House | 5 bedrooms | sleeps 10
Coutin nestles in the glorious Gascon countryside - completely private yet only 5 minutes from one of the prettiest and liveliest towns in the Gers: Aignan-en-Armagnac. Though secluded, the house is accessed through a working farm so you can enjoy seeing the ducks, chickens and geese wandering around.
This is a holiday base at the heart of probably the most rural department in France - one with a well-deserved reputation for good food, summer sunshine (temperatures can reach the upper 30s during July and August) and fantastic local wines to discover. Just 10 minutes away are the lakes of Aignan and Lupiac which offer sandy beaches, swimming under the supervision of lifeguards and small cafes.
There are, of course, plentiful restaurants and casual cafes - often serving the duck dishes for which the region is famous. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the prices as well as the food & wine.
|Size||Sleeps up to 10, 5 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Landes coast 165 km|
|Will consider||Corporate bookings, Long term lets (over 1 month), Short breaks (1-4 days)|
|Access||Car essential, Wheelchair users|
|Nearest Amenities||5 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Pau (PUF) 71 km, Nearest railway: Dax (for TGV high speed train) 116 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages, Suitable for people with restricted mobility|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|Luxuries||Log fire, DVD player|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms and 4 En suites|
|Furniture||1 Sofa beds, Single beds (1), Double beds (4), Cots (1), Dining seats for 8, Lounge seats for 6|
|Outdoors||Balcony or terrace, Private garden, BBQ|
|Access||Parking, Wheelchair users|
|Further details indoors|
On the ground floor you will find a cosy sitting room with a working fireplace (plus TV, VHS and DVD); a dining room with a large fireplace (also fully functional), a playroom/potential extra bedroom (with small TV and PlayStation II, basic but functional bathroom (bath, basin & bidet), separate WC and - the heart of the home - a generous kitchen/living room.
This last has three sets of French windows providing access to a covered terrace and views of the garden. It is fully equipped with a very large, electric oven, gas hob (5 burners), fridge, microwave, coffee machine & a plentiful supply of crockery, cutlery & cooking utensils. There is a large dining table which comfortably seats 8 in addition to the 6 seater in the dining room.
The en-suite accommodation - every bedroom is at least a large double - together with the spacious kitchen/ living room, dining room and separate sitting room make Coutin an ideal destination for two families looking to share a property for a headache & queue free holiday!
The upstairs landing provides access to: large bedroom (double bed & single bed) with en-suite bathroom (corner bath with shower attachment, basin & WC); double bedroom with en-suite (corner bath, separate shower, basin & WC); large bedroom with double bed & space for a further single with en-suite (bath, separate shower, basin & WC) and an office.
The office leads in turn to the master bedroom (en-suite with bath, separate shower, two basins, bidet & WC) which enjoys French windows to a balcony over-looking the garden and views beyond.
|Further details outdoors|
There is a large garden extending to 1.3 hectares (about 3 1/2 acres) which is a mixture of lawned areas - ideal for children to play or simply for you to stop a deckchair from blowing away! - some woodland and an area of vines.
These are table grapes to which you are very welcome in the autumn, along with the figs and walnuts. If you're quicker than the birds, cherries are on offer in the late Spring.
The Midi-Pyrenees region
No longer shown on today's maps, the historic region of Gascony - at the heart of which lies the department of the Gers - is a one hour drive west of Toulouse International airport. The region is centred around the medieval town of Auch (45 minutes away), capital of the Department and famous for the real life D'Artagnan who was actually born in the nearby village of Lupiac!
Gascony is unspoilt by modern development and delightfully free from traffic and mass tourism. With a temperate climate, the winters are generally mild and the summers hot and long.
The visitor is first struck by the rolling patchwork of green countryside, dotted by ochre coloured farms with terracotta roofs. Punctuating this pastoral backdrop are fortified towns and villages with galleried arcades and market squares, dating from the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Hundred Years' War. This was the last region of France occupied by the English and these towns (or bastides as they are known) are a lasting legacy of those troubled times.
Close to the Spanish border, Atlantic beaches and Pyrenean ski resorts, Gascony has much to offer the traveller, offering the peace & quiet increasingly rare in today's world. And yet at a local level there are festivals, concerts, golf and many other leisure activities to enjoy. The excellent wines, Armagnac and cuisine, and above all the hospitable Gascon people make this a perfect place to visit.
First capital of l' Armagnac, Aignan was founded around 620 and later became one of the fortified towns (or bastides) which can be found across Gascony. Plundered and set fire to in 1355 by the Black Prince, the Romantic church of St Saturnin remains, together with others (Lartigue, Fromentas) which have now fallen out of use but still exist as picturesque ruins.
This small town of fewer than 1,000 offers all the necessary services: an excellent baker, mini-supermarket, a cafe, two restaurants, post office & chemist together with several antique shops, one of which is also a tea room. There is a lively social scene in Aignan in which visitors are always very welcome to participate with fairs, communal meals - great fun! - and other events.
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7 Sep 2012
"Relaxing, peaceful & private"
Just returned from our second stay at Coutin. We travelled with our 3 children (7, 11 & 12) who all love it and asked to go back. The house itself is clean and tidy, French in a good way! It's best feature being the large, very well equipped modern kitchen. There are also modern, airy bathrooms in all of the bedrooms with plenty of towels and bedding. Apart from cooking and sleeping we spent most of our time outside and the terrace is great for eating out with plenty of seating & tables for a large group.
The outside space is very open but also private, safe for children to play or ride their bikes around (or hunt for gheckos in our case!). Plenty of space for 2 or 3 cars to park.
Any amenities need to be driven to due to the secluded location but this wasn't problem, the area directly around the house is great for walking and cycling as the roads are quiet and you are surrounded by vineyards and sunflower fields. The owner leaves a comprehensive information book on the house which is really helpful and there are plenty of leaflets & brochures as to whats on. The guy at the Tourist info in Aignan doesn't speak a word of English so have your phrase book handy.
Our favourite activities are the
:Swimming pool and crazy golf at Plaisance. We recommend going to the pool at 3pm before all the trendy young locals come to pose at around 5pm, then to the crazy golf next door at about 5 or 6pm as it always seems to be very hot any earlier.
:A trip to the Pyrenees, a whole day out but worth the extra 2 hours drive. Lourdes is awful.
:The Lake at Aignan is surrounded by woodland which is nice for walks and cycling and the lake itself is safe for swimming. There is a tree tops rope course just next to the lake which can be used from 3 years up, the guide speaks good english and it is very reasonably priced compared to similar courses in the UK.
:The lake at Marciac is not for swimming but again has a good cycle path all the way round.
All in all a great place for a family holiday with plenty for everyone to do on days out but also a lovely house for just lounging around in the sunshine.
Would definitely recommend
25 Aug 2012
"A spacious home in an idyllic location with lots to do nearby"
We stayed here for 2 weeks with 2 young children (3 and 6) and with in laws coming to stay at various times. The house is very well proportioned with fantastically sized bedrooms and well equipped kitchen - without mentioning the vast grounds surrounding the house.
It is very peaceful and quiet and perfect for spending the day relaxing and bbqs in the eveing. Nearby are villages and small towns that are very welcoming and whilst retaining their french authenticity we met a number of ex pats (dutch and english) who were great in providing hints and tips. With 15 mins drive there are two lakes with sandy beaches and one with water slides, cafes, tree walking and other activities for both kids and adults - these were perfect for the children and immature adults!!
Overall, a great place to stay and incredibly relaxing - a place to get away from it all and enjoyed by all the family - 'the best holiday ever' - according to the kids.
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