We spent a week in one of the lovely, very spacious and well equipped flats that make up the ancient Chateau de Bussas. The place is simply perfect. We felt entirely at home, as if we'd always lived there, and fell in love with the house, the light, the views - and the charming owners, Londoners who have spent three decades lovingly and tastefully restoring and maintaining this exquisite, unique place. It is located in the midst of the Cévennes wilderness, within walking reach of hikes, many of which we were able to go on with our children. The nature in this part of the world is breathtaking. Bussas is also a short drive away from Saint-Jean-du-Gard, one of the lively villages of the area. It is really a gem of a place. We were there in April, before the pool was set up for use, but it must be even more of a paradise once one can dip into the water after a long hike. At any rate, we will be back!
Just returned from a wonderful week's stay at Bussas with my son and his girlfriend. We stayed in Colombier which is a large studio with a large double room upstairs, with an interconnecting single bedroom in a small turret as well as a single bed in the living area downstairs. The best thing about the place is the location - absolutely gorgeous in early September, very warm and surrounded by hills wooded with mixed evergreen and deciduous trees just beginning to go gold, blackberries and other fruit trees and a rushing stream nearby to paddle and swim in. The area is known for its chestnuts - we didn't however manage to find the local speciality of chestnut bread, although we ate a lot of nougat from Montelimar which is fairly nearby. Apparently French people come down in October to pick white mushrooms in this area and some go boar hunting. Bussas's buildings date from the sixteenth century and you could certainly imagine a scene from the Three Musketeers being shot here. The apartments are simply but adequately furnished and equipped; outdoor facilities include a good-sized swimming pool, table tennis and plenty of seating and eating areas. Do bring insect repellent! As other reviews have said, come to this area if you want to relax, not if you want excitement. Main attractions and activities nearby seem to be canoeing, cycling, caves and an abundance of those small museums that France seems to specialise in. Nearby walks are quite demanding - bring walking boots and expect to take some time going up and down the rocky paths unless you are quite fit. You can get a marvellous view of the whole mountain range if you drive up to the Corniche road between St Jean du Gard and Florac - winding but much easier to drive than some of the roads in the English lake district as it is well tarmacked and fairly wide. St Jean du Gard is pleasant to visit with a large market selling all sorts of things on Tuesdays and plenty of shops and restaurants (including 3 bakeries), although shops tend to be shut for two hours in the middle of the day and restaurants tend to choose their own opening hours while vegetarians (like the rest of my party) will find they have limited choice. We visited the Museum of the Desert dedicated to the Camisards - Protestants who were persecuted during the 17th and 18th century which was really interesting (but then I'm a historian). Read Robert Louis Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey (quite amusing) to get a flavour of the area.
Meg Campbell and the caretakers could not have been more helpful in answering queries .
N.B. The drive up to the property is quite narrow and tricky to negotiate, particularly the bridge over the stream which is just a flat piece of concrete with no sides. However it is not very high above the stream and after negotiating it 6-8 times you do get used to it!
Renting the whole of this lovely chateau for our birthday celebrations, taking our children , grandchildren and two friends proved to be an inspired booking!
It was a fantastic experience and we were well looked after by Liliane and Bernard its caretakers; they obviously love the Chateau as much as we did!
The Chateau is intriguing, magical and lends itself to individuals or parties taking over the whole Chateau.
I cannot begin to explain the opportunities it offers for everyone and every type of person. The pool was a delight with views over the valley and hills, well furnished and safely locked gates to keep little children from stumbling in. Perfect.
The Grand Balcony and kitchen there meant wonderful meals could be planned and executed without any problems, with every piece of equipment and crockery one could wish for to provide a meal for a banquet - and our children cooked several of those for us!
The walks are glorious, long or short; there are restaurants nearby in St.Jean du Gard, and another smaller village even nearer.
And the peace is unbroken except for happy voices sighing softly through the air.
Magical, extremely comfortable, beautiful ..... in fact no words of mine can give it justice! We shall return, the whole caboodle of us from babies to septegenarians!
We absolutely fell in love with Bussas; it exceeded all our expectations. The chateau and its location are simply glorious. The house and gardens are beautifully cared for, though not over-groomed, so brimming with character. Our apartment was delightful, with a lovely private spot to sit out and eat. The pool is beautifully located with a view out over the field to the woods. And you can set of for fantastic walks from the doorstep – this is marvellous walking country! The nearest town, St-Jean-du-Gard, with its market is charming, and there are also lots of fun things for kids in the area – tree-climbing, canoeing, a steam train, caves to visit – much more than we could fit in. And last but by no means, the magic ingredient: our hosts. A big thank you to Liliane the caretaker and especially Meg and her family for making us feel so very welcome!
I visited Bussas for the first time last year and returned last week staying in Le Grand Balcon, we had a fabulously relaxing week painting around the area. The domaine is lovingly looked after by Liliane & Bernard the caretakers the property is a slice of heaven, don't go if you want nightclubs and noise you will only find peace and quiet here. Bussas was full when we were there but you would not know others were staying there.
I will be returning again next year with a group of clients on a painting retreat.
We came to Bussas after a week with friends in a much more expensive luxury gite complex near Carcassonne and I was a tiny bit worried that the second week would not compare favourably to the first. After six hours in the car with two small children and a final hour of twisting winding roads, followed by a rather hair-raising drive through the estate itself, including a narrow, unrailed concrete bridge, I was immediately overwhelmed by the beauty and magical atmosphere of the house and its grounds. The pictures on the website, I immediately realised, had not done the place justice. All thoughts of the expensive gite complex we'd left behind, quickly fled my mind.
Bussas, as well as being welcoming, magical and tranquil, also worked extremely well on a practical level for housing the five families that made up our group. I'm not sure I'd want to come here solo and riisk sharing the hosue and pool with strangers, but that's more my personality than a reflection on the house! It was great having our own bit of space, our own front doors, and then all coming together to share meals and spend time by the pool.
We took leisurely impromptu walks through the breath-taking grounds, ate homepcooked meals on the terrace, overlooking the wooded valley, and our children were free to roam wherever they wished. It was a brief experience of another kind of life and I'm already yearning to go back.
We have just had a week in the most peaceful beautiful setting on earth. We rented a cottage at the Chateau de Bussas in the Cevennes area of France. The owners are British but don't live there all the time, but they bought the 12th century chateau 18 years ago and refurbished it themselves. Now they rent out four apartments and one cottage, and have a French couple on site who look after guests and the property. It is set in 200 acres of grounds and is in a valley surrounded by mountains all covered in pine forests. A river runs right by the property which is warm enough to swim in during July. In the early evening sunshine you can sit out and listen to the crickets and the bees buzzing around the lavender and roses and feel as if you are miles from civilisation. But you are not. A short 10 minute drive takes you to local St Jean du Gard, a typical small French town, with a weekly market and excellent restaurants. There's a swimming pool on the terrace and cooking facilities in each apartment. If you're very active you can spend all week walking, river walking or even boating, but if you just want peace and quiet you can have that too.
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