Simpson Secret – Montpalach France, South West & The Dordogne

Montpalach is a delightful old manor house tucked away in the peaceful hamlet of the same name. The house dates from 1750 and you get the impression that not a lot has changed in the surrounding area during the past two and a half centuries, except for the arrival of some modern plumbing and one or two rather fine swimming pools.

The villa’s own pool is a real gem and the entire garden is enclosed, creating a wonderful retreat in which to relax and unwind at any time of the day. A covered terrace runs the full length of the house and you can sit here in the shade with a drink or a book and keep a watchful eye on the children playing in the pool. Inside is a tasteful mix of local antiques, curios and artworks that hint at the house’s long history and instil a comfortable and cosy feeling.

There is plenty to see and do, both locally and further afield, with tennis, horse riding, lake swimming and canoeing within a 5-10 minute drive and several golf courses within an hour’s drive. Pretty medieval towns abound, Caylus, Cordes-sur-Ciel and Cahors being our particular favourites. A bread van does the rounds four days a week, laden with crusty baguettes and golden croissants and, for all your other food requirements, St-Antonin-Noble-Val, 8km away, has a good range of shops and local restaurants.


  • 4 bedroom manor house (sleeps 8)
  • Changeover day – Saturday
Ground floor:
  • Living room with fireplace
  • Dining/kitchen area
  • Double bedroom
  • Twin bedroom 
  • Shower room with WC
First floor:
  • Small study on landing
  • 2 double bedrooms
  • Bathroom with WC
  • Washing machine
  • Dishwasher
  • 2 cots (no linen) and 2 highchairs
  • Telephone (incoming and local calls only)
  • TV (French and English channels), video, iPod dock, DVD and CD players
  • Heating (€300/week)
  • Fireplace (wood included)
  • Fans
  • Alarm
  • Barbecue
  • Table tennis
  • Swings
  • Private swimming pool 9m x 4.5m (depth 1.1m – 2.2m), security alarm, open June to end September
  • Security deposit £1,000
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
  • Bed linen, bath and pool towels are provided
  • Weekly linen change for bookings of one week or more
  • Cleaning 1 hour/week included
  • Additional cleaning €10/hour (minimum 2 hours) 
  • Housekeeper can prepare local style meals for €15/hour (plus cost of ingredients) to include shopping, preparation, table setting, meal will be left out for guests to serve themselves
  • All services payable locally
  • Prices quoted are subject to change
Access times:
  • Check-in time – 4.00-7.00pm
  • Check-out time – 10.00am
  • This property was beyond our expectations. It was spacious, just like a home from home except it was a traditional french relais/chateaux at some point. The pool area was beautifully kept and gardens, the view spectacular from the terrace. I wish I could pick this house up and bring it home. I would definitely recommend. There were only 4 of us and masses of space. The house was very well stocked, clean towels and tea towels enough for a week. Separate pool towels and a lovely welcome pack with all sorts of goodies to tuck into after a long old drive. Well done Simpsons Travel. Mrs Inder - August 2016
  • Simpson Travel is probably one of the easiest travel firms to use we've gone on holiday with; great communication before we left and the directions and villa details were accurate and easy to use. We stayed at Montpalach which is in a quiet hamlet with great views over the countryside but in easy access of little towns and villages. Friendly caretaker and completely hassle-free, comfortable and relaxing stay. Many thanks. Mr Silvester - July 2016

The Tarn River meanders its way down along the precipitous landscapes of the Gorges du Tarn. Close to its junction with the Garonne River is the 'Ville Rose' Montauban, the second oldest bastide town in southern France, and birthplace of the painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres; the fine museum dedicated to him now stands in the former episcopal palace. At Moissac, the 12th-century cloister and south porch at the abbey church of St-Pierre are famous throughout the art world, and worth visiting from anywhere nearby. A number of 'plus beaux villages de France' are within reach: Auvillar, dating back to Roman times, is a fortified village overlooking the Garonne with a unique circular covered market; gorgeous Lauzerte was a stop on the pilgrim’s route to St-Jean-de-Campostelle. Actually in the Tarn, but worth the journey, is Albi, home to a stunning Gothic cathedral, built in red brick between the 13th and 15th-centuries, and a fine museum devoted to its most famous native son, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Shops and Services

  • Villages
    • A mobile bakery passes the manor house 4 times a week
    • Septfonds (6km) – shops and services
    • St-Antonin-Noble-Val (8km) – good range of shops
  • Towns
    • Caussade (12km)
    • Villefranche-de-Rouergue (40km)
    • Cahors (43km)
    • Montauban (43km)
    • Albi (59km)
    • Toulouse (90km)

Market Days

  • St-Antonin (8km) – Sundays
  • Caylus (10km) – Saturdays
  • Caussade (12km) – Mondays
  • Villefranche-de-Rouergue (40km) – Thursdays (not to be missed)

Recommended Restaurants

  • Septfonds (6km) – Le Saint-Mamet
  • Saint Antonin (8km) – large selection of restaurants at
  • Caussade (12km) – large selection of restaurants at
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

  • Lovely surrounding villages (particularly Caylus 10km)
  • Cahors (45km) – beautiful medieval town with famous bridge (Pont Valentré).
  • Cordes-sur-Ciel (34km) – picturesque village
  • Albi (59km) – stunning cathedral (UNESCO), Toulouse-Lautrec museum
  • Toulouse (90km) – Airbus factory, Cité de l’Espace, museums

Local Events

  • Fête de la Musique – 21 June
  • Caussade (12km) – a lively town with many entertaining fêtes throughout the summer
  • Montauban (37km) – Festival Cœur de ville
  • Lauzerte (53km) – Les Nuits de Lauzerte

Regional Food and Wine

  • Food
    • Orchard fruits
    • Garlic (l’ail de Lomagne)
    • Black truffles
  • Wine
    • Chasselas wine


  • Public tennis court at Septfonds (6km)
  • Horse riding at Laurette (4km)
  • Leisure lake for swimming, windsurfing and fishing at Caylus (12km)
  • Fishing and canoeing at the river at Saint-Antonin (8km)
  • 9-hole golf courses at Montauban (35km), Sauveterre (44km), Rivières (50km)
  • 18-hole golf courses at Marssac-sur-Tarn (53km), Albi (59km)

Getting There

  • Airports
    • Toulouse 87km 
    • Rodez 92km
    • Brive-la-Gaillarde 142km
  • Ferry ports
    • St-Malo 779km 
    • Le Havre 790km
    • Caen-Ouistreham 806km
    • Calais 909km
    • Cherbourg 914km
  • TGV stations
    • Montauban 42km
    • Toulouse 92km

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.

Toulouse 87km/1hr10min drive

Departure airport Airline Flight days Seasonality
London Heathrow British Airways Sat/Sun All season
London Gatwick easyJet Sat/Sun All season
Bristol easyJet Sat/Sun All season


Brive-La-Gaillarde 130km/1hr15min drive

Departure airport Airline Flight days Seasonality
London Stansted Ryanair Saturday 2 Apr - 29 Oct


  2 April 9 April 16 April 23 April 30 April
Simpson Secret – Montpalach 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
  7 May 14 May 21 May 28 May
Simpson Secret – Montpalach 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
  4 June 11 June 18 June 25 June
Simpson Secret – Montpalach 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
  2 July 9 July 16 July 23 July 30 July
Simpson Secret – Montpalach 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
  6 August 13 August 20 August 27 August
Simpson Secret – Montpalach 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
  3 September 10 September 17 September 24 September
Simpson Secret – Montpalach 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
  1 October 8 October 15 October 22 October 29 October
Simpson Secret – Montpalach 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14

†  Flight availability is limited on your chosen dates.

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

For information on prices and availability, please call us on 020 8392 5858.

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

Booking Conditions

  • 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
  • Any breakages, damage, losses, extra cleaning or outstanding accounts incurred during your stay 
  • Visas 
  • Holiday travel insurance
  • Airfares, car hire or transfers
One cot and one highchair are provided free of charge in our self-catering properties.  Additional cots and highchairs may be available upon request.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: or call 020 7008 1500.
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.
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.
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. 
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.