Hilary and I have just returned from a most relaxing holiday. Not having had a break since May we thought we ought to have one before the winter. We booked five days with Tish and Stuart Inglis at La Boissiere in the Dordogne. They have a campus of four houses, one of which they live in themselves and the other three are gîtes. Tish and Stuart are warm friendly people who were on hand to help, support and advise in order to make for us what turned out to be a memorable time.
They both have years of experience in the holiday and hospitality industry and La Boissiére is their own pet project in which they, rightly, take great pride. They bought the property late last year and have renovated it to a very high standard. We stayed in the Boulangerie, a one-bedroom gîte with all ‘mod con’ including perhaps the most comfortable bed in which we have ever slept. Having morning coffee or sitting reading on the loggia of the Boulangerie we looked across verdant countryside to a range of wooded hills in the distance. The wood-burning stove created for us the atmosphere and the kind of warmth we needed for those October evenings and occasionally we had that distinctive scent of burning wood that whisked us back to earlier days.
La Boissiére is situated in an area of France in which are the famous Caves Lascaux that have the seventeen thousand year old Palaeolithic wall drawings. There are particularly interesting Chateaux in the area, one of which, Chateau Puymartin, has been occupied by the same family since the seventeenth century. At this chateau there was a guide that not only told us about each room as we went around but to everybody’s amusement he enacted theatrically the family dramas including discharging an imaginary arquebus to illustrate their defence of the chateau during the sixteenth century French wars of religion.
There are a number of delightful villages in the area, each distinctive in its own way, where we went for lunch. In one of them, on the day we were there, there was a typical French village market. Stuart told us that the region supplies some remarkable percentage, (I think it was over eighty per cent, I can never remember statistics), of the world’s walnuts.
La Boissiére is about a two hour drive from the airports of Bordeaux or Toulouse, and fifty minutes from Bergerac. Naturally how long it takes depends on how fast you drive and Stuart supplied clear instructions on how to find them. We drove from Bordeaux, a drive that was well worth it for a time-out-of-time, relaxing and memorable holiday.