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“Maison Delbousquet”, luxury living in S.W. France.
La Maison Delbousquet in the cozy French village of Sos is a far cry from many gîtes scattered around France. Traditionally a gîte is a farmhouse or other rural dwelling available for visitor rental. Earlier examples included tumbledown farm houses in Brittany but the genre has expanded to include mobile homes in Montpelier and large tents in Tarn amongst a host of other pickings scattered all over the French countryside. These rental properties provide interesting holiday accommodation for those visitors who hunger for “a get away from it all” vacation. Such vacations conjure up vistas of rolling green fields, lowing cattle and a gently flowing river flush with trout shimmering into dusk as the sun glides down behind the horizon at the end of another idyllic day. The dinner is over and the plates pushed aside, time now to chat and enjoy the evening over a glass or two of the local wine.
Sitting in the enclosed wall garden of La Maison Delbousquet, where the warmth of earlier sunshine is reflected back by the stones of the patio; the conversation drifts to the house itself. It was once the home of Emmanuel Delbousquet (1874- 1909) a local writer and poet. In Delbousquet’s lifetime the village was considered to be part of Gascony, famed for its cuisine, notably the duck liver paté for which the region is richly famous. In a more contemporary world the departement of Lot-et-Garonne is one of the four areas that go to make up Aquitaine. Incidentally the Dordogne lying to the north –east is a next door neighbor.
The substantial 19th century stone “maison d’maitre” sits in front of the village church looking out over a village square. Sos has been a settlement since pre-Roman times. Some residents might have left to make a life and living in a neighboring town, but unlike other small communities elsewhere Sos has all the amenities to make your visit comfortable and memorable. This is still a hub with a post office, pharmacy, minimarket and newsagents as well as two restaurants and a bar. You can still get your croissants warm and fresh from the shop at the corner of the square. Oh, let’s not forget the Market that takes place every Wednesday evening in the high-season months of July and August! It is perfectly possible to buy your provisions on the doorstep without having to drive off to shops in Nerác or Mézin.
The house has four generous sized bedrooms. My bedroom had a double bed but another did contain two singles. All in all it will sleep a maximum of eight people and is big enough for everybody to fit in comfortably. Downstairs a gorgeous “drawing room” boasting a marble fireplace and tasteful antique furniture is flanked by a dining room with seating for 14. Across the hall is a bang up to date kitchen which also boasts a dining table for those less formal eating occasions. The modern cooking facilities mean that catering for the household along with invited guests is a simple delight. But then one of the great joys of holidaying in France is going out to eat in local restaurants, and there are lots of those in the surrounding area!
Renting a house like “La Maison Delbousquet” is an ideal way by which a group of friends or family can get together and enjoy some time of mutuality. The cost per head works out at less than a very ordinary B&B which has no useful facilities like kitchen and washing machine, not to mention an entertaining area and secluded garden, ideal for out door eating and sunbathing!
Getting there is not that difficult either. There are major airports located at both Toulouse and Bordeaux both about one and half-hours drive away. Agen has a TGV link to both towns as well as Paris and beyond and there are smaller airports favored by the low cost airlines at Pau and Bergerac both just over an hour by car away. Sounds tempting doesn’t it?
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About the Author: Alister Bredée is a freelance writer, author, lecturer and trainer. He is a practitioner of Meridian Energy Techniques. See www.aamet.org. He lives in Thailand and can be contacted at: