Choosing this property was a last minute choice and one which I was not entirely convinced would be good; how wrong I was.
If you are a history buff, then this is an ideal place to stay. If you love old towns, this is the place to stay. If you want to experience life in a French town, this is the place to stay. If you want to dispel all those myths about how rude French people are, this is the place to stay.
We booked the gite, but were unable to find a lot of information on it. It is actually a two bedroom apartment, which sits on the first floor of the courtyard, behind the main house, which you see illustrated on most sites.
You have your own entrance and you are free to come and go as you please. There is no view of the garden, but you do overlook a beautiful Courtyard, which has planters, tables and chairs. The owners expect you to make as much use of the swimming pool and garden as you can and are free to wander through the bottom floor of their beautiful home. If you are staying on a B&B package, you are even encouraged to take breakfast in the garden.
The seperate staircase, for the gite, still carries the 'M' logo, from when it was built by the Martell family and leads to your front door. The living room is flanked on either side by two bedrooms, both with an en-suite bathroom, but if you are travelling as a family, be warned there is only the one WC, which is off the corridor which leads to the large and well-appointed kitchen area.
Both bathrooms have small baths with a telephone tap/shower and hot water is in plentiful supply.
Car parking is on the street outside. The area did get busy, but there was always room to park your car, without the need to be concerned for its safety.
On our arrival, despite being late, our hosts greeted us in the garden, with a drink and made us feel most welcome. On arrival, initial access to the property is via the green wooden doors beside the garden (see photos), carrying the Roullet-Fransac signage, and which you can see on Google street-view. Do be warned, an entire side of the gite flanks Rue Saulnier, which is a cobbled street, with vehicle access, so there will be some road noise.
We stayed for two weeks, using the Gite as a base to visit the surrounding countryside. Bordeaux, Ile d'Oleron, Ile de Re (Fort Boyard can be seen from both islands), Angouleme, even Sarlat, in the Dordogne, are within easy reach, but there are a myriad of beautiful little villages on your doorstep and a wander around the old town of Cognac is a must - you can pick-up information from the tourist centre, which is literally next door and make sure you use the discount booklet which does deliver some very real savings.
Although Hennesy is next door, we would recommend a visit to Baron Otard (which is next door but one!), as it is in the castle of Francis 1st and you can see and touch the ceiling, said to designed by Leonardo da Vinci, as well as graffitti left by British prisoners of War in the 1750's!
Dominique and George are always delighted to see you and are always more than happy to ply you with their own Cognac, or Vodka, as they enquire as to how you are getting on. Like all French people, they are convinced that their part of France is the best and I'm not convinced they are wrong! Over several complimentary samples of the various Cognac's and Vodka's, Dominique provided a very comprehensive list of places to visit, as well as recommending great places to eat.
We visited a number of local restaurants, with our favourite being La Scala, a five minute stroll from the Gite.
Dominique and George really do care that you enjoy your stay, but be aware, there are some issues if you book through Booking.com. It is not Georges & Dominique, but the booking system, which makes you think you have paid for the accommodation, when you have not!
We arrived as strangers, but we most definitely left as friends.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Maison Fransac Roullet is situtated in the heart of the historical town of Cognac, along the riverbank of the Charente. You will discover calm, serenity and comfort in any of our three bedrooms which overlook the garden. You can have breakfast in the garden by the pool, accompanied by the singing of the birds. Discover our cognacs Fransac Roullet. ... more less