Les Cardayres is a beautifully restored stone farmhouse with an adjoining winehouse and barn set in private grounds with views over the surrounding countryside. The Winehouse is full of character and history, with oak beams, blue shutters and a pantile roof, providing spacious accommodation in three ensuite bedrooms. The owners live in the old farmhouse and are happy to give any advice or help about the region while ensuring their guests' privacy.
Once the dominant wine-producing farm in this area, Les Cardayres is now surrounded by grassy meadows and wild flowers with woodland walks long since replacing the ancient vineyards. Three villages offer a full range of services within a few minutes' drive.
The Winehouse has its own private entrance, with shaded parking in the old orchard. A meandering path leads past the mirabelle, apple and banana trees to the gated entrance which opens directly onto the exclusive pool area.
The three double detached bedrooms, each with an ensuite are positioned around the private, 8 x 4 metre south facing pool. The blue room, originally the farm's chicken house, has a queen sized bed and separate ensuite with shower, WC and wash hand basin. The green room, set in the old tobacco barn, is on two floors. The ground floor entrance has a separate ensuite with shower, WC and wash hand basin. Stairs lead up to the mezzanine, which has a double bed and door to gallery landing.
The yellow room, also in the old barn, has a pair of full-sized single beds and a separate ensuite with shower, WC and wash hand basin. The green and yellow bedrooms are linked by a medieval-style balcony which provides views of Neuvic and the Isle valley. Steps lead down to the pool area and then to a secluded south facing terrace with built in barbecue.
The sun drenched terrace is great for dining both at lunchtime and in the evening with subtle lighting for a romantic ambiance after dusk.
There is also a lower terrace surrounded by borders of roses, honeysuckle and lavender - perfect for a sunny al-fresco breakfast. From the terrace, French doors lead into the kitchen which features a large farmhouse table and chairs, electric oven, ceramic hob, large butler sink, dishwasher, washing machine and microwave oven.
Inside, the house has all of its original character, with exposed stone walls and oak beams. From the kitchen an old oak door leads through to a large, comfortable lounge which is pleasantly cool in the height of summer, while a log-burning stove gives warmth on chilly autumn evenings.
The lounge contains two large sofas, a television and a DVD player with a selection of films. There is also a small library of books and games and a piano for musicians.
Les Cardayres is set amid meadows and woodland in a tranquil corner of the Dordogne, but has excellent access to the region. The villages of Neuvic and St. Léon-sur-l’Isle, and the town of St Astier are a few minutes' drive from the house.
St Astier has a bustling street market every Thursday, which many people consider to be the best in the area. The market offers a huge variety of fresh fish, meat, cheeses, charcuterie, locally-grown vegetables and fruit (often straight from someone's garden), as well as clothes and lots of bric-a-brac. The town also has doctors, dentists, a small cinema, three medium-sized supermarkets, plenty of small shops and several cafes where you can sit under a shady umbrella and watch a rather small part of the world go by. If you feel like walking, there are paths through the woods in front of the house and a chemin rural that leads down through the fields to the rear.
The Dordogne region is full of things to see and explore. It's just a ten-minute drive to the new highway, which will whisk you to the Bordeaux wine region in 45 minutes and to the city of Bordeaux in an hour. Enjoy the delights of the vineyards of St. Émilion, Pomerol and, a little further away, the Médoc where one can stop at the numerous Châteaux and Domaines for a wine tasting.
Another fun outing is to rent a canoe to explore the Vezère and Dordogne rivers, and drift past historic châteaux and picturesque villages. In the extensive Forêt de la Double, which starts right beside the house, there are many walking trails and lakes which are ideal for swimming. A little further away you can visit the beautiful medieval town of Sarlat, Lascaux with its prehistoric cave paintings, and Roque Gageac where the ancient houses cling to the cliffs. It's a half hour drive to Périgueux, capital of the Périgord region and one of the culinary epicentres of France, where gourmet shops line the narrow medieval streets beside the imposing cathedral.