La Collinette France, South West & The Dordogne

In a small hamlet, surrounded by vineyards and sunflower fields, lies this quintessentially French Longère house, a popular sight in Charente – a region also famed for its fine wine, long hot summers and fertile agricultural landscape.

Beautifully restored, the property and its south-facing grounds exude a sense of calm, from the tranquil views towards the Gironde estuary to the open-plan living space, a tasteful combination of period furniture and soothing, neutral tones.

Relaxing family days can be spent around the salt-water swimming pool, heated to an inviting 28°C and secured with a locking gate for peace of mind. Sea and sand lie just a half-hour drive from the property, where the gentle surf is equally suitable for young families.

With a boulangerie, charcuterie and wine merchants in the neighbouring village and plenty of indoor and outdoor dining spaces around the property, food and wine lovers will want to get creative in the country-style kitchen. Or if holidays are all about dining out, several highly recommended brasseries and family-run restaurants are all within a 3km radius. Then of course there’s the wine. You’re just across the river from the vineyards of Bordeaux and a few minutes’ drive from a château producing Cognac and Pineau, and you can taste a glass or two within beautiful woodland gardens.

A 40-minute coastal drive brings you to Royan, a popular holiday destination with the French. Arrive early to explore the fish market, enjoy local oysters and mussels for lunch and soak up the 1950s vibe on ultra-chic beaches. A journey of similar length brings you to Saintes. Said by King François I to be the most beautiful town in France, it offers plenty to see and do, including a Roman Amphitheatre, boutique shopping in the old quarter and traditional wooden boat trips along the river.

 

Accommodation:
  • 4 bedroom house (sleeps 8)
  • Occupancy is limited to 8 guests including a maximum of 4 children
  • Changeover day – Saturday
Ground floor:
  • Open-plan living/dining room
  • Kitchen
  • Small twin bedroom
  • Shower room
  • WC
First floor:
  • Double air-conditioned bedroom with en-suite bathroom with separate shower and WC
  • Double air-conditioned bedroom with en-suite bathroom with WC
  • Double bedroom with en-suite shower room with WC
General:
  • Washing machine and dryer
  • Dishwasher
  • Cot (linen provided) and highchair
  • TV, DVD and CD players
  • Central heating (included)
  • Air-conditioning in first floor bedroom
  • Fans in all other bedrooms
  • Lawn croquet
  • Barbecue
  • Covered terrace by pool with fridge
  • Private heated salt-water swimming pool 9m x 5m (depth 1m – 2m), fenced, security alarm, corner steps, open mid-May to end September
  • Smoking is not permitted inside the house
  • Security deposit £500
Complimentary wifi:
  • All properties with wifi are able to support basic functionality such as web browsing and checking emails
  • We aim to offer an uninterrupted service but sometimes due to factors beyond our control reliability can be affected
Services:
  • Bed linen, bath and pool towels are provided
  • Weekly linen change for bookings of one week or more
  • Cleaning included on Saturdays for bookings of 2 weeks or more
  • Additional cleaning/housekeeping €20/hour
  • All services payable locally
  • Prices quoted are subject to change
Access times:
  • Check-in time – 4.00-7.00pm
  • Check-out time – 10.00am

The Charente-Maritime enjoys the long hot summers and mild winters so necessary for the production of the grapes used to make fine wines and cognac. Located along the Atlantic with 200km of coastline, the area is a magnificent and exceptional part of France. This is a quiet agricultural area, mostly vineyards and sunflower fields, wheat and maize. For those used to Britain’s congested roads the comparative peace of rural French roads makes driving a pleasure again. Royan, 40 minutes up the coast from La Collinette, is a popular holiday destination for the French who enjoy the excellent beaches and appreciate the local oysters, mussels and freshly caught fish.

Shops and Services

  • On the edge of the small hamlet of Sainte-Ramée (no shops)
  • Saint-Ciers-du-Taillon (3km) – small supermarket, boulangerie, charcuterie, wine merchants, garage, chemist/pharmacist
  • Mirambeau (11km) – large supermarket, boulangerie (Les Délices d'Autan), all shops and services
  • Jonzac (22km) – larger selection of shops and services

Market Days

  • Mirambeau (11km) – Saturdays
  • Saintes (42km) – street markets twice a week and then on the first Monday of each month the whole town centre is closed for a large street market 
  • Royan (44km) – wonderful fish market every morning

Recommended Restaurants

  • La Brasserie St Thomas de Conac (2km) along a quiet country road, run by Bill and Philomena, great value tasty food 19.50 for 3 courses
  • Chateau des Salles (7km) – locally produced food, 4 courses plus glass of wine 38, also sell excellent local wine, pineau and cognac
  • Domaine du Seudre (10km) – beautiful inventive French  food, 3 courses with cocktails and wine approx. 50
  • Château de Mirambeau (10km)
  • Jonzac (22km) – Le Coq D'Or; Le Comptoir du Marché
These restaurants have been recommended by our owners and this list is updated as often as possible. Ownership and quality may have changed since the last update.
 

Places to See

  • Nature reserve at Vitrezay (14km) – very interesting exhibition centre
  • Jonzac (23km) – a beautiful château at its centre
  • Saintes (42km) – the nearest major town (45min drive) and set on the Charente River,  said by François I to be the most beautiful in France (he was born in Cognac); the town still retains many echoes of its Roman origins including a fine ampitheatre, the Arc de Germanicus dating from 18AD stands close to the centre of town; just off the main street is the oldest quarter with an interesting array of shops in pedestrianised streets; electric hire boats on the Charente or take trips on traditional wooden boats
  • Royan (44km) – one of the most prestigious seaside resorts on the Atlantic coast, a favourite with the French, rebuilt since WWII and has a 50s charm and ultra smart beaches
  • La Palmyre Zoo (54km) – a very popular breeding zoo with an emphasis on conservation leaving many of the 1,600 animals free to roam
  • La Rochelle (110km, 1hr 20min drive) – the busiest yachting centre on the French Atlantic coast, famous for its three outstanding medieval towers and picturesque old port; plenty of cafes and restaurants to relax in after visiting the boutiques and shops in the old town; the aquarium has many varieties of fish from sharks to tiny multi-coloured tropical fish; boat excursions going past Fort Boyard for half day or full day trips; visit the beautiful island of Ile de Re which is connected to the mainland by an impressive bridge
  • Many beautiful villages to discover nearby, including Meschers (32km) with its legendary caves and Talmont (27km) with its stunning fortified church

Local Events

  • Fête de la Musique – 21 June

Regional Food and Wine

  • Food
    • Beef, black chicken, duck, goose, foie gras
    • Melon
    • Good butter and cheeses
    • Truffles
    • Les Cornuelles (aniseed biscuits to celebrate Palm Sunday)
  • Wine
    • The villa is just across the Gironde estuary from the world-famous Bordeaux vineyards, the short ferry crossing from Blaye goes directly to the Médoc with its grand Claret-producing estates; St. Emilion is just a 45 minute drive away
    • The local vineyards are famous for their production of Cognac; Pineau des Charentes is the local aperitif (a blend of Cognac and grape juice, delicious when served cold)
    • Many small local wineries and distilleries for tastings and to buy wine, Cognac and Pineau directly from the producers, just follow the hand-made signs on the sides of the roads
    • Chateau de Beaulon produces Cognac and Pineau (5km) at St Dizant Du Gua, tastings available, beautiful gardens, entrance fee

Beaches

  • Meschers-sur-Gironde (30min drive) – sandy beaches, gentle waves and ideal for swimming
  • St Georges de Didonne – a few minutes further up the coast is the longest beach on 'La Cote de Beauté'
  • At Royan hire a blue and white striped tent and join the ultra-smart beach set
  • Further up the coast are wonderful beaches for surfing

Activities

  • Waterpark Les Antilles at Jonzac (22km) – a swimming complex for all year round swimming with a tropical lagoon with wave pool, a 60-meter waterslide, waterfalls and geysers all in a tropical temperature; there are also Jacuzzis, a health sp, and saunas; for non-participants there is a high level café to watch all the activity or a tropical pathway with seating and a café/bar at the end; the complex has a small stage area and holds cabaret and theme evenings
  • 18-hole golf courses – 3 within a 50km radius
  • Riding at St-Thomas-de-Conac (5km)

Getting There

  • Airports
    • Bordeaux 90km 
    • La Rochelle 130km 
    • Bergerac 165km 
    • Poitiers 190km   
  • Ferry ports
    • St-Malo 472km 
    • Caen-Ouistreham 560km 
    • Le Havre 627km 
    • Cherbourg 635km 
    • Calais 808km   
  • TGV stations
    • Libourne 76km 
    • Angoulême 80km 
    • Bordeaux 85km 
    • Surgères 101km
 

Although this property is booked on an accommodation-only basis, we can arrange your flights for an extra charge of £25 per person, plus the cost of the flights themselves.

Below are the flight options available, including the most convenient airports in France to help you reach your destination as quickly and easily as possible.

Bordeaux 90km/1hr drive

Departure airport Airline Flight days Seasonality
London Gatwick British Airways Sat/Sun All season
London Gatwick easyJet Sat/Sun All season
London Luton easyJet Sat/Sun All season
London Stansted Ryanair Saturday 2 Apr - 29 Oct (Sat)
3 Jul - 25 Sep (Sun)
Bristol easyJet Sat/Sun 2 Apr - 29 Oct
Liverpool easyJet Saturday 28 May - 24 Sep
Belfast easyJet Saturday 21 May - 3 Sep
Edinburgh Ryanair Sat/Sun 19 Mar - 29 Oct (Sat)
3 Jul - 28 Aug (Sun)
Southampton Flybe Sat/Sun 28 May - 10 Sep (Sat)
7 Aug - 28 Aug (Sun)
Birmingham Flybe Sat/Sun 27 Mar - 29 Oct
Cardiff Flybe Saturday 11 Jun

 

La Rochelle 130km/1hr15min drive

Departure airport Airline Flight days Seasonality
London Gatwick easyJet Sat/Sun 28 May - 1 Oct (Sat)
3 Jul - 4 Sep (Sun)
Bristol easyJet Saturday 18 Jun - 10 Sep
Southampton Flybe Sat/Sun 21 May - 3 Sep (Sat)
27 Mar - 9 Oct (Sun)
Birmingham Flybe Sat/Sun 2 Apr - 29 Oct (Sat)
22 May - 23 Oct (Sun)
Manchester Flybe Saturday 21 May - 3 Sep
London Stansted Ryanair Sat/Sun 26 Mar - 29 Oct

 

Bergerac 165km/1hr55min drive

Departure airport Airline Flight days Seasonality
London Stansted Ryanair Sat/Sun All season
Bristol Ryanair Saturday 4 Jun - 24 Sep
East Midlands Ryanair Sunday All season
Liverpool Ryanair Saturday All season
Leeds Bradford Jet2 Saturday 23 May - 25 Sep
Southampton Flybe Sat/Sun All season
Exeter Flybe Saturday 28 May - 17 Sep
Birmingham Flybe Sat/Sun 28 May - 10 Sep (Sat)
3 Jul - 4 Sep (Sun)
Manchester Flybe Sat/Sun 2 Jul - 3 Sep (Sat)
27 Mar - 25 Sep (Sun)
Edinburgh Flybe Saturday 28 May - 10 Sep

 

Poitiers 190km/1hr45min drive

Departure airport Airline Flight days Seasonality
London Stansted Ryanair Sunday All season

 

 

  2 April 9 April 16 April 23 April 30 April
La Collinette 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
Accommodation only   SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD
  7 May 14 May 21 May 28 May
La Collinette 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
Accommodation only   SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD
  4 June 11 June 18 June 25 June
La Collinette 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
Accommodation only   SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD
  2 July 9 July 16 July 23 July 30 July
La Collinette 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
Accommodation only   SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD
  6 August 13 August 20 August 27 August
La Collinette 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
Accommodation only   SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD
  3 September 10 September 17 September 24 September
La Collinette 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
Accommodation only   SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD
  1 October 8 October 15 October 22 October 29 October
La Collinette 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
Accommodation only   1,950 3,870 1,950 3,870 1,950 3,870 1,950 SOLD SOLD SOLD

†  Flight availability is limited on your chosen dates.

Please call us for assistance with your holiday on 020 8392 5872.

Please note that some properties are available for a two week duration only during peak summer periods.

Booking Conditions

YOUR HOLIDAY PRICE INCLUDES
  • Prices are in pounds sterling and are for the accommodation only for the guests named on your invoice
  • The assistance of the property owner, housekeeper or concierge
  • Information book in your accommodation
YOUR HOLIDAY PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE
  • Any breakages, damage, losses, extra cleaning or outstanding accounts incurred during your stay 
  • Visas 
  • Holiday travel insurance
  • Airfares, car hire or transfers
INFANTS
One cot and one highchair are provided free of charge in our self-catering properties.  Additional cots and highchairs may be available upon request.
 
PLACING AN OPTION
In order to allow you to co-ordinate your holiday arrangements with friends and family, in many cases we are able to hold an option for up to 24 hours before confirming your booking.
 
PAYING FOR YOUR HOLIDAY
In order to confirm your booking a deposit of 30% of the accommodation cost is required.  This payment is non-refundable. The balance payment for your holiday should be paid at least 10 weeks prior to your departure. We accept most debit cards and credit cards, and personal cheques. All payments made by credit card will be subject to a 1.25% charge* reflecting our incurred costs. (*American Express is subject to a 2% charge.) 
 
Please familiarise yourself with our full booking terms including our cancellation policy here.
 
SECURITY DEPOSIT
Most of our self-catering accommodation is privately owned and sometimes it is the owner’s main residence, which they vacate for the summer season. In order to protect the furnishings and fittings, some owners require a security deposit which is collected 3 weeks prior to departure. The deposit will be refunded in full within 7 days of your return provided there is no damage or additional cleaning required and the property remains in the same condition as upon arrival. If a security deposit is applicable, the amount required will be stated in the Details section of the property. Please alert the owner/caretaker to any breakages or damages during your stay.
 
A Security Form may be presented to you by the owner or caretaker on arrival and on departure for your signature.
 
TRAVEL INSURANCE
It is compulsory that all our guests have comprehensive travel insurance and we will need full details of your policy at the time of booking or before you travel.
 
FINAL DOCUMENTATION
Your travel documents are available to download and print 2 weeks prior to departure via our Manage My Booking facility on our website provided you have paid in full.
 
PASSPORTS AND VISAS
It is your responsibility to be in possession of a valid passport and any necessary visas. EU citizens do not need a visa to travel to France. If you are a non-EU citizen then you should check with your own embassy for the entry/re-entry requirements necessary for your journey. Children not on an accompanying parent’s passport before October 1998 are now required to hold their own passport if they are under 16 years. If you do not have a passport, it is recommended to apply at least 6 weeks before your holiday. Passports should be valid for 6 months after your return date.
 
FOREIGN OFFICE ADVICE BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides up-to-date travel information to help British travellers make informed decisions about travelling abroad. Should you wish to check their advice or information about the destination you are travelling to, please visit their website: www.fco.gov.uk/en or call 020 7008 1500.
 
 
ACCOMMODATION AND USEFUL INFORMATION
 
Air-conditioning and heating
We have indicated in the property descriptions which accommodation has air-conditioning included in the holiday price. Heating is available in some of our properties during the low season weeks, which is normally included in the holiday price.
 
Animals and wildlife
As in all rural communities, indigenous animals are an essential part of the way of life. The braying of a donkey, crow of a cockerel or the barking of a dog is not a complaint that receives much sympathy from the locals! Care should be taken to minimise the presence of insects and animals in your accommodation. Keep surfaces clean, dispose of refuse regularly and ensure that food is not left uncovered. Cats and dogs are often resident where an owner or manager lives on the property. If you are allergic to cats and/or dogs please ensure that you check the suitability of your chosen accommodation with us prior to confirming your booking.
 
Barbecues
We have specified if a barbecue is available at your accommodation. Please note that often in summer, due to the hot weather, use of your barbecue may not be allowed and/or strict rules for its use may apply. The local or national government reserves the right to introduce new rulings at any time, often with little prior notice, prohibiting the use of barbecues to reduce the risk of fires. Where a barbecue is not provided, it is usually because the surroundings are considered a fire risk or inappropriate for the use of barbecues.
 
Beach/pool towels
Beach/pool towels are provided in all our self-catering properties and these are normally laundered weekly.
 
Beds
Please note that a double bed could be two single beds placed together. French bed sizes vary and can be 140cm.
 
Check-in and check-out
You will usually be able to occupy your accommodation between 4-7pm and you should vacate it on the day of departure before 10am. Please refer to specific property details for exact times. 
 
Cleaning
All our properties are cleaned for your arrival. The details section of each property has further information regarding the cleaning schedule. If additional cleaning is required, please contact us to arrange this in advance of travel. Please note additional charges will apply.
 
Distances and timings
Please note that all walking and driving times stated are approximate estimates only. Transfer times are also approximate estimates only and do not include any waiting time.
 
Electricity
The voltage in France is 220-240v and is compatible with appliances used in the UK but you will need a plug adaptor. These are widely available in high street shops, airports, and on cross-Channel ferries.
 
French time
The time difference between the UK and France has been standardised and France is always one hour ahead of the UK. Arrival and departure times at villas are given in French time. 
 
Health and safety
Simpson Travel is committed to raising the standards of health and safety throughout all our destinations. Our guests’ safety and wellbeing is of the highest importance to us. However, please note that since many of our properties are private homes, it is not always possible to meet the same exacting standards as in the UK. In your accommodation we will provide any necessary health and safety information. We ask you to familiarise yourself with this information and the property on arrival, particularly when travelling with children, and to raise any concerns with the Simpson Travel telephone representative.
 
Internet access and wifi
Internet access and wifi is available when stated in the relevant accommodation description details. Please note there may be restrictions with the availability and speed of the service transmitted by the local provider and technical issues may cause temporary withdrawal of internet facilities. We are unable to accept responsibility for any down time or consequences of using this service and refund/compensation cannot be offered due to circumstances beyond our control such as adverse weather conditions.
 
Linen and laundry
Bed and bathroom linen is provided weekly. For your convenience all of our properties in France have a washing machine and most have a tumble dryer.
 
Money
Banking hours vary throughout France. Some banks are open weekdays from 09:00 to 17:00, often with a long lunch break which can be from 12:00 to 14:00; others open on Saturday and close on Mondays. A few banks still close at 15:30. Most Post Offices offer Bureau de Change services and are open for much longer hours, sometimes 08:00 to 19:00 on weekdays, and on Saturdays 08:00 to 12:00. 
 
Avoid taking large denomination Euro notes as they may not be easily changed due to strict money-laundering regulations. Supermarkets will not accept 500 Euro notes for purchases below 200 Euros. 
 
Automatic teller machines, available in all towns and some villages, make a charge for international cash withdrawals. Users are allowed only two attempts at entering their correct PIN before the card is retained by the machine and can only be retrieved from the bank. 
 
Motoring in France
We recommend you check with a motoring organisation in case of any changes or additions to the information below.
 
Breakdown on a motorway: 
1) Emergency telephones are located every 1.5 miles (2.4km) on the motorway
2) Each phone is linked to the local police station which can automatically locate you and send out an approved repair service
3) The repair service rates are regulated and vary between 70 and 90 but be aware that between 18.00 and 08.00, as well as on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, the service rates go up by an additional 25%.
 
Children: Children under ten years of age may not travel in the front seat, except babies aged less under nine months and weighing less than 9kg, strapped into an approved rear-facing baby seat. Never fit a rear-facing baby seat in a seat with a front airbag. Children in the rear seats weighing 9-15kg must sit in a child seat and over 15kg on a booster cushion in conjunction with a standard seat belt. 
 
Drinking and driving: The maximum permitted level of alcohol is 0.05 per cent, lower than the UK limit. The penalties for exceeding the limit reflect the severity of the infringement and range from an on-the-spot fine, confiscation of driving licence, confiscation of vehicle and a term of imprisonment. Random tests are permissible in France.
 
Driving licence: The minimum age for driving in France is 18 on a full UK licence. European insurance cover is required.
 
Drugs: Saliva drug tests have been introduced in France, with similar penalties to those for drivers shown to be under the influence of alcohol. 
 
Fines: French police are authorised to levy on-the-spot fines for a variety of motoring offences and will give a receipt. Credit cards are not accepted. Drivers with insufficient means to pay may have their licences confiscated until they are able to pay.
 
First aid kit: A vehicle first aid kit, although a wise precaution, is not compulsory in France.
 
Fuel: Unleaded petrol, 95 and 98 octane, LPG and diesel (known as ‘gazole’) are available in France. 
 
Mobile phones: The use of hand-held mobile phones while driving is strictly prohibited.
 
Priority: All roads of any significance have right of way known as 'passage protégé'. In built-up areas, however, for roads of equal importance, France still operates a system of priority for traffic coming from the right, 'priorité à droite'. At the entrances to roundabouts carrying the sign ‘Vous n’avez pas la priorité’, or ‘Cédez le passage’, traffic already on the roundabout has priority. If a French driver flashes his headlights, he is not allowing you to go first but letting you know he has the right of way.
 
Radars: Radar detection devices are illegal in France and their use may result in a heavy fine. Even devices that are not in use may be confiscated by police and the driver fined. 
 
Seat belts: Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat passengers.
 
Vehicle Registration Certificate: You must carry your vehicle registration certificate (V5C) or, if the vehicle is not registered in your name, a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to take the vehicle into France.
 
Noise and building works
Traffic, farm work, roadwork, animals and other sounds form part of everyday life, however, what constitutes ‘noise’ to one person may not be a problem for another. Please let us know if you have any special needs regarding this. Occasionally, building work is unavoidable as we do not control such work and may not know about it in advance. Whenever possible, we will notify you of any work that we believe may affect your holiday.
 
Occupancy
Only guests named on your invoice are entitled to occupy the accommodation.
 
Satellite television & DVD players
French satellite broadcast systems and DVD players sometimes operate on a different system to those in the UK. Some DVD players at our properties cannot play UK DVDs. Satellite channels available in the UK may not be available in France, and at some villas programmes may be broadcast in French only.
 
Seasonal facilities
Some facilities are subject to weather conditions and the general season, for example swimming pools, restaurant terraces and courtyards, pool bars, local restaurants, and they may be limited or unavailable at the beginning or end of the season. Please do not hesitate to check with us, should a particular facility be a necessity to you.
 
Sewage systems
Most country houses in France have septic tanks to handle the sewage system. It is essential that nothing other than toilet paper and natural waste be put down the toilet. Blockage of the system can lead to unpleasant smells and may take days to clear. A repair charge may also be payable.
 
Swimming pools
Swimming pool details are given on our website. Pool dimensions are approximate only and, unless specified otherwise, pools are freshwater and unheated. Dates when pools are operational are subject to the prevailing weather conditions at the time of opening and closing and we cannot be held responsible if poor weather means the pool is opened later, or is closed earlier in the season.
 
Upon arrival at your accommodation, we kindly ask you to acquaint yourselves with the pool’s safety and hygiene rules. All our pools in Corsica and mainland France comply with French law and are fitted with one of the following forms of security: fence, alarm or cover. Some pools are ‘infinity pools’ which have an exposed pool edge with an unprotected drop. This maximises views and is an attractive feature of the pool. We recommend that you do not sit, lean or walk on the unprotected edge. Children must be supervised at all times.
 
Telephone 
To call the UK from France dial 00 44, the STD code minus the 0 then the number. 
 
Villa owners
Whilst the owners or staff of some properties may live on site and tend to the grounds, they are aware that you value your privacy, and will do their best not to intrude. We do ask you, however, to allow them reasonable access to the property so that they can maintain the grounds and keep them in good order.
 
Welcome Pack
We offer a welcome pack in all our self-catering accommodation consisting of a small selection of staple items.