|Le Jardin Des Amis|
|Self-catering cottages in the Dordogne|
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See above: early May wild flowers at Le Jardin des Amis
5th May 2013
It was six years, this weekend, since our very first visit to Le Jardin des Amis (& indeed to Meyrals, the Dordogne or anywhere else in south west France). It was bank holiday weekend in England and we had decided to escape from our humdrum life for a couple of days, with the excuse of looking at a two gite complexes in France. Neither of us can remember having any real conviction that we would buy somewhere: I didn’t go out and buy the books about ‘buying abroad’ until we’d signed on the dotted line! Our first property viewing was to a small hamlet right on the northern Dordogne border (Perigord Vert) which was pleasant but miles from anywhere – had we stopped at that point we could have safely returned home to the family our friends and our jobs. However, we continued on to Le Jardin des Amis where the sun was shining on the golden stone buildings, flowers were blooming, the pool was sparkling – and we were sold (the bottle of wine over lunch might have helped)! I’m not sure who was the most astounded by our decision: our friends, the family or us, but less than 4 months later we moved in and started our new life.
It would be a lie to say that there haven’t been moments of stress: having never run a business before or been employed in the hospitality industry, it was sure to be a steep learning curve (not to mention doing all of this in a foreign language) but we’re still here and still (usually) enjoying it! We’re delighted that year after year the percentage of guests who are returning has increased greatly, including a family this summer who first came when we were still feeling shell-shocked from our arrival. We've been busy making repairs and improvements including total redecoration and the installation of a new kitchen in Tilleul; a new cooker and kitchen tiling in Chene Vert; new outdoor furniture for some of the gites along with assorted new beds & sofas (for indoors)! Over the past 5+ years we've tried our best to keep our accommodation as we would like to find it if arriving on holiday and are grateful to our guests for all of their suggestions for improvements - even if all aren't feasible in a 300 year old building!
On the odd occasion that we question our sanity in packing up and leaving behind our previous lives, we have only to go out for a wander through Meyrals, a drive around the neighbouring villages or indeed just a walk in our garden, ( & orchard, meadow, woods) to remind ourselves that this is a pretty good place to be! Over the past six years we have gathered quite a knowledge of the area: taking the opportunity to play the tourist when friends and family come to stay; getting recommendations from neighbours on things to do and see or restaurants to try, and also listening to the experiences of our guests - all of which we are happy to pass on to anyone who is making their first visit to the area. Late May sees the opening of a new restaurant 'gastronomique' in Meyrals, so in the interest of being able to pass on more recommendations to our guests, we will be off to try it out! Further information on my next blog, so watch this space.......
Not booked your holiday yet? email us for information on special offers or short breaks.
If you would like to spend time in the Dordogne, Le Jardin des Amis is the ideal base for your sojourn: peace and quiet for a relaxing time but central to everywhere if you are sight seeing (or house-hunting). Our location is never too far from where you want to go.
Tilleul, Chene Vert and Magnolia (all of which have wood burners) are available for winter rental. You will find individual details of each in our accommodation page. Rental rates are shown on the availabilities page.-