About La Citadelle

La Citadelle stands on a rise in the middle of a large clearing in the woods. The garden is about 2 acres, with a five-bedroom farm house, a large swimming pool, two vast barns, and a pretty 70 yard lake. The ring of small fields around the farm is surrounded in turn by broad-leafed woodland. We own all the woods you can see from the house, about 20 acres in all. Our woods run down to a small river about a quarter of a mile away, but the total area of the woods extends for miles.

Although it seems totally isolated, there is a tiny hamlet 600 yards away behind one of our woods, on the edge of which our closest neighbours, a Dutch couple, live. Two miles away is the village of St Méard de Gurcon, which has half a dozen shops. Ten minutes to the south is the 11th century bastide town of Ste Foy-La-Grande, where there are several supermarkets and hypermarkets, and fifteen minutes to the north is the pretty country town of Montpon-Menesterol on the edge of the vast Double Forest filling the north-east corner of the Dordogne.

Both barns are about 20 yards square, although the internal area of the one nearer the lake is smaller, because it is half barn and half veranda. We have had the smaller barn, the Owl Barn, converted into a house for our own use.

The other barn is vast, and includes the original three-room farmhouse, which is no longer occupied. This barn is ancient, with metre-thick stone walls, internal half-timbering and wattle and daub, and the earliest parts of the roof timbers could date from the 11th or 12th century, like nearby Ste Foy.

The lake is ten feet deep, fed by a freshwater spring, and is well-stocked with trout, bream, chub, and roach, and other more exotic fish we have not identified yet. We have a small boat, a canoe and a jetty, and the water is beautifully warm for swimming, right from the start of the summer season at the beginning of May.

For those who consider the lake too adventurous, we now have a large swimming pool, 36' by 24', for the exclusive use of our guests. This is sited where it does not intrude on the stunning view, screened from both houses.

The fish are not the only wildlife. During our stay in May,the frogs croaked in the evenings, the nightingales sang all night, with the owls hooting from time to time. At dusk a blue heron would swoop down to the lake while we sat in front of the house with glasses of wine. During July, one of our guests saw a herd of around ten (very big) wild boars rooting in the field below the lake on the edge of the woods below the farm. Another morning at dawn a herd of deer emerged from the woods in the same field.

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La Citadelle - a fisherman's paradise
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The Owl Barn completed (2000)
Summer and autumn 2000
Owl Barn Conversion - work in progress, 1998

Jane and Eric Finlayson

Tel: + 44 (0) 1538 381326
+ 33 (0) 5 5380 6923