“My husband and I have been living here for 20 years, we were…”
Set in a circle of ancient stone houses, La Chapelle aux Roses was built in the 13th century and was a chapelle-hospitalier on the famous Camino pilgrim route to Compostela - a refuge for travellers, as it is today.
The thick cut-stone walls make the chapelle refreshingly cool in the heat of summer. The building was lovingly restored in the 1980's as a two-story guest house, with the ancient oak double doors and details retained.
An attractive two-level shaded terrace joins the Chapelle to our 17th century farmhouse. The windows look out onto a protected cloister-like arrangement of stone coach house, bakery, pigeonnier, and our house, all facing inward toward a bubbling stone fountain ringed in roses bushes and lavender. There is a parking place for guests in the old coachhouse.
The two-hectare (five acre) garden park has orchards, a rose garden, ornamental trees and a pool set into the landscape. The in-ground swimming pool is surrounded by plenty of outdoor furniture and a grand old almond tree standing nearby.
On all sides are fields of wheat, sunflowers, barley and melon. The little village of Lagarde-Fimarcon, once a powerful stronghold, is one kilometre from us. We hear the bells of Lagarde on one side and Marsolan on the other in the mornings, evenings and at noon.
The serenity of the property is complemented by the fact that local amenities are close and convenient for guests' shopping and touring needs.
The Chapelle opens up into the downstairs living area, a cosy room with a large open fireplace, exposed beams and attractive tile floor. Enjoy the use of a library, a collection of CDs and a stereo. A round oak table offers a place to dine beside the window. The furnishings are a combination of wicker armchairs and comfortable couches.
Under the staircase is a compact and well-designed kitchenette, with antique china and Laguiole dishware. All the necessities are there for our guests.
Upstairs is a spacious, sunny double bedroom. A modular king size bed can be converted to twin beds. The full bathroom has a bathtub and shower.
Lectoure, ten minutes away, was settled by the Romans. The ancient hilltop town, set above the Gers river, can be spotted for miles around. Lectoure's many attractions include a beautiful spa, "Valvital", that offers sauna, massage and wellness therapies. "Le Village", located in the historic former hospital, houses brocanteurs, antique dealers, and artists.
The Place Bastion offers great views of the region, regular live concerts, and a great number of restaurants to please all tastes. The ancient Cathedral St Gervais rises high above Lectoure as it has for hundreds of years. Friday mornings, and also Monday nights in the summer, there is a bustling market with all local products and seasonal treasures.
Lectoure hosts ongoing photographic exhibitions, of which the most noted is called "L'Eté de Photographie". Also popular are the Montgolfières or hot air balloons, which can be reserved. Lectoure also has all the necessary shops, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, butchers, bakeries and cafés.
Also within easy reach are the old river town of Condom, where one can take boat tours down the Baise, visit its amazing cathedral and explore the small streets. To the south is Fleurance, with its well-loved Tuesday morning market which circles around the cathedral, its lakeside park and grounds, and the Hameau des Etoiles, an observatory with great programs for stargazers.
Within 15 minutes is the ancient "Collegiale" of La Romieu, a true story-book village. It lies on the pilgrimage trail to Compostela, and you will see many pilgrims enroute. The "Collegiale" was an important abbey built in 1000 AD by two monks who had completed a pilgrimage to Rome and returned with their pledge to commemorate the journey by establishing an abbey. La Romieu also has an arboretum and park.
La Romieu is the home of the legend of Angeline, a little girl whose cat saved the village from a plague of rats hundreds of years ago. There are many stone cats hidden throughout the village to honor her, which are a delight to discover - one by one!
There are two good café/restaurants in La Romieu, a bakery with picnic tables, a small grocery, newspaper shop, hair dresser and a post office. Frequent concerts are held on the premises of the abbey. La Romieu also hosts art fairs, flower shows, and an ancient music festival. The town has an excellent tourist office.
“Sallie and Wolf are generous and charming hosts at a very special property. They have a wealth of local knowledge (and what they don’t know, they soon find out.)The grounds are enormous and thoughtfully planted with a great variety of trees. Look out for the hoopoes, the hares and deer.You won’t get bored with this area of France. The local towns, markets and restaurants are a treat. There is an endless supply of Bastide towns for history buffs and for art lovers we can recommend the Simonov Collection at the Abbaye of Flaran.6/2016”
John and Maggie C. - Sidmouth, Devon, England
“A charming renovated medieval chapel with rose-filled courtyard provides the most peaceful, picturesque world away getaway. Abundant sunflower and melon fields paint the landscape with ancient walled cities rising from the hills. Surrounded by the rich history of Le Gers, everyday troubles are left behind. The hospitable owners have lived in the area for 20+ years and know it well for vistas to see, things to do, restaurants, shopping, etc. Thanks to them for a serene, comfortable, glorious and memorable holiday in the French countryside.”
Linnea S. - Des Plaines, Illinois, USA