A picturesque part of France all to yourself

The Old Barn
The Old Barn
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One of the many draws for people going to France is its diversity – be it sun, sea, snow or city breaks.

One of the many draws for people going to France is its diversity – be it sun, sea, snow or city breaks.

The Old Barn

The Old Barn

If it’s tranquillity, warmth and stunning beauty you are after, look no further than the Aveyron region.

I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying many family summer holidays across the Channel. Our two-week stay in The Old Barn at Pertus ranks as the best.

Sitting amidst the rolling hills and woodlands of the Aveyron in the midi-Pyrenees region of southern France, The Old Barn is a three-bedroom 17th-century stone and slate barn, which originally served the inhabitants of the hamlet of Pertus.

Restored by local craftsmen, the ancient exterior, with its beautiful stone walls and traditional fish scale slate roof, is complemented by a cool and airy interior. Large windows and French doors flood the living area with light and lead out to a fabulous deck with spectacular views of the countryside.

And what a location. The beautiful rolling green landscape is endless and you feel like you have a slice of rural France all to yourself. While you can sit back and relax in the idyllic setting, there are also plenty of charming towns and villages easily reachable by car to provide a variety of choice for days out.

The medieval Belcastel – officially one of France’s most beautiful villages – sits on the banks of the Aveyron river and is home to the historical landmark Chateau de Belcastel, along with breathtaking beauty.

Another ‘plus beaux village de France’ is the picturesque Najac. Built along a rocky ridge and overlooked by a fortress, this also offers a weekly night market where locals and tourists gather in the village square to enjoy an array of delicious food and drink, combined with live music.

The town of Villefranche-de-Rouergue is a 10-minute drive from Pertus, offering supermarkets, restaurants and no shortage of pleasant walks.

And when you’re done with exploring this beautiful pocket of France, you can head back to the gite and laze the hours away in comfort.

The two-storey Old Barn had everything for my family party of seven. The large heated swimming pool – fenced off and with an alarm system – was the ideal base for my three children, complete with slide and inflatables.

And on the rare occasions they’d had enough of taking a dip, the vast selection of games, complete with delightful toy barn, ensured they were never short of options.

The gite’s lovely owners, Tim and Angela Reynolds, have left no stone unturned in making sure you are looked after and catered for.

The couple live in a separate building next door and cannot do enough in offering help and advice if needed but, crucially, you still feel your accommodation is all yours.

Guests are invited to enjoy the orchard garden and help themselves to peaches, plums, apples and pears.

The orchard is overlooked by a 5m x 5m timber deck, the perfect spot to soak up the gorgeous sunshine, before perhaps taking in a game of cricket, firing up the barbecue and sitting down for the night of fine food and drink.

Renovated in 2004, the gite is also wheelchair-accessible and, while we decided to catch the ferry from Portsmouth and take in the never-ending pleasant sights from the north, Rodez and Toulouse are the closest airports.

The holiday was worth every mile.