Our house is one of the original houses in our village and next to the church.
It is large and roomy and also has a enormous barn where our son skateboards and rollerskates on rainy days and where I paint and make garden sculptures that you can see around our house. This would really suit an artist who fancied a painting holiday. The house has many of it's original features and while perfectly comfortable is a 'work in progress'. We have a large landscaped terrace on the front of the house with a pretty views over towards the local lake. To the side of the house is our garden with a large trampoline (with safety net for the kids), a pigeon coop, small veggie garden and treehouse. The kitchen is French style and rustic, with a table in the center where we eat as a family or entertain our friends. This is the heart of our home. The bedrooms are simply but comfortably furnished. We use one bedroom as a playroom/toy storage, but it can be used as a bedroom. The lounge is large and roomy. We are constantly working on restoring our house (where money allows), so it is not a pristine show house and I would never like to mislead anyone into thinking it was something it's not. It is however charming, very French, comfortable and relaxing where you can make yourself at home and not worry about messing anything up. (Great for the kids) It is a house best visited in summer, but in the winter we have a combination of wood burners and central heating in some rooms. The wood burners create a wonderful cosy atmosphere, but it does mean you have to bring in the wood every day from our wood store in the garden. We have a wood burning stove (for winter only) in the kitchen (as well as the gas stove). I love to cook meals slowly on the wood burning stove and the kettle is permanently hot ready for another tea or coffee. In winter only three of the bedrooms are heated. The 2 children's rooms and our sunny guest room. The bathroom is heated as is the kitchen and office/terrace room.
The house is situated in the middle of the small village opposite the local cafe where you can eat a cheap and cheerful rustic meal - Five courses and wine for 10 Euros! Our village bakery (boulangerie) makes the best bread in the area and you can buy fresh croissants and pain-au-chocolat for your breakfast on the terrace. The closest supermarket is 10 minutes away by car.
The village is on the side of a gentle hill and 5 minutes walk takes you a fishing lake with beautiful views and picnic tables. Our kids love to play in the stream running out of it and often ride there on their bikes. We often take our friends there for an evening walk taking a bottle of wine to 'chill out' by the lakeside .
You can play Boules on the village square, or tennis on the village courts. A 10 minute drive by car is the Adventure Park where you can climb in the tree obstacle course.
There are a number of lakes with beaches nearby offering water sports as well as many other summer time activities like cycling, horse riding and canoeing. Bordeaux is just under 2 hours away where you can tour the famous vineyards and wine cellars. The lovely city of Angouleme is a half hour away and is a fabulous place to sit in a cafe and watch the world go by or explore the old section with it's boutiques and restaurants. Look out for the numerous murals around the town center. The TGV train runs from Angouleme station to various destinations including Paris. Cognac is an hour away -Take a boat trip on the Charente river and tour the Cognac Distilleries. All around the region there are many beautiful small towns and villages to explore with local markets that are a delight to walk around.
Our neighbours are kind and friendly though it does help to be able to speak a bit of French as they do not speak English.
There are many lovely restaurants to visit, but you do need a car as apart from our local cafe, this is a rural farming area and there is no public transport.
We are a family of four. Myself -Fiona, my husband Stewart and our son 10 years old and Daughter 7 years old.
I am an graphic designer turned mural painter, but make a small living out of my DIY children's mural website while my husband an ex-computer programmer works in a nearby French enterprise.
We love food and art and doing up our house. We want to be able to take our kids on holiday more often, which hopefully exchanging houses will allow us to do. We speak French and English.