in the country: Maison Duras, Bordeaux, France
Offering French sophistication, effortless natural elegance & genuine laid-back charm, the solid tranquility of Maison Duras, a medieval priory, is set against a glorious backdrop of rolling hills, plum orchards & vineyards, where children can climb trees and run wild through meadows whilst their parents chill out with a cool glass of sauvignon blanc by the slate-grey pool.
The building dates back to the 12th century and is wrapped around a beautiful cobbled courtyard, lending a serene calm to this stunning medieval property. All rooms have superb views, either onto the central courtyard or to the countryside beyond.
Maison Duras is positively organic in its make-up: the stone walls are massive, providing a unique insulation from the heat outside; huge glass windows allow for natural light all day until candles are lit at dusk (lights are rarely switched on in the house until nightfall) With zinc rooves and terracotta tiles, old oak doors, travertine & slate bathrooms and private shady terraces overlooking the pool, orchards and fields, it is a naturally tranquil haven.
Overlooking the courtyard to one side and the pool on the other, the main living room of the property is a fabulous open plan space which encompasses kitchen, dining area & sitting room. The well stocked kitchen iincludes everything even the most discerning holiday chefs could require. A large barbeque is also on hand – ask owners Fabienne and Frederic for some of their vines (Fabienne’s family have a superb Cotes de Duras vineyard and Frederic is also involved in the international wine business).
A second sitting room doubles as the TV room – with a large flat screen TV, DVD player and stack of DVDs, books and boardgames.
With four fabulous bedrooms (one of which is wheelchair accessible) the property sleeps up to 10 in comfort. Three bedrooms all have generous kingsize beds & open-plan ensuite bathrooms. All three bedrooms are easily large enough to place a cot. The fourth bedroom is kid-paradise: a dormitory den at the top of a winding staircase (with child gates) where a secure glass window overlooks the main sitting room, allowing a sneaky peep for the babes at bedtime.
The stunning, slate grey pool, overlooking fields and orchards, is both alarmed and fenced and has generous steps which stretch the entire width of the pool – perfect for new swimmers to gain confidence (or for a little post-lunch wallowing….)
Beyond the pool, the enormous 5 acre garden is large enough for football matches (they even have goal posts available), cricket/rounders, or simply to send the kids off on a treasure hunt although the house and garden are well stocked with toys, a sandpit, swing, seesaw, cds, and books.