Larriberau was built in 1810 as a stone farmhouse in the traditional Gascon style, using the local honey-coloured stone. Sheltered by great oaks, it is situated on an escarpment above the surrounding countryside with panoramic views of woods and farmland. On a clear day, the Pyrénées are visible, 50 miles (80 kilometres) to the south.
The main house contains three bedrooms to accommodate five/six guests. The adjoining south-facing wing has further bedrooms..
The house is suitable for groups of anywhere from two up to twelve guests plus babies. The house is surrounded by a large lawned garden, ideal for outdoor games. Roman steps lead down into the 12x6 metre fully-serviced swimming pool, with sunbeds arranged alongside.
A dining table with chairs is set under the natural shade of the 500 year old oak trees, with a large barbecue for the relaxing summer nights. A separate large barn contains a variety of games, including table tennis, table football, and a dart board.
The accommodation provides all modern comforts in an atmosphere of traditional French rustic elegance, with tiled terracotta floors and original oak beams. The thick stone walls provide a cool interior. A large Gascon fireplace and an old bread oven are features of the kitchen, which is also fully served with modern equipment.
In the comfortable book-lined living area, a pair of sofas face each other by the fireplace; among the facilities are a TV, DVD player, VCR, and stereo. In the wing, the large dining room can seat 12 comfortably, and looks out onto the garden.
Three bedrooms are in the main house: two have double beds,one a four-poster, and the third has twin beds. Each bedroom has an ensuite bathroom. In the wing are further bedrooms. The wing is served by a bathroom and a separate shower room.
Larriberau is set amid farmland in a quiet rural area, but there is a small medieval village three kilometres from the house, and a full range of shops and services within a few minutes’ drive.
Guests can phone the owners' local representative with any problems; she is very helpful and speaks both English and French. Or indeed phone/email/text the owner who is always available to speak.
A medieval bastide, or fortified village, lies just three kilometres from Larriberau, and has a combined food shop, bar, and restaurant. The small town of Seissan, six kilometres away, has excellent shops, a famous market every Friday, a small supermarket, and good restaurants. Mirande, 10 kilometres in the other direction, is a small bastide town with a fine medieval cathedral, a beautiful square and a market every Monday.
Auch, the capital of Gascony, is only 15 kilometres, and is also well known for its cathedral and many fine old buildings. Auch has two large supermarkets, as well as several excellent restaurants, featuring the traditional Gascon fare: the region is famous for foie gras, confit, garlic, Armangac, and wines from the Madiran region.
Activities available in the area include horse riding, fishing and tennis. There are three golf courses locally, and plenty of lakes and rivers for boating and sailing. The countryside is ideal for walking and biking, and the owners can supply information on good long walks (sentiers) to take locally.
The area is also noted for the production of pastel, a dye which provided the distinctive blue used in the uniforms of Napoleon's army. The art of dyemaking has recently been resurrected locally, and the distinctive blue shutters of Larriberau come from the pastel.
The peace and tranquillity of this region brings visitors back year after year. The area abounds with culture and history; don’t miss the chance to visit the Romanesque church at Peyrusse-Grande. The Hundred Years War left its mark throughout the region, in the many fortified bastide villages and towns.
There are frequent local festivals and events including the world-renowned Marciac Jazz Festival in August.
Larriberau is almost midway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, with excellent autoroute access. The Atlantic coast has the elegant towns of Biarritz and St-Jean-de-Luz, and a popular surfing location at Hossegor. To the east is Toulouse (90 minutes’ drive) which combines fine old architecture and a modern aerospace industry – an offshoot of which is the Space Visitor Centre. There are well-served airports at both Toulouse and Pau, both about 90 minutes from the house. Within an hour to the south, there is good skiing at a number of resorts, some of which are open until May.