This could be a wonderful chambre d’hote; it’s secluded in lovely countryside but close enough to Carcassonne (2km) to be walkable, with a clean swimming pool, a pleasant garden, excellent breakfast and mum’s lovely home-made jams. However…
We stayed for eight nights (probably a mistake) for our autumn holiday. Booked by email in advance we were offered a room not shown on the website but ‘tres agréable avec sa sortie directe sur le jardin’. We confirmed, sent the deposit and a confirmatory email and text as requested; thereafter we heard nothing from the proprietor, Delfine, either in acknowledgement or in response to our various subsequent emails for further information. We arrived not knowing if the booking existed. Delfine was not there. Her mother, lovely but elderly, showed us the room but not the other areas; we only discovered the interior lounge three days later.
Although some rooms were clearly better, ours was far from ‘agréable’: like Doesborgh D, we had a room with the en suite toilet covered by a curtain not a door (fine unless one of you succumbs to an uncontrollable intestinal tract disorder – which luckily we didn’t!); the towels were like sandpaper, one ripped; no shampoo or soap for the shower; two of the electrical sockets didn’t work; the bedside lamp bulbs were broken; the all-glass dressing table was dangerously held onto the wall with two wonky brackets; the chest of drawers was terminally broken and lined with ancient newspaper; the two chairs supplied were so uncomfortable as to be unusable; and there was absolutely no information supplied about the house or Carcassonne. The room had an exit, i.e. the door, not ‘directe sur le jardin’ but onto a gravel path with no view, a table 18’ in diameter and two uncomfortable metal chairs. Delfine arrived three days later, never introduced herself or apologised for not replying to the emails and then asked for the deposit; like zorglub10, we also had to sit over her while she looked up our payment (which she hadn’t seen) on her online banking.
Even worse, no attempt was made to clean the bedroom, toilet or bathroom throughout our 8-day stay, the bed never made or sheets changed. On Friday the hot water stopped working and we spent 36 hours complaining to Delfine – her response was a ‘Gallic shrug’, a laugh and ‘je suis désolé, désolé’. Although she claims to speak English and Spanish on her website, there was no sign of this at any time, just a torrent of French about the plumber.
Some or much of this we could have accepted as quirky but what made it unacceptable was Delfine’s attitude which was, bluntly, lazy, unconcerned and rude. Basically, she doesn’t know how to run the place as a ‘customer facing’ business. Although it was pretty full with middle-aged and elderly French couples and a few stoical Brits, each staying two or three days, times have moved on, both in Britain and France, since this was acceptable. We wouldn’t return or recommend to our friends and are astonished that it made it into Sawdays.
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