Farmhouse | 7 bedrooms | sleeps 12
Eco-restored farmhouse with swimming pool and view to Pyrenees; sleeps 12
With beautiful views south to the Pyrenees, this 3-storey, traditional, large farmhouse is ideal for an extended family, a group of friends or for two or three couples with children.
It has been ecologically restored by the owner-architect, combining traditional methods and materials with modern science. Colombage, the old French half-timbered construction, has been adapted for external cladding and internally the walls have been lined with straw, clay and lime, which provide breathability and good insulation, keeping the house agreeably cool in summer and warm in winter. Hot water and heating are partially provided by solar panels situated near the swimming pool.
The accommodation is on three floors, has three sitting areas, one on each floor, & seven bedrooms which can sleep 12 adults comfortably.
On the ground floor is a hall/sitting room with wood-burning stove, a spacious and well-equipped kitchen/dining room, utility room & single bedroom with its own shower room.
On the 1st floor is the drawing room, with the main bedroom and bathroom beyond; on the street side is a unit of a double bedroom and twin room with shared shower room.
A large double bedroom, a smaller double bedroom & a single room, a shower room & a sitting area are on the 2nd floor.
In the front courtyard there is a vine-covered pergola over a table that seats 12. Behind the farm buildings, is a 6 x 12 metre salt-water swimming pool with west-facing terrace – perfect for early evening drinks - and changing room & shower. The pool is securely protected with a 1.2 metre high fence, with child-proof gate, and lies in a secluded sunken garden. (The swimming pool is shared with the neighbouring private house.)
|Size||Sleeps up to 12, 7 bedrooms|
|Will consider||Long term lets (over 1 month)|
|Nearest Amenities||5 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Toulouse 110 km, Nearest railway: Montrejeau-Gourdon Polignon 5 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages, Suitable for people with restricted mobility|
|Notes||Pets welcome, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|Luxuries||Log fire, DVD player|
|General||Central heating, CD player, Satellite TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||7 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms and 3 Shower rooms|
|Furniture||Single beds (4), Double beds (4), Cots (2), Dining seats for 12, Lounge seats for 12|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair|
|Outdoors||Balcony or terrace, Shared garden, BBQ|
The Midi-Pyrenees region
With the mountains less than half an hour away, a great variety of outdoor activities is possible: cycling, walking, skiing, canoeing, parapenting and white water rafting.
For ultimate thrill-seekers, parapenting is a wonderful way to get a bird's-eye view of the Pyrenees; beginners go piggy-back with a qualified instructor. The nearest centre is at Luchon-Superbagnères.
The Tour de France usually passes fairly near and in 2013 will be in the area on 6-7 July; the gruelling mountain stages are a good place to spectate.
At a more leisurely pace, there is a 9-hole golf course in Montréjeau (5 km), prettily situated beside the lake, and fishing on the river Garonne. If cycling almost vertically up mountains is not for you, the flat valley provides gentle biking country and you can follow the well sign-posted route along the banks of the Garonne. (We have some bicycles that you are welcome to borrow.)
There are plenty of cultural attractions too. A summer music festival is held in the spectacular pilgrimage cathedral of St Bertrand de Comminges and the smaller Romanesque church of St Juste and there is a very lively international folk music festival in Montréjeau in August. A wonderful day trip can be spent looking at some of the isolated Romanesque churches in the high Pyrenean valleys, especially in the Louron valley. The area has many Roman remains, including those of the extensive city of Lugdunum at St Bertrand and the gallo-Roman villa at Montmaurin, and, for true antiquaries, there is even a restaurant that serves a Roman menu.
There are 2 spas: Bagnères de Luchon is an elegant 19th century town but the hot springs have been used as a spa since at least Roman times; in the Vaporarium, tunnels in the rock form a natural Turkish bath. At Bagnères de Bigorre there are thermal baths that have lots of different water effects, plus hamam, saunas and outdoor hot tub – wonderful for a wet day or after a day's skiing!
Not only can a stunning view be had during the day from the Pic du Midi observatory, which was started as long ago as 1881, but star-watching evenings are scheduled at regular intervals. This is a real adventure as access is by 2 cable cars from La Mongie and you can even have dinner on the top in the restaurant.
Skiing: There are several ski resorts about an hour's drive away. The nearest is Luchon - Superbagnères (42 km); also Saint-Lary-Soulan (55 km); Peyragudes (58 km), Piau-Engaly (75 km); La Mongie (78 km). Baqueira-Beret, the second largest ski resort in the Spanish Pyrenees, with 110km of marked pistes, is 77 km away, less than 1½ hours.
For the children, Pyrénées-Hô (25 km) is a large adventure park in the forested hills near Luchon, with activities for different ages, including Tarzan swings, abseiling, tree-top walk-ways, even overnight stays in the forest in teepees. There is also a skateboard park in St. Gaudens.
The Regent Cinema in St Gaudens (15 mins) shows not only French but current main-stream international films.
And finally, something that should not be missed is the atmospheric Grottes de Gargas, where 20,000-year old hand prints bring us strangely close to our ancient ancestors.
The house is situated on the edge of the small village of Ponlat-Taillebourg, in the valley of the Garonne, looking south to the stunning panorama of the Pyrenees, which dominate the whole area.
Anyone who has a long drive to get there will be happy to hear that it is only 5 minutes from the motorway exit and easy to spot, as it is the first house on the left as you enter the village.
There are several attractive local weekly markets. One of the best of these is on Monday in our local town, Montréjeau (5 km), stretching from the arcaded central square, around the church and along the esplanade with its spectacular backdrop of the Pyrenees. Thursday is market-day in St Gaudens, with its beautiful honey-coloured church and cloister, and on Saturday, there is a small market in the pretty hill town of Aspet - a pleasant little excursion if you do not want to go too far and a delightful place for a coffee in the square.
Montréjeau has several supermarkets, various shops to supply basic needs and a tourist office. Although Ponlat does not have a baker, there is a daily bread-van that stops nearby, or the energetic may like to do a 10 minute cycle to the excellent Boulangerie du Pont beside the Garonne for fresh morning bread and croissants.
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