The prospect of finding suitable accommodation in August for Granny and Grandpa (celebrating 40 years of marriage and an incomprehensible bout of generosity) together with three sons, three daughters-in-law and eight grandchildren (aged 8 years to 9 months) seemed an impossible task, until Granny discovered Dominique’s Villas. A browse through the brochure eliminated any property ‘furnished with antique heirlooms’, since eight grandchildren would have made light work of them!
Granny then alighted on La Baronie, near Mussidan and very sensibly took Grandpa on an ‘away day’ recce in the previous November, to discover a near perfect property for all the family’s needs: an acre of secure garden, swimming pool, tennis court, swings, outside ping pong, inside games room, a bathroom per family and enough beds for everyone! Added to this the most wonderful and enormous round bath, which enabled all grandchildren to ‘cleanse’ together.
The catering arrangements were shared between families (on a whole day each basis) with one meal out at a delightful restaurant 5 minutes’ drive away and two excellent meals cooked by Eric, our host, owner and proprietor of La Baronie. With Mussidan (two supermarkets, two ‘caves du vin’ and plenty of boulangeries and charcuteries) only five minutes drive, the early morning run for baguettes and other provisions was very easy.
The weather was hot and sunny (with only a little rain during our week, except for the morning of the last day, which was very wet). The grandchildren (whom Granny and Grandpa had expected to have to entertain) were so busy enjoying the swimming pool, garden and other facilities that our week sped by all too quickly.
Granny and Grandpa had driven from England, whilst the families had flown either to Bergerac (40 minutes) or Bordeaux (60 minutes) and hired cars. While at La Baronie, we paid family visits to Bergerac, Périgueux (for market day on a Thursday) and a wine estate at Créon (60 minutes away). At the wine estate, the owner very sensibly took us all around the vines, explaining the different soil qualities and grape varieties, whilst the eight grandchildren could do very little damage. The tour ended with a wine tasting at the château, where the owner’s children had a host of activity toys so enabling the adults to concentrate on the matters in hand! It was a wonderful holiday, in superb accommodation, and one that we shall all remember for many years to come.