As some of the other reviewers have written, you never really know what you get until you open the door. I was mildly disappointed by the self-catering gites available on the internet and had, in the end, turned to a UK site. The reason: our first holiday with a then 6 month old baby, so we thought we needed some space, equipment and sensible kitchen to cope with all of his lordship's demands. Les Petites Cigognes seemed to tick all the boxes so we made the jump.
It was great. It was always going to be an adventure, but Sandra made life incredibly easy - everything we could possibly need (or thought we might need) happened to be there already and if ever we got stuck, she was always happy to oblige, suggest and help - but without ever becoming that omni-present landlord that no-one wants on holiday, quite au contraire!
Her tips and hints (for site seeing as well as the local bakery and market) were spot-on, her patience great and humour very welcome after a sleepless night. And as for the gite itself - we ended up in the mid-sized one, which turned out to be perfect as the kitchen was huge and ideal for preparing lots of bottles, food and feeding the little one (his first solids). There were loads of rooms (all well equipped, clean and pleasantly decorated) and plenty of space downstairs to host my parents who stopped by on their way back from the south of France. Add to that a pool (a first for the little one), a nice garden area (one for each gite, plus a communal area), pebbles (again a first, but we avoided too many being eaten) and a really tranquil area that was great for walking and general relaxing.
Les Petites Cigognes is situated just in between two villages, neither of which has any of the big headline chateaux, but all the attractions that make people visit the Loire valley are within 40 km - we tended to drive somewhere when the baby was asleep, walked around, ate something and came back to the pool when the little one dozed off after his afternoon milk - very relaxed. Not that a pushchair is an ideal accessory when doing castles - we only visited the Gardens at Villandry (where a film crew rather than stairs proved a challenge) and the village of Loches with its old town (we found every restaurant extremely child friendly - may be the little one flirted a bit too succesfully in 'Isabeau').
All in all a wonderful time, in a wonderful gite that proved a wonderful, spacious and convenient backdrop to a great first holiday with the kid, with an extremely helpful host (sorry Ian that you don't feature much, but we only had the luck of seeing you for one weekend) - many great, memorable firsts in other words.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Les Petites Cigognes is a recently converted group of 3 luxury gites with 2, 3, or 4 bedrooms. All our gites are furnished to an extremely high standard and you can be assured of a thoroughly warm welcome and relaxing stay. Enjoy the large heated swimming pool from May to September. We are located in a quiet rural area within easy reach of all the attractions of the Loire valley as well as Paris. ... more less