Available for weekly Holiday lets - from Saturday to the following Saturday
Beinvenue and welcome to Maison du Couvent - the place to relax and restore.
Situated in the picturesque, Michelin-starred village of Villebois-Lavalette on the Charente/Dordogne border in SW France, Maison du Couvent is an up-market gîte and holiday home. We offer 3 ensuite bedrooms (2 x twin-bedded and 1 x double bedded); a large kitchen with a twin-oven and dishwasher; a spacious sitting and dining room; swimming pool; covered terrace; onsite parking; and free wi-fi throughout.
Maison du Couvent is available for weekly Holiday lets Saturday to the following Saturday
About the Owner
About Don McCrae
We're Don & Trisha McCrae. In 2000 we bought and restored Maison du Couvent, (convent house), a 17th century four-storey house, that's described by local historians as being the oldest home in Villebois-Lavalette.
We then acquired an adjoining piece of land, complete with an old barn, which we have renovated into an elegant, modern gîte and holiday home, with an authentic, rural French charm.
Whether you stay for one week or three, you'll always get a warm welcome, a great location and up-market accommodation - mais oui, se détendre et se restaurer...relax and restore!
Don McCrae purchased this house in 2000
Why Don McCrae chose Charente
In 2012/13 we completely renovated the old barn in the grounds of Maison du Couvent into a modern gîte/holiday home, at the same time retaining many of the authentic traditional architectural features. With a large terrace, lush floral garden and 11m x 5m swimming pool, we opened in June 2013 and have been busy ever since.
Each of the three en-suite bedrooms have been stylishly restored and have views over the garden, across the pool or the valleys beyond. The kitchen has all you need, including a dishwasher, and is designed to make your holiday a breeze.
In all, la Maison du Couvent is a place where you can truly relax and restore!
From the Owner
“In 2012/13 we completely renovated the old barn in the grounds of Maison du Couvent into a modern gîte/holiday home, at the same time retaining many of the authentic traditional architectural features. With a large terrace, lush floral garden and 11m x 5m swimming pool, we opened in June 2013 and have been busy ever since. Each of the three en-suite bedrooms have been stylishly restored and have views over the garden, across the pool or the valleys beyond. The kitchen has all you need, including a dishwasher, and is designed to make your holiday a breeze. In all, la Maison du Couvent is a place where you can truly relax and restore!”
Activity and Interests
The River Dronne lazily meanders through the unspoilt landscape of the South Charente, offering endless possibilities for canoe hire, (with life jackets!) You can rent one for an hour, or better still, have the canoe owners drive you to a drop-off point and you then take as long as you like to paddle, downstream, back to base. Canoes can be hired at Brantôme, Bourdeilles, Ribérac and Aubeterre - they're bright yellow or green, so you can't miss them! For more details, click here - a new window will open.
This region of France abounds with medieval history and, of course, castles, with many being open to the public - we've one here in Villebois-Lavalette, and our Tourist Office gives guided tours, (in both English and French), of the Villebois Heritage Trail, through the town and around the chateau. There are castles in nearby Magnac-Lavalette, Mareuil (see the image to the left), Bourdeilles, Aubeterre, Chapdeuil, La Tour Blanche, and Vendoire - and as you head south towards the Dordogne, they're all over the place!
The Atlantic is about 90 minutes from here, but if you're a big sea lover then miles of white sand, rocks, and rock pools, sea ports, shrimping huts, (see left), and restaurants selling oysters and mussels all await you. Meschers, St George Didonne and Royan are all there for the taking. A bit further north is the very splendid La Rochelle and a lot further south, (of Bordeaux), is our favourite place, Cap Feret on the Arcachon Basin.
Now you don't have to be as earnest as these guys, (see left), but if you're a keen on cycling, we've hundreds of kilometers of open road and rolling countryside to be explored - and yes there are one or two hills that will test you! But if you simply want to noodle around, we can lend some of our bikes.
Just 6kms apart, the towns of Cognac and Jarnac are the centres of the brandy/cognac making in France. Jarnac is the base for Courvoisier and Cognac is the home of Hennessy - and it's the Hennessy Distillery Tour that's probably the best of all of them. We can help you book in advance and they conduct both English and French tours.
If you or one of your party want to understand how to get more from a camera, then we'd be very happy to help out. When La Maison du Couvent is not running as a holiday home, it morphs into Studio Lavalette - a highly successful residential photo-holiday business.
If you want to see colour and local produce in abundance, you cannot miss the markets - they play a key part of French life. There are big year-round Friday street markets in both Brantôme, and Ribérac. And every Saturday morning, under Les Halles, (which is 5 seconds from our front door), in Villebois-Lavalatte, we have a small market that's always worth a visit - the oysters-with-white-wine stall always seems busy!
Other nearby markets include the following:
There are a number of markets in the town which means that there is a market on every day. The main market is the vast covered market, Les Halles in Victor Hugo, which is open every day except Mondays.
At Place Mulac, there is a market on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Unusually, the market on Mondays and Thursdays is open in the afternoon only. At Place Felix Gaillard the markets days are Tuesday and Friday.
At Place St-Jacques, find the market on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Aubeterre-Sur-Dronne: has an open-air market on Sundays
Barbezieux-Saint-Hilaire: Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays
Chalais: Monday morning market, held in the streets of the town which are closed to traffic.
Cognac: there are three markets! The covered market, in the area known as the Left Bank (of the Charente river), is on Tuesday to Sunday inclusive. On the Right Bank, there is the open air market at St Jacques (place du Solençon) on Saturday mornings. Finally, there is an open-air market at the Champ de Foire on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Jarnac: there's a covered market Tuesday to Sunday with fish stalls on Tuesdays and Fridays. An open-air market is held the first Saturday of every month.
La Rochefoucauld: has an open-air market on Wednesdays and Saturdays
Rouillac: has open-air market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with an impressive foire on the 27th of each month.
Ruffec: holds an open-air market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, sometimes with small livestock.
Salles-Lavalette: has a bio (organic) food market every Friday afternoon at 16:00
Verteillac: holds a monthly brocante (junk/car boot sale) on the first Sunday of each month.
|Rental Period||Minimum Price||Additional Nights||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly||Event Price|
My Standard Rate
Changeover Day: Saturday
7 night minimum stay
for 7 nights
Additional pricing information
|Fees||No additional mandatory fees|
|Refundable Damage Deposit||£112|
With the two exceptions, (Low Season Week 4 and Mid Season Week 6 when the changeover day is a Friday), we let the property in blocks of 7 contiguous days that start and end on a Saturday. People arriving can have access to the house from 16:00 onwards, and people departing need to be on their way by 10:00 - this gives us the opportunity to get the house ready for the arriving visitors.
We live on site, in another building, so if you have questions, do feel free to ask.
We can't allow pets on site, but there's a dog/cat minding service nearby.
There are stairs to the bedrooms, so we're not very wheelchair friendly.
Smoking is only allowed outside and on the terrace.
Manager's Cancellation Policy
- Available arrival
- Away From It All
- Tourist Attractions
- Hair Dryer
- Iron & Board
- Linens Provided
- Living Room
- Towels Provided
- Dishes & Utensils
- Pantry Items
- Child's Highchair
- Dining Area
- DVD Player
Pool / Spa
- Private Pool
- non smoking only
- pets not allowed
- wheelchair inaccessible
- autumn foliage
- recreation centre
- winery tours
- bird watching
- eco tourism
- scenic drives
- sight seeing
Local Services & Businesses
- massage therapist
- medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities
- Red Bedroom - Toilet, Shower Enclosure
- Green Bedroom - Toilet, Shower Enclosure
- Blue Bedroom - Toilet, Shower Enclosure
- 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6
- Green Bedroom - 1 Large Double Bed
- Red Bedroom - 2 Single Bed
- Blue Bedroom - 2 Single Bed
- All bedrooms have an ensuite bathroom, with shower, toilet and hand basin. Each bedroom has hanging and storage space for clothes and suitcases. There also are dressing tables and hairdryers in every room.
- Kayak / Canoe