When we spent a few days in the Cantal (in Auvergne), about a four-hour drive south of Saint-Aignan, we rented this house. There were five of us plus a dog, so we needed a pretty big place. And we found this one. It had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a nice kitchen, a huge living room, and a huge dining room. We rented it for 300 euros for the week, but we only stayed four nights. We drove down there in two cars. That's Evelyn's husband L. in the photo, next to the car they had rented for the trip.
The house was in the village of Saint-Chamant (pop. 239), and within easy walking distance of the village center. According to what I've read, Saint-Chamant has about 225 housing units, nearly 100 of which are résidences secondaires. In other words, they are not lived in year-round. So it's a pretty quiet place. It's only four or five miles from the more-famous and busier town of Salers, and 12 miles north of the big town of Aurillac (pop. 25,000), where the nearest major supermarket is located. The picture on the left shows the village church in Saint-Chamant.
As far as I can remember, and according to Google Maps, there is only one shop in Saint-Chamant. It's this little supérette called Au P'tit Market(when I took this photo). We bought things there. I remember that it also served as the village post office. We also shopped at the open-air market in Salers, which operates only on Wednesday mornings. There are also a few bakeries and at least one cheese shop in Salers. I remember buying potatoes and some tomme fraîche cheese and making a melted-cheese dish called truffade one evening. And Walt and I went to a butcher's shop one day and bought a couple of Salers beefsteaks, just to try them.
This must be near the church, and near the house we had rented. We could see the church from the house, and as I said it was an easy walk away in good weather, across a pasture (the shortest route) or on a paved road.
Here's a different kind of house that was nearby. It's obviously an old farmhouse. The house we were in is what's called a maison bourgeoise.
And here's a very grand house that was nearby as well. I've tried to find it on Google Maps street view, but without success so far. I wonder if it has been turned into an apartment building, since it's so big.
Your rental house looks quite nice, with the lucarnes, white shutters and toit d'ardois. 300 euros for a week seems very reasonable. The town is so cute, they should rename it Saint-Charmante. White shutters are rarely seen in the US, I think.ReplyDelete
We put white shutters on the west-facing back of our house because white reflects heat rather than absorbing it.Delete
that is a huge house....pretty area, seems very greenReplyDelete
It was very spacious, even for 5 people and a dog.Delete
We spent a week in Saint Chamant 20+ years ago. I think I mentioned that to you at the time you stayed there. The gite you stayed in looks very much like the one we stayed in. Ours was a also a Gites de France place; maybe it was the same house.ReplyDelete
Interesting. That's a huge house for just two people.Delete
Ah! Yes, yes, I know that top photo well--it's in my slide show for French 3 about places where people live. I just love the look of that house, and I like to teach the kids about shutters, because (isn't this funny??) they mostly don't know what they are. Shutters and dormers.ReplyDelete
I know what you mean about shutters. In the U.S. they are mostly decorative. In France they are functional. Il faut les fermer tous les soirs, et il faut les ouvrir tous les matins. C'est la corvée des volets.Delete
Interesting that kids don't know what shutters are. In most of the home flipper shows on TV they remove them, which is too bad as they are about the only character many houses have.Delete
We never had shutters on the windows of my mother's little house in N.C. And there they would have been useful, given the frequent hurricanes.Delete
That beautiful house was a real bargain, I loved the big dining room. Renting a gite is my favorite way of seeing France. Thanks for posting these photos which are lovely.ReplyDelete
We've been renting gites in France for over 30 years. Before that we would go from town to town, staying 1 or 2 nights in each. And, of course, eating almost all meals in restaurants. That all got tiring, but the principal impetus was that we'd see all the beautiful produce, meats, and cheeses at the outdoor markets and shops, but couldn't really take advantage. So we decided to start renting gites, which was spurred on when we stayed in Collanges-la-Rouge and found out about Gites de France.Delete
I had lived in France off and on, say 7 or 8 years out of 12, from 1970 to 1982. In 1988, when Walt and I started coming back on vacations, I wanted to be able to shop for the food products I remember and do some cooking myself, rather than eating in restaurants all the time. I enjoyed the restaurants too, but it wasn't the same. We rented apartments in Paris for a while, and then in about 1993 started looking for gîtes in different regions: Provence, the Dordogne, the Loire Valley. Now we've branched out to the Auvergne, the Vendée, Champagne, le Perche in Normandy, Burgundy. We don't really seek out luxury accommodations, but comfort is nice and a good kitchen helps.Delete
It's pretty rare when a gite we stay at is even close to a luxury accommodation. But yes, comfort is good, and a good kitchen too. What also helps is good lighting, and that's something that's difficult to determine in advance. And speaking of lighting, the gite we stayed at in Saint Charmant (which may or may not have been the same one as your gite), had some of the poorest lighting we've experienced at gites, especially in areas where we would read. But overall the place was really nice.ReplyDelete