Visiting Les Chouettes Cottages in the Fall
We had some South African visitors to Les Chouettes Cottages in October. this is their account of visiting Tremolat in the Fall. The best of the Dordogne Valley.
Visiting Tremolat in the Fall
Whether you are a seasoned traveller or not, I challenge you to admit that you have at least once, seen a picture of something or somewhere, where you have said to yourself – “I would love to go there one day”
Well I once saw a picture of a cottage with stone walls and little blue shutters, in the quaint village of Tremolat in the Dordogne region of France and instantly fell in love. I knew that one day I had to go there to see for myself.
The French Country Cottage & Barn Les Chouettes most certainly did not disappoint. The minute I laid eyes on the gorgeous little cottage sitting nestled in the spectacular French countryside, I knew this would be good for the soul. The cottage (4 bedrooms) and newly renovated barn (3 bedrooms) can comfortably sleep 14 people. Both the cottage and the barn are fully equipped self-catering accommodations and can be booked as just the cottage or both cottage and barn, so is perfect for extended family and friends.
Self-catering is the perfect way to experience this region of France as there is an abundance of markets where you can purchase all the fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, cheeses and breads that the area is famous for. When you get tired of cooking the endless array of produce available, there are numerous restaurants nearby where you can sample the French Cuisine cooked the French way. There is even a Michelin star restaurant just waiting for that extra special treat of fine dining. Just make sure your credit card is loaded as superb fine dining does not come cheap especially with a SA Rand to Euro conversion 😊 But who wouldn’t want to try a Michelin star restaurant in France!
While there are bicycles to use at the cottage, you might prefer a leisurely stroll around the country lanes. It is best to hire a car to get to the neighbouring villages, markets, restaurants and sights. We took the plunge and hired a car, and with carefully marked map and instructions, we set off on our own to explore.
What an adventure – the scenery along the way has to be seen to be believed and appreciated. From Chateau’s and public gardens to rivers and rolling hills which in summer are filled with fields of sunflowers. Cobbled streets filled with row upon row of Patisseries, coffee shops, boutiques, stores selling the local (amazing) wines, Foie Gras (so much to choose from) to a truffle store selling everything from Truffle oils to pastes, powders and spices and the ever tempting chocolate and nougat stores.
After sampling so many tasty cheeses and baguettes I don’t think we will ever look at Cheddar cheese the same again. Ditto for chocolate and nougat.
Back to the driving – it is important to be aware that the roads are very narrow (narrower than our gravel roads, but the maintenance is top-notch and there was not a pothole in sight.)
There aren’t many robots, but plenty of traffic circles, so if you are not sure which exit to take you can always go round and round until your trusty guide with the map and seated next to you works it out….. The French are also very patient and we only got hooted at once when we were in the middle of something – not sure exactly what it was, but there was no traffic circle but roads leading in and out from all directions with parking spots in between. Thankfully we found a parking bay immediately after being hooted at. We had arrived at our destination in Sarlat safe and sound after a little mini road trip of about 40 minutes. We were amazed at our luck as just across the road were steps leading to the exact market that we had set out to find. I would also suggest that your reverse parking skills are practiced beforehand, although driving on the wrong side of the road should not be practiced beforehand – that you have to learn as you go along 😊
There are plenty of other activities to do during your stay – such as canoeing on the Dordogne River, Stand Up Paddling, cycling, exploring caves and gardens, visiting spectacular Chateau’s etc. Each town has a tourist bureau with maps and brochures on what to see and do during your stay, and our hosts Karen and Alan made sure we had a good supply of maps, instructions and suggestions on what to do and where to go, so you will never be at loss for something to do – although I do recommend just relaxing at the cottage and taking it easy for some of the time as that is the whole point to experiencing this amazing little well-kept secret of Tremolat and the French Country Cottage and Barn in Dordogne.
This was an experience of a lifetime and was so good for the soul after all we have gone through over the last year and a half with the Coronavirus and was so soothing to be able to travel and to still be away from crowds of people. The best part was that I could take my laptop with me and still work and look after my special and amazing clients so that they know – “With us it’s personal” and you still get to go on holiday with me.