French Connections

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  • In the Press – two unique French holiday lets with a story

    163881 le vieux moulin

    An article in the latest issue of French Property News magazine tells the story of two really rather romantic French Connections gites with a fascinating history. Both properties have been lovingly restored and now their owners invite holidaymakers to both savour the past and enjoy modern comforts - all in the glorious countryside of France.

    A watermill in Maine-et-Loire

    163881 Carol and baby owls 

    Carolyn and Peter Johnson fell in love at first sight with Le Vieux Moulin (above), especially its tranquil location on a small island between the mill stream and the River Thouet, the fabulous views and the regular sightings of kingfishers, herons, deer and other wildlife.

    “The old mill house was re- built in 1846”, explains Carolyn. “We’ve traced it back to Napoleonic times but we know there has been a mill here since the 13th century. Now it’s our home and we’ve made a gite in the extension, which was once a restaurant and space for dances. Couples would get married at the Mairie and have their reception here.”

    Now, after major renovation work, the watermill gite offers guests an enormous lounge with conservatory and French doors to a balcony, along with modern kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.

    A Perigordian farmhouse Pigeonnier


    Jerry Shiveley

    In 1989, Jerry Shively and his wife, originally from the USA, decided to retire to France and discovered Le Tondu, a small estate near the quiet Dordogne hamlet of Naussannes.

    “The elderly couple who lived here were self-sufficient peasant farmers leading a disappearing lifestyle,” remembers Jerry. “They wore wooden shoes, there was no toilet and animals were everywhere. The Pigeonnier was full of chickens.”

    The Shiveleys used local craftsmen to restore the Pigeonnier, preserving as much as possible of the original character and materials.  Now it is a beautiful Perigordian cottage gite with its own garden, a bedroom in the tower and outdoor seating under the eaves.

    French Property News October issue is on sale now. Check out more of our Press coverage and read the full article here

  • Read our top tips on skills owners need at The Good Life France

    158549 Dave and Kath Vowles with dogs

    The Good Life France website and digital magazine are a great resource for ‘everything you need to know about France’. The emphasis is on quality content, so we’re delighted that right now the site is featuring advice from French Connections as the editor's pick of the week. It’s on a topic of interest to owners and holidaymakers – the top skills needed for running a successful holiday let.

    Our article has prominent position on the Home page of the site and also promotes our holiday lets and their owners with stunning photos that link to the specific properties they show. This is all part of our publicity drive to support our owners and help to get them noticed. The photo above shows Kath and Dave Vowles and their dogs at their pet friendly farmhouse and gites in Ariege, south west France

    We all know the difference it makes to a holiday when the accommodation owner is helpful, friendly and efficient. That feeling of a smiling swan gliding on the surface, yet paddling like mad unseen. So what are our tips about the skills that owners need? Well, they range widely from language to business, from people skills to property maintenance.

    Whether you’re new to the business of letting or an experienced old hand, you’ll find food for thought in this article – and maybe you have something to add about the skills that you find important. Read our article ‘The top six skills that gite owners need’.

  • See the Le Mans 24 hour and discover Sarthe

    You may not be familiar with Sarthe, our region of the month, but you will certainly know of Le Mans, its capital. The city is famous as home to the annual Le Mans 24 hour motor race, which dates back to 1923, when it must have been an elegant occasion.

    The cars may have changed since then but the excitement is as strong as ever. The race takes place partly on track and partly on closed roads and its prestige attracts thousands of fans from around the world every year. The 2015 race is on 13th and 14th June, so now’s the time to book great value self-catering or B&B accommodation in the surrounding countryside and head into the city for the big event, thus avoiding the crush and expensive hotels.

    Be sure to make time to explore the captivating old town of Le Mans, which has been beautifully preserved. You’ll find cobbled streets lined by 15th and 16th century houses with quirky shops and excellent restaurants – and all dominated by the magnificent Le Mans Cathedral, constructed from the 6th through to the 14th Century and a jaw-dropping architectural achievement.

    The area is part of the Pays de la Loire, so there are rivers, immaculate villages, historical towns, fairytale chateaux and wine tasting to enjoy, as well as lush countryside. Our accommodation includes gites, farmhouses and a village house, all in beautiful countryside location. You can even stay in a gite that is part of a fabulous chateau in either Sarthe or the neighbouring region of Loir-et-Cher, which is also accessible to Le Mans.