When we made the decision to start a new life in France our intention was to create a holiday business with a difference, somewhere couples or friends could relax and enjoy all the Dordogne has to offer.
Our aim was to create a space where guests feel comfortable and relaxed, giving them privacy to share and enjoy La Banne while at the same time being friendly and accessible. Having travelled a fair bit ourselves in various parts of the world, we wanted to create a place where we would be happy to stay if we were holidaying.
Creating the chambre d’hôtes was David’s project which he relished. DIY and working with his hands was something he was looking forward to when we made the move across the Channel.
Since first viewing La Banne in June 2017, we knew that we wanted to share its tranquil beauty with others. We believed that we could create something unique, giving guests the opportunity to relax in stunning countryside and gardens or to simply to use it as a base from which to explore the Dordogne and its varied attractions.
The large ensuite room adjacent to the farmhouse with its own entrance and car parking space was ripe for developing as a chambre d’hôtes, our first venture into the hospitality industry.
Armed with a detailed project plan, paint, brushes, saws, spirit level and a multitude of other tools, David set about redecorating and refurbishing, creating a delightful private garden room for guests to enjoy. We spent a few days in Bordeaux shopping for bedding, chairs, coffee table, light fittings and other accessories to give the room its finishing touches.
Neil had the idea of shortening the existing curtains but neither of us could sew. So, curtains in hand, off he went to the dry cleaners in nearby Belvès who informed him they could clean and shorten the curtains as requested. A week later he returned to collect them and was pleasantly surprised when they seemed to ask for only thirty euros payment. For six curtains, he thought, this was a bargain and gratefully handed over the money. The owner of the shop looked at him blankly, hand still outstretched. After the third attempt to explain, Neil realised the owner was actually asking for one hundred and thirty euros at which point he had to dash to the bank for more cash, his jaw still dragging along the cobbled medieval streets!
The covered area by the old stone chicken coop was the obvious setting for breakfast. It catches the early morning sun as it rises and gives views across the fields to woodlands in the distance as well as being a private setting in the rear gardens. A perfect place to start the day and a fantastic spot to enjoy an evening glass of wine as the sun sets and the night sky transforms with the twinkling of stars and the pink tint of Mars which is visible most nights.