If you want a very relaxed, remote, tranquil opportunity to down tools and reduce the heartbeat I can think of no place better than Carsac de Gurson and the Belle Surprise is a great hideaway with its own secluded private pool, ample living accommodation and two large sofas with access to British TV...which was essential during the World Cup!! Carsac itself is a sleepy hamlet atop a hill with great views and stunning little church which plays music as you enter and lights up. Magical. The nearest pub is a 20 minute stroll into St Martin de Gurson. The bar there does excellent food and there was a music festival in the village in late June which we attended where they shut the road. It was a fantastic night. Situated where Carsac de Gurson is makes it great to drive East to where the Dordogne is most glorious, without having to live within its touristy bustle. It also means you can drive west to the Dordogne's other great jewel, St Emillion, which is stunning but very busy. Local to the house is the lac de Gurson which we discovered too late in the holiday. Don't make that mistake. It's a great beach by a wonderful lake, with food and drinks on site too. Enjoy the Dordogne!
A really nice stay alongside our very welcoming hosts. The cottage is very well furnished and comfortable. A barbecue area and a well-functioning pool area. The surroundings are beautiful. We recommend this address!
We have just returned after a wonderful 6 night stay with our 2 children. We had a warm welcome from Greg and found wine, fresh fruit, local cheese, milk, eggs, bread etc all waiting for us. The gite was immaculate with a very well equipped kitchen. There was a lovely private pool and the surrounding area was so peaceful. It's a great base for visiting St Emilion, Bergerac & Bourdoux. There is a fab lake 5 mins drive away which is all free, including free canoeing and a nice cafe. Lots of nice places to eat a short drive away. Supermarkets nearby. Friendly neighbours. Found both Greg and Marina to be very nice people, who welcomed us into their home and we wish them every success with their future ventures x
Belle Surprise was indeed an unpleasant surprise when we went for our week, 4-11th August 2018.
We arrived in 40 degree plus heat after a very long drive. There was a welcome pack awaiting us. The house was a good size although the upstairs was extremely hot from the days heat and low ceilings. The air con unit is downstairs only in the lounge and unfortunately there was no controller, Greg didn’t mention this as he was telling us about the house, and we had to get it the next day for 35 euros which we were fine about as it was so hot we would have paid more, even though we didn’t realise there was a cost.
The kitchen is rustic with adequate appliances, no storage cupboards to put your food etc and no condiments. The bathroom downstairs is modern, the third bedroom (a reason why we chose this house) was an internal room with what seemed a cot bed that had been extended with a three pieced mattress topper, sadly this was unsuitable for my 15 year old daughter. The master bedroom is a double and the adjoining second bedroom had twin beds but was unfortunately unusable in the heat as the window was very small, the ceiling very low and it was just too hot, I guess it would have been better in cooler weather. There is a very small en suite shower room in this bedroom which was good as only a bath downstairs with a shower attachment but no screen. There was space to put your clothes, although we had cobwebs in our wardrobe.
There were many, many spiders in the house which we didn’t expect but maybe we should have since it is a 200 year old farmhouse. Outside is rural but quite noisy in the evening with local dogs howling throughout the night.
The second day we went out and came home to an angry note from Greg the owner on the door asking to turn off the outside light which we didn’t realise we had left on as the switch is in the kitchen.
Outside is a pool with wooden decking, but be careful as the decking is quite worn and splintery but we wore flip flops and you may wish to use these as well to keep all the horse flies and wasps away from you throughout the day. The pool stones weren’t cemented in between and one was removed whilst we were there and some polystyrene left in it’s place and on our 4th day there, whilst I was in the pool, I pushed off from the side (I was sat in a rubber ring) and another loose edging stone suddenly fell into the pool. We told Greg straight away and unfortunately his response is what eventually made us leave early as we felt threatened.
We had two children with us and actually felt unsafe to continue our stay due to his erratic behaviour. He said there was no way it happened the way we said, he emailed us (his house is next door) two emails within minutes of us telling him, (he stormed off after my husband let him know what had happened) the email stating that we had damaged his pool (but earlier in the week he had also told us about how the bottom of the pool hadn’t dried out properly from when he painted it earlier in June and he was going to have to drain it again after this season and re paint and you could clearly see where he meant as there were pitted marks along the bottom of the pool that went through to the concrete below, the pool stone that fell in on myself only left a line that went through to the white paint), he also stated in his emails that his daughter had been watching us over the week and had seen us jump off the edge of the pool (there is a 6ft drop one end with no adequate fencing so of course we wouldn’t have allowed our daughters to do this but said we had walked around the edge of the pool with the pool net to try and clean the many flies from the pool before we entered it, to which he didn’t believe us.)
We tried to talk to him face to face and smooth things over, explaining that we were decent people and he could have spoken to us instead of storming off to email, also pointing out that luckily there wasn’t a child in the pool at the time as this could have seriously injured them, but he shouted a lot and swore at us and then started jumping up and down on the edging stone to prove he was right and we were wrong. Marina, his wife, tried to calm him down to no avail and she came the next day to apologise for his behaviour but we had already felt like we needed to get an earlier ferry home.
Even after this, we followed the extensive instructions on how they wanted the house left:
‘Clean thoroughly and replace any products you use or a 25 euro charge per hour will be deducted from your deposit’ This was one of the many rules, and we still received an email 10 days after we got home to say £12 was being deducted from our deposit as two hand towels had been damaged!
No apology has been forthcoming from Greg although he did email, which was sent when we were on our way home, “I suspect it was frost that loosened things beyond all our control, I agree that about the mortar between the stones should be put in and it is planned ASAP.” (We left a note to say we had left early as we felt our week was cut short due to his outbursts and
suggested that he cement in between the edging stones so this doesn’t happen to another family.)
We feel saddened that someone can treat guests like this, behaving in an unstable and inappropriate manner, we hope no-one else has a similar experience but there is only one review from this year for Belle Surprise online so it’s clear that we weren’t the only ones who have experienced this behaviour.
Set in a beautiful small village easily accessible from Bergerac and Bordeaux airports. Fab local amenities - beach, vinyards, patisserie all within walking distance and with St Emilion and other bigger towns just a short drive away. Greg and Marina could not have been more welcoming or helpful hosts for our stay in this stunning gite complete with a proper pool-with-a-view to relax by. The accommodation was scrupulously clean with everything we could have needed to hand and there are plenty spaces to relax inside or outdoors, in sunshine or shade. We loved it!
The village of Carsac de Gurson is a delightful small hamlet, quiet and relaxing in a beautiful countryside environment. Its small church, St-Pierre, is a 'gem of a church' well worth a visit. The nearby lake of Lac de Gurson with boating and restaurant facilities in the summer is a wonderful short walk away and takes you past the ruins of Chateau de Gurson. Belle Surprise is also beside the 300 km - 400 km Lawrence d' Arabia cycle route.
Facilities at Belle Surprise are first-class. Clean and spacious, mixing modern and old worldly charm. The perfectly situated pool looks down on the pretty and scenic surrounding valley.
The area offers short walks and delightful scenic drives to nearby towns such as Villefranche-de-Longchat, Montpon-Menesterol and Bergerac to name a few.
My wife and I look forward to a further stay at Greg and Marina's Belle Surprise.
A lovely peaceful setting in rural France. The cottage was clean and comfortable and Greg and Marina were perfect hosts. A secluded pool to enjoy the sunshine and for the kids to enjoy. Plenty of places to visit, Bergarac and St. Emillion a must. If you wish to leave the tranquility of the pool behind the local lake is a must, with free canoeing and amenities.