Published by Andrew on 16 September 2016
Jacqui Brown reviews La Poste des Gardes, a historic cyclist-friendly house on the River Vienne in south-west France.
La Poste des Gardes is a three-story village house, sleeping six, situated in Availles-Limouzine in the Vienne department. The village and the house are both steeped in history as Availles-Limouzine was the site of an important river crossing point on the salt traders route and the house still has the old stone window seats that gave the guards a clear view of the River Vienne.
5 things we liked
1) Location: Availles-Limouzine is a beautiful village on the River Vienne that still retains its ancient gateways (below) in the old part of the village where the house is located. All the village amenities, including bar, restaurant, butcher, bakery and general store are within easy walking distance of the property, with the benefit of it being situated on a quiet back street with river views.
2) Great choice for cyclists: Follow the Vienne river downstream for L’Isle Jourdain or upstream for St Germain de Confolens – both places are worth a visit and the scenery on the way is beautiful. Head east towards Blond and Les Monts de Blond and you will find the challenge and excitement of real climbs and switchbacks. Many of the local villages are pretty, including Mortemart, one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France.
3) Welcome pack (below): This exceeded our expectations. We arrived hot and exhausted from an afternoon cycling in Les Monts de Blond and fell gratefully on the packet of peanuts. There was also orange juice, bread, pains aux chocolat, ham, biscuits, milk and wine. It seemed to have been prepared with the weary cyclist in mind.
4) The roof terrace: For a townhouse with no garden space, the terrace is such a great feature. It is covered, framed with wisteria and with a stunning view of the River Vienne. We dried our cycling clothes, ate our breakfast and dinner out there, and sat late into the night with a glass of wine or two from the welcome pack.
5) Well equipped: The décor and level of equipment in the house is spot on. It is charming, looks wonderful and there are many interesting features and items to catch your eye, but it is practical too. Towels and bed linen are provided, there is a washing machine and we found everything we needed in the kitchen and utility rooms to cook our meals. The owner, Louise, is happy for bikes to be brought indoors – there is space in the utility room or main living room and we stored ours under the stairs. This was fine for the two of us, but it might be a bit of a squeeze for six people with a bike each. There is also lots of local information provided along with a bicycle pump and puncture repair kit.
In summary, this well-equipped house had everything we needed to enjoy a relaxed self-catering break in a beautiful part of the Vienne department. The cycling available from here extends into the neighbouring departments of the Charente and the Haute Vienne, and gave us a bit of everything: quiet back roads through pretty villages, river towpaths, chateaux, lakes and mini-mountains. We can highly recommend it.
La Poste des Gardes self-catering accommodation
From £350 per week
17 rue du Chateau
86460 Availles-Limouzine (Vienne, Poitou-Charentes)
+44 (0)79 7210 5911/ [email protected]
ABOUT OUR REVIEWER
Our guest reviewer Jacqui Brown writes French Village Diaries, a blog about life in Poitou-Charentes, cycling, French food, travel, and books.