Spring is in the airs in the Dordogne ! Come on to discover the Black Périgord and holiday in one of our beautiful houses enjoying private heated swimming pools !
These recommendations made by the World Health Organisation and the National Union for the Promotion of Vacation Rentals (UNPLV) will be scrupulously applied by our cleaning teams.
Ventilation of the property and protection of our team members
· The house will have been aired since the departure of the precedent guests. Any fans will have been turned on to help the circulation of the air.
At your departure :
Please open all the windows as soon as you wake up on your departure day..
· Our teams will carry out the cleaning wearing disposable gloves, used in only one house, and a protection mask. They will wash their hands on entering the property, and also immediately after having removed their gloves.
· The handle of the entrance door, the key safe and the key itself will be the last item disinfected so that they will perfectly safe on your arrival.
Cleaning then disinfection
To prevent the propagation of germs, the surfaces will be cleaned with detergent products. Once the surfaces are cleaned , a bactericidal bleach based disinfectant will be applied by a spray. After several minutes, the disinfectant will be wiped with a disposable paper towel.
We pay particular attention to surfaces which are frequently touched such as:
· Door handles, handrails on the stairs, the key safe, the keys themselves
· Light switches, including lamps, TV remote controls, air conditioning remote controls, fan switches and chains
· Bathroom taps, toilet flush button, toilet seats
· Kitchen taps, work surfaces, oven and hob buttons
· Chair backs and arms, tables and coffee tables, bedheads
Dustbins and recycling bins
Our cleaning equipment (floor cloths, sponges …) is disinfected with bleach between two houses. Cloths are forbidden, and only disposable wipes/cloths can be used.
During your stay :
· We ask that when using the dishwasher, you use the long program at 60°C. In the case of using a tumble dryer, please clean the filter between two drying cycles.
At your departure :
· If you carry out the end of stay cleaning yourselves, we ask that you strictly comply with the cleaning/disinfecting guidelines.
· Detergent products and disinfectant sprays are available for your use.
· The disinfection of the properties in all cases will be repeated by our teams after you have left.
Management of Bed linen and Towels :
· The bed linen, towels and bath mats are professionally washed at 90°C by the company Elis.
· In an effort to minimize its manipulation, the linen is stocked and handled in plastic.
· Disposable mattress covers are available for our guests.
Due to current health measures, the beds are not made on your arrival contrary to previous years; we thank you for your understanding.
At your departure :
· Empty Elis bags are available for the collection of dirty linen. In order to reduce the risk of contamination, please put the dirty linen in the bags, and avoid shaking it or moving it between rooms.
· Tea towels are washed in bleach and boiled. On your departure please leave the tea towels in the sink, without putting them in the bags.
Procedure of arrivals and departures :
The National Union for the Promotion of Holiday Rentals (UNPLV) recommends limiting the number of contact between the team members and the holidaymakers during the arrivals and departures.
In this context, we will let you “visit” the house alone and will meet you simply for the signature of the entry form and the payment of the safety deposit and additional services if these have not been paid in advance.
Our agents remain at your entire disposal for any explanations needed on site if necessary, whilst respecting the barrier conditions.
Unless there have been any major concerns during your stay which needs one of our agents to be present, we ask you, exceptionnally for this year, to leave your holiday residence on your own. We strongly advise you to indicate on the entry form any eventual problems met during your stay and/or any suggestions for improvement. The inventory and checking of the house will be carried out by our agents after your departure. If there is no problem, we formally commit to destroy by shredding any credit card details or cheques in our posession within 24 hours.
At your departure :
· Please complete the section on the entry form with any remarks or suggestions which you judge to be useful.
· It is crucial to leave the key in the key safe.
· Please make sure you have left the house by 10h at the latest, so that our cleaning teams have the time to correctly clean and disinfect the house before the arrival of the following guests.
We thank you for your attention and to respect these directives with the sole aim to ensure you a healthy environment and an excellent stay in the Dordogne!
PLEASE IMPERATIVELY REPORT TO US ANY SUSPICION OF ANYONE BEING INFECTED BY THE COVID 19 DURING YOUR STAY , so that additional measures of disinfection can be put into place.
In Saint-Cyprien, the Périgord’s Past Is Present
Church bells ring every 30 minutes in Saint-Cyprien, reminding one of how quickly time passes. Yet in this medieval village, on a hillside above the Dordogne River, no one seems to notice. Most shops close for at least two hours at lunchtime. To find the largest selection of morning bread, it is best to arrive at one of the two local boulangeries before 10 a.m. But, other than that, there is little need for clocks, or even a calendar.
While exploring the Périgord region of southwestern France last September, my husband, Ken, and I happened upon Saint-Cyprien, parked our rental car alongside the 12th-century church that stands at its highest point and ate lunch across the street on the terrace of the Au Petit Montmartre restaurant. Over a plate of cassoulet – a hearty stew traditionally prepared with beans, duck and sausage – we looked out at the rooftops of Saint-Cyprien and the valley below it and decided that we had stumbled upon the perfect place to experience life in rural France.
On previous trips, that might have merited a “note to file” for a future journey, but on this occasion it was a call to action. For the second consecutive year, we had rented our Brooklyn, N.Y. townhouse for the fall and were using the proceeds to live for three months in France while I continued working as a writer. (Ken is retired.) Our goal was to experience French life through the eyes of the locals, shopping in open-air markets, cooking with seasonal ingredients and communicating with people in their own language. Saint-Cyprien looked like a place where we could do that. With most of the autumn ahead of us and very little in the way of a preset itinerary, we resolved to arrange a home rental there.
In fact, the only whiff of local color we observed in Sarlat was during les journées du patrimoine, or heritage days, the third weekend in September. All over France, certain landmark buildings, normally closed, are open to the public. Sarlat observes the occasion by lighting the streets on Saturday evening with votive candles. And during this celebration, under the stars, we attended a superb chamber music concert, in the abbey of the cathedral where there were few tourists in the spirited audience.
After that, the crowds in the region thinned, and it became a buyer’s market for lodging. Many homeowners in this popular vacation destination rent properties when they aren’t using them. As we scoured the sharing economy website Airbnb for other places to live, we noticed that posted rates dropped by 30 percent to 50 percent. For a stay of one week or longer, we were able to negotiate an even better deal. One week before our arrival, we booked nine nights in a two-bedroom, two-bath house in the old part of Saint-Cyprien ($96 per night).
The 14th-century cottage on rue du Terme was up a small but steep incline (terme means small hill) from a remaining portion of the old ramparts. It retained vestiges of past centuries’ remodeling jobs: Victorian-style French doors, windows and balconies; high ceilings; and two ample-size bedrooms, the larger of which was about 16 feet by 8 feet. The current owners are Sabine and Christophe Grossemy, who run the local real estate management company En Toutes Saisons (their company name means “in all seasons”) and had renovated the house with renters like us in mind. They had installed a new kitchen, putting the stove in the old hearth, and added an upstairs bathroom, which avoided some of the ups and downs on the narrow, winding interior staircase. Best of all, because of its position on the hill and southern and eastern exposures, our house was flooded with sunlight for much of the day.
The village itself had few sightseeing attractions, and for us that was the big draw. After gawking at Château des Milandes — the lavish home once occupied by the African-American jazz singer Josephine Baker; poking around the caves of Font-de-Gaume and Lascaux; or cruising the Dordogne on a flat-bottomed boat called a gabarre, I would pour myself a glass of wine and sit on the terrace off our bedroom. It overlooked an 18th-century mansion on the other side of the street, originally built for François Chaudourne sieur du Plassial, chief officer of the French Royal Navy. Now owned by an elderly man who is in a retirement home, it stood sadly vacant.
Though the graying of rural France was much in evidence, the Périgord villages, many built on promontories, were clearly a tough place to grow old. In Saint-Cyprien, for example, there were handrails on some of the steepest inclines. We observed elderly people lumbering up them, holding the railing with one hand, using a cane with the other, and somehow managing to keep a loaf of bread tucked under one arm.
On the same paths, in the late afternoon, one could hear the squeals of schoolchildren as they kicked a soccer ball uphill and tried to intercept it on the descent. In the evening, cooking aromas wafted up from every direction.
From our own kitchen, with two large windows that opened onto rue du Terme, we could observe how a medieval village gets wired, with pipes and conduits drilled through the exteriors of centuries-old buildings to bring in modern plumbing and electricity. High-speed internet access throughout the house enabled me to communicate with friends, colleagues and family in real time.
When I craved more physical activity, the twisting old streets and remnants of centuries past were a continuing source of fascination. Around the corner, and up a cobblestone path in the opposite direction from our house, were a series of alleys that used to be the dressmaking district – the only clue of this prior use being the street name, “rue de la Couture,” on one of them. And then there was the Place des Oies (geese), once the site of the poultry market, where a hand-cranked water pump still stands. A stone fountain near the church, where in times past villagers could come to fill their water jugs, had been converted into a small garden. A former tobacco warehouse stood abandoned, while a 13th-century cloister was being turned into apartments.
My favorite day in the village was Sunday. Down the hill from our house, rue Gambetta, the main thoroughfare in the lower village, was closed to traffic so merchants could set up for the weekly open-air market. There was much air-kissing, as the line formed to buy rotisserie chickens, and a strawberry vendor struggled to explain the difference between three cultivated varieties. For locals, this was a place to see and be seen.
Next stop: a cheese mobile that makes the rounds on market days in nearby villages. The woman behind the counter, with a stud earring above her upper lip, seemed to recognize me from the Tuesday market in Le Bugue. I was the foreigner who spoke rudimentary French, but did not confine herself to such familiar varieties as St. Nectaire. Instead, I let locals cut ahead of me in line and watched what they ordered. This time I took my cues from the couple who opted for the runny brie laced with truffles. They seemed to be assembling a platter for company and wanted an assortment of cheeses made with cow’s, sheep’s and goat’s milk. I exercised greater restraint, reminding myself not to buy more than I could eat in the next several days. That’s the French way.
After one more purchase – several slices of jambon blanc from the charcuterie truck – my market haul was complete. It all fit neatly in the wicker basket that we found hanging on a coat hook in the vestibule of our house. Carrying it over one arm, I passed shoppers lingering for coffee outside the Lucco boulangerie. The peal of the church bells signaled that it was noon, which meant that the market and stores would soon close. On Sunday afternoon in France, they do not reopen. Before the workweek resumes, this is a time for calm, not commerce, and a reminder to relax.
Deborah L. Jacobs, a former senior editor at Forbes, is the author of Four Seasons in a Day: Travel, Transitions and Letting Go of the Place We Call Home and Estate Planning Smarts: A Practical, User-Friendly, Action-Oriented Guide. Follow her on Twitter at @djworking and join her on Facebook here. You can subscribe to future blog posts by using the sign-up box on her website’s homepage.
En Toutes Saisons recommends:
Font de Gaume: http://font-de-gaume.
The unspoilt landscapes and varied scenery of the Périgord Noir offer the perfect backdrop for all sorts of outdoor activities. Discover the hidden beauty of the region by hiking, horse riding or mountain biking through the countryside. The Périgord Noir is also a region of rivers, with the majestic Dordogne and Vézère. The constant presence of water encourages other leisure pursuits, such as fishing, swimming and canoeing – or you may like to take a boat trip on a flat-bottomed gabarre, with magnificent views of our impressive châteaux guaranteed!
THE COUNTRYSIDE ACTIVITIES
On foot: In the Perigord there are almost 1130 km of GR footpaths. Amongst them is a section of the pilgrim road to Saint James, and the GR36 which winds along the prehistoric sites of the Vezere valley.
Another strong point is the 5600km of round circuits.
On bicycle: The majority of these paths are also open to mountain biking. For cycling amateurs, the Perigord offers over 2000km of cycle routes on 28 road circuits.
On horseback: There is plenty of open space for trying out horse riding or trekking. “Le Perigord à cheval” proposes to amateur horse riders a network of over 900 km of pathways, linking different inns waiting to welcome both riders and their horses.
Spend an unforgettable day in Périgord Noir and to go down the Dordogne or Vezere rivers.
A GOLFING DESTINATION
• Golf de la Marterie in Saint-Felix de Reilhac
Why not enjoy a family adventure in the shade of the ancient oaks of Perigord ?
• Air Parc Périgord, in Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse
• La Foret des Ecureuils, in Saint-Vincent-Le-Paluel
• Indian Forest in Carsac
LEISURE PARKS AND WATER PARKS
Cooling off in a specially built leisure park is a great day out for all the family – these leisure parks offer superb, refreshing activities for all.
Aux étangs du Bos : Leisure park in 7 hectares with fishing and swimming lakes, an aquapark, swimming pools, a 500m² skating rink, 4 water slides
Jacquou Parc : Attraction park with rides, swimming pools and an aquapark.