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Charentaise Country House With Heated Swimming Pool



Updated: 02-Oct-2016
House mid-way between Saintes and Cognac, Charente-Maritime, France - Surrounded By Rolling Vineyards in idyllic countryside

This elegant Charentaise country house stands in one acre of grounds surrounded by rolling vineyards in a beautiful hamlet with no passing traffic. The heated swimming pool (10 metres by 5 metres) has a large terrace flanked by flower beds with lavenders and roses with views of vines all around. There is a large dining terrace with a covered tiled gazebo and 8 seater dining table above the pool with lovely vine views. Within easy walking distance is the historic 12th century Abbaye de Fontdouce in lovely gardens and grounds where picnics can be taken. The owners of the vineyards surrounding the house also maintain a large potager from which may be purchased seasonal fruits and vegetables, together with free range eggs. The nearby village of Burie (2 miles) has a well-stocked supermarket, bakery, butcher, chemist and bank.

This lovely stone house is full of original features including beamed ceilings and a Charentaise fireplace and has been completely restored by the British owners. Work on the property during 2014 included the installation of a new kitchen (with completely new equipment and appliances) and redecoration and restyling of interiors throughout. The owners have made every effort to offer guests a comfortable and luxurious stay with high quality furnishings, linens and fluffy white towels. The house is professionally managed by English agents who live locally and are on hand if problems arise. They also organise the weekly linen change and undertake pool cleaning and maintenance so guests can relax.

The situation of the house is truly special - in a large garden with a pretty front courtyard completely surrounded by vines and at the end of a no through road. The location is totally peaceful and there are lovely walks and bike rides from both the front and back of the house (bikes provided). The hamlet of Chez Billon is extremely pretty and includes the site of the font (natural spring) for a noted 12th century partly restored abbey which is within easy walking distance.

Geographically the house is mid-way between the lovely Roman city of Saintes and world famous Cognac, both of them less than a twenty minute drive away. The sandy beaches of Royan and Isle d'Oleron are within easy range (around 40 minutes) and there are beautiful visits to the ports of the Gironde estuary (Mortagne, Meschers and Talmont) within a half hour drive. Further afield the wonderful sea port of La Rochelle with its sandy beaches, beautiful harbour and fantastic fish restaurants is an easy day out (just over an hour's drive) . The chic and tiny Ile de Re is accessible by bridge from La Rochelle and worth visiting for its pretty beaches and gorgeous seaside villages. For longer stays Bordeaux is a 90 minute drive or easy train journey from Saintes and is among the most beautiful cities in France. All in all the location and quality of the house offers the best of all worlds for a holiday in the Charente Maritime - one of the sunniest regions in France.

Further articles about the area, photographs and other information about the house can be found on the owners website (http://frenchcountrymaison.com) and you will find the live link at the end of the owner's profile section on this listing.

More Details
  • Sleeps 6
  • 3 Bedrooms
  • 2 Bathrooms, 1 Separate Toilet
  • Parking
  • Garden
  • Swimming pool
  • Barbecue
  • Internet
  • Dish washer
  • Washing machine
  • Towels provided
  • Linens provided

Top Traveller Review

About the Owner

We are a professional couple currently living in the beautiful South Downs National Park area near to the lovely cathedral city of Chichester. We have been visiting France for many years - originally when our two daughters were tiny we rented various gites on the glorious South Brittany coast during the long summer holidays. More recently we visited and explored other areas of France for both business and holiday reasons - usually short trips on our own. Like many people in the UK, we day dreamed about buying a house in France but it was only after our children moved out of the family home that we decided to do something to turn the dream into a reality before it was too late.

Call Owner
Speaks English, French

7 Reviews

based on 7 holidaymaker reviews



  • 5 of 5

The house is truly lovely as it has been furnished and decorated with great care and attention. The kitchen is wonderfully equipped with quality equipment. Upstairs the linen and towels are 'luxurious'. This really is an exceptional holiday rental. The garden and pool are a delight and it's difficult to drag yourself away. That said, if you can, the local area has so much to offer, we barely scraped the surface in two weeks. We discovered a passion for cycling the quiet country lanes. Anyway we loved it so much we recently went back In December for a short break and swapped the pool for the cosy fire and sitting room playing the board games so thoughtfully provided.

Whether its winter or summer this is a wonderful place to be, a little french home away from home.

  • Review Submitted: Feb 17, 2016
  • Date of Stay: Aug 2015
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you so much for taking the time to reply and for your kind comments. I am glad you enjoyed the house during the winter as much as for your mid-summer stay - the newly installed central heating and wood burner have made winter and autumn bookings a delight! The area has got so much to offer - repeat visits are a must. Hope to be able to welcome you again in the future - Eileen
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Family Holiday

  • 5 of 5

We have just returned from a week in this wonderful country stone house which still has many of its original features surrounded by a beautiful flower filled garden. As we had two very young boys with us and the weather was extremely hot most of our time was spent in the pool, or relaxing on the patio around the pool, and all our meals were eaten outside under the shade of the gazebo.

Everything in the house has been beautifully presented with an immaculate kitchen that is well equipped for family cooking. The owners have certainly put a lot of thought into making this an exquisite place for rest and relaxation.

We hope to return in a cooler time of year, as we feel we did not make the most of the region.

  • Review Submitted: Jul 6, 2015
  • Date of Stay: Jun 2015
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am so pleased you enjoyed your stay and I know you had exceptionally hot weather so resting by the pool or dining under the gazebo was definitely the best option. It is a wonderful area to explore with lovely stone villages, the Gironde estuary and sandy beaches further up the coast so we look forward to welcoming you all again at a cooler time.
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What a wonderful place

  • 5 of 5

The house and garden are beautiful.

We spent a lovely week at Chez Billon in September and would highly recommend it for a week or two holiday in the French countryside. Cycling through the vines to nearby Burrie to buy the bread for breakfast was a wonderful way to start the day and there are plenty of walks in the area too. The nearby villages are very picturesque and, a bit further away, Cognac and Saintes are very interesting towns to explore when you've had enough of relaxing by the pool.

We hope to go back.

  • Review Submitted: Nov 21, 2014
  • Date of Stay: Sep 2014
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you so much for taking the time to add a review - we are very pleased you enjoyed your time in the house and the lovely September weather this year. Hope to see you back here very soon!
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Hidden Gem

  • 5 of 5

Stayed for 5 days in this beautiful comfortable home. Everything you needed was here a well equipped kitchen and tasteful furnishings.

The weather was hot and sunny so we spent most of the time round the pool enjoying the views of the vineyards beyond.

We ventured out on the bikes to the nearby village Burie which had a Huit a` Huit supermarket selling everything you may need for your holiday.

We visited Sainte, Cognac and the Ile de Re as we had hired a car, all worth a visit.

Just wish we could have spent more time here. We'll be back.

  • Review Submitted: Sep 24, 2014
  • Date of Stay: Sep 2014
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
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  • 5 of 5

We have been renting holiday properties in many regions in France for over 30 years. This was by far the best property we have ever stayed in. The owner has paid such attention to detail to ensure that everything you need is there. We love to cook, so having such a well equipped kitchen was a real bonus. The supermarkets at Saintes and Cognac offered everything we needed including oysters that we love.

We visited Remy Martin, Bordeaux, Rochefort, Ile de Rey and Ile d'Oleron and Futuroscope. We were unable to do the walks we planned as my husband injured his knee during the 2nd week, but we will save this for the next time as we will certainly come back

  • Review Submitted: Aug 30, 2014
  • Date of Stay: Aug 2014
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for your lovely comments - I am so pleased you all enjoyed your holiday and hope your husband's knee is now better. The area is wonderful for food and wine and Marennes on the Ile d'Oleron is renowned throughout France for its oysters. Look forward to welcoming you back!
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Chic home in beautiful surroundings

  • 5 of 5

We had a fortnight's stay here and loved it. The property has been so tastefully furnished and well equipped that we spent far more time at the house than originally intended, particularly as we had nice hot weather making it difficult to stray far from the heated pool. Great walks direct from the property through the vineyards picking up the GR routes that pass close by. Wonderful wildlife, deer, hares and lots of bird species regularly spotted. When we did stir ourselves we visited Cognac, Rochefort, Saintes, La Rochelle and the Ile de Re, all easily accessible and well worth visiting. We hope to return before too long.

  • Review Submitted: Aug 19, 2014
  • Date of Stay: May 2014
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for giving us such great feedback and for your kind comments in the guest book. I am very pleased everything was right - our aim was to make it difficult for guests to leave! The early summer weather was wonderful - I was at the house just before you came out and I was hoping it would last. There is so much on offer here with the atlantic coast a short hop and two pretty cities on our doorstep so it is lovely that you got out and made the most of your time. We would really love to welcome you back again next year.
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From the Owner

We first visited the Charente Maritime in the summer of 2013 on a house hunting trip largely prompted by its reputation as the second sunniest region in France. We were immediately bowled over by rolling hillsides full of vines and sunflowers, pretty stone villages, the wide river Charente running through ancient cathedral cities and all with easy access to contrasting coastal delights: white sandy beaches, elegant harbour towns, chic holiday islands and old estuary ports. We were hooked! We wanted our second home to be within easy striking distance of the ferry ports in the north but far enough South to enjoy more sunshine hours over a longer period. The proximity of regional airports like La Rochelle and Bordeaux were an added bonus making even a short break easy to arrange.

Activity and Interests


Large sandy beach at Royan 40 minutes drive away (St Georges de Didonne particularly pretty). "Proms" on the beach in July. Isle d'Oleron one hour away with numerous sandy beaches, pine forests and network of cycle tracks. (Two bikes available at the house for guest use or for hire at beaches). Just over an hour's drive the old harbour at La Rochelle and the lovely beach just to the south. Pretty Ile de Re is fringed with beaches and chic villages - drive over the bridge from La Rochelle.


Airports at La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Bergerac and Limoges. The nearest ferry ports are St. Malo (approximately 4.5 hours drive), Caen just under 5 hours and Le Havre a little more. Car hire is recommended because of the many opportunities for sight seeing inland and day trips to the coast and estuary ports.


Saintes is 10 miles to the west and Cognac a little closer to the south east.

Further Details:

Saintes is a lovely city with a Roman arch and amphitheatre, pedestrianised shops, restaurants and river trips. Of particular note is the wonderful market in Saintes on Saturday and Wednesday mornings (get there before 10.00 am) at the base of the Cathedral with wonderful displays of fresh vegetables, fruits and all sorts of food products. Cognac has distillery tours, markets, shops, restaurants and river trips. Cognac is well-known for its annual blues and jazz festival usually in July. Wine, pineau and cognac can be bought locally direct from producers. From May onwards many villages and towns have "brocantes" and "vides greniers" (attic sales) for those interested in acquiring a bit of old France. Most are advertised locally by billboard. Good bread is available within a few kilometres from the boulangerie at Burie on most days apart from Wednesday or from the smaller boulangerie in St Bris des Bois. Small local supermarket in Burie (2 miles) is open from 7.30 am through to 8.00pm without closing for lunch every day apart from Sunday when it opens after 10.00 and closes at mid day.


Rental rates

Convert Currency
Rental Period Minimum Price Additional Nights Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event Price
Autumn 2016
2 Oct 2016 - 29 Oct 2016
7 night minimum stay
for 7 nights
Spring 2017
6 May 2017 - 3 Jun 2017
7 night minimum stay
for 7 nights
Early Summer 2017
4 Jun 2017 - 15 Jul 2017
7 night minimum stay
for 7 nights
High Season 2017
16 Jul 2017 - 2 Sep 2017
7 night minimum stay
for 7 nights
Late Summer 2017
3 Sep 2017 - 30 Sep 2017
7 night minimum stay
for 7 nights
Autumn 2017
1 Oct 2017 - 28 Oct 2017
4 night minimum stay
for 4 nights
My Standard Rate
7 night minimum stay
for 7 nights

Additional pricing information

Fees No additional mandatory fees
Refundable Damage Deposit £200

Booking Notes:
A booking form and full terms and conditions will be sent by email on confirmation of a provisional booking. The non-refundable deposit can be paid by direct transfer to the bank account details given on the booking form or by cheque. The provisional booking will be held for 7 days pending receipt of the deposit at which stage the booking becomes confirmed and the site calendar will be updated. Full directions to the property and how to gain access plus a list of household items provided for guests will be sent a week before arrival date or earlier if required. There are updated Guest Notes with essential information about the running of the house and these are available on access to the property.

Changeover Day:
Saturday changeover with arrival no earlier than 4.00 pm and departure from 10.30 am.

Notes on prices:
Please contact the owner if you wish for a shorter rental period outside peak booking times or you would like to book a holiday outside of the main seasonal dates given

A non-refundable deposit of 25% of the total holiday rental is payable on booking and the balance is payable 10 weeks prior to arrival. The security deposit is payable with the balance of the rental and is usually refunded one week after departure provided everything is in order.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund for cancellations more than 7 days before check-in date.
  • 100% refund for cancellations more than 14 days before check-in date.
Enter dates for accurate pricing
Total amount
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Updated: 02-Oct-2016
Available arrival


From the Owner

Chez Billon is a special place - a small number of stone houses at the end of a country lane with no passing traffic. Our 18th century Charentaise stone house is the last one in the hamlet giving it a delightfully peaceful rural setting surrounded by the vines below. A short stroll out of the front garden brings you to the lovely grounds of the historic 12th century Abbey de Fontdouce - in fact the crystal clear waters of the font rise in the hamlet close to our garden. Sit in the garden or by the pool on most days and you are unlikely to hear anything other than birdsong or the occasional sound of French voices in the fields. Get in the car and in 20 minutes you can be shopping in the pretty pedestrianised streets of the old Roman city of Saintes. Truly the best of both worlds!

Property Type

  • house


  • Away From It All
  • Historic
  • Tourist Attractions


  • Fireplace ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Wood Stove ...


  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Dishwasher ...
  • Freezer ...
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave ...
  • Oven ...
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Hob ...
  • Toaster ...


  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area


  • Books ...
  • DVD Player ...
  • Games ...
  • Music Library ...
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo ...
  • Television ...
  • Video Library ...

Pool / Spa

  • Heated Pool
  • Private Pool ...


  • children welcome
  • non smoking only
  • pets not allowed

Location Type

  • near the sea
  • rural


  • churches
  • cinemas
  • library
  • restaurants
  • water parks
  • winery tours

Leisure Activities

  • bird watching
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking

Local Services & Businesses

  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • laundrette - serviced
  • medical services

Sports & Adventure Activities

  • cycling
  • swimming


  • Bathroom 1 - Toilet, Bath (no shower), Shower Enclosure
  • Toilet 1 - Toilet
  • Shower room 1 - Shower Enclosure
  • White tiled ensuite shower room (glass door) to master bedroom, hand basin and toilet. White tiled family bathroom with large bath and shower over (glass door), hand basin and toilet. All white fittings with chrome taps/mixers. Hair driers in both rooms.


  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6
  • Bedroom 1
  • Bedroom 2
  • Bedroom 3
  • Description of sleeping capacity: Sleeps 6 (3 Bedrooms) Notes on bedrooms: Master bedroom king size bed, large double wardrobe. Second bedroom king size bed, double wardrobe. Third bedroom twin beds, double wardrobe. All bedrooms have quality deep sprung mattresses, bedside tables with lamps, towel ladders and wall mirrors.


  • Bicycles ...
  • Terrace ...
  • Golf ...
  • Garden ...
  • Barbecue ...
  • 4 bicycles


  • Self-catering

Learn more about this holiday rental at the owner's website


  • The house is decorated and equipped to a very high specification offering guests luxury and comfort combined with practicality. Decoration is light - white painted walls and some revealed old stone with original beams picked out in neutral colours. Original old shutters and window fittings and tall windows flood most rooms with light. The kitchen in particular is a lovely light living space with a full length glass window to the front and a double french window giving access to the pool terrace at the back. The original Charentaise fireplace in the salon has been fitted with an efficient and beautiful Chesney cream wood burner for early Spring/Autumn bookings. Upstairs the rooms are light and furnishings simple - high quality laminate and painted wooden stairs provide clean, cool flooring. The owners have provided comprehensive house notes to help guests settle in and professional English property managers are on hand if required. Outside: The rear garden extremely private with a large area of grass, flowering shrubs and fruit trees looking over the vines. Heated swimming pool (10 metres by 5 metres) with high quality electric cover. Large terrace surrounding the pool with gravelled lavender beds, roses, scented climbers and flower filled pots. Four stylish grey sun loungers with cream mattresses and blue/white striped cushions. Three folding drinks tables. French styled metal dining table with six chairs (cushions provided). Separate French bistro table and two chairs at the end of the terrace (portable). Large (3x3m) cantilevered and rotating parasol with granite base. Two white deck chairs provide additional relaxed seating plus two hardwood reclining chairs in the garden above the pool. There is also another small folding table and four chairs in the garden positioned to catch lovely views of the vines. Outside furniture is weatherproof. Large resin wood effect chest on terrace for easy storage of cushions. Utility Room: Double sink, washing machine and large upright freezer. Separate downstairs WC and hand basin with new chrome fittings. Portable BBQ and chiller box. Airer/drier, iron and ironing board. Two all terrain bikes and two folding beach chairs (in barn) Cleaning / Towels / Linen / Maid service: Linens provided (changed weekly). High quality white cotton, with thick cotton mattress and pillow protectors on all beds, down/feather pillows. High thread count white bath towels, bath mats and large pool towels also provided. Cleaning on changeovers. Other: Dining hall with painted wood dining table and six comfortable linen covered dining chairs. Painted dresser, armoire and bureau. Under stairs cupboard for storage of guests suitcases. Landing with large painted chest of drawers for guest use.

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