Choosing the right accommodation is crucial to making your holiday a success. You do your research, probably on the internet, and you find a property in your target location that ticks the boxes for your essential criteria: right location, enough beds and baths, looks appealing and, last but not least, is in budget. If it’s available for your dates, then job done. But is it?
It’s true, you absolutely need to meet those basic criteria. But are they enough to ensure that the place where you’ll be spending your precious holiday time is really the right one? What else should you be looking for?
Choices that can make or break your holiday
Over the years, we’ve discovered that there are a few more subtle criteria for choosing a holiday rental that are, nonetheless, make-or-break for a great holiday. Our list is specific to a vacation here in southwest France. These things are not obscure, but we’re calling them out because they are the things our clients have repeatedly told us absolutely make their stays in our villas, gites or farmhouses a pleasurable and memorable experience.
1. Peaceful location
The Lot Valley and surrounding areas are among the most rural in all of France. The population is small. Roads are uncrowded. There is no heavy industry. Most of our properties are situated in large parcels of land, with good gardens, which are often surrounded by farmland. These peaceful locations suit visitors looking for a change pace and breath of fresh air perfectly. You avoid the prospect of noisy neighbours and have huge freedom to move about and enjoy yourself. It must be something about the cities and suburbs that most vacationers leave behind that make a peaceful location so highly valued by our clients.
With the wide open, uncluttered spaces in our area, come views over some of the most beautiful countryside you’ll find anywhere. Changing patchworks of fields, including colourful hillsides of sunflowers and poppies, neatly arranged rows of grapevines and lavender, pencil thin poplar trees along river banks all harmonise in beautiful, soothing views. The hills of the Quercy region and Lot River valley create dramatic vistas, which are available to enjoy effortlessly from the windows and terraces of your holiday home.
Whatever else might differ among our wide choice of holiday rentals, all of our properties have pools. There are some things to consider, that might affect your choice. Top of the list is size. Four metres by six metres is a minimum; most are larger. Some pools are heated. Is this important to you? You may need to consider whether the pool steps are easily accessible enough and whether there is a shallow end for children. A technical point that many people consider important is whether a pool has a salt or chemical filtration system.
4. Local villages
Having drawn your attention to the peace and beauty of the countryside, we need to remember, also, that you’re going to need provisions and, from time to time, distractions away from your temporary home. Although driving is stress free and quick, and you could go great distances easily, access to a nearby local village is a big plus. It saves wasting precious holiday time on chores. However, in addition to serving practical needs, local villages in the Lot Valley and nearby Quercy are also very picturesque and are hosts to a wide range of entertainments to enjoy on a fine summer evening, including concerts, theatre and night markets.
In the footer of this page, and all the pages on the Kingfisher website, you’ll find an index to 15 local towns and villages. You’ll find a more comprehensive list on our Local Towns page.
5. Easy travel
One of the wonderful features of southwest France is that, despite its splendidly rural, remote and picturesque situation, it is easily accessed. There are excellent connections to airports at Bergerac, Toulouse and Bordeaux. By rail, it is now only three hours from Paris to Agen, and shortly the Eurostar will go directly from London to Bordeaux, avoiding a change in Paris. By car, the area is surrounded by the A10, A62 and A20 motorways. The A20 is particularly useful and toll-free for a long section.
See our page of travel information and, if you’re taking the ferry, be sure to take advantage of the discount from Brittany Ferries you’ll find in the sidebar of that page.
Where do I find the information I need?
How you factor in the five key things we think you need for refining your choice of holiday rental will ultimately depend on who is in your party and what their interests are.
On the internet, a great deal of store is placed on photos. For the Kingfisher website, we have been especially attentive to posting a rich selection of pictures of each property. But for our five extra criteria, photographs don’t tell the whole story. To make sure you can get the feel of a place, and how well it meets the sort of criteria that can make or break a holiday, all our listings include extensive description of the accommodation and its situation.
If you’re in any doubt about what one of our villas, gites, farmhouses or cottages has to offer, don’t hesitate to ask us. We know all our properties in detail and are happy to help you pick the right one.