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Essentials Magazine


Hidden holiday gems

June 2012

Sssh… mum’s the word… We’ve found some of Europe’s best holiday destinations that you may not have heard of, but you’ll definitely love.

French delights in Gironde, Aquitaine. Irresistible wines, glorious architecture, gastronomic feasts, amazing scenery and the perfect climate all come together in this largely unspoilt region. Your best bet is to take the car and rent a villa, then use it as a base for sightseeing in Bordeaux or Bergerac or for visiting some of the wonderful villages nestled in the countryside with their markets and brocantes. A great way of spending a lazy day is getting a taxi (or nominating a non-drinker driver!) and savouring the wine-tasting sessions at one of the vineyards that abound in the area.

The travel company, Dominique’s Villas, specialises in this area and we recommend Cueillerot (DL17), a wonderful restored house, just outside the charming village of Monségur. The villa is an extension to a 100-year old barn, completely rebuilt with local stone. Huge grounds, a terrace that wraps around the villa and gorgeous 180-degree views of the rolling hills mean its sunshine all day and stunning sunsets in the evening. What makes this villa so good, if you’re looking for a rather lazy time, are the facilities. The owners have thought of everything, including Sky TV, and thankfully it comes at a very affordable price.

From its huge hi-tech kitchen with every gadget you could think of, including a large American-style freezer (just what you need for chilling all that local wine!) to the airy open-plan lounge with its double-height ceiling, you never feel hemmed in. Outside there’s a lovely garden with flowers and shrubs, table tennis area and pétanque court. But the star of the place is the pool area – it has a separate outdoor kitchen, built-in barbecue and bar as well as a loo and hot shower!

DON’T MISS: Hire bikes locally in the village and cycle your way past numerous châteaux. Do it at a leisurely pace and plan a lunchtime pit stop in Duras, which is about six miles away.

EAT: Why eat out when you’ve got the best dining view in the area – poolside! The local supermarket sells everything you could possible need – but what could be nicer than a selection of local fruits and cheeses with a large glass of something chilled!

Cueillerot, ref. DL17 >>