Our Guests – POPSY charity small group holiday at Domaine du Sourire

29Jun

Woohoo, we survived our very first guests. A group booking filling all 4 of our gites. It was a challenging but wonderful experience which has inspired us right at the outset of our journey.

POPSY (parents of partially sighted youngsters) is a support group for parents and carers of youngsters who are blind, have ‘special needs’ and with life-limiting conditions. It was set up by Tymandra, mum to Arwen Poppy who has a “special” syndrome ‘Warburg Micro Syndrome’, an extremely rare genetic condition (only 1 in 230 million people in the world diagnosed so far). Tymandra says she set up the group to keep herself positive and as an attempt to empower others who may feel out of control or are not sure what to do next and who feel alone.
Tymandra tirelessly works hard to support families of children who are blind, have special needs or life limiting conditions as well as fundraising for and organising day trips, activities and holidays for families.

5 families and 2 bus drivers arrived on a Saturday afternoon. The sun was shining so they wasted no time in offloading their belongings, which believe me were extensive, and headed straight for the cool azure blue shimmering waters of the newly installed “heated” pool.

As they were splashing around and having the time of their lives I received a phone call from my friend in the neighbouring region of Charente to say a storm was heading our way. No sooner had I set the phone down and headed towards the pool to let the newly arrived guests know when the storm suddenly appeared out of nowhere and it really hit us. Parasols blew into the water, pool toys upped and away. As our guests quickly scampered to the safety of their dry and comfortable gites we sorted the pool and things getting well and truly soaked but thankfully managed to avoid being struck by lightning.

What a start to their week and what a start to our new life in “sunny” France.

 

Thankfully the sun did return, and our guests had some lovely outings including Brantôme, Oradour-sur-Glane and Aubterre-sur-Dronne.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This group’s holiday and outings would not have been possible without the amazing JUMBALANCE a cross between a bus and ambulance. How the drivers, Brendan and Gary, managed to manoeuvre it along the, sometimes, very tight track roads in the Dordogne and through the tiny narrow streets of the French villages amazes me.  This amazing bus provides accessibility to people who may not otherwise be able travel. Visit their website and support them in this amazing job they do. www.jumbulance.org.uk

A full programme was organised with morning and afternoon activities as well as evening entertainment, we even managed to bag a celebrity to do the disco nights, we were thankful to Dawn Camilli one of the Candy Stripes (@frenchcandies- look them up on Facebook and Instagram) singers who lent us the lights and DJ’d for us. On rainy mornings the group were able to take advantage of the “games” room which converted to an activity hall by day and a disco by night. Activities included an art workshop and craft making. We arranged patisserie tasting, fromage tasting and a wine taster as well as Cognac v Armagnac, Cidre v Calvados and Fizz v Champagne evenings. We included a walking trip to a local dairy with ice cream tasting.

Disco Divas dancing the night away

Cidre or Calvados? a little tasting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

French knitting with granny wendy

Lets do this inside it’s a bit chilly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last day for this group was truly amazing as it was a special boy’s 9th birthday, he enjoyed a pool party, then some scrummy goodies and a fabulous cake baked by our local boulangerie and finished off with a BBQ. The sun shone marvellously that day and a fantastic time was had by all.

 

 

POPSY – Domaine du Sourire just can’t wait until you’re back again next year!

POPSY is a small charity that deserves support –you can help by sponsoring- sponsor forms are available.
Or if you would like to make a donation, please get in touch: popsycharity@hotmail.co.uk or via Facebook.
Check out their website at www.popsy.org.uk

At Domaine du Sourire we aim to make your holiday as fun and as welcoming as possible. We can work with you to arrange packages for groups. Whether your group booking is for a holiday or retreat we endeavour to be as accommodating as possible to suit your needs. We can accommodate creative writing, artists, wellbeing, business or church/spiritual groups as well as groups of family or friends just wanting a great holiday together. Whatever your needs are chat to us and we can work out a programme of activity with you. And if you are not a group don’t worry each Gite is self-contained; individuals and families, alike, are welcome.

The property, What is unique about Domaine du Sourire #3 – Groups and Retreats

22Jun

Holidays should be wonderful experiences and going on holiday with a group be it family, friends or yet to meet friends is always a great idea.


If you are planning a holiday, retreat or business get together for a large group, Domaine du Sourire may be just the place to suit your needs. Of course, we offer the same as so many “gites” in this area such as stunning views, great location to get around the area from with so much to see and do, our accommodation is clean and comfortable with all the mod cons including free Wi-Fi and the hosts/owners live on site.

So, what is so unique about Domaine du Sourire that you want to choose it for your group holiday?

 

We have 4 gites, which can accommodate up to 24 people in total, situated together in our enclosed and extensive grounds. The advantage of Gite accommodation is you can have individual time too if the activities of the group all gets a bit much! 3 of our 4 gites are wheelchair accessible with downstairs bedrooms and wet-rooms making it accessible for all so no one needs to be excluded.

The layout of our site features a central courtyard with a large outdoor dining or meeting area; all 4 gites are situated around the courtyard with easy access. France, and the Dordogne, is known for its sunshine but we do occasionally get rain and if you have group activities planned then fear not, at Domaine du Sourire we have a room, which is wheelchair accessible, for your group’s activities should the weather make outdoors unpleasant! There a few smaller rooms which can on request be adapted to meet the needs of your group’s programme.

     

 

Relax on the sun loungers or cool down on those hot sunny days, splash and play in the large heated pool which has a ramp making it wheelchair accessible should that be required. The pool is enclosed and gated for safety and is set to the back of the gites in our extensive and beautiful grounds. For the more energetic we have a selection of bicycles available for you to take in the wonderful scenery surrounding you at Domaine du Sourire.


We live on site and it is our passion to ensure you have a great holiday or retreat and we know that planning for a group can be a daunting task! At Domaine du Sourire we know every group is different and the needs of groups vary so we would recommend you chat to us about your needs and we will endeavour to find a way to meet these where possible or if we can help in planning your itinerary with you we would only be glad to do so.
Recently we had a group of families come to stay for a week and as they travelled by bus it made getting the breakfast fresh croissants and pain au chocolat impossible for them. We organised a bread run to the local boulangerie every day, we also took shopping lists and did their shopping at the nearest supermarket. The lanes around our property are very narrow and it made it impossible for their bus to have room to park so we agreed on their behalf with the Mairie of our commune for the bus to be parked safely in the village.


All that is left is for you to book and enjoy! Going on a group holiday, retreat or get together is so much fun so go with the flow, let us take the strain while you enjoy each other’s company.
What sets Domaine du Sourire apart from the rest? The passion and commitment to ensure you have the best experience for every member of the group. Jackie, the owner of Domaine du Sourire, has said, “You are what makes us unique, each and every guest.”