History lives and breathes at this 14th century villa in Midi-Pyrénées. A winding lane through a dairy farm delivers you to this manor house, an achingly beautiful retreat to simpler times in Aveyron. The original stone walls aren’t just a facade; inside, the rough-hewn kitchen and stairs in the tower testify to the years that have passed. Climb up past the tiny chapel to the lookout tower, where the rolling hills unfurl beneath you.
Nods to the past are everywhere, from the medieval-style art on the walls to the antique sewing machine in one of the bedrooms. Even the modernized bathrooms have walls of rough stone. The formal dining room recalls a moodier time, with stone walls and floors, heavy wooden doors, and intricate textiles. For some time in the sun, head out to the stone patio shaded by the trees.
The nearest village is Auzits (1 km), but you'll want to head to Firmi (7 km) for supplies. Natural beauty is everywhere - if you're up for an hour's drive, consider the caverns at Peche-Merle. The nearest city of note is Rodez (30 km), where the local airport lies. Try the fouace (a sweet bread) for breakfast!
The manoir can sleep up to 8 guests in its 4 bedrooms, 3 of which have en-suite bathrooms. There are seven single beds and one double.
- Ground Floor
The ground floor has a fantastic high ceilinged entrance hall, comprising of a large dining area at one end and the main sitting room at the other. There are some lovely examples of exposed stone walls and beautiful old wood beams. Intriguingly there is a walk in fireplace which you actually have to walk through to reach the modern kitchen, pantry and utility room! The sitting room end of the main hall leads into a comfortable study/single bedroom with en-suite bathroom.
Just off the hall is the beautifully crafted spiral staircase that leads to the master bedroom on a mezzanine level decked out with beautifully crafted wood floors, two single beds, and an en-suite bathroom with its own stone fireplace.
- First Floor
Continue up the spiral staircase, to the first floor you will find 2 further bedrooms, one double and one twin and another cosy study. Attached to the study is a charming consecrated chapel (ideal for intimate wedding ceremonies) and another bathroom.
Take one more flight of stairs and you will reach the old watch tower. Nowadays this is a small room with a window boasting breathtaking views.
Access to the chateau is via a working dairy farm. The herd are taken to pastures nearby out of sight to graze by day. There are, however, two donkeys who call the property home. Their names are Paco and Rabanne, a mother and son who are both very friendly and gregarious! The sunset terrace overlooks the private swimming pool (10mx5m) and valley beyond. There is a wood/charcoal BBQ and an indoor raised chimney in the kitchen to make barbecues when the weather does not allow the outdoors. There is also a "big" "outdoor gas griddle.
Rodez/Marcillac or Toulouse Airports are all nearby. There are farmer's markets that sell produce and outdoor markets where you will find provençal fabric and gifts, herbs and spices, baskets, small pieces of furniture, pottery etc.
Boulangeries are found in Firmi, Cransac, St. Cyprien and St. Christophe le Vallon. Strangely, there are no shops in Auzits! Fruit and vegetables, charcuterie, meat, cheeses, other basics and flowers are all available in Firmi.
The nearest large supermarket is Geant in Decazeville. Marcillac is the nearest wine-producing region. However, you can find wine everywhere.
The nearest shopping is approximately 4 km away - about 7 minutes by car.
There are many, many options around the area, from village markets and shops to a supermarket just 15 minutes away - but it all has to be done by car.
Two well known tourist attractions are the village of Belcastel, beautifully situated above the river, and Conques, which is also very picturesque, perched on a hill above the river Dourdou, grouped around the magnificent Romanesque church of Ste Foy.
Figeac, less than an hour away, is at the confluence of the Lot and Célé rivers and a pleasant old town to walk around.
The Célé flows from there between narrow limestone cliffs dotted with mills and little waterfalls and on through a lovely valley.
Further afield you’ll find Najac, which has a truly romantic setting high on a cliff that plummets straight down to the Aveyron river, where a single street of medieval houses leads to the keep of the great fortress castle.
Villefranche-de-Rouergue, a delightful 13th century bastide with a central square, which, unusually, has a huge church tower built into the square itself.
Beyond Villefranche de Rouergue, you can visit the Abbey of Loc-Dieu, near Martiel, in a region with many dolmens. The small city of Millau is the site for the world's tallest bridge, the viaduc de Millau, opened by President Chirac in December 2004. Between Entraygues and Estaing are some of the loveliest river stretches in France.
There are numerous places to walk or cycle through quiet country lanes and wild, unspoiled countryside. You can water ski on the Lot river at Cajarc or hire canoe/kayaks at bases on either the Lot or the beautiful Célé river and find places to swim and picnic. For those who like to fish, there is a small lake within a short drive and lots of other places on both rivers.
The Peche-Merle cave is a beautiful grotto near Cabaretes with marvellous cave paintings. Further west is St Cirq-la-Popie, an old village high above the left bank of the Lot with narrow streets that climb up to the ancient château and church, where the view is dizzying.
Terms & Conditions:
£500 or €750 charged to clients' credit card prior to arrival and refunded four weeks after departure, subject to full inspection.
Energy costs included?
Included in the rental price. There may be a charge for the low seasons.
Linen & towels included?
All linen and towels are included in the rental price.
End of stay cleaning included?
Yes. However, guests are required to leave the accommodation clean, tidy and in the same condition as on their arrival. Any extra cleaning, laundry, maintenance and/or rubbish disposal required will be charged against the security deposit.
It is recommended that all guests take out insurance to cover against potential cancellation and any accidental damage caused during your stay at the property.
Other Ts and Cs?
The owner requires an agreement to be signed upon booking confirmation.
7 nights. Short-breaks of minimum 3 nights may be possible with prior agreement outside July, August, Christmas and New Year for €300/night.
Smoking - not allowed