What: Luxury Gite with swimming pool in the Dordogne Region of France
Sleeps: 14 people (5 bedrooms)
How much: From £2625 / week
Gite Dordogne is every bit as wonderful as it looks in the photos – in fact a stay here far surpassed all of our expectations. The property was bought by English owner Duncan Ritson-Elliott in 2015 who has since lovingly restored the former barn into his treasured second home. Duncan has designed the property with his own family in mind making the place an absolute haven for families and kids – of all ages! We were over the moon to be invited to review a stay at Gite Dordogne back in 2020 – despite Covid successfully scuppering our first attempt to visit we finally made it over to France for October half term this year. Our party was made up of ourselves (family of four), our friends Kat & Chris and their two young boys – and our other friends Lou and Ryan who drove down from their home in the Alps to join us. In total we were 6 adults and 4 children – 10 altogether and still plenty of space to spare!
Gite Dordogne is located in a rural farming area near Jumilhac-le-Grand. The property is beautifully restored offering a high-end, luxury yet affordable holiday. There are five spacious bedrooms with 3 en-suites making it an ideal venue for hosting multi-generational stays, family get togethers or big group bookings of friends. The Banquet Hall is the perfect social space with dining for up to 20, a huge wood burner, sofa space for up to 12 – not to mention a games room with pool table, ping pong, table football, air hockey and even a home cinema! Outside guests can enjoy a brand new swimming pool, large terrace area, hot tub, Bakehouse for BBQ’s and Rotisserie, 26 acres of stunning woodland, grassland and lakes and views for miles.
Gite Dordogne is situated in the Dordogne area within the Nouvelle Aquitaine region in the South West of France. This area of France offers long, warm, sunny summers and mild winters. The gite is surrounded by rolling farmland, countryside and pretty villages. While there are no shops or restaurants within walking distance Gite Dordogne lies between the towns of Jumilhac-le-Grand and Saint-Yriex-la-Perche both of which are around a 10 minute drive away. The gite is a 7 hour drive from Calais or 6 hours from Le Havre.
The Banquet Hall is a vast, open, bright space and the social heart of the gite. This part of the property was originally a barn meaning the room boasts incredible high ceilings, ancient stone walls and wooden beams. Us adults spent most of our time sat at the breakfast bar chatting over a coffee or a glass of wine, depending on the time of day. The children dominated the other end of the same room snuggled up on huge sofas catching up on Harry Potter movies oblivious to the adult chat thanks to the marvel of noise cancelling headphones. Evenings were spent sat next to the wood burner lost, in a good book while roasting chestnuts collected just yards away earlier in the day. The novelty of all ages spending time together yet happy in our own space was an absolute joy – one of the highlights of our time in the gite was just being content together throughout the evenings in this homely space.
Gite Dordogne has 5 large double bedrooms sleeping up to 14 people. 3 of the bedrooms are en-suite with a further shared bathroom being available for the remaining two doubles. We found the en-suites made our group stay all the more relaxed with adults each being able to enjoy the privacy of their own bathroom. As with the rest of the gite the bedrooms are finished to an extremely high standard with solid oak beams, ceramic tiles, oak furnishings, walk in shower, roll top bath and even a four poster bed. Each room is unique in itself so here’s a quick run through of each of them..
Bedroom one – Cabernet: Super king-sized bed plus a standard double in a huge converted loft space. Balcony over the banquet hall with access via a Fireman’s Pole! Stunning bathroom with roll top bath and views over the surrounding woodlands. Dressing room.
Bedroom two – Malbec: Two king sized double beds plus en-suite with bath. Great family room.
Bedroom three – Merlot: King-sized double with cosy fire place for colder nights. Large bathroom with walk-in shower.
Bedroom four – Syrah: Super king-sized four poster bed.
Bedroom five – Pinot: King-sized double bed with large windows and great views.
The games room takes the indoor facilities to another level. This room has everything! There’s a pool table, dart board, table tennis table, table football, table hockey, cinema, karaoke and bar area. As we were there in the Autumn we would spend our evenings, post dinner in this room giggling with the kids and enjoying a cheeky tipple. Good times happen here.
The Swimming Pool
Completed earlier this year the gorgeous pool dominates the outside space. Thanks to a toughened-glass fence, views of the clear blue water and white loungers are unobscured and uninterrupted. New swimmers can safely paddle in the shallow end near the wide Roman steps, while pros can practise their best Tom Daley moves on the diving board down at the other end where the water is 2.5 m deep. With the pool being heated to 30 degrees guests can enjoy outdoor swims whatever the season – it was certainly warm enough when we visited at the end of October. We felt so lucky to have the use of this stunning pool all to ourselves. Despite it being too cool to sit out for too long as the sun lowered we spent some truly memorable hours chatting, laughing, splashing and playing here. I can certainly imagine it would be hard to drag the kids away from this little oasis in the summer…
We did a lot of our cooking outside in the Bakehouse on the rotisserie which was such a great, sociable way to cook. Duncan put us in touch with a local farmer (a former fisherman from St Ives no less!) who delivered one of his lambs right to the front door for a reasonable price. This lamb provided us food for the next three evenings. We relished sourcing local produce and using native ingredients such as apples, walnuts and chestnuts all picked on the grounds of the gite. The big boys loved their evenings in the Bakehouse – just look at the smiles on their happy little faces!
The Bakehouse also works as a BBQ with an additional, smaller BBQ being located closer to the house on the terrace. For nights when we chose to stick to cooking indoors there’s a very well equipped kitchen in the Banquet Hall including a Rangemaster double oven, huge American style fridge freezer with ice dispenser and every utensil you could possibly need.
The rear of the property opens out onto a large terraced area looking out towards the swimming pool and surrounding woodlands. There’s seating and dining spaces to accommodate up to 14 guests all of which are under cover providing shade in the summer and shelter in the colder months. Here you’ll also find an additional kitchen area for chilled afternoons around the Barbie including an outdoor fridge. Best of all the terrace is home to the Hot Tub. Hours were spent nattering and catching up in this lovely tub of bubbles – absolutely the best way to hang out whatever the weather!
For me, the thing that really makes a stay at Gite Dordogne is it’s location. Tucked away down a long lane with views across surrounding farmland and countryside this place is an absolute haven. There are no neighbours within close range meaning the kids can create as much noise as they like without having to worry about disturbing anyone. The gite sits in 26 acres of spacious grassland, lake and forest meaning you really are free to roam to your heart’s content. The forest was stunning when we visited with low sunlight beaming through golden leaves and fresh chestnuts aplenty. We often spotted local stag and his family around sunrise and sunset with stag calls and hooting owls breaking the silence through the evenings. Duncan has some really exciting plans to further develop the lake ahead of the 2022 season including re-stocking with fish and fresh water to create an inviting wild swim spot.
In the local area
We didn’t get out and about as much as we usually do on holiday purely because it was so nice just being at the gite! However, we did check out a few local goings on. Here’s some pointers for things to do during your time here…
Panning for Gold
The Dordogne region is rich in gold and other valuable minerals. Just down the road from the gite, in the pretty town on Jumilhac the tourist centre offers visitors the chance to make their fortune by panning for gold in the river. We loved this activity with the adults getting far more stuck in (and competitive!) than the little ones. We paid 14 Euros / person which paid for the hire of our guide, Phillipe who was really knowledgeable, our permit to search for gold and all of our equipment. Bookings are made through the Office du Tourisme in Jumilhac.
Our avid cyclist, Ryan managed to clock up just over 700km of cycling during his stay. It’s not something I’m particularly clued up on so here’s what Ryan has to say about the cycling opportunities in the area,
‘Truly blown away by this stunning region of France. I believe this region overlooked in the cycling world by the Grande Alpes, Pyrénées & neighboring Clermont Ferrand. It definitely should not be ignored. It offers different landscapes in all directions. From thick forests, rural farm land & constant rolling terrain. Best of all. It’s all on tranquil quiet country roads!’
Saint-Yrieix is a medieval town just a few kilometres from the house. You’ll find all your supplies here as well as a thriving traditional market on a Saturday. We loved pottering around the old medieval part of town with its cobbled streets and pretty buildings. We also found a cute cafe – Chateaux du Gateaux where we tucked into fish n chips and toasties.
Our time at Gite Dordogne was incredible. Duncan has gone above and beyond to a create place that is not only luxurious and comfortable but also extremely fun and playful. This is a place where grown ups can forget the stresses of home and really reconnect with their inner child – be it by sliding down the fireman’s pole to get a morning coffee or competing with younger family members in a diving contest in the pool. There is so much to do at the property you don’t need to do much else. I can’t emphasise enough how much we all enjoyed this trip – when I think of Gite Dordogne I think of us all laughing, smiling, eating and drinking. Good times. All of them! I very much hope to return one day!
Availability for 2021
Please quote JUGGLINGSKATES to receive a £100 discount off your booking.
Catch them while you can! These dates will get snapped up. To book simply call Duncan to talk through the process. Full details and access to their live booking system through their website here: https://gitedordogne.co.uk/availability
May 1 – 25 (£2625 / week)
May 25 – June 14 BOOKED
June 14 – 30 (£2625 / week)
July 1 – 7 (£3990 / week)
July 7 – Sept 14 BOOKED
September 14 – 30 (£2625 / week)
With thanks to Duncan and his family for inviting us to stay for a week so we could share our experience.