Available for weekly Holiday lets - from Saturday to the following Saturday
- english, french
About Don McCrae
We're Don & Trisha McCrae. In 2000 we bought and restored Maison du Couvent, (convent house), a 17th century four-storey house, that's described by local historians as being the oldest home in Villebois-Lavalette. We then acquired an adjoining piece of land, complete with an old barn, which we have renovated into an elegant, modern gîte and holiday home, with an authentic, rural French charm. Whether you stay for one week or three, you'll always get a warm welcome, a great location and up-market accommodation - mais oui, se détendre et se restaurer...relax and restore!
Don McCrae purchased this House in 2000
Why Don McCrae chose Villebois-Lavalette
In 2012/13 we completely renovated the old barn in the grounds of Maison du Couvent into a modern gîte/holiday home, at the same time retaining many of the authentic traditional architectural features. With a large terrace, lush floral garden and 11m x 5m swimming pool, we opened in June 2013 and have been busy ever since. Each of the three en-suite bedrooms have been stylishly restored and have views over the garden, across the pool or the valleys beyond. The kitchen has all you need, including a dishwasher, and is designed to make your holiday a breeze. In all, la Maison du Couvent is a place where you can truly relax and restore!
100% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date.
Absolutely perfect holidays - absolut perfekte Ferien
Everything was great: the spacious and well-equipped house, the friendly and decent hosts, the weather, the beautiful village with the supermarket, the environment with all the old castles. Especially the kids loved the huge pool!
Alles war super: das große und gut ausgestattete Ferienhaus, die freundlichen und dezenten Gastgeber, das Wetter, das wunderschöne Dorf mit dem Supermarkt, die Umgebung mit den zahllosen Schlössern. Besonders die Kinder haben den großen Pool geliebt!
Thanks a lot!,,
What a lovely place to stay! A celebration! The house is spacious, tidy and well decorated. The outdoor space with the pool are very pleasant. The location is practical (the bakery is around the corner) and the village Villebois Lavalette is a beauty (with the castle on top of the hill). If you look for a house in this region, this house should be the one.
Wow - many thanks for such a great review! Cheers, Don & Trisha
Wunderschönes Domizil, bestens ausgestattet, sehr nette Vermieter.
Wir waren als Familie in Villebois-Lavalette zu Gast und hatten zwei sehr erholsame Wochen genossen. Das Haus ist groß, sehr gut ausgestattet und hat einen sehr schönen Garten. Es gibt eine Waschmaschine und einen Trockner zur freien Verfügung und sowohl Handtücher im Bad als auch für den Außenbereich am Pool. Es liegt idyllisch und sehr ruhig. Eine kleine Gasse neben dem Haus führt direkt auf den Marktplatz des Orts. Etwas außerhalb des Orts gibt es einen großen Supermarkt mit Tankstelle und eine Apotheke.
Der einzige Verbesserungsvorschlag von uns wären etwas bequemere Liegen am Pool. Ansonsten war alles wirklich super und Don und Trisha waren sehr freundliche Vermieter.
The River Dronne lazily meanders through the unspoilt landscape of the South Charente, offering endless possibilities for canoe hire, (with life jackets!) You can rent one for an hour, or better still, have the canoe owners drive you to a drop-off point and you then take as long as you like to paddle, downstream, back to base. Canoes can be hired at Brantôme, Bourdeilles, Ribérac and Aubeterre - they're bright yellow or green, so you can't miss them! For more details, click here - a new window will open.
This region of France abounds with medieval history and, of course, castles, with many being open to the public - we've one here in Villebois-Lavalette, and our Tourist Office gives guided tours, (in both English and French), of the Villebois Heritage Trail, through the town and around the chateau. There are castles in nearby Magnac-Lavalette, Mareuil (see the image to the left), Bourdeilles, Aubeterre, Chapdeuil, La Tour Blanche, and Vendoire - and as you head south towards the Dordogne, they're all over the place!
The Atlantic is about 90 minutes from here, but if you're a big sea lover then miles of white sand, rocks, and rock pools, sea ports, shrimping huts, (see left), and restaurants selling oysters and mussels all await you. Meschers, St George Didonne and Royan are all there for the taking. A bit further north is the very splendid La Rochelle and a lot further south, (of Bordeaux), is our favourite place, Cap Feret on the Arcachon Basin.
Now you don't have to be as earnest as these guys, (see left), but if you're a keen on cycling, we've hundreds of kilometers of open road and rolling countryside to be explored - and yes there are one or two hills that will test you! But if you simply want to noodle around, we can lend some of our bikes.
Just 6kms apart, the towns of Cognac and Jarnac are the centres of the brandy/cognac making in France. Jarnac is the base for Courvoisier and Cognac is the home of Hennessy - and it's the Hennessy Distillery Tour that's probably the best of all of them. We can help you book in advance and they conduct both English and French tours.
If you or one of your party want to understand how to get more from a camera, then we'd be very happy to help out. When La Maison du Couvent is not running as a holiday home, it morphs into Studio Lavalette - a highly successful residential photo-holiday business.
If you want to see colour and local produce in abundance, you cannot miss the markets - they play a key part of French life. There are big year-round Friday street markets in both Brantôme, and Ribérac. And every Saturday morning, under Les Halles, (which is 5 seconds from our front door), in Villebois-Lavalatte, we have a small market that's always worth a visit - the oysters-with-white-wine stall always seems busy!
Other nearby markets include the following:
There are a number of markets in the town which means that there is a market on every day. The main market is the vast covered market, Les Halles in Victor Hugo, which is open every day except Mondays.
At Place Mulac, there is a market on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Unusually, the market on Mondays and Thursdays is open in the afternoon only. At Place Felix Gaillard the markets days are Tuesday and Friday.
At Place St-Jacques, find the market on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Aubeterre-Sur-Dronne: has an open-air market on Sundays
Barbezieux-Saint-Hilaire: Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays
Chalais: Monday morning market, held in the streets of the town which are closed to traffic.
Cognac: there are three markets! The covered market, in the area known as the Left Bank (of the Charente river), is on Tuesday to Sunday inclusive. On the Right Bank, there is the open air market at St Jacques (place du Solençon) on Saturday mornings. Finally, there is an open-air market at the Champ de Foire on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Jarnac: there's a covered market Tuesday to Sunday with fish stalls on Tuesdays and Fridays. An open-air market is held the first Saturday of every month.
La Rochefoucauld: has an open-air market on Wednesdays and Saturdays
Rouillac: has open-air market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with an impressive foire on the 27th of each month.
Ruffec: holds an open-air market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, sometimes with small livestock.
Salles-Lavalette: has a bio (organic) food market every Friday afternoon at 16:00
Verteillac: holds a monthly brocante (junk/car boot sale) on the first Sunday of each month.