Zoe Scott and her family treasured their visit to France every year, discovering yet another part of the country. In the summer of 1988 they rented a holiday home and it was then that the idea of moving to France permanently really took hold. Nothing in the Dordogne matched up to their ideas, so one day they drove south to Cahors in the Lot Valley to see the magnificent Pont Valentre (medieval bridge over the river Lot).
The Lot is known as the gateway to the south and they were captivated by the champagne-coloured houses, hilltop mediaeval villages and their first taste of superb Cahors wine.
One minute they were sipping coffee in a square opposite an estate agency and the next they were in a car being driven by a chic Frenchwoman to view three properties – and then down the lane, through the farmyard to Mondounet….
Zoe takes up the story: “Mondounet was located in an idyllic setting for the 17th century farmhouse and outbuildings, set on the hill and overlooking two valleys. There was nearly a hectare of land (about two acres) – a large stone barn, bread oven and stable. It was really peaceful and somehow we knew that we had found our dream. The very next day we signed on the dotted line and moved in later that year – October 1988. Restoration and conversions were carried out and the following year we were able to open our doors to our first holiday guests.”
In the Quercy region, it’s well worth visiting the markets (our local village of Montcuq has one of the best Sunday markets around); drinks and lunches in the pavement cafés; village fêtes; visiting the chateaux and caves; music – blues, jazz and classical concerts. “We have some of the most beautiful countryside, vineyards around the corner for wine-tasting, superb country cooking and Michelin-star restaurants. In addition, there’s always a warm welcome from the locals.”
“This is a landscape of buzzards, red squirrels, nightingales, butterflies, wild flowers and orchids. There are rural properties that have become vacant and in this beautiful countryside, with unused roads winding up through woods and vineyards it’s not unusual to come across the distinctive profile of an old Quercynoise limestone farmhouse with its Roman tiles and pigeonnier (dovecote).”
The region is easily accessible by road, rail and plane:
Toulouse and Bergerac airports are just 60-75 minutes drive. Bordeaux & Rodez are two hours drive and Carcasonne 2½ hours drive.
From the U.K. – The ferry ports: St. Malo and Le Havre are 8-9 hours driving time and there is a local airport at Cahors for light aircraft.
Paris is five hours by train to Cahors and faster by TGV to Agen, and under an hour by plane. With the enormous investment in road and rail in France it’s now possible to still be in touch with the world while enjoying the peace of the beautiful countryside.
About Mondounet Holidays and Homes:
Bed and breakfast is from €60 per night for two people, inclusive of breakfast – or self-catering in the 17th century farmhouse with lovely views over the peaceful Lot countryside, from 200 euros per week.
Established in 1963, Quercy Gascogne Immobilier is a family-run estate agency. The office is situated in the heart of the bastide town of Montcuq, the base of choice when property hunting in this beautiful part of the Lot.
For more information go online at www.mondounetholidaysandhomes.com
(Associated with Agence Quercy Gascogne)