Le Moulin de Madame
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Watermill | 6 bedrooms | sleeps 10
An idyllically former 18th Century mill now restored into a charming 3-storey country house, straddling a mill race and island on the river L'Isle in 2 acres of fruit gardens, lawns, and open grass areas and surrounded by woodland in a gentle valley. The dwelling overlooks the river, weir and mill pond which is reasonable for swimming.
Accommodation: Rectangular in shape, the lounge/dining room (33' x 24') has a rustic timber and brick fireplace round a large windowed stove which combined with furnishings create a charming atmosphere. To one side is a well equipped kitchen with gas cooker, 2 fridges, washing machine, micro-wave oven and many cupboards stocked with utensils and crockery for up to ten guests.
|Size||Sleeps up to 10, 6 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Nantheuil 3 km|
|Will consider||Corporate bookings, Long term lets (over 1 month), Short breaks (1-4 days)|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Limoges 70 km, Nearest railway: Thiviers 6.5 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, Boat available|
|General||Central heating, CD player, Telephone|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Washing machine|
|Rooms||6 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms and 1 En suites|
|Furniture||1 Sofa beds, Single beds (9), Double beds (3), Cots (1), Dining seats for 10, Lounge seats for 10|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair|
|Outdoors||Balcony or terrace, Private garden, BBQ, Private fishing lake or river|
|Further details indoors|
On the first floor are 3 double bedrooms (1 en suite with WHB, toilet, bidet and shower). The second bathroom has a bath/shower 2 wash-hand basins and bidet. There is a separate WC as well. On the second floor are 3 single open plan bedrooms suitable for young people with dormer windows overlooking the lake and river.
In winter electric heating is a useful background source of heat should one not feel inclined to be dealing with a log fire. There is a cot for small babies but without supervision babies who are at the crawling stage may come to harm since there are many access points to the river which are not fenced off. All children over the age of five seem to be unwilling to leave at the end of the holiday, you should prepare for this event in advance.
Situated over the river Le Moulin de Madame is ideal for fishing and since some guests arrive without necessary footwear for going into the river there are eight pairs of boots ranging in size from 10 year old kids to adults. There are also several umbrellas for those who are caught without. A powerful stereo system in the lounge allows guests who bring their own personal stereo mp3 players, CD players, cassette recorders and radios with a standard headphone socket to hear their favourite sounds without the worry of disturbing neighbours. The next house is located several hundred yards away behind trees and bushes and hence one can enjoy music without the worry of disturbing others.
There is a large box of toys for small children and also card games and jigsaw puzzles. A set of simple snorkelling equipment with flippers, safety vest and plastic sandals for the more adventurous.
|Further details outdoors|
A cobbled veranda is at the front of the house and a simple barbecue area is close to the kitchen. The parkland around the house is made up of several gardens with walks, loungers for sunbathing and a grass area for playing badminton. The island has not been tampered with and here nature determines which wild flowers dominate. The bridge to the island has no hand rails and so visitors are permitted to cross to the island at their own risk. Fishing from the garden is permitted and if one is so inclined then one can relax in an armchair in the lounge and fish from there! Most go across to the island and then wearing water boots stand in the river and seem to have most success there. A permit for fishing can be obtained at the local fish tackle shop in Thiviers. The bridge accessing the main garden in front of the house is ancient but recently renovated and solid.
There are various outdoor seats for the gardens, and small tables which can be arranged to your own pleasure. Bicycles can be hired locally but guests are advised to bring their own if possible to ensure satisfaction when wishing to explore the forests and river banks in the area.
Boating equipment can be supplied and guests can bring their own inflatable dinghies.
The lawn area for badminton is well out of the way from the sun lounging areas and half in shadow, simple equipment is stored together with the children's toys. Fruit trees, blackberry bushes, various mints and many wild flowers are all there for anyone who should desire them. For example hundreds of wild daffodils often flower unnoticed and guests may feel free to take some bulbs home with them.
Furniture in Le Moulin de Madame is not all antique nor brand new so guests need only exercise moderate constraint to light-hearted behaviour. This is not a hotel so those guests expecting first class luxury standards should book at the hotel. This note is added to avoid attracting those guests who expect a standard of hygiene found in five star residences or hospital operating theatres! For those who are allergic to cats, be warned, we clean the house from top to bottom but Pinky the cat is also occasionally holidaying here.
The Aquitaine/Dordogne region
There are more castles in the Dordogne region than the rest of France together. The very next-door (on the right side leaving the grounds) "neighbour" is a castle and upstream is Jumilhac le Grand Castle - famous for its gold museum. There is gold in the river Isle and on the sandbanks of the island one can see it glittering in the sunshine. Some two tons of gold are found in this local seam per year. These deep valleys have heavily wooded banks and thus farmers have not made such inways around this part of the country like elsewhere. Vegetation remains intact and wildlife is abundant. Wildlife experts will have a field day when out for a survey. Wild deer, otters, falcons and eagles, in fact so many strange and wonderful creatures can be seen in the grounds of the house that it would require an ornithologist or protozoologist to identify them all! Tiger moths, herons, otters, if it lives in Europe then it may have found a habitat here.
Stargazers will likewise be thrilled at the fantastic sights of the night sky. It is for this reason that less than a mile from Le Moulin de Madame a very large telescope (450mm) has been mounted and is accessible to the public (Club Régulus). The skies have such low amounts of dust and debris that visibility is one of the highest in Europe, due to the fact that there few pollution producers anywhere in this area. The local national park begins just a mile up stream but the woods begin just outside the house and this contributes to the very high quality of the air. Hence at night temperatures fall dramatically and guests should bring warm cardigans should they wish to lie in the garden counting stars.
Thiviers is four miles away, the Saturday morning market is not to be missed with a huge variety of fresh food, vegetables, flowers, clothes, wine, cheeses and fish. The cathedral has regular free concerts in which even the sound of Jazz is to be heard! Thiviers' new cinema shows different films each night. The swimming baths and diving pool are beside the football ground set in a large park below the town.
Perigueux is famous for its Roman ruins 30 minutes south of Thiviers. Limoges is renowned for its ceramics and porcelain 45 minutes drive north. The whole region is popular with the French for its ability to produce truffles, foie gras and pâté of a world class. Restaurants are not expensive (beginning at 11€ for a four course meal!) and the quality is top notch.
An 18 hole golfcourse is open to the public just west of Perigueux, a thirty minute drive.
Fishing permits are available in Thiviers at the local fishing tackle shop on the RN 21 road, then trout is only one of a number of fish that may be caught and which are kept well stocked by local enthusiasts. Water in L'Isle river is not suitable for drinking but has been confirmed safe for swimming and water sports.
Canoeing in the river is great fun but again not always harmless and parents take full responsibility for what their children get up to. Building dams and panning for gold is very popular but all finds should be registered! :-)
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10 Aug 2011
Le moulin really is amazing and is probably the most special place I've stayed in terms of setting and rustic charm.
After a drive through spectacular french countryside we arrived and parked at the top of little track lined with trees and the house itself was obscured. Le moulin itself is breathtaking and looks as rustic on the outside as it is inside. The heavy wooden door at the front, thick walls and shutters ensure it is cool inside even when the temperatures are soaring outside.
While we found the old french furiture, random garden machinery, general junk, lounge complete with cobwebs and cracks in the windows and walls rather endearing, it was clear from the visitor book that some had not agreed. It certainly didnt put us off because the house is abolsutely charming. And to be fair, the owner Clive makes it quite clear in the description that your experience will be a rustic one.
The views from all the windows are amazing and you are surrounded by water on three sides. Its absolutely silent at night time apart form the crickets and was a little eerie at first! The shutters in the bedrooms mean you sleep in pitch-black darkness and really facilitate a good nights sleep.
We ate in local villages for lunch - usually the menu du jour which came to around 12 euros for three courses including wine and coffee. There is so much to do in the area its unreal and there are amazing walks from the doorstep. We saw kingfishers, hundreds of butterflies, birds of prey, snakes, hedgehogs and many more animals in the grounds. You could spend a week just exlporing the garden! The bridge to the island is rather rickety and this is your main access to the river. The water is deep enough to swim in (or float around on a rubber ring with a drink in your hand!).
We loved it so much we are planning to return next year, hopefully for two weeks!
At last someone has written a review. Many promised and I have had many good words in my own visitor's book but I am grateful for your kind and honest words here. Each year I am working hard to bring this place to its full potential which in my eyes is nothing less than paradice!
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