Home sweet home…or at least it was for a week. My first minutes of arrival took me down the lavender lined pathway, past the adorable, free-standing changing room, up onto the raised decking area to reveal the immaculate pool. Whilst I most definitely don’t have this luxury at my house, Domaine Lourejou somehow managed to instantly feel like my home from home (admittedly my uber fancy home from home).
Perched on a secluded hill spot, surrounded by two hectares of French countryside, it offers an almost 360 escape of urban life. The ‘almost’ being the result of an incredibly glamorous French chateau just being visible at the far corner of the plot. And the ‘just’ being the result of the family trampoline. Trampolines are tools for nosing at your neighbours, right?
Domaine Lourejou offers the perfect opportunity come rain or shine. During the gloriously and much welcomed sun-filled days we’d enjoy a leisurely breakfast out at the family table that overlooks the valley. We’d then reconvene on a sun lounger by the pool, with the fearless ones (mainly my baby nephew) getting straight in and the more reserved ones (mainly me) warming up before dipping the toes. We’d watch the sun sink low and the dramatic, pink clouds roll in, before heading to the house to make a family feast on the BBQ.
The other days were filled with totally over the top storms. We’d watch the sky grow heavy in anticipation for the fight. Like a scene out of West Side story, we’d watch the lightening strike one village in the distance before the other storm would retaliate and repeatedly hit the other nearby one. Almost as if clocking eyes with us, we’d retreat as the booming thunder edged closer and closer. With Domaine Lourejou’s floor to ceiling windows and indulgently spacious hallway, it provides the ideal base for storm watchers. After nearly killing my camera with the storm shots (see here) I’m definitely adding ‘Storm Watcher’ to my CV.
Despite housing an impressive six bedrooms, this country home feels like a manor house and a cute cottage all at once. It’s absolutely huge. Restored from the barn relics that it was, it’s been expanded and nurtured to form a traditional, yet modern house. The owners have clearly put their heart and soul into creating it, especially Stephen as the builder.
Where once stood a simple barn now stands a truly romantic bedroom. Laying in the double-bed, it’s hard not to be enamoured with the dark, wooden beams and sky lights. I’d love to have an attic room for star-gazing and whilst you can’t quite see the stars from this bed, it comes pretty close in living up to fairy tale ideals. The stairs lead down to one of two living rooms, complete with billiard table, a wood-burner and a TV. Oh, and an ever cute stable door.
Out in the main living room it’s hard not to be drawn to the even bigger wood-burner (and that’s saying something). Resisting the urge to turn it on during summer, yet making a mental note to return one year for a winter experience, the ability to watch Sky TV is I’m afraid to say a guilty pleasure of this room. Travelling with a family and not wanting to venture out into Salviac and beyond every night, it was a definite plus being able to watch the new season of The Great British Bake Off. The wifi is also a great perk, which I enjoyed a lot more than the TV (though I’m sure you probably guessed that from my Instagram feed).
Downstairs also hosts a big family dining table, a sweet kitchen dressed in pastels and another bedroom, complete with en-suite and an impressive window looking out to the front of the property. Oh and in keeping with the theme of Domaine Lourejou you’ll find another two wood burners.
Climbing the wide staircase reveals more double bedrooms with beams, en-suites and typically English decor. Occasional sprigs of lavender and simple hearts add a nice, homely touch.
Whether you travelling with your family of friends or like me, your extended family, Domaine Lourejou is an ideal holiday rental. So many other large homes only have four bedrooms, relying on everyone being in a couple (or at least okay with sharing a bed). This property has enough bedrooms to fit you all in without being cooped next door to each other. If you want to hang out together the living room is big enough, yet if you want to get some breathing space you can do it without being obvious. Just head up to your room or into the other living room. The owners are even happy to provide a cot on request, though our baby nephew only had eyes for the big double-bed!
Value for Money
Ryanair fly to Bergerac (the closest airport), as well as Limoges, though I’d recommend a different airline if you can. You’ll need a car to get from the airport. Enterprise seemed to offer the most affordable people-carriers and has an office at Bergerac airport. I’d recommend you pre-book. You’ll also want to use your car to stock up at the supermarket. The nearest being a ten-minute drive to Salviac. Sarlat and Gourdon are also nearby and well worth a visit, but more about them soon.
A week in the beautiful Domaine Lourejou in the peek season of the school summer holidays (August to be precise) cost £2,400 (via Pure France) which works out at about £28 per person per night or about £56/7 per couple per night, if you use all of the rooms. For such a stylish home in the equally stylish south-west France that’s amazingly good value.