Having stayed at a Sauveterre in-town gite last year, we wanted to try something a little more "country" this year. The beautifuly-restored and crisply-appointed La Fontaine did not disappoint. It is situated in a pretty little hamlet a short walk from a gorgeous riverside. It is too far, and without convenient footpath, to walk into the village of Sauveterre. But with rental car, it is no problem at all. Access to La Fontaine is easy, and yet it is nicely located in a very private cul-de-sac. The old farmhouse is huge, with 3 double bedrooms and a spare bed in a cozy corner of a ballroom-sized living room – which came in quite handy when the 3 of us were visited overnight by two couples. 7 slept comfortably and in complete privacy: a door separates the living room and 7th bed from a cozy parlor just off the kitchen, so early risers can have coffee and croissants without bothering anybody sleeping in. Ceilings are tall, giving an even more spacious feel. The floor plan is extremely well thought-out; rooms are light and airy; the kitchen is large and with modern appliances. The master bedroom on the first floor is huge. There is a large, separate laundry and utilities room off the kitchen. Bathrooms are large and very modern. The whole place is spotlessly clean. The decor and furniture tend toward the contemporary, with simple lines and minimalism – although there are a few attractive accent antiques. Though my own tastes favor overstuffed chairs, tufted sofas, and carpets, the more modern-style furnishings of La Fontaine actually worked rather well as counterpoint to the ageless beauty of its timbered and whitewashed walls: nothing musty or dusty about La Fontaine – a frequent problem with older French masonry homes. The grounds were spacious and attractive. Owners Lucien and Fabienne were extraordinarily helpful, accommodating, and responsive. Bed linens come expensively – 48 Euros for the 3 of us for the week, but they are optional, and we are accustomed to paying that much as a cleaning fee – which is not an add-on at La Fontaine. For a family, or group of friends, looking for a great place to spread out and enjoy the charms of a centuries-old French countryside grange house without having to put up with centuries-old dust and dankness – or worry about the kids breaking priceless antiques – this one could be perfect. It was for us.
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