Romanesque Church Hunt Looking for churches and other France adventures.

March 8, 2008

Le Figuier • The Fig Tree

The Fig Tree - rental house in ardeche, France
For several years, we have visited with our friend Martine in the tiny village of St. Andeol de Berg which is just a few kilometers from the town of Villeneuve de Berg in Ardeche, France. She has made available her wonderful rental house to us and these stays have been a highlight of our trips. We have loved our evenings sitting at the white wooden table under the fig tree and looking out to the sunset while drinking delicious wine of the Rhone. And Romanesque churches! It will take a lifetime for us to visit them all in Ardeche.Google Map Ardeche

Click on the map icon to see the Ardeche Google church map with “Le Figuier” marked.

Click on the photos or below to visit Martine’s website for more information on booking “Le Figuier.”

www.vacances-en-ardeche.com

 We have grown to love the Ardeche and St Andeol de Berg where the house is located. Martine is a mile away at her own house at the other end of the village and is a caring and knowledgeable hostess, offering the warm hospitality that will be one of your best memories of France. You will need to book early to reserve the house for summer, but spring and autumn should have some availability. I have not had the privilege of staying in this region in the fall, but my guess is that it would be magnificent.

The house is on one of the GR (grande randonee) walking routes and is quite large and would be perfect for a family or group. To find out more about Le Figuier, click on this link or on any of the photos below.

Sunset in St. Andeol

house in Ardeche

 

House in Ardeche

Zazie, the dog, is not included in the rental–but she may visit to say “Bonjour!”

February 22, 2008

Our very first house in France – 1997

NOTE: I have tons of photos from this expedition, but I will have to find them and scan them in — Apologies!

I want to tell the story on how our little group began renting in France 12 years ago. My friend Becky casually asked me if I would be interested in going to either France or California during the summer. Back then I always thought of a European trip as way beyond my means. But all of a sudden I remember seeing a brochure at work for a company that did France budget flights and accommodations, but also had a page on renting a French farmhouse. So I threw this out to Becky–How about renting a farmhouse? It was only a month or so before we would go and this was the time when the internet was just beginning. So I went to this company and the French lady just said ‘Oh you must have a pool!” and fished out a few grainy black and white pictures with descriptions in French from a catalogue from Gites de France (more in the future on Gites de France)   I picked one out and the rest is history! The arrangements were made by this company, although every house since we have booked directly or through an internet agency.

The house was in Domessargues in Garde, right next to Provence and about 20 miles north of Nimes. I was dragging four other people along with me and we did not know what to expect. The rent was $500 a week – seven nights Saturday to Saturday and we wondered if the pool would be icky or tiny.  With our group of five that made each person’s share $100 for a whole week.

Driving from Nimes, the countryside became very verdant with grape arbors glowing with a purplish hue framed by green.  I was very nervous because  I had recruited all these people and what if the place is a dump!  I think I tried to absolve myself of all responsibility as we drove.  Domessargues was a tiny town atop a hill  surrounded by vineyards. We found the owner and his wife who escorted us to a barn on the other side of the village. From the instant we entered the place we were thunderstruck. It was huge and immaculate. There were four bedrooms and a salon for gathering that led out to a patio. But most astonishing of all, the pool was 10 meters (30 feet) and a sparkling, pristine oasis surrounded by carefully tended flower bed and recliners and umbrella-ed tables. There was a second unit in the barn that was not taken during our stay, so we had this marvelous place all to ourselves.

The town was not big enough for commerce, but each morning a little white truck drove through the village honking and you could buy your absolutely fresh French bread and croissants from a friendly delivery man.   There was an equestrian center across the road and in the evening we could heard gypsy-type music waft over to our place while we were having a barbeque with the gnarled dried roots of grape trees as our briquets.

We roamed all over Provence and marveled at the food, the friendliness of the people.

All my photos from this first expedition are not digital and at some point I will scan them in.  I tried to find the unit at Gites de France, but I couldn’t find it.  I would still recommend it and I know several years ago, it was still just 500 euros.

April 8, 2007

The hunt is on!

Filed under: French Country Houses — Karen @ 2:32 pm

This year (2007), the 11th one for our group traveling to France, we will be spending a week in Drome Provencale, just north of Mont Ventoux and the Vaucluse. From our enchanting house rental, the Grange du Kaolin, we will venture out to seek out the nearby Romanesque gems. After a week at this location, we will travel north and across the Rhone to visit our good friend Martine who lives in a beautiful village called St Andeol de Berg in Ardeche. We saw many wonderful churches there and had great food and wine as we sat under the fig tree in front of Martine’s house. I hope to document some of the churches we have seen in the Ardeche when I return.

For the next two months, this blog will serve as a “notebook” for the churches we will be seeing. I’m planning on doing Internet research to round up all the information I can on each individual church. We love the well-known churches that are well documented, but we also love the tiny little churches, tucked away in humble villages or marooned in the middle of a forest or field. Or even the excitement at spotting a vault that has been turned into an agricultural storage shed or part of a dwelling, but its origins apparent from the unmistakable vault shape.

But before moving on to the churches, we will enjoy the anticipation of our stay in this lovely place– this is the quote from the rental ad.

“At the domaine of Saint Paulet in Drome Provencale, the Grange du Kaolin is set in the heart of a privileged site and in the middle of 14 hectares of vines, lavender, olive trees and truffle oaks. Surrounded by wild and perfumed hills, the Grange du Kaolin will welcome you to a priceless tranquility. “

Grange du Kaolin - Exterior

Grange du Kaolin - pool view

Powered by WordPress