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Le Mas de Rigoulac – Aveyron, France

A former farmhouse ruin, Le Mas de Rigoulac has been beautifully and sympathetically restored by Parisian couple, Dominique and Gilles Arnault, and given a new lease of life as a Chambres d’hotes and well-being centre in the middle of the rolling Aveyron countryside.

  • Well appointed, all five guest bedrooms are located in or accessed via the farmhouse’s now modernised barn, all with stunning views out across the green hills.  Simply furnished and in harmony with the natural stone and wood structure, shower rooms are compact but the beds are reasonably comfy and there is plenty of space for luggage.
  • Check-in 3pm / check-out 11am.

SCENE:

  • Parisian couples escaping the rat race or booked into local Michelin-starred restaurant, Bras, and French retirees keen to spend their days rambling across the Aubrac plateau.

FUEL:

  • Breakfast A continental breakfast comprising fresh croissants, fouace (regional brioche) and bread from the local bakery, jams, honey, yoghurts and homemade fruit salad, juice, coffee and tea, is served daily in the main ‘salon’ from 8-10am.
  • Table d’hotes – Dominique is an accomplished cook and dinner can be arranged for 35€ per head; a good option on Mondays or out of season when local restaurants may be closed.  In addition, picnic baskets can also be arranged, as can light uncooked snacks should you arrive late.

PLAY:

  • Swimming pool & garden – Depending on the weather, a heated outdoor pool is open from May-October.  The pretty gardens are a haven for butterflies, bees and small lizards.
  • Spa – A qualified kinesitherapist having run his own massage practice in Paris for many years, Gilles’ spa offers a relaxing atmosphere with massage room, jacuzzi, hammam and well equipped gym, along with personal coaching and image optimization sessions.

CONTACT DETAILS:

VISIT DATE:

  • 14-16 February 2012 ; 13-19 August 2012 ; 16-23 September 2012.

WEATHER:

  • February – Deep, thick snow, -6/1°C, blue skies and bright sunshine.  All runs open at nearby ski station, Laguiole.
  • August – Hot and sunny, cloudless blue skies, 26/35°C, cool nights.
  • September – Warm and sunny by day 20/26°C, fresh mornings and evenings.

ACCESS:

  • Ryan Air operates direct flights from Stansted to Rodez (1hr 25mins) on Fridays, Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays.  It is then a fifty-minute drive to nearest town Laguiole, and a further 10-minutes drive along pretty country roads to Rigoulac.  Alternatively, after taking the Eurostar to Paris, continue onto Montpellier by fast train (TGV) for three hours.  Pick up a hire car and drive north-west for approximately, 2hrs, across the Norman Foster designed Millau Viaduct and onto Laguiole.

TOP TIPS:

  • Book a table at Michel Bras’ eponymous restaurant – one of the World’s Top Ten restaurants – and enjoy the stunning views, contemporary architecture and award-winning locally sourced produce; pick room #3 for its location furthest away from the main house and double window aspect or #1 for strong wi-fi connection; use Le Mas de Rigoulac as a base to explore the Way to St Jacques de Compostelle (Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle) pilgrim route; visit the nearby Forge de Laguiole, designed by internationally renowned creator, Philippe Starke and buy a set of the world famous knives.

THE FAT MOUSE VERDICT:

  • The Good – The warm welcome from Dominique and Gilles; the extra touches (being greeted with an umbrella for the rainy walk from car to house); the stunning scenery and tranquility; added bonus of a lovely pool area and spa; under-floor heating in winter; scrupulously clean.
  • The Bad – Natural feather or goose down pillows and duvets would be nicer than synthetic; single duvets on what becomes effectively a double bed.

MACARON RATING:

  • 0 0 0 0 ¼      

            

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