NEVÈGES is a handsome, secluded L-shaped 18thC former Presbytery, sleeping up to 14, with private pool, situated in the rolling Quercy countryside south of Cahors and the Dordogne, 80 kms from Toulouse airport, on the border of Lot and Tarn-et-Garonne.
Nearest shops Molières 4 kms, Castelnau Montratier 7kms.
Bedrooms 7 doubles or twins: spare beds and cots for children
Baths / showers 5 (3 with baths and separate showers, of which 3 en-
suite; 1 with combined bath and shower, 1 shower
only). 3 of the 5 bathrooms are en-suite
Facilities Heated swimming pool, for exclusive use of guests
Five-acre garden, stream, decent outdoor furniture
All kitchen appliances, British and French TV, DVD
Bicycles and games including table tennis,
trampoline, pool table and toys for younger children
Air coolers in all main rooms, partial air-conditioning
Internet connection, telephone
Please note: the satellite photo available with Google Maps was taken in 2013 when we were building our new pool, loggia and pigeonnier. This work was completed early 2014 and Neveges is definitely no longer a building site! One of our collection of photos of the property shows an aerial view taken in 2015, and the new pool, buildings and landscaping (now mature) can clearly be seen
Built of stone with exposed beams, Nevèges’s two fully restored wings enclose the south-facing main terrace and the swimming pool beyond. There are extensive lawns on the east side, offering sun and shade throughout the day, further land and terraces, water features and idyllic, low-key views. The beautifully maintained church alongside is very rarely used (no bells or chimes), and there is no through traffic. There are no adjoining neighbours, and the nearest of the surrounding farms, all growing crops like sunflowers, is several hundred yards away.
The entrance hall leads to the old kitchen, now restored and fitted out as a double room with new oak bed, and to another cool bedroom, both sharing their own new bathroom. Wide, shallow stone stairs and Toulouse-brick archways lead to the laundry area and games room, equipped with a 7-foot pool table, darts and young children’s toys; and then up to the first floor and the main accommodation of new beamed kitchen, dining room, and the house’s largest and newly refurbished double bedroom with its brand-new en-suite bathroom. The lofty, beamed triple-aspect salon, study and Moroccan-themed conservatory lie beyond, finished after a two-year refurbishment.
Following the restoration of the second floor, there are two new bathrooms and three further full-height bedrooms: one twin-bedded, one double with an en-suite bath and shower room, and one which can be a twin-bedded or a 180 cms double-bedded room. Otherwise all the sag-free double beds are of the larger 160-cm / 5’ 3” width, not 140 cms as is usual in France.
Two extra, proper single beds are available to ensure families and friends can configure the sleeping arrangements to their requirements, and cots, equipment for babies and a child safety gate are also provided. If guests do not wish to bring their own sheets, bathroom and swimming towels, these can be loaned at no charge, and weekly and final cleaning is included.
The property has been let for only a few seasons, and the beds, sofas, linen, garden furniture, bikes, games equipment and appliances are all relatively new. In the main kitchen these include a Falcon range with double oven, a Smeg fridge, dishwasher, microwave oven, blenders, an espresso machine and a full range of decent kitchen equipment, while the washing-machine and tumble dryer will be found in the laundry room. Nevèges is not a main residence, and is therefore free of personal clutter, fragile furniture and child-unfriendly heirlooms.
June 2014 saw the culmination of our final round of building works, constructing a new pool 12m x 6m together with another ‘pigeonnier’ offering a seventh bedroom and bathroom as well as a loggia-like building at terrace level above.
The new swimming pool, heated to 28º C / 82º F by a heat pump during the season, boasts a cascade and has an approved, automatic safety cover and an alarm. The pool surround, terraces and house approaches are newly paved, and an ‘umbrella’ mulberry shades the adjoining terrace, with its mature shrubs, numerous pot-plants, Tuscan and herb garden. As well as what our designer calls the Zen garden for chilling out, there is a loggia overlooking the pool, with nearby charcoal and gas barbecues, plus a summer kitchen off the terrace with sink, fridges and dishwasher. On the east side, areas of meadow grass, raised flowerbeds and new lawns alongside a pond and stream lead to a paved terrace, fountain and Quercy-style pigeonnier, where ice-cold rosé is laid on the better to enjoy the sunset.
Games and leisure facilities include bicycles for all ages, table tennis, croquet, darts, table football, boules, a trampoline, and for infants a sand pit, swing and slide. Indoors will be found all the traditional games for every age group, books and maps, radio, British and French television and a DVD player for films or CDs; and there is an astronomical telescope to take advantage of some of the darkest skies in Europe.
Full details of local caterers, restaurants, tourist attractions, shops and services, estate agents, together with recommendations for golf, riding, canoeing, walking, tennis, fishing, the nearby leisure lake with beach and boating, shopping for foie gras or the renowned wines of Cahors and Quercy will be found at the house, together with a welcome pack of wine and armagnac.
The owners believe in attention to detail, be it providing a first-aid kit and proprietary medicines to score pads for games and night-lights for children. In season the property is looked after by our English manager, who lives nearby and is thus able to respond to even the least urgent request.
Although the season starts earlier and finishes later in south-west France, enabling one to eat outside in the evening well into October, the house with its oil-fired central heating, log fire and sources of entertainment is a delight at any time.
This corner of Quercy, with its secret valleys, is the real ‘France profonde’ that those who have endured the traffic jams of the Dordogne or Côte d’Azur hot-spots will love. Yet the cathedral cities of Cahors and Montauban, Moissac on the banks of the Tarn, the hill-top towns like Lauzerte dating from the Hundred Years War, Montpezat, the 3-star Pech Merle and Gouffre de Padirac cave systems, Rocamadour, St Cirq Lapopie, St Antonin-Noble-Val (location for the film Charlotte Gray), Bruniquel, the Aveyron Gorge and Bonaguil Castle can all be visited in half a day. Toulouse with its superb historic centre, Carcassonne, Sarlat, Cordes and Albi deserve full day expeditions.