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My dream summer: the perfect French villa

Saturday 26 July 2014

There's been a lot in the press recently about Magaluf, hasn't there? The strip where mistakes are made by young folk chugging back luminous drinks in micro-shorts. The other night, I caught a few minutes of one of those "Let's Watch Teens go MENTAL in Kavos" type programmes, and it got me thinking to the holiday I took when I was 18. 

Myself and three friends took ourselves off to the French countryside, where we stayed in an old stone house on the edge of the village of Dinan. I tell you, it was off the HOOK. We must have eaten a whole Port Salut every day. Every day! Oh, we ripped into the cheese like we had not a care in the world. 

I think I've always been a bit middle aged. The thought of going on one of those Shagaluf holidays fills me with icy cold dread. I loathe the idea of it. 

To me, the perfect holiday is a rambling villa in France, close to the water, where I can drink wine, eat cheese and not have to listen to even a note of Robin Thicke. 

And that's exactly what I did, for a glorious week with two of my oldest friends, their husbands and babies. 

We chose the gorgeous Cherry Farmhouse from Pure France, which has some fantastic properties around the country. We actually got a bit of a bargain - when we booked, there was 25% off the rates in June. Had we gone in August, it would have cost us more than double what it did (about €660, I believe)

It was quite far from civilisation (about a 15 minute drive to the nearest village of Monflaquin) which we originally thought would be a lovely cycle each morning to the bakery... 

...Which didn't happen once. The thought of cycling for an hour on an empty stomach and squishing all of our gorgeous pastries into a backpack just didn't appeal, funnily enough. 

Originally, I had hoped to find somewhere within walking distance of a village, but that was really the only compromise we had to make. The villa is in the heart of the Dordogne, which meant that every journey we took whizzed us past tumbling bastide towns, fairytale chateaux, babbling streams and rolling hills.

Each morning started the same way, with a trip to the boulangerie for fresh croissants, pain au chocolate and whatever pastry seemed irresistable.  

Though we spent most of our time outside, the interior of the villa was beautiful, with a gigantic fireplace, very well equipped kitchen and big, squishy sofas. We did cook in the kitchen, but truthfully most of our efforts ended up on the BBQ, or doled up at the huge farm style table on the terrace.

There were three bedrooms, a huge attic conversion above the kitchen where I slept, and two smaller ones downstairs, where the windows were draped with vines. I started off down in the bunk bed room, but switched with the little baby when we were concerned she would actually boil alive in the heat. Which is how I, as the single girl, wound up with the biggest bedroom (and bed), and the family of three ended up in bunk beds.

But, as I said, most of our time was spent outside anyway. We'd go from early morning pastries and coffee to pool lounging (admittedly, I lounged a little more than the parents) to pool jumping to wine to pool lounging to wine to wine to dinner to wine to bed.

We'd venture out at some point, be it in search of supplies, or a nearby market, or a top up for our stash of local wine. It's worth noting that at numerous locations in the area you can fill a receptacle with the local tipple, petrol pump style, for a fraction of what you'd pay at home. Our villa came equipped with huge tankards and barrels for this purpose alone.

It was pretty damn perfect, if you ask me.

The villa even came with inflatables, which we threw into the pool for dolphin riding and beer holding. We didn't have to buy a thing for the villa bar food, which was pretty darn handy.

So let's all take a minute, close our eyes and wish that we were in a French villa for the afternoon.


Downstairs bedrooms

The outdoor BBQ/beer fridge

The pool

Amy and Eva

The pool

The pastry table
Cherry Farmhouse was about an hour away from Bergerac airport. You can see more about it, and other properties, at


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