Fabulous Villas For October and Half Term Splendour

Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness in South West France

The scenery and the food are why the Dordogne and the neighbouring Lot-et-Garonne is so adored by so many, and autumn is when the two come together beautifully.

The river valleys and gorges are wooded with ancient oaks, chestnuts, maples and walnuts which the long summer burnishes into a blaze of vivid yellows, reds and oranges. It is harvest time in the Dordogne and the orchards and vineyards are alive with men and machinery gathering in the grapes, plums and walnuts to pile high in local markets alongside juicy nectarines, figs, pears, quinces, giant cepe mushrooms and the indulgent duck delicacies. The weather still feels like summer and the warm sun quickly burns off early morning mists to reveal the honey-coloured ‘bastide’ villages and châteaux crowning the hilltops.

Château Marcoux has been transformed from a 12th century hill top fortress into a luxurious 4-bedroom Manor House, 1-bedroom ‘Pigeonnier’ and 1-bedroom Annexe, with panoramic, 360° views of the Quercy countryside. Just south of the Bordeaux winelands, the region  takes its name from  the Latin word ‘quercus’, meaning oak, and on 3 sides of the house, the meticulously landscaped garden falls away into ancient oak woodland, with wonderful views from the heated pool. Owned by the Courtauld family for 30 years, Château Marcoux has been lovingly restored to retain the historic character of the original ‘château-fort’ whilst providing fabulous accommodation for up two or three families. With Anglo French Properties, 7 nights in October costs £2,060 for up to 12 people – from £172 per person.

La Valade is an outstanding creeper-covered farmhouse in the tranquil, rolling countryside of the Périgord Vert with marvellous views of the surrounding fields and woodlands. The house stands in almost 60 acres of lovingly tended garden and grounds, including expansive lawns, shady trees, fragrant rose beds, colourful shrubberies and a heated pool overlooked by a superb pool house. The grounds also include an orchard of quinces, pears, plums and apples for guests to enjoy straight from the trees. La Valade is stylishly luxurious throughout and sleeps up to 10 people, with 3 ensuite double bedrooms that can be split into twin singles and 2 double bedrooms that share a bathroom. With Anglo French Properties, 7 nights in October costs £3,250 for up to 10 people – from £325 per person.

Le Bournaguet is a beautifully renovated farmhouse which stands in a panoramic hilltop setting overlooking the surrounding wooded countryside of the Périgord Noir and close to the medieval market town of Sarlat. Set in almost 100 acres of garden and grounds, the house is surrounded by flower beds, shrubs and a wide variety of trees, with huge lawns sweeping down to the swimming pool, pool house and tennis court. Le Bournaguet is luxurious and authentically French in character, with accommodation for up to 15 people in 3 wings which allow greater privacy for larger groups of extended family and friends. With Anglo French Properties, 7 nights in October costs £4,160 for up to 15 people – from £277 per person.