Posted by: Peter Springett | July 17, 2011

Friendly, clean, spectacular: Feedback so far from our 2011 guests

Feedback is already arriving from our 2011 guests. We’re really delighted that apart from more obvious stuff like the pool and the countryside, visitors were pleased that the place is immaculate when they arrive, and also that they find the people of Fourques so friendly and helpful.

Here are some extracts:

We stayed at the villa for 5 days and loved our time there. It was a very relaxing holiday spending time in the pool, having a BBQ and generally taking in the sights of the surrounding countryside.The drive to the villa was beautiful, taking us through vineyards with the majestic Canigou as the backdrop. There was a bottle of wine waiting for us on arrival and the villa was better than we’d come to expect from the pictures and the description.I would highly recommend the villa to those seeking to get away from it all yet have plenty of things to do.
Mr Punit Argawal, May 2011

Our fourth visit to this lovely well equipped village villa in a large pretty garden with huge swimming pool.

Once again our visit was a great success and the villa was spotlessly clean – a must for me. More updates on the property – new fridge, cooker and modern hot/cold shower by the pool which had new slip tiles all round and very chic and comfortable outside weatherproof rattan furniture.

The kitchen is better equipped than mine at home! AND the best butcher in the France must be in Fourques. You know you are in France here. We didn’t find anyone in the village itself who spoke English but they were all very welcoming at our attempt to use school French – deux croissants is quite easy to say. Ideal for youngsters to try out their language skills.
‘Beebee’ June 2011

“Nous voulions vous remercier pour cette semaine très agréable, la villa est vraiment superbe et le retour dans notre climat Lorrain est très difficile. L’accueil était super, la villa très propre et la région exceptionnelle. De très belles vacances passées avec le soleil et nous espérons pouvoir y revenir l’an prochain mais cette fois, pour 15 jours! Merci pour tout.”
Claire Lefevre, June 2011

Translation:

Thank you for a lovely week, the villa is really superb and going back home was really difficult. We had a lovely welcome, the villa was really clean and the region is gorgeous. We had a fantastic holiday and we hope to come back next year, this time for a fortnight. Thanks for everything.
Claire Lefevre, June 2011

We’ve still got a couple of weeks free from September 3 to September 17 this year, so email if you’d like a late summer getaway:

Peter Springett

Email: pspringett@gmail.com

Posted by: Peter Springett | May 29, 2011

Lovely review from our first Summer visitors

Here’s a lovely review of the villa from our first summer visitors who came between Easter and the royal wedding. I’ve added a photography of the Canigou mountain and vineyards at the end. Apart from that, the words speak for themselves.

“We stayed at the villa for 5 days and loved our time there. It was a very relaxing holiday spending time in the pool, having a BBQ and generally taking in the sights of the surrounding countryside.
 
The drive to the villa was beautiful, taking us through vineyards with the majestic Canigou as the backdrop. There was a bottle of wine waiting for us on arrival and the villa was better than we’d come to expect from the pictures and the description.
 
I would highly recommend the villa to those seeking to get away from it all yet have plenty of things to do.

Recommended for: Age 55+, Families with Young Children, Romantic Getaway”

2011 is a right royal year for Spring bank holidays, what with Easter, That Wedding, and the May bank holiday falling within a 10 day stretch.

In other words it’s easier than ever to enjoy a well deserved break in the South of France—and we’ve got special offers to match.

A week in March or April is now just £490 or €550. For May and June, it’s just £675 (€775).

And while we can’t quite offer you a palace, you do get a large private garden and pool, rooms for up to 8 people and balmy Spring time temperatures in the mid-twenties centigrade and rising.

With beach just 20 minutes away by car and some of the loveliest countryside in France on your doorstep, we can guarantee you holiday with more than a touch of class.

To find out more contact us today via email: pspringett@gmail.com – We look forward to hearing from you

Posted by: Peter Springett | January 2, 2011

10 of the best from 2010: A photo review of the past year

Even after six years, we never get tired of discovering new experiences at the villa, the village of Fourques, and the beautiful mountains and beaches of Roussillon.

These pictures tell a great story about all things that we (and our guests) discovered in 2010.

Sunrise in summer: The new pool, tiling and furniture were a big hit with visitors

This year we properly explored the Cathar castles. Queribus (pic) is our favourite

Forget wine tasting (for a bit anyway). How about a bit of olive oil tasting?

We're breakfast junkies: L'Antre Pot at Terrats is our favourite coffee and croissant cafe

Wine tasting? Turn out the gate, turn right, walk 50 yards: Dominic will pour you the best that Fourques has to offer

We still love Ceret. It's the most beautiful town in the region and it's just 30 minutes drive away

 

Afternoon tea? Perpignan serves some of the most colourful coffee in south-west France

Talking of colours, make sure you bring back some bright Catalan fabrics (and a bunny or two)

This is rugby country. Check out Perpignan or the Catalan Dragons at the nearby stadium

Barcelona: Spectacular, historic, tapas and rioja crazy and just an easy two hour drive away

Posted by: Peter Springett | December 29, 2010

January sale! 20 percent off bookings up to June

Enjoying the Christmas and New Year break? Here’s a bit of good news: For the next few weeks we’re knocking 20 percent off our standard list prices for people visiting between January and June 2011.

There’s no catch, no strings, no special conditions. Just book a holiday at the villa before January 21 and you’ll get 20 percent off the current list price.

Weekly rate:
January 9 – March 4: Was £500 per week, now £400 (€475)
March 5 – April 29: Was £750 now £600 (€715)
April 30 – June 24: Was £990 now £790 (€940)

January to June is one of the best times to visit. From skiing and winter sports in the first part of the year, to wine, walking and the beach in the Spring, there’s plenty for everyone from couples, to families to larger groups (up to eight).

If you’d like to see more of the villa, you can see lots of pictures on our facebook page.

And if you’d like to make a booking, just drop Peter an email: pspringett@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted by: Peter Springett | December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2011

Wishing you all the best for the holidays and the very best for 2011. Why not make the most of the break to get your holidays sorted for the next 12 months. We’ve still got some great deals left for the Spring, early Summer and early Autumn. To find out more click on availability to the right.

Posted by: Peter Springett | December 25, 2010

Swap Frozen Britain for Toasty South-West France

Posted by: Peter Springett | October 31, 2010

Reading between the lines and making the most of feedback

Thanks to the effort that goes into maintaining the villa, and especially the efforts of our concierge, M. Lesire, nearly all of the feedback from our guests is positive. Most give us four or five stars out of five, and many give us the ultimate blessing, which is that they would recommend the villa to friends and relatives.

However, any property owner who claims that their residence is perfect is viewing the world through rose-tinted spectacles. We know that there is always more that we can do to make your stay enjoyable and we look to our guests to tell us what they would add or change.

So when we get a feedback message we always read them closely because we know that somewhere between the lines we can pick up tips. Here’s a quick list of some of the stuff where we’re responding:

Towels: We’re going to add traditional cotton towels to the stock of micro-fibre towels. While micro-fibre works well, and washes and dries quickly, we know that some visitors prefer the feel of cotton. No problem.

Garage: In the past the garage has been used for storing games and other items. But as one set of guests pointed out, in high summer it’s better to be able to store the car in the shade. So we’ll be moving things around so that you can keep the car inside and cool at all times.

Door handles: Small point but important. Although the doors and locks work well and are secure, we’ll be giving all the doors, windows and handles an overhaul to make sure they function and fit smoothly. Summer heat and regular use means that they need a thorough annual check up.

More games for the pool: Swimming lengths is all well and good, but we’re adding to the stock of inflatables, balls and other toys for families and children to play with.

More games for the children: Ok, we confess. We never knew table tennis was so popular. Now that we know what we’re missing we’ll be adding an outdoor table for you to practice your devilish spin serves and your top spin smashes.

Check list for the kitchen: This is the one we should have got right earlier. From now on we’re going to make sure there’s a checklist of non-perishable staples for new arrivals as well as the usual fresh fruit, cold drinks and wine. This includes tablets for the washing machine and dishwasher.

Of course there are plenty of other nips and tucks that we’ll be working on over the winter, but you get our drift. Thanks again for everyone’s positive feedback, but thanks equally for pointing out stuff that we can put right.

Posted by: Peter Springett | October 24, 2010

Open the door, open a bottle

Wine tasting really shouldn’t be this easy.

Fourques wine cooperative. Wine tasting starts here.

1. Open the gate.

2. Walk downhill about 100 yards to the bottom of the road.

3. Step into the Wine Cooperative of Fourques.

4. Say bonjour to Dominique and ask if you can sample the reds, whites and rosés produced by vineyards that surround the village.

5. Erm, that’s it.

Fast Fourques wine tips
As you may have seen in previous articles, the reds are a good place to start. Try and get one that’s about four years old for a richer, deeper flavour. You’ll pay six or seven euros instead of four, but it’s worth spending extra for something more mature.

Definitely go upmarket with the whites. Less expensive bottles tend to be a bit on the sharp side. And for rosés, give the recent years a taste before you buy. Generally they’re good, but recently they’ve been exceptional.

Dominique and a bottle (or two)

If in doubt, look out for the ‘Aspres’ label—depicting a smooth grey pebble—hung around the neck of the bottle. The very best grapes in the region are said to come from vines grown on stoney ground, which is why the motif was chosen as a symbol of excellence.

Dominique is very laid back, but naturally enthusiastic and precise when it comes to recommendations. When I asked him, two weeks ago, about this year’s harvest he said that it was small, but very good quality.Worth looking out for if you are visiting in 2011.

Every colour for every taste

Because prices are reasonable, and you are in good hands, we recommend buying a few different bottles to taste during the early days of your stay. Once you’ve fallen in love with a particular vintage—and you will—you can stock up thoroughly for the rest of your visit.

Like we say, wine tasting shouldn’t really be this easy. But in Fourques it is.

Posted by: Peter Springett | October 20, 2010

Who’s the king of the Cathar castles?

Peryperteuse or Quéribus? The simple answer is to visit both of these stunning castles that straddle the narrow spine of mountains that separates the departments of Aude and Pyrenees Orientales. But if you don’t have time, here’s a quick summary of the best (and worst) of both so you can make up your own mind.

Queribus: bring a torch and steady feet

Quéribus
I’ve got a soft spot for Quéribus. It’s not as big as Peryperteuse, but it feels more authentic in many ways. The main keep has been restored so that most of the outside walls are intact, and you can stand on top of the roof and play king of the castle with visitors staring up from below.

It also has one of the scariest spiral staircases I’ve ever descended. Actually, staircase is pushing it a bit. The steps gradually decay into a slippery slope that you follow in complete darkness to the very bottom of the keep. This part of the visit is optional, so the bravest should take a torch and quietly curse the French health and safety executive that authorised this part of the visit.

Other important stuff: the drive up to the car park involves several hairpins and requires hill start expertise to let descending traffic pass. The actual walking ascent to the castle takes about ten minutes, but is well worth the effort.

Peryperteuse
It’s vast. Peryperteuse sprawls like a small town perched precariously on a mountain ridge. Until you get up close, the complex with its intimidating walls looks like part of the cliffs. Smart, those medieval architects.

Peryperteuse: pack trainers, snacks and drinks for a long walk

Even if you park close to the vistor entrance, it’s a good half mile walk to the castle itself so for fear of stating the obvious bring trainers or walking boots – you’ll need them. Once you get inside the outer walls, you’ll see that you’re getting two castles for the price of one. The more recent is at the far end of the complex and you’ll need to walk up a vast stone staircase to reach its entrance.

But, once you get there, it’s a short hop to the very top and once of the most stunning views in the region as you look back down to the older fortress. You could easily spend two-three hours exploring all the hidden nooks and crannies and that’s something to bear in mind if you are bringing younger children.

As we mentioned at the start, an ideal trip would take a day starting with Quéribus followed by lunch in the nearby village of Cucugnan. Peryperteuse will take up most of the afternoon, and if you have the time, the best way home is via the Gorge de Galamus. The really adventurous will also stop off for olive oil tasting at Moulin Saint Pierre. Good luck, and like we said, bring your trainers.

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