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Pigeonniers (‘dovecotes’ in English) are a distinctive feature of rural architecture throughout the Aquitaine region, and while most have fallen into disrepair, a few have found new life as holiday homes like this one in the quiet countryside of the Lot valley.
The Pigeonnier de Tivoli dates back to the 19th century, modernised some years ago by its English owners to provide a snug retreat for a family of 4, or two couples. Complete with its own swimming pool, shepherd's hut and extensive private grounds, it's the perfect place to locate yourselves in order to discover the many wonderful sites the Lot region has to offer. It’s hard to imagine from the outside, but the refurbishment has managed to accommodate a double bedroom, with a shower room, a balcony and a spiral staircase which leads to the attic where there are twin beds. There is a simple kitchen/dining area for brewing your morning coffee or pulling together a feast of local market goodies. The spiral staircase leads down to the cave where there is another shower, separate toilet and hand basin. The cave also houses the washing machine and large fridge/freezer. The interiors are quirky and a little creaky, as befits a hundred-and-something-year-old building, but if you’re looking for privacy, pretty views and genuine character you’ll be very happy here.
Of course, most of us like to spend more time outside than in on holiday, so there are sunbeds by the swimming pool and a dining terrace with a bbq and substantial hand crafted stone and iron dining table and chairs, sited beneath the shade of a tree which overhangs the terrace. The surrounding countryside is rural France at its most magical, an almost-forgotten world of medieval towns, imposing châteaux and deep gorges cut by the languorous river Lot.
The local area The nearest town is riverside Castelmoron-sur-Lot, (4km), which has shops, several restaurants and a small port area from where you can take a leisurely cruise along the Lot. For an active break (or to work off the excesses of the rich dishes that characterise the cooking of the south west) you’ll find walking paths, cycle routes, horse riding, canoeing and fishing. Highlights include bustling Villeneuve-sur-Lot (27km), and Pujols (25km), a charming fortified town classified as one of France’s 'most beautiful villages'. For a longer day out, Bergerac and Bordeaux are 60 and 90 minutes away by car respectively, and for top quality wine tastings, the celebrated Bordeaux, Duras and Cahors regions are all within easy reach.
Location Shops/restaurants (Castelmoron sur lot) 10min drive, or Monclar (another 10 min drive) Villeneuve sur Lot 25min drive Monflanquin 40min drive Agen 40min drive Bergerac airport 1hr 10min drive Bordeaux airport 1hr 30min drive