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The French Retreat: gorgeous barn conversion & swimming pool - rest assured



Updated: 02-Oct-2016
Oak beamed barn with salt-water pool in French countryside between Yviers and Chalais, Charente, - Remote rural idyll in the heart of the wine-growing region; very child friendly; wifi & all modcons

Situated among the sunflower fields and vineyards of South Charente, The French Retreat was a small brandy making estate made up of a Maison de Maitre and a number of barns. The beautiful newly converted barn has six bedrooms with en-suites. We have retained the original features and added modern necessities of en-suite shower rooms, a fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi access. Surrounding the barn there are patios, with a BBQ and outdoor dining area. In the grounds there's a swimming pool, children's play area with trampoline, swing and climbing frame, table tennis, tree house, shady trees and a hammock - perfect for a snooze on a baking August afternoon. Beyond there is open farmland in every direction offering peace, privacy and wonderful starry night skies. South Charente varies between vineyards, wooded heathland and hills bordering Perigord. The gastronomic traditions of pineau, foie gras, snails, and cognac are very much in evidence. With forest ponds, Romanesque churches, castles, craft customs, gastronomic curiosities this region delights the senses. For the active there is riding, kayaking, river swimming, mountain bike trails and beautiful walks within easy reach, and we can hire bikes for the whole family for all or part of your stay. We are happy to help organise any activities so please ask. For the less actively inclined there are wine trails and tours round the brandy houses. Bordeaux is also a fantastic city just over an hour away by car or you can take the train from nearby Chalais. We can recommend restaurants in the area to suit all tastes and budgets or if you decide you just want to stay home and enjoy the tranquility we offer 'table d'hote' - ie meals, just let us know the day before and we can provide meals for even the pickiest of children. We have 4 children and 2 grandchildren so you know your kids of all ages will be welcome and there's lots here to keep them entertained.

  • Sleeps 16
  • 6 Bedrooms
  • 6 Bathrooms
  • Parking
  • Garden
  • Swimming pool
  • Barbecue
  • Pets considered
  • Internet
  • Dish washer
  • Towels provided
  • Linens provided
  • Accept Credit Cards
  • Bookable online

About the Owner

Matthew as been a self development facilitator for the last ten years and before that ran award-winning restaurants in Bristol, although the original plan was to be an artist. His sculptures are dotted around the gardens, although recently all his creative skills have been going into making the barn beautiful.

Emma's path has been equally eclectic working in the fashion industry, followed by becoming an image coach and self-esteem counsellor and latterly as a spin doctor for the Green Party. She has just completed her first novel.

Call Owner
Speaks English, French, Arabic

Guestbook comments from the owner

Diane Aractingi — 5 star We spent such a wonderful time with such pleasant company! Emma and Mathew Pruen were delightful hosts. We definitely recommand staying here in such a beautiful and serene atmosphère. Hope to come back next year and look forward to it!

Sue Miller — 5 star A beautiful house in the midst of sunflower and wheat fields; peaceful, sunny days and extraordinary starry nights; delicious food and charming hosts. We had a wonderful time. Highly recommended.

Doug Fontaine — 5 star A beautiful property run by a wonderful and charming family.
Feb 2015
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0 Reviews


From the Owner

We loved this area for the wide open spaces, friendly community (where you can park outside the greengrocer's and the bank manager knows your name), and of course the sublime food markets. We are also exactly half way between Bordeaux and Cognac, which was appealing too. We had been looking for over a year when we found the house and knew immediately it was perfect. We wanted to be up a dirt track so we could feel really secluded, but not so far from a freshly baked croissant.

Activity and Interests

Nearest Airport : Bordeaux at 57 Miles Nearest Barpub : Chalais at 1 Miles Nearest Ferry : Dieppe at 392 Miles Nearest Train : Chalais at 1 Miles Nearest Restaurant : Chalais at 1 Miles Nearest Beach : Royan at 66 Miles Car: necessary

Special interest holidays:

We do offer many courses in the low season which can be found on our website www.retreat.fr


A car is recommended for family holidays, and we are also happy to organise airport transfers (100 EUR for 4 people from Bordeaux) or collection from Chalais train station (FREE). Chalais is between the Angouleme and Bordeaux TGV stops, Angouleme which is 40 minutes away is 2 hours from Paris on the TGV. We are 6 hours non-stop driving from Dieppe; if you are crossing the channel this is the quickest route. Bordeaux is our closest airport at a 75 minute drive, Bergerac only slightly further away.


The nearest town is Chalais which is under 2km and walkable. Chalais has a market on Monday, has a number of bars and cafes and a notable restaurant at the Chateau which overlooks the town. It also has an excellent pizza van on a Wednesday night.

Aubeterre, one of the prettiest villages in France, is 10km away, which hosts the famous subterranean Church, more restaurant choices and a sandy river 'beach'. The river Dronne which runs through Aubeterre is great for swimming, kayaking & fishing.


Rental rates

Convert Currency
Rental Period Minimum Price Additional Nights Weekend Night Weekly Monthly * Event Price
New Year
29 Dec 2016 - 2 Jan 2017
3 night minimum stay
for 3 nights
Rate 3
1 Jul 2017 - 31 Aug 2017
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 £300
Stay tax £0 per night, per person. This amount will be due to the owner upon arrival. Does not apply to children under 13 years.

Booking Notes:
The reservation will be confirmed when the deposit of 50% of the rent is received by The French Retreat within 1 week of booking. The balance is due 6 weeks before arrival. When bookings are made within 6 weeks of arrival, the entire amount must be paid within 1 week of booking.

cancellation up to 6 weeks of arrival: 50% of the total rent
cancellation up to 4 weeks of arrival: 75% of the total rent
cancellation within 4 weeks of arrival: the total rent

Changeover Day:
We are flexible about changeover days so please just ask.

Notes on prices:
There's a damage deposit of € 50,- per chambre and € 300 for the barn, to be paid in cash on arrival. The deposit will be used for any damages caused by the renter during the stay.
The French Retreat will pay back the deposit after inspection of the barn to your bank account. The invoice shall state the total rental cost agreed upon at time of reservation.
Reservations can be made by phone, e-mail or internet. The renter will receive a confirmation and invoice by e-mail.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

100% refund for cancellations more than 30 days before check-in date.
Enter dates for accurate pricing
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Updated: 02-Oct-2016
Available arrival


From the Owner

As this is our first year in business we have priced the barn very competitively. Our taste is for the chic end of French rustic and we have searched long and hard for the perfect pieces for each bedroom. Half the fun was getting the look right. What you have here is not the 'we'll bung that in the gite' mentality but 'that would be perfect for the west facing bedroom.' We also have a tree house which we haven't furnished but can provide a sleep mat for if you are feeling adventurous! For those who enjoy a more active holiday, we can organise riding and kayaking or we can arrange for mountain bikes to be hired and delivered. If you are looking for great food in the comfort of the apartment we can provide meals - just tell us the day before. We can also recommend local restaurants for all budgets. Just ask for information when booking.

Property Type

  • barn


  • Away From It All
  • Family


  • Hair Dryer
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Wood Stove


  • Dishwasher
  • Kitchen ...
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Hob ...
  • Toaster


  • Child's Highchair
  • Dining Area


  • Books
  • Games
  • Music Library ...
  • Ping Pong Table
  • Stereo ...
  • Toys

Pool / Spa

  • Communal Pool

Onsite Services

  • Massage
  • Private Chef


  • Events Allowed
  • children welcome
  • pets considered

Location Type

  • rural


  • playground
  • restaurants

Leisure Activities

  • horse riding
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking

Local Services & Businesses

  • ATM/bank
  • Babysitter
  • groceries
  • massage therapist
  • medical services

Sports & Adventure Activities

  • cycling
  • equestrian events
  • fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • mountain biking
  • swimming

Floor Area

  • 100 m²


  • Shower room 1 - Shower Enclosure
  • Shower room 2 - Shower Enclosure
  • Shower room 3 - Shower Enclosure
  • Shower room 4 - Shower Enclosure
  • Shower room 5 - Shower Enclosure
  • Shower room 6 - Shower Enclosure
  • All 6 bedroom have their own en-suite shower rooms.


  • 6 Bedrooms, Sleeps 16
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 Double Bed
  • Bedroom 2 - 2 Single Bed
  • Bedroom 3 - 1 Large Double Bed, 1 Single Bed
  • Bedroom 4 - 2 Double Bed, The beds in this room are smaller 4' French doubles
  • Bedroom 5 - 2 Double Bed, The beds in this room are smaller 4' French doubles
  • Bedroom 6 - 2 Single Bed
  • Description of sleeping capacity: Sleeps 16 (6 Bedrooms) Notes on bedrooms: Bedroom 1, downstairs: Double Bed Bedroom 2, downstairs: Twin Beds - one of which is 4' wide Bedroom 3, downstairs: Double bed and a single bed Bedroom 4, upstairs: 2 small French double 4' Beds - one of which is a four poster Bedroom 5, upstairs: Two small French double 4' Beds Bedroom 6, upstairs: Twin beds Living Room: Double sofa bed


  • Bicycles ...
  • Terrace ...
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Garden
  • Barbecue
  • 1 bicycles


  • Self-catering


  • Outside: Swimming pool 10m x 5m (shared with us), gas BBQ, outside dining table and chairs, trampoline, swing, play house, climbing frame, pool toys, ride-on toys, swingball, ping pong. 2 acres of land. Cleaning / Towels / Linen / Maid service: All the beds are made up on arrival, there is no maid service during your rental. Other: In the lime tree on the south side of the barn there's a tree house and there's even a sleeping platform in the old pig house if your little one's want to play house

Partner Offers

Partner Offers

Portable wifi hotspot