Farmhouse with pool, tennis court and stunning view, near Cazals, Lot, Midi Pyrenees
Situated about 25k northwest of Cahors, and 6K from the attractive little town of Cazals, Bel Arbre is a little piece of heaven with its own, very special tranquility. It is welcoming at every season, each of which is different and delightful. The area is rich in both history, and local produce (which is abundant in local markets). It is close to Les Arques, with its popular restaurant La Recreation, the subject of the book 'From Here You Can’t See Paris'. Also nearby, at Pomarede, Chez Jeanne still does an excellent five course lunch, including wine, for €13. In addition, there is the Michelin starred Gindreau, at St Medard Catus.
The house is set on a hill, with the ground sloping away to the floor of a valley to the south, so from the pool and the house there are magnificent views. Surrounded by 40 acres of its own woods and fields, it is very private and undisturbed, with plenty of space for games, wildlife spotting, and an abundance of wildflowers. At night, being up high and so far from any light pollution, the Milky Way covers the sky.
The farmhouse was converted from two adjoining houses. One great advantage is that two families can live there together, but with a degree of separation, with their own bathrooms and kitchens. An old bakehouse overlooks the pool and has been converted to provide a barbeque and dining area. The long table and benches are extremely convivial, and wonderfully shaded when the midday sun is at its hottest. It also catches the last rays of the setting sun, as it sinks amongst the pine trees.
There is a private all weather tennis court close to the house, tucked behind one of the barns. The salt-filtered swimming pool is 11 x 5 meters, and has a springboard. It is surrounded by a childproof safety fence to comply with French regulations (and keep kids safe).
Outside the wide terrace is paved with terracotta tiles. The old bakehouse and
terrace surrounding the pool are well lit at night. There is an all weather table tennis table in the courtyard, where you can also play boules (supplied).
There is a small sandpit for children, and two bicycles for adults. There is a large courtyard with extensive barns, including an open sided barn for covered parking. Plenty of mown grassy space surrounds the house, and several paths lead in
different directions from the garden to the fields and woods.
The spacious kitchen/dining room has a large refectory table, is well equipped including a dishwasher. There is a small laundry room with a washing machine and
tumble drier. There's also a separate cloakroom and WC.
The kitchen and dining room look through an open plan fireplace into the well
furnished sitting room. Both rooms have double French windows to the terrace and
pool. There is a bookcase in the dining room, full of a mixture of loved books,
informational books, local interest books, children's books, and books left by guests
to add to the richness of choice! There is a CD player, and games and puzzles for
he odd rainy day.
Upstairs, there are three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The principal bedroom (with ensuite bathroom) has a kingsize bed, and a door leading to a wisteria-clad terrace overlooking the pool, and superb views to the south. A second bedroom has four bunkbeds, and a third, a wonderful cosy lit bateau.
There's a telephone in both the kitchen and the main bedroom. Outgoing calls are
local only. There's positively no TV, but the local bars will feature most sporting
events of pressing importance (except cricket!).
Downstairs, the large, open-plan L-shaped living room has a piano, and opens onto
the terrace. There's a small kitchen area, with fridge freezer, cooker and microwave.
Upstairs there are two double bedrooms, one with large twin beds (¾ size), one with a double bed and a bathroom.
Much of the forty-odd acres is a mixture of chestnut, oak, and pine woodland, with some fields cultivated by the local farmer. Near the house, (seasonal weather
permitting), you'll find cherries in June, plums at the end of July and August, apples and figs in September, and chestnuts and walnuts in October. In autumn there are also many different varieties of fungi, including cepes. The pharmacist in Cazals is happy to identify these for you and advise on edibility (as are most of the customersin the pharmacy!). In Spring and early summer there's also a wide variety of orchids, some rare.
The nearest village, (apart from Les Arques) is Frayssinet-le-Gelat, about 3 km away, which has an excellent baker and a shop which sells a little of everything. Cazals has a good food market on Sundays, selling local produce, and there is a larger one at Prayssac, some 12k away, each Friday morning.
In addition to the restaurants featured in guide books, perhaps just as delicious is the traditional cooking of the southwest which can be found close by, in the snug little auberges of Cazals, and the surrounding area, using seasonal, often home grown, produce. And in the summer, there is the popular restaurant on the lake in nearby Frayssinet, which serves excellent moules frites on Friday evenings.
If you feel the need, Bel Arbre provides a great base from which to explore all the Lot has to offer - including walking (footpaths and tracks abound, and there are detailed maps at the house), riding, canoeing and fishing, visiting cave paintings, medieval villages, markets, vineyards, and a little zoo at Padirac. There's a nine hole golf course at Cenac (about 35 minutes away, on the Dordogne). Throughout the summer local villages take it in turns to host a traditional fete lasting two or three days.
- All bathrooms have baths with showers. Two have bidets.
- The furniture is largely antique and traditional.
- There's a piano.
- The tennis court is private, for exclusive use of tenants, and is close to the house,
tucked discreetly behind one of the barns. The side netting has been slightly lowered on one side so as not to impede the superb view across the valley.
About the Owner
We have owned the property for over 25 years, and love it. And our children have grown up with it, and still come regularly, though they have now left home.
It's very special.
Guestbook comments from the owner
“This is the most peaceful place we have ever stayed in. And so very well equipped that it was like being at home. Better, if I am to be perfectly honest. The wildlife has been fantastic. I have seen lizard orchids and bee orchids for the first time ever. I could go on for pages about how wonderful this place is.”
"Our second visit to e Bel Arbre. It is quite simply the most beautiful place I know, and the Lot is my favourite region of France. We had some great natural history highlights. Pine Martens, wild boar and deer. Bird highlights included black woodpeckers (a first for me, nightjars, golden orioles, nut hatches, short-toed tree creepers, and a hobby. The Scare Swallowtailed butterflies and hummingbird hawk moths were also wonderful, as was the constant entertainment from the two Black Redstart chicks being fed by their harassed parents.”
"house is so well equipped and beautifully furnished that we have all felt very much at home. Were it not for the lovely local scenery, and exciting places to visit, we could easily have spent all our time lapping up the idyllic atmosphere here."
"Divine. Felt like home immediately, and was even more idyllic, restful and private than we had hoped."
"The restaurant in Les Arques was as good as any of the best London restaurants, and extraordinarily good value."
"So much to do, and so little time. We couldn't do everything, and will have to come back again - wonderful house, superb swimming pool and tennis court, with fantastic views. Please may we return sometime soon. Thank you very much for everything."
"What a magical, lovely place, filled with delights."
"The children got so much out of the holiday, whether seeing lizards, running around the house, swimming, or exploring the woods - and at the end of the day, what a relaxing view, beside the barbeque, drink in hand."
From the Owner
“The food, wine, the countryside and the people are terrific.”
Activity and Interests
A car is necessary. If flying, either Toulouse (one and a half hour drive), or Bergerac (just over an hour away by car) - both have car hire facilities. By train Cahors or Gourdon are 45min and 35mins drives respectively. From Calais it is between an eight and ten hour drive, keeping up a reasonable pace.
Frayssintet le Gelat (which has a world class baker) is about three miles, as is Cazals, which has a good Sunday market, supermarket and shops. Les Arques is just under three miles and has a good restaurant (La Recreation), but no shops.
There is excellent walking, and horseriding in the neighbourhood. the food is rich - magret, confit, foie gras, and delicious, and there are plenty of local red wines. There is organic fruit and vegetables available locally, and an excellent Friday morning market at Prayssac, about six miles away.
|Rental Period||Minimum Price||Additional Nights||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly||Event Price|
10 Sep 2016 - 17 Dec 2016
7 night minimum stay
for 7 nights
Additional pricing information
|Fees||No additional mandatory fees|
|Refundable Damage Deposit||£400|
A charge of £50 per week is payable towards the cost of central heating (if required). A booking deposit of 25% is payable at the time of booking. the balance, together with a deposit against dilapidations and breakages etc, of £250 will be taken eight weeks prior to departure.
Saturday. Arrival should be between 1500 and 1800 hours on the Saturday you start your holiday, and departure should be by 9.30 on the day you leave.
Non returnable 25% deposit on signature. Balance, plus deposit, eight week prior to arrival
Owner's Cancellation Policy
- 0% refund for cancellations more than 0 days before check-in date.
- Available arrival
- children welcome
- limited accessibility
- non smoking only
- pets not allowed
- winery tours
- bird watching
- horse riding
- scenic drives
Local Services & Businesses
- medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities
- freshwater fishing
- Bathroom 1 - Toilet, Bath (no shower), Shower Enclosure
- Bathroom 2 - Toilet, Bath (no shower), Shower Enclosure, Bidet
- Bathroom 3 - Toilet, Bath (no shower), Shower Enclosure, Bidet
- There are 3 bathrooms in all. The ensuite has bidet, basin, toilet, bath and integral shower. The second bathroom has the same, and the third bathroom has the same, minus the bidet.
- 5 Bedrooms, Sleeps 11
- Bedroom 1 - 1 Cot
- Bedroom 2
- Bedroom 3
- Bedroom 4
- Bedroom 5
- Description of sleeping capacity: Sleeps 11 + 2 cots (5 Bedrooms) Notes on bedrooms: Bedroom 1 has a Kingsize double bed, with ensuite bathroom, and wisteria clad terrace. Bedroom 2 has 4 bunk beds. Bedroom 3 has a wonderfully cosy lit bateau. Bedroom 4 has large twin beds (¾ size), and Bedroom 5 has a double bed. There are two cots.
- Notes on accommodation: The furniture is largely antique and traditional. Outside: Outside, the wide terrace is paved with terracotta tiles. The old bake house and terrace surrounding the pool are well lit at night. There is an all-weather table tennis table in the spacious courtyard. The extensive barns include an open hangar for parking. There are two bicycles for adults. Plenty of mown grassy space surrounds the house, and several paths lead in different directions from the garden to the fields and woods. Utility Room: The dining room adjoins the kitchen and looks through an open fireplace to the sitting room. There is a large bookcase of loved books, informational books, local interest books, and children's books. There are also games and puzzles for the odd rainy day. Cleaning / Towels / Linen / Maid service: Bedlinen is provided (but not for the two cots that are available). Hand towels are provided, but not pool towels. Other: The adjoining house has a comfortable L shaped room with second sofa, chairs and bookcase.