So, what can you do while on holiday in this part of France?

20Sep

Have you been to the Dordogne, leave us a comment of your favourite thing to do or place to visit below in the comments. We would love to hear from you and no doubt you’d be helping others too!

Domaine du Sourire is situated within the Dordogne department but is close to the Charente department. This gives our guests the best of both worlds, all within easy reach.

There is a plethora of articles around the internet of things to do in Dordogne and Charente so there is not a lot of point to me overloading you with the same information but I will include some links at the end.

From what we have seen on our travels in this area there are lots of historic and beautiful towns and villages to visit, where you can meander medieval streets, visit old and amazing monuments, even prehistoric caves! Then you can easily find a café, take a break from all the activities on offer, order un Café, or  un chocolat-chaud or un vino… grab a seat outside and enjoy one of the best loved  French pastimes – people watching! Relax and watch the world go by!

It goes without saying you will not have to go far to find a Chateau or gardens with the most beautiful blooms.

If picnics are your thing then find a grassy spot, or a beach by the river and enjoy.

Should the kids want some water fun there are water theme parks, or you can take a boat trip or go canoeing and kayaking for the more adventurous. Perhaps water is not the thing for you? Why not try a hot air balloon trip.

Shopping – lots of markets and brocantes and of course Bordeaux, Angouleme, Bergerac and Périgueux are all within easy reach.

Bordeaux

Family time can be spent leisurely cycling the beautiful country roads or well-marked safe cycling routes enjoying the peace and tranquillity. What could be better than to jump on your bike and enjoy exploring. Just imagine the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair as you cycle through fields of sunflowers and vineyards!

There is something for all abilities, interests and ages!

The Dordogne is renowned for its love of food and you can dine out in one of many fine restaurants. Eating out with children can be expensive but to keep costs down try the evening markets in July and August. These are great fun and very reasonably priced. Plus, as they are outdoors and very relaxed, children can run around and make a noise and generally enjoy themselves.

Of course, some days you will just want to laze by our pool and enjoy the fun things on our grounds and maybe even have a BBQ.

Whatever you want from a holiday, and I haven’t even mentioned a visit to a vineyard or even cognac tasting, it’s all within easy reach of the gites at Domaine du Sourire with fabulous hosts Jackie and Terry.

Some links as promised, however there are many more.

Top things for children

Top things to do in Dordogne

Top things to do in Charente

A magical kindness

25Jun

Wow! The happenings at Domaine Du Sourire!

Last week we noticed strange rings on our lawn, so we set about investigating what it was all about.

Some said aliens, some said some sort of fungi, some said witches, dragons and yet some said fairies dancing has caused it.

Believing it to be a fairy ring we sat one night to watch and see and sure enough it was not long before we saw something. We weren’t sure at first what it was, it was like sparkling in the night around the ring, it looked so magical. Then it seemed to disappear, and we thought perhaps we had imagined it. But suddenly, a buzzing and a beating of wings and a tiny fairy landed on Terry’s knee. She told us her name is Titania and she was so gracious to allow us to interview her for our blog. Read on and see just what the fairies are doing here at Domaine Du Sourire.

Terry: So Titania, that is quite the famous fairy name in our world and a royal one at that, how did you come by your name?

Titania: I am a fairy princess, and my mother is Arabella queen of our fairy nation, we live in Butterfly Springs. We are descendants of the great Titania of whom you speak. So, my name is what you might say “a family name”.

Terry: O you say you are a princess, that’s exciting.

Titania: Yes, and one day I will govern our Fae folk in Butterfly springs or Champagne et Fontaine as you know it in your world. I am in training to be queen which is why I have been allowed to talk with you tonight.

Terry: You don’t say girl, what are you learning?

Titania: I’m learning how to be responsible. Being a fairy queen is a very responsible role, it involves looking after all the fae folk, young, old or in between, sick or well, at peace or war, o yes, it is a very responsible role.

Terry: O I see, and you probably get to make a few laws then do you!. Is there anything you would like to change when you are Queen?

Titania: Definitely, yes indeed I would, there are many things I would change and one of them is to rid this place of cats! My mother says they have a purpose but other than chasing us to eat us I have yet to see that purpose. Then I would encourage all the young fairies and the elves to dream big and work to make those dreams come true – even the silly ones like growing ice lollipops in the garden all summer long.

Terry: Mmmm. Sounds great. I’d dream of a garden of lollipops easy enough. So, is it true then that fairies love sugar?

Titania: Yes, yes yes! We love sugar but its not so good to have too much! (or so I’m told!) So, we eat lots and lots of vegetables and fruits and we love cream and milk too when we can get past those pesky cats to get some!

Terry: Titania, tell me this then, why were the fairies dancing around and making rings in my garden?

Titania: Some things I cannot tell you, but so you know it is good. I am able to speak with you because you have been careful and not broken our circle, and well I’m soo excited… I will just tell you some of our dancing has to do with my getting engaged to my wonderful Aerwyna, he will be Lord of the fae folk and rule with me!

I should say no more!

Terry: Well congratulations girl, glad to hear that and thank you. Can I ask why you chose the garden of Domaine Du Sourire?

Titania: You can ask but I may not answer.

Terry: Oh, okay then. I’ll ask Jackie if there is anything else, she would like to ask you.

Titania: Well I didn’t say I wouldn’t answer! I was just testing you to see if you would be rude and push me for an answer. Many big people are very rude! But you have been patient and gracious to me, and this is the very reason we chose Domaine Du Sourire because of what you do here.

Let me explain, we Fae folk are kind, compassionate, gentle yet noble folk. We love family and community is so important to us. Helping others is what we small but not insignificant people do.

You are like that at Domaine du Sourire. We see your hospitality to all and especially to those who have a disability. We think your wheelchair swing and sensory room are just fantastic. So thoughtful. And kids, they will just have the best time here.

Because you put others first, we chose this place and even though you won’t often see us, we see you, you and your guests and the fun they have on holiday and we have such pleasure here too albeit mostly unseen!

Terry: Thanks me girl for those kind words, you’ve just made my night! And well, that’s good that you have fun, that’s what we want for people when they come here on holiday to relax, enjoy their time and make loads of happy memories to share with family and friends for years to come.  Do you think any of our guests will ever catch a glimpse of you?

Titania: Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps if a little one believes enough, perhaps!

Terry: I think your fiancée is waiting in you. He looks handsome.

Titania: Thank you, he really is, but I must fly now. Perhaps we will meet again, if it is to be so I will leave you a sign. You will know it. Goodbye Terry, Goodbye Jackie. Domaine du Sourire is now a friend of the Fae folk. Be blessed.

We waved her off as she disappeared as quickly and invisibly as she had appeared. How lovely to have met Titania and maybe if you are to come to Domaine du Sourire you might just catch sight of the fairies of Butterfly Springs but be careful to not break a step into their fairy rings.

PS Titania said we were not allowed photos, so we took some from google (free copyright of course) to brighten this article.

The property: what is unique about Domaiane du sourire – child friendly #2

15Jun

Choosing where to stay on holiday can be a bit of a minefield with the myriad of options tantalisingly floating before your eyes.
Why choose Domaine du Sourire, what sets this place apart when it offers the same clichés as many others – great location, comfortable gites with all modern amenities, beautiful views and lots that you can do or see?
Jackie, your amazing host at Domaine Du Sourire, says “We are perfect for families with children.”


The grounds are extensive and fully enclosed providing a safe play area for children to run around freely and safely leaving mums and dads, grannies and grandads to worry a little less about what the kids are up to.


Nature is on your doorstep. There are some fruit trees and the children can pick when in season, the cherries are very popular but watch they don’t eat too many! Children love to dig around and plant things and they can do just that in the sensory garden area. They can collect pine cones and things from one of the many woods within short stroll of Domaine du Sourire. Terry said they have even been visited by a baby owl who is very friendly.

The gites are spacious and give you much more room than a hotel room when you have young children. Depending on family size and which gite you choose the children could have a room each meaning you don’t have to creep around in the dark to get another drink or snack or even get to the loo. Instead of being confined to a balcony as you might in a hotel in the evenings, you can use the kitchen, living area, bathroom, patio or courtyard all without disturbing your sleeping cherubs, making it a wonderful holiday for you as well.


Meal times are much simpler as you can cook what you like when you like. French dining can be somewhat intense with the preferred 3 courses at lunch which may not be great for the kids. Although there are some good dining options such as the night markets which are really very child orientated, the flexibility to self-cater and enjoy a BBQ in the sun is what makes this a great place for families.
There is plenty to entertain the children with the garden and play area outside, the grounds where they can play football or chasing with their new friends from some of the other gites. The indoor soft play area is a great hit with the little ones and will keep them happy and amused for hours. New experiences can be had in the sensory room which will thrill the user through the interactive space full of light and sound. It will stimulate them and encourage communication. And we haven’t even mentioned the pool!


The benefit of being an enclosed complex of 4 gites gives children and parents alike a freedom that is safe and enjoyable for all, and most important the opportunity to make new friends from faraway places and yet it is big enough to not be overcrowded.
What sets Domaine du Sourire apart from the rest? The passion and commitment to ensure you have the best holiday experience for every member of the family from the littlest to the biggest! Jackie has said, “You are what makes us unique, each and every guest.”