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I just returned from (what is happily becoming) our annual summer holiday in France, and I'm desperately trying to hold onto that relaxed feeling. I brought back some French walnut oil, good sea salt and a few treasures from one of the local brocantes (antique market) but of course it's impossible to recreate the experience of life in the French countryside — no matter how hard I try.

So that you know what I'm talking about, here's a taste of "la vie en France" and photos of our rental home in the southwestern part of the country. The owner has carefully renovated a centuries old farmhouse and barn, and rents it out when not living there in the summer. We find that renting a home is the best bet going — easy with kids, cost effective when shared with friends and just all around more relaxing than hotels.

Our must-haves include a decent kitchen and pool — and a tree-lined drive leading up to the house doesn't hurt either.

My own artsy shot of the gorgeous wrought iron gate that greeted us.

Our first view of the house.

There were various terraces and patios to take in the views from.

This was our view from the back of the house looking onto farmers' fields and a beautiful old church down the road. We were surrounded by orchards, sunflowers, lavender and rosemary bushes.

Inside, we kept cool thanks to thick stone walls, smooth concrete floors and shuttered windows. All of these brought a moody but tranquil quality to the interior. The rustic style of furnishings — heavy wooden tables, tall armoires and oversized pewter candelabras — fit in perfectly with the style of house. Even the leather club chairs and sofa worked well — large, comfy and lets face it, best for wet swimsuits. Sparse furnishings and no clutter makes a holiday rental super simple.

By days end, it became cooler outside. Here's a sunset and a view of the plum tree orchard.

Overall, it was such a gorgeous home to escape to. Stay tuned for my next blog posts about the trip! For more information on the house and surrounding area go to www.lagrivette.com.

See our French Inspired Interiors for more inspiration.

Photo credits:
1-9. Hilary Smyth

Author: 

Hilary Smyth

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