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Converted Sawmill Located In One Of France's Most Unspoilt Regions

Bedrooms 4
Property type house
Minimum Stay 3 - 7 nights
Popular Features
  • Barbecue
  • Washing Machine
  • Parking


About the property

House in Eglisolles, Puy-de-Dome, Auvergne, France - A Flexible And Spacious Summer Home For Families Or Friends Holidaying Together

The house is in the Parc Livradois Forez, a nature reserve in Puy De Dome, in the heart of the Auvergne, France's most unspoilt region. It is 900 metres above sea level and surrounded by forest and pastures, with many tracks and trails accessible from the house. Straw Angel Mill is ideal for those who love to be outdoors; whether hiking through the natural environment, relaxing by the stream in the privacy of the secluded wild garden or exploring an authentic region that hasn't been overwhelmed by tourists. Despite the house's secluded setting, both basic needs and special treats are within easy reach - a 5 minute drive or 20 minute walk to Viverols, a small medieval town with a traditional French bakery open daily for fresh baguettes and pastries, and 5 minutes from a mountain pass with a restaurant serving delicious local food. There is a mountain lake for a cool dip in summer & a ski station in winter, 20 minutes away, and several marked mountain-bike circuits nearby.

Sarah McQueen
Member since: 2013
Speaks English, French, German, Italian
Calendar last updated:
2 April, 2017

About Sarah McQueen

As a family we lived and worked abroad in various countries for many years; when we moved back to England in 2006 we missed having space to roam. Buying an old mill and converting it gradually has been a real adventure and has provided us with enough space to invite both friends and family, whilst getting away and relaxing ourselves. The sheer delight every year when we arrive and the kids and dog run around checking out the rooms and garden seems incremental - each time we leave we miss it more and each time we return we value it more. One day we may live here full-time but until then it seems a shame to leave it empty and not to share!

Sarah McQueen purchased this house in 2006

Why Sarah McQueen chose Églisolles

We really loved the Auvergne and had been holidaying nearby for a few years. We planned to get something small and sensible, but fell in love with the house at first sight, despite its original condition, and especially the wildness of its secluded garden bordered by a stream and tall trees.

This spot feels special both geographically (part of the volcanic mountain range of Puy de Dome)and historically. The house was built into the rock of the hillside early last century but there has been a mill on the site since the Cassini map in at least the 17th century.

Coming here is always a great escape; a chance to reconnect with nature, whether foraging for wild blueberries or mushrooms in the woods or sitting around a bonfire under the stars.

What makes this house unique

Every year we holiday at Straw Angel Mill with friends and family, and each year we find something new to explore. It is great to have plenty of outdoor space for the kids and the dog to run wild; barbecuing, dining al fresco, walking, foraging, cycling, swimming, watching wildlife...it regenerates us for another year back at work in England.

David Arnold, a furniture designer-maker living in a converted 1920's hydroelectric station in nearby Usson -En-Forez, has been gradually transforming the house with his beautiful arched bespoke oak windows, doors and shutters.

In 2012 we had our first guests who booked a three week block. Encouragingly, they booked a 2 month slot for 2013 which is quite an endorsement!

Guestbook comments from the owner

"We had an amazing time at the mill, the images don't do it justice!Heavenly location,weather quite good(2 days rain:the rest glorious sunshine!) Cooked, bbqs, yoga, walked upstream, swam in lake & lots more! Thanks"

Ryan and friends, June 2013
Jan 2013
  • 1 of 1


Accommodation and facilities for this holiday house in Églisolles in Puy-de-Dôme

Property Type:
  • house
  • Self-catering
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 16:00 / Check-out: 11:00
  • Max. occupancy: 10
  • pets considered ...
  • children welcome ...
Location Type:
  • mountain
  • rural
  • village
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Fitness Room / Equipment ...
  • Garage ...
  • Heating ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Tumble Dryer
  • Washing Machine
  • Wood Stove ...
  • Coffee Maker
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Kitchen ...
  • Oven
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Hob ...
  • Child's Highchair
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 10 people
  • 1 Bathroom
  • Bathroom 1 - Toilet , Bath with Shower
  • The bathroom is en-suite to bedroom 1 with bath, toilet, shower (over bath), washbasin, full-length mirror. Separate access from lounge.
  • 4 Bedrooms, Sleeps 10
  • Bedroom 4 - 1 Large Double Bed
    Bedroom 3 - 3 Single Bed , 1 Child Bed , 1 Cot , Open plan attic room
    Blue Rose (Bedroom 2) - 1 Double Bed , The original wallpaper had blue roses and the name stuck!
    River Room (Bedroom 1) - 1 Double Bed , En suite to bathroom. The sound of the river can be heard.
  • Description of sleeping capacity: Sleeps 10 (3 Bedrooms) Notes on bedrooms: First floor: Bedroom 1: double bed; en suite to shared bathroom. Bedroom 2: double bed and wood-burning stove. Second floor: Double bed (wall & curtain for privacy) Open plan attic bedroom: 4 single beds suitable for children, teenagers or adults who don't mind sharing.
  • Books ...
  • DVD Player
  • Table Football
  • Games ...
  • Pool Table ...
  • Television
  • Toys ...
  • Video Library ...
  • Balcony ...
  • Bicycles ...
  • Terrace ...
  • Garden ...
  • Barbecue ...
  • Veranda ...
  • Ski & Snowboard ...
  • wheelchair inaccessible ...
  • autumn foliage
  • churches
  • forests
  • museums
  • restaurants
  • ruins
  • volcano
  • water parks
Leisure Activities:
  • bird watching
  • eco tourism
  • horse riding
  • scenic drives
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • mountain climbing
  • rafting
  • swimming
  • whitewater rafting
Notes on accommodation: Many people of various ages have enjoyed summers here over the past 6 years. Our own and many friends' children have loved roaming around, paddling upstream, catching frogs and generally going wild while we watch from the balcony with a glass of wine. It is great to have plenty of space and also for adults and children alike to be 'unplugged' for a change. (But if the weather is bad there is a trunk full of videos and DVDs, as well as toys and books). The lake is a nearby, child-friendly destination in hot weather; it is also good to be able to enjoy a variety of walks from the house without having to get in the car. Outside: The house is easily accessed from the road but set well back. There is plenty of space for parking and a washing line in the front garden. The rustic garage on the ground floor can shelter 2 cars in case of a summer hailstorm. There is an old barn & building to the left but it is uninhabited;the old watermill across the road is the only neighbour. There is a large, private, secluded garden to the back & side of the house with mowed areas and semi-wild areas pleasantly encircled by tall trees & bordered on two sides by the stream. A small wood belonging to the house is at the bottom of the garden.There is a veranda overlooking the stream, loungers, hammocks, bench, chairs, rustic barbecue & table, fire-pit for bonfires, & swing over the shallow stream (popular with children & adults for paddling in on hot days, or building dams.) The old wooden water chute for feeding the mill's turbine, mill race, sluice gate & other remnants of the building's past are still visible. Utility Room: A tumble-drier, clothes horse, washing lines and pegs are available for your laundry needs. Fridge-freezer. Cleaning / Towels / Linen / Maid service: Towels and bedlinen included. Property cleaned prior to stay. Please leave as found. Extra cleaning charge of 40 euros if this is not possible. Other: Ground floor: rustic garage area plus old former sawmill room currently used for garden storage leading to an outdoor veranda with bench and chairs overlooking stream. NB Next door /adjacent is an unused barn & building.


Wonderful! 4.8/5 -
(13 traveller reviews)

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Converted Sawmill Located In One Of France's Most Unspoilt Regions
average rating of 4.8461537 based on 14 reviews

We had a great time in the house.

  • 4 of 5

We liked the nice house located in the nature. Everyone who is looking for a nice and calm holiday in nature will be delighted. We will come back again.

  • Review Submitted: 25-Sep-2016
  • Date of Stay: September 2016
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Dear Annette and Ulrich, Thank you for your kind words! We are very glad you enjoyed the house and the area and your stay, and we would love to see you again in future.
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0 0

Great place to stay

  • 5 of 5

We had an excellent week here, the house is beautiful and very comfortable. The sound of the stream sends you to sleep every night and having breakfast on the deck was a lovely start to the day. We cycled in to Viverols most days to get croissants and the walks around are amazing. The property is particularly well stocked with maps, walking guides and information. The mountain activities place above St Anthelme was fantastic: the 800m zip wire is quite an experience. We also walked to the local Auberge (Relais du Vermont) for an excellent lunch - really good food. Would definitely go back.

  • Review Submitted: 01-Sep-2016
  • Date of Stay: August 2016
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: We are truly delighted you all had such a good time and such an action-packed week - it seems that you have made the most of every second and were a very good match for both Straw Angel Mill and the Auvergne. Thank you very much for your kind words and we look forward to your next visit! Sarah & David
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0 0

A great get away from it all place!

  • 5 of 5

We had the most fantastic 2 weeks here - Clean air, lovely walks in the woods and characterful villages.

We received a warm welcome and the house was is good shape. Hope to return next year.

  • Review Submitted: 18-Oct-2015
  • Date of Stay: September 2015
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
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2 0

Fabulous house & setting.

  • 5 of 5

We had a lovely time at Straw Angel - loved the house and the area. The house was beautifully presented and the welcome provisions were extremely welcome at midnight when we eventually arrived. Charlie was very helpful and pointed us in the right direction for a Vide Grenier and a high wire activity place near Le Puy - we picked up a handful of leaflets and left them in your activity folder - Canopy en Foret I think they were called. We went there on the Monday and the guys who now run it were excellent and the afternoon good value. We hired extra bikes one afternoon and suffered for it riding from Usson to St. Bonnet Le Chateau visiting the Resistance Museum on the way. Towards the end of the week the weather was fabulous and we went rafting near La Privat (?) - again left leaflets at the house. That was fantastic and I would strongly recommend it to everyone - you travel down a particularly beautiful gorge and there is just enough leisurely paddling and white knuckle riding to suit everyone in the family and again the guys who run it were excellent at their rather enviable job.

I think your house is lovely and well equipped, comfortable and warm and your guests, like us, very lucky to stay there. I'm sure we'll be in touch again soon to book another week.

  • Review Submitted: 05-Jun-2015
  • Date of Stay: May 2015
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Dear Wendy, We are delighted you and your lively family had a great time and appreciated what Straw Angel Mill and the Livradois Forez has on offer. Thank you for such a descriptive and informative review; can't wait to try out the rafting. We look forward to your next visit- you and your family will always be most welcome.
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1 0

Perfect for a relaxing holiday

  • 5 of 5

We had a lovely week at Straw Angel Mill - the accommodation was wonderfully quirky and had everything we needed, and more! The local area is beautiful - ideal for walking and hilly cycling.

From breakfast overlooking the garden in the early morning sunshine to lazing around in the hammock by the river - time slowed to the perfect holiday pace!

  • Review Submitted: 30-Sep-2014
  • Date of Stay: August 2014
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Delighted you had a great holiday! Thank you very much for the review and we hope to see you again another year.
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3 0


  • 5 of 5

I think Straw Angel Mill must be enchanted; I woke up to our first morning with ideas for my new book already flowing fast. I find time out in a beautiful, wild, peaceful place such as this is essential for reflection, restoration and inner renewal.

One of the advantages (to us) of going to the Forez in the spring is that all the creatures are so much more visible: on walks from the house we saw a young grass snake, red squirrel courtship, newts and tawny owls; during one quiet hour sitting on the hangar a mountain hare ran across the hillside beyond the stream, a black woodpecker visited the pines, and a vole popped out from a hole in the wall to eat stitchwort flowers. Wagtails, coal tits and redstarts were nesting all around us, and on our last morning a fox trotted across the garden and jumped the stream.

The Auberge at the top of the hill gave us two extremely good meals and accommodated our particular diets very well, and we were able to buy all our provisions in the friendly town of Viverols. There is a shop in nearby Saillant selling eco-friendly products but sadly it was closed for holidays for the duration of our stay. We came on the train this time and really appreciated having the bikes, which made it easy for us to get into town for essentials (such as the excellent local liqueurs!), and to check emails in the lovely old library with its helpful staff. We enjoyed choosing from the films and books in the evenings, and watching the stars through the skylights at night. Special thanks to Sarah in England, and David and Charlie in France, for helping with travel arrangements!

  • Review Submitted: 11-May-2014
  • Date of Stay: April 2014
  • Source: Owners Direct, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you for such delightfully descriptive feedback- as you have now visited in summer, autumn and spring you now know what there is to see better than we do ourselves. Your appreciation and enjoyment of the house and area is infectious - and educational!
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6 0


Nearest Restaurant
0.5 Kilometres
Relais Du Vermont
Car: recommended

Special interest holidays:

We do not provide any special interest holidays but whilst the first floor is recently renovated with new oak windows and newly laid wooden floors, the big, open plan partially-converted sawmill room downstairs is suitable for messy large scale painting and the covered balcony area overlooking the garden suits musicians composing or practising (no neighbours near enough to disturb). The surroundings are inspiring and peaceful for writers, painters, musicians or composers alike. It is also a good base for birders or other wildlife enthusiasts to explore the Parc Livradois Forez nature reserve, with buzzards circling and mewing above the garden and falcons occasionally swooping in after our nesting redstarts. There are many species of butterflies in the garden and surrounding area.


There is a sandy beach at the local mountain lake in the picturesque mountain village of St Anthème, only 15 minutes drive away, as well as a diving platform, canoe & pedalo hire, a lifeguard and a small cafe. Half an hour away is another charming lake among pine trees with a long wooden pier small cafe and pedaloes, just outside Chaise Dieu.


Easyjet fly from a number of UK locations to Lyon which is 2 hours away.

Flybe fly direct from Southampton to Clermont Ferrand which is 1.5 hours away.


Nearest small towns: Viverols,(5 minutes); Usson En Forez (15 minutes)

Nearest larger towns: Ambert,(30 minutes), St Bonnet Le Chateau (25 minutes)

Nearest city: Saint Etienne (1 hour)

Nearest airports:Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport /Clermont Ferrand Airport (both 2 hours)

Nearest outdoor concert & theatre venue: Volcan De Montpeloux natural volcanic amphitheatre(15 minutes)

Nearest festival of classical/sacred music: La Chaise Dieu (40 minutes)

Further Details:

There is a good auberge (restaurant)5 minutes up the mountain from the house at the mountain pass Col De Chemintrand (free coffee if you tell them you are from the mill!) It is a gentle 2 km walk through the fields to the medieval town of Viverols. There are two new adult-size bicycles available for use; so it is a pleasant challenge for visitors to walk or cycle into Viverols to get fresh baguettes or pastries from its traditional family-run bakery which is open daily. It also has a few small shops, two bar/cafes which serve food, a bank & an old library in the main square with Internet access in a wood-panelled room with a view over fields & the castle ruin. Pony-trekking is available 15 minutes away near the lake in Usson-En-Forez or in Baffie. Usson also has its own community-run cinema.

For those looking for an active holiday, there are many beautiful walks in the nearby forests & mountains of different difficulty levels as well as a network of signposted VTT mountain-bike trails. For those who like heights there are tree top activity centres with zip wires & Tarzan swings 30 & 40 minutes away or a hot air balloon can be booked in Viverols for breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding area.


Prices & Availability

Prices for this holiday house in Églisolles, Puy-de-Dome

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rental Period Minimum Price Additional Nights Weekend Night Weekly Monthly * Event Price
High Summer 2017
3 Jun 2017 - 1 Sep 2018
7 night minimum stay
for 7 nights
My Standard Rate
3 night minimum stay
for 3 nights

Additional pricing information

Fees No additional mandatory fees
Refundable Damage Deposit £150

Booking Notes:
20% deposit required to confirm a booking and the remainder is due 8 weeks before arrival together with a refundable security deposit of £150. Payments in sterling or euros to be made by cheque or bank transfer. If the booking is cancelled the deposit is forfeit, unless another booking is taken, in which case the deposit will be refunded. Important - please ensure that you have adequate travel insurance to cover your journey as well as holiday cancellation and accidental damage.

Changeover Day:
Changeover day is Saturday. Arrival after 4, departure by 10. (This may be flexible, please ask).

To secure the booking 20% deposit is required

- Payments in sterling or euros can be made by cheque or bank transfer.As soon as this is cleared, the booking will be secured in your name.
- If the booking is cancelled the booking deposit is forfeit, unless another booking is taken, in which case the deposit will be refunded.
The remainder of the payment is due 8 weeks before arrival.

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.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.
This calendar has not been updated in over 2 months and the availability shown may not be accurate.