La Grange at Le Clos du Comte is a beautifully converted stone barn, originally dating from 1848, and is located in Mas de Cause, a hamlet about 2 km above the village of Daglan. Being high on the hills, it’s cooler in summer and warmer in winter than many of the villages in the valleys.
La Grange comprises a large living area, a big fully-fitted kitchen with dining area, 4 bedrooms, 3 en suite bathrooms, a separate shower room and a separate toilet. There are two bedrooms with double beds (one king size, one standard), and each has an en suite bathroom (shower, basin and toilet). The third bedroom has two single beds (which can be pushed together to make a 180 cm bed) and an en suite bathroom; the fourth bedroom has two single beds and use of a separate fourth shower and toilet. Each of the two largest bedrooms has plenty of room for a cot.
All the accommodation is on the ground floor. The kitchen/dining area, living room and the largest bedroom are all wheelchair accessible.
The building still has much of the character of the original barn. The door to the living area is in the huge archway built to take a horse and cart. There are two very attractive double stone lintels in the kitchen and one in a bedroom; these were, apparently, a rather ostentatious sign of the farm’s wealth at the time when the barn was built. The aim of the conversion was to keep these features while providing all the modern conveniences that you expect. We have tried our best to make our guests as comfortable as possible, right down to the crisp Egyptian cotton sheets and fluffy Egyptian cotton towels.
At the front, the barn looks out over a fragrant courtyard, filled with roses, lavender and jasmine. At the back there is a lovely terrace with a big sunblind when needed, with a view over a field and coppice towards a walnut grove.
There is a 12m x 5m heated pool (shared with one other 4-person gite), and underfloor heating in winter.
The estate of Le Clos du Comte is truly idyllic. It sits on 18 hectares (approximately 45 acres) of unspoiled, utterly tranquil forest and pasture. Almost the only sounds you’ll hear are birdsong, or the chirping of the crickets on a summer’s day. Almost the only light you’ll see at night will come from the moon or the stars. It’s a nature lover and stargazer’s paradise.
The property teems with wildlife year-round. In September and October, during and after rutting season, the red deer stags converge behind our house with their harems to battle it out and, when the fighting is over, to graze. Roe deer can be seen any time – and frequently make a nuisance of themselves in the garden! The wild boar are most visible on winter evenings, when they’ll emerge from the forest to eat any walnuts left over in the groves. Spring and summer are the time for birds. Last year, we had kestrels nesting in a niche next to our bedroom window, and the courtyard was selected as home by black redstarts, swifts, blue tits and sparrows. In summer, the hawks soar on the thermals, and we see or hear blackbirds, robins, cuckoos, hoopoes, owls, woodpeckers, finches, nuthatches, wrens …… I could go on. In spring and autumn, we’re right under the migration route of the cranes. And there are butterflies everywhere.
The local region is known for its wealth of history, and Le Clos du Comte has its own history, too. During renovation work, we have found fossilised figs and a boar tusk. The land has clearly been worked for millennia – we’ve also dug up a variety of prehistoric stone tools. The farmhouse, which dates from before the French Revolution, was originally a convent with its own chapel. At some point, the property became a farm, producing wine; it stayed that way for centuries, and our reception is in the original “chai” (winery). During World War II, the wine became the subject of dispute between the occupiers and the Resistance, the then-owners fled, and the forests were taken over by the Maquis. Nowadays, the land peacefully produces walnuts and hay.
Activities are too numerous to mention. You can start by exploring in the privacy of the estate. There are a couple of walking paths, but there’s nothing to stop you from wandering across the fields or into the forests. Locally, Daglan is a very pretty village, with a general store, a butcher/traiteur/chef who produces his own takeaway dishes, a bakery, and a variety of artisanal shops and activities. The village is becoming quite the artistic colony, with the recent addition of a sculptor. The church is worth a visit, and there is a market on Sunday mornings.
Within 25 km, there are the chateaux of Castelnaud, with its military museum, Beynac, La Roque Gageac, Milandes (once home to the American-born dancer and singer Josephine Baker), and Marqueyssac , with its hanging gardens of topiary. The village of Domme has wonderful views over the river Dordogne. The medieval town of Sarlat-la-Caneda has been beautifully restored, and much of it is pedestrian only. A bit further afield, there are the caves at Lascaux, and the town of Rocamadour, which clings to the cliffs overhanging the Dordogne.
If you’re feeling energetic, you can swim in the warm pool, or in our local river, the Céou, play tennis in the village, canoe, go horse riding or fishing, or play golf on one of several local courses. Hot air ballooning is a popular local activity, and we frequently see balloons floating over on calm evenings. If you’re feeling lazy, you can read a book in the peace and shade of one of the walnut groves.
We know that we are privileged to live in such a wonderful place, and we love to share its peace and beauty. Come and see for yourselves, and we hope you’ll agree that Le Clos du Comte is truly wonderful!