Grand Pailley Bas ©2019 All Rights Reserved, Ian and Fen Jackson -
Fenella Jackson: Registered in France: Siret No. 801 938 135 00010 Website by Associated Media
“Grand Pailley Bas is a beautiful 3 bedroom gite set in the most stunning rural setting with panoramic views over the ever changing landscape. We visited in July when the sunflowers were just starting to bloom and turning the landscape a vibrant yellow. Grand Pailley Bas is suitable for a couple or family alike, with a spacious airy feel and the wonderful wrap around covered terrace over looking the pool area, for those wonderful relaxing alfresco evenings. Fen and Ian live very quietly on site, but are always at hand if any advice is needed regarding great places to visit in the area (of which there are many). The pool, terrace and garden was ours to enjoy privately and is the perfect place to unwind from the stresses of everyday life.”
Grand Pailley Bas
Call us to Make a Reservation: 0033 (0)6 04 41 50 60
Or in the UK on 0044 (0)7860 756029
Our Blog on South West France
Our picture postcard cottage went on the market and we were told it would take two
years to sell. In actual fact it took only three months.
This is where our very exciting journey began with a good climate at the top of the list.
We started our search in the Languedoc-
To this end we researched the Mistral winds and knew that we had to be west of the Massif Central (near Limoges), so began our search again with a slightly heavy heart and found Sarlat in February by mistake. We fell in love with it as it is Medieval and stunning and Ian of course always had his photography students at the back of his mind with each destination we visited. We put Sarlat in our memory bank as we wanted to see any destination that attracted us in the summer months also and thus made a note to return in August. We did just that but decided that we would rather be in a more rural location. The house prices were also inflated (in our opinion) due to the beauty of the town. (The third most visited town in France we have since learned). We then went back to the drawing board again and read that The Limousin is the wettest county in the whole of France which makes sense when you see the amount of forest and we then eliminated all forestry areas to avoid our photographers getting drenched on a regular basis. The coastal areas are mightily expensive as this is where the French want to live and the properties were completely out of our price league. We were told one of the best climates is the Charente which does have the mildest weather in winter, with very hot summers. Many would say this was perfect, but for Ian asking students to lug heavy equipment in the heat of the day, he thought perhaps too much of a challenge for those with any fitness problems. We returned home and attended the France Show two years running at Earls Court in London. These shows also occur in the north of England. We made a point of visiting every estate agents stand and were so impressed with the agents from the Lot et Garonne, (a department that we had never heard of or knew nothing about). The agents were all singing off the same hymn sheet regarding weather/prices etc. We made appointments with several agents over a two week stay in February 2011.
Following our Normandy experience we were determined that this time we would purchase in the winter as if we loved it then, it would be even more delightful in the summer.
Airport accessibility was also an important factor on our wish list as Ian still had clients in the UK that needed the odd visit or assistance with their websites, and Lot et Garonne seemed to fit the bill with Bergerac just forty minutes away and Bordeaux (with more choice) one and a half hours. We were made aware that a lot of the small regional airports here in France stop some or their flights during the winter months.
After a very enjoyable and exciting two year hunt we finally found “our home” which is a two to three hundred year old ex Tobacco Farm with six bedrooms, three bathrooms, two acres of mature garden homing almost every type of fruit tree and has panoramic views to die for in the Lot et Garonne.
We are apparently in a micro-
We know that we are biased as we just love the area we are in as it has rolling countryside and is so pretty with plenty going on if you are wanting things to do. Equally, it is just as easy to stay at home with a glass of local wine and enjoy the peace and tranquility, watch the nature and marvel at the views. In a couple of months we will be surrounded by Sunflowers.
Since purchasing we have completely refurbished the house and built a swimming pool and outside covered terrace offering the best of both worlds with sun and shade in the hope that all of our guests will be happy whether they are sun or shade worshippers.
We are situated just ten minutes from the Dordogne border, which couldn’t be better as there is a wealth of “things to do” in both counties and are relieved that our two year journey, with buckets of research paid off as we have never been happier.
We are now running photography workshops and are opening the doors of our lovely gîte for the first time this summer.
Some before and after photos below -
Ian and I find it extremely therapeutic to recall the happy memories of our explorations around France in search of our home with a wish list which comprised of splitting a property into separate accommodations or to find a gite already in situ to allow us to run photography courses, offer gite holidays or both!
This process took us over two years and we travelled thousands of miles.
We bought a delightful cottage in Normandy to start with and used it as a holiday home for nine years, but the first winter there taught us our first harsh lesson as we clearly had not done enough research, by assuming that our chosen area of Normandy would offer us a better climate than the UK as it was on the same latitude of the Channel Islands,. How wrong we were! In reality the winters were far from ideal (from a photographic view) and much the same as the UK, only colder with a lot more snow. Consequently we stopped our visits during the winter months, as watching our gas central heating dial plummet over such a short period of time was too painful on the wallet! Our neighbouring cows however thrived on the long lush green grass of the fields. Normandy was never going to be our forever home, but an easily accessible region to walk us through a learning curve and to help us to decide that France was for us.
Dropt Valley Medieval Festival ..More
Great Days Out …More
The Bastide Towns … More
Why the Lot-
More to follow!
There are many Bastide towns in easy reach of our Gite and are well worth a visit.
These towns were mainly constructed with a strict grid layout, and usually fortified. They were designed to offer security to the inhabitants while also adding to the strength of the respective sides (English and French) in the region. Most were built between 1230 and 1370.
Several of the Bastides were constructed as a result of the conflicts during the Hundred Years War and are located between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers and often changed hands between the French and English during this time, some, such as Monsegur and Beaumont were actually built by the English.
A typical bastide town has a central square (often with a covered market area), several wide streets run from the square to the edge of the town with narrow lanes and passages between these main streets, which are fun to explore and often full of surprises. The towns offered their inhabitants a small plot of land where they could build their home along with some tax concessions. The inhabitants were also exempt from military service.
The churches are often a vast centre piece in Bastide towns and definitely make a statement. They tend to be very large for the size of the town and deliberately built that way for defensive purposes.
Where are they in respect to us?
In our opinion the most picturesque towns in our area are Monpazier (55 Km), Monflanquin (55Km) and Villereal (44Km), all of which could be visited in a day. The Monflanquin Tourist Office also houses the Museum of the Bastides.
If you wish to stay closer to home we have Miramont-
If you wish to take a day or days out you can go a little further afield and explore
Beaumont du Perigord (56Km), Belves (76Km), Limeuil (78 Km), Tournon D’Agenais (78.8
If any of our guests would like some assistance with an itinerary during your stay with us, we will be very happy to help
Duras circa 1900
Levignac circa 1900
Of course, some 800 years or so later, many of these towns have been well preserved and are bustling places to explore, hosting many events throughout the year. Some have extended into larger towns whilst sadly others have largely disappeared and look very run down.
The view from Laparade, across the Lot
In July and August a lot of the Bastide towns have night food markets which are a very sociable affair for the English and French (plus other nationalities). If you wish you could visit one of these almost every night of the week. They tend to have long refectory tables and the protocol is that you take your own plates, glasses and cutlery. Once you have found the area where you would like to sit you meander around the edge where there are a mass of food stalls that serve everything from seafood paella to steaks. A pizza van is generally in attendance and often a hog roast. You are expected to purchase your wine and soft drinks during the course of the evening.
At some of these night markets they have live music which offers you the opportunity to get up and dance the night away or to watch the French perform their line dancing routines.
These evenings are fun and different and worth the experience. I can almost guarantee you will return home having made some new friends.
Due to the warm evenings in July and August the dress code is very casual, in fact anything goes, so just turn up at approximately 6.30pm and enjoy at least one during your stay with us.
The French certainly know how to display their markets which are normally bustling with locals and tourists alike, with beautiful plants and flowers seemingly brightening every corner.
Some that attend are there to soak up the atmosphere, meet friends for a coffee and croissant and generally to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the vibrant atmosphere that surrounds them. Everyone is friendly and a polite “Bonjour” is expected to anyone you get eye contact with or whose stall you are looking at. The French are very high on good manners.
The markets vary in style. Some are food markets that sell everything from fresh food produce, local wines and cheeses tempting you with the opportunity to taste before you buy with the odd truffle store which due to cost rarely offer a tasting. Again the displays of cheese and fish are extraordinary in size and presentation.
Other markets are more general and would be the ones to visit should you be looking for a present or memento that you would like to take home to remind you of your holiday.
The general markets tend to be busier as they attract more tourists and some of the colourful displays of flowers, baskets, hats, arts and crafts and clothes swathe the squares and roads with colour and are a joy to behold. They generally start at about 8.00am and finish at 12.00 noon.
Eymet Square on market day
Some local morning markets:
Duras – Monday
Marmande – Tuesday and Saturday
Castllonnes – Tuesday
Eymet – Thursday
Monsegur – Tuesday and Friday
Sainte Foye la Grande – Daily
Issigeac – Sundays
Sarlat – Saturday – All day
Some local night markets during July and August
Duras – Thursday
Monteton – Tuesday
Levignac – Friday
Villereal – Monday
Eymet – Thursday
A full list is in our visitor information pack
For two thousand years there has been a relationship between man and vine in the
extraordinary and beautiful Saint-
History is in abundance in Saint-
There are many wine cellars that you are able to visit whilst in the town. You will find these listed on the Tourist Board website. If you choose to visit a wine cellar it would be advised to take a sweater as they are maintained at 13 degrees.
You are also able to book a trip to a vineyard and will be walked through the wine growing process by an expert. You will see the vat room and barrel cellar and have the opportunity to discuss the nuts and bolts of all the processes, which is a fascinating experience.
There is a tourist train that will take you through 5 miles of countryside amongst the world famous 'first growths' There is an English commentary
Departure and tickets near the Collegiate Church. Full details, times, please click here
We strongly advise that you take flat comfortable shoes due to the Roman cobblestones throughout the city.
For further information, visit www.saint-
A GASTRONOMIC TRADITION
You can choose from delicious local fare to a top class gastronomic experience. There are an abundance of restaurants to choose from and they will offer you a chance to soak up the ambience of the town and rest your feet before you continue with your afternoon pursuits.
There are a number of wine bars which offer you the opportunity of tasting some of
the delicious Saint-
Even if wines are not your favourite drink or interest, there are plenty of unique arty crafty shops, boutiques and antique shops to be found at the bottom of the city. Why not take a gentle meander through the cobbled lanes and look for a special souvenir to take home with you to remind you of your visit?
CHATEAU DE DURAS. ( 10 mins)
Originally built during the 12th Century, the Castle was turned into an impregnable fortress in the early 14th Century by Bertrand de Got the then owner. He was the nephew and namesake of Pope Clement V who gave his support to the work.
The Durfort family acquired the Castle before the start of the Hundred Years War
MAISON DES VIGNERONS – DURAS (10 mins)
With its shop, exhibition area and wine school, the Maison des Vignerons showcases the Duras AOC wines and their makers. Well worth a visit.
MAISON GUINGUET CHOCOLATE FACTORY – DURAS (10 mins)
They have been making gourmet chocolates here for three generations. Not for the weak willed!!
BERGERAC WINE TOURS – Very highly rated day out on Trip Advisor, they will pick up and return at end of tour!
CHATEAU DE BRIDOIRE. (35 mins)
A great family day out with 70 faithfully reconstructed historical games indoors and outdoors. Archery and crossbow, board games, reflex games, role playing with armour fitting, skill games, building games, writing games, strategy games, medieval games, game chess game and the giant goose, garden games: there is something for all tastes! Ranked on Trip Advisor as the best thing to do in the Bergerac area.
MUSEE DU PRUNEAU, Lafitte-
They offer 3 events:
1. A unique museum with video and guided tour.
2. Prune Mam'zelle , offers educational and fun orienteering family play in the prune orchards.
3. DEDAL 'Plum (July-
Nocturnal Torchlight Tours. Monday’s (July-
The lake is open for swimming and other aquatic activities from the 15th of June until the 31st of August:
There is a beach with fine white sand and you can swim safely in water, regularly
checked for quality, under the supervision of two lifeguards (on duty between 2.30p.m.
and 7p.m.). Facilities include: Diving platform, water-
An outdoor adventure day for all the family including climbing courses for everyone and laser games. Open 13,30hrs – 18.00hrs. Noon for picnics.
WALABI PARK, AGEN. (1hr 6mins).
This Theme Park offers an action packed family day out with thrills and spills with a large choice of activities.
BORDEAUX (1 hr 24mins)
Winner of European Best Destination for 2015, Bordeaux is a beautiful city to visit. Stunning architecture and great shops, something for everyone. Don’t forget to visit the water mirror, great fun.
BORDEAUX WINE TOURS: (1 hr 24 mins)
For the ultimate blend of tasting, learning and fun in the stunning Bordeaux region. Starting point for any of the tours is central Bordeaux. Rated 5 star on Trip Advisor.
MONGOLFIERE DU PERIGORD, Beynac-
In the heart of the river Dordogne in the Black Perigord, the castles of the valley offers a concentrated history, architecture and unusual landscapes.. Hot Air Balloon Perigord offers balloon flights to discover the most spectacular scenery. The valley castles covers a radius of about 10km. Hot Air Balloon Perigord therefore has several sites off the centre and the four cardinal points in order to offer you the prettiest possible route based on the direction and the wind speed at the time of your flight.
Castles and villages overflown: Beynac et Cazenac, La Roque Gageac, Castelnaud, Domme, Fayrac, Les Milandes, Marqueyssac, Lacoste, Sarlat.
CANOE ROQUEGEOFFRE (1 hr 30 mins)
A wonderful day out for all the family, offering various sizes of canoes to suit you. Take your time and let the current do the work whilst you meander down the crystal clear waters of the shallow river Dordogne. You will marvel at the scenery and discover chateaux across the route. A big photographic opportunity.
You drive to the centre and are taken by bus to the river and are supplied with life jackets and waterproof, floating tubs for your valuables. There are numerous picnic spots to stop and relax and also cafe’s along the route.
CHATEAU DE CASTELNAUD. (1hr 34 mins)
The Château de Castelnaud, officially listed as a Historic Building in 1966, stands
high over the Dordogne valley, with magnificent views of the châteaux of Beynac and
Marqueyssac and the medieval village of La Roque-
Today, it attracts more than 250,000 visitors a year, of whom 20,000 are schoolchildren
The most famous town in the region and one of the most renowned and visited in France. It is also one of the most attractive. Often called just Sarlat, the town is actually twinned with its less famous neighbour and is more correctly called Sarlat le Caneda.
Destined to be besieged by tourists at almost all times of the year Sarlat is a beautiful, well restored town a few kilometres north of the River Dordogne. The old town, dating from both medieval and renaissance times is a pleasure to visit, especially during the spring and autumn, or early in the morning. For photographers If you can catch the early morning sunshine on the yellow sandstone buildings, so much the better.
Before setting off for your walk around Sarlat, visit the tourist office which can provide a suggested walking tour to take in the key attractions. The tourist information office is close to the cathedral.
The Dordogne, Lot-
It is in these regions, between 1337 and 1453, that the Kings of France and England
faced each other -
Every August the Dropt Valley Medieval Festival tours some of the Bastide Towns to
encourage visitors to experience touches of life in the Middle Ages offering workshops,
guided tours, night walks and games for all the family. There are also entertaining
demonstrations of knights jousting, stilt walkers, jugglers and fire eaters. All
the entertainers are dressed in Medieval costume and act the part beautifully.
There are also many medieval dishes available should you want to make an evening of the festival and sit down to enjoy a meal and soak up the history and atmosphere.
Most of the events are free. The day begins with a colourful and vibrant procession,
but there are some events that require you to pay a small fee to attend.
For further information and itinerary dates, please click here.