We love France. We have loved France for a long time and we harbour ambitions to eventually relocate there in our latter years. We usually head for the beautiful Cote D'Azur. With it's Mediterranean lifestyle and climate, we always stay on one of the large camping resorts where our two young girls are entertained and free to explore a safe environment on their own. So it was with some trepidation that we made the decision to travel much further north, and much further in-land with the closest beach a good two and a half hours away, to stay in a secluded farm house surrounded by French countryside.
We were anxious that our children would become bored and irritable, and ultimately this would impact on our enjoyment.
We consoled ourselves that, after an awful lot of expense on a property renovation we completed ourselves last year, and a change in jobs, that ANY kind of holiday in France would be a bonus, and that it was "only this year" and we should just try to make the best of it. It's just a one off......
Well. Let me start with our hosts. David & Regine. David is an artist and photographer originally from London, and Regine, originally from Normandy, breeds horses and keeps a few in a paddock that makes up part of the properties extensive grounds. From the moment we booked, David has been fantastic at communicating all sorts of useful information to us. Everything from the best routes to take to get there, to local markets, activities for the children as well as restaurant and vineyard recommendations. Upon our arrival we were greeted warmly by both David & Regine, and of course "Topette" their adorable little fox terrier. They gave us a tour of the house, and made sure we didn't want for anything. One particular day, we'd been out to a local Market and came back to find that Regine had baked us a traditional "Tarte aux Fruits" as a surprise after my wife had made a comment about it being one of her favourite French desserts! As a way of thanking both of them for making our stay so special, we invited them both to join us for dinner one evening - a BBQ of course, and we sat outside, talking and laughing way past sunset with the familiarity of having spent an evening with close friends.
So. Onto the house;
I like to think that I'm not too easily pleased, and that I have a relatively high threshold of expectation when I travel. Therefore, I do not dispense these comments flippantly......
La Mustrie was BREATHTAKINGLY BEATIFUL. The upper floors have been fully refurbished and have a very new feel to them, whilst still retaining the exposed original timber beams ensuring it retains a rustic feel. The downstairs is incredibly rustic. Please don't interpret this as old and tatty. It's shabby chic at its most authentic. Beautiful antique French furniture, original floors, exposed timber beams and huge stone fireplaces with wood burners throughout. The exterior has a contained pebble gravel courtyard and there is a lovely clean private pool area too with views across the properties grounds towards the river. There's even a boules pitch!
We have fallen in love with this part of France, and this particular holiday has surpassed all expectations. We will definitely be coming to stay at La Mustrie again in the future. Thank you David & Regine for a lovely, memorable holiday.