garage and workshop below, hay-loft above, into a spacious, modern holiday cottage. Yes, we are exhausted, but it has been worth it.
So much to do in Limousin
There are so many things to do in Limousin, here are just a few ideas:
- Sun bathe, picnic, relax, paint, watch our farm and animals, enjoy the gardens and play area at our Bed and Breakfast. See if you can spot the deer in the field, listen to the frogs, golden orioles and nightingales singing, the owls hooting. Spot (and chase away) the foxes and pine martens. No need to go any further.
- Go walking, cycling or riding on the many short and long distance marked paths and bridleways. Walks start from our front door. There are excellent stables five minutes from us.
- Go fishing. Permits are easy and cheap to buy.
- Swim, boat, wind-surf, kayak, canoe, on the many lakes and rivers. Videix lake and nautical centre is just five minutes away. There are also sandy beaches for playing and sunbathing.
- Learn to fly. Flying lessons given at St Junien, thirty minutes away.
- Play golf. Two golf courses within thirty minutes drive.
- Eat and drink in the many restaurants nearby. Superb French food, but also Chinese, north African and Italian.
- Take a trip on the steam train or the velo rail.
- Swim in one of the two big indoor/outdoor swimming pools with slides thirty or fifty minutes away.
So many places to see in Limousin
- See fifteen fabulous chateaux and churches, including thirteen castles by following the Route of Richard the Lion Heart. There are many other castles and ruins within half an hour.
- Visit the many museums and art galleries including Rochechouart Castle which is now a magnificent Centre for modern Art.
- Limoges is world famous for its beautiful porcelain and you can visit the porcelain factories and shops or the Porcelain Museum in Limoges.
- Shop in the beautiful, ancient and vibrant cities of Angoulême, Limoges and Perigueux.
- We are a short ride from two of the villages listed as the most beautiful in France, Collonge la Rouge, Brantome and Mortemart. There are many other quaint and interesting towns and villages.
Limousin outings and visits for all the family
- Go to the Zoo at Parc Du Reynou, the Valley of the Monkeys or to the Wolf park at Gueret.
- See the tiny, quirky models of Féerie Land at Veyrac
- Visit Oradour-sur-Glane, the ruins of a village destroyed in the second world war. There is an impressive and informative visitor centre. A heart-rending visit but so spowerful that you will never forget.
- Visit the farms and farm shops. Many farms will welcome you in and show you around.
- Join in the communal meals held in the halls of the Mairies or in the open air.
- Take the kids to Bellevue park. You need a whole day to swim, enjoy the rides, see the animals, play on the bouncy castles and ride on the mini-train. Excellent value.
- Go bunjee jumping and have fun at Massignac Adventure Park just fifteen minutes away.
Festivals and Fairs in Limousin
As well as all the things to see and do, there are many major festivals and small, local fairs. The information is not always easy to find. Have a look on our web site, the sites of the local tourist offices, and be prepared to look for posters or ask at the town halls when you arrive. Limousin is especially proud of its food and drinks. You can often find fêtes dedicated to local produce, dairy and cheese, chestnuts and apples, wine and cider. We also have superb markets and Vide Greniers, a sort of car boot and antiques fair combined, (literally 'empty your Attics'). There are food and craft festivals, harvest festivals and big exhibitions of funghi in the autumn. We have plenty of local craftspeople and artists here too. You will find a list of just a few craftspeople and food producers in our web site.
I hope this has inspired you to visit us in this hidden and unspoilt corner of France. There is so much to discover! Come and see for yourself!
How to get to Limousin
We are situated between Limoges and Angouleme, (see the map below), and both cities have excellent transport links. There are airports and train stations. You can get Eurostar, and trains via Lille and Paris. The motorways are a treat after the rest of Europe. You'll find the roads practically empty and easy to navigate provided you avoid Paris.
You can get cheap flights from Britain to Limoges, Bordeaux, Poitiers and La Rochelle. Have a look at Ryanair's incredibly cheap flights. To avoid the pitfalls of booking tickets with low cost carriers online, check out this article Ryanair, what you need to know about cutting costs of budget flights.
How to find Les Trois Chenes
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- Natural Park Perigord-Limousin
A huge area of woodland and pastures, lakes and rivers set aside and preserved for its natural beauty. Les Trois Chenes is within the park and you'll often see deer around the house and, if you're lucky, you might spot a wild boar - at a distance.
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