Le Petite Scierie, France

Through winding roads, Set in the quaint village of Puivert lies Le Petite Sciserie, translated means Little Saw Mill. The Saw Mill is 150 years old and is a converted watermill nestled among the woodland alongside a stunning flowing river.

Nat and Dan have renovated the accommodation to a gorgeous standard. Yet whilst they only rent out the lower half of their property, we were lucky enough to peek inside their abode, and it’s incredible. I instantly had home envy!
Giving up the rat race, the “my house is bigger than yours”, the “my car is faster than yours” lifestyle we’ve come accustomed to in the UK, they made the leap and now sit on 2 acres of land overlooking a mesmerising river and woodland. I admire them so much for this. While I would love to do it, I just don’t think I would have the balls, but seeing this incredible property goes to show how you can totally enrich your life just by making that leap.

Nat and Dan are absolutely fantastic hosts. Sharing their wealth of knowledge on the local area and things to do, as well as tending to your every need, if you have any. We travelled with a little one, and a travel cot and highchair were provided.

There is an abundance of quirky interior design inside the property; it’s like a home from home. Comfortable, spacious and with the most gorgeous views every way you look. It’s immaculately clean, and the beds are so comfortable the only reason you get out of bed is to wake up and enjoy breakfast on the patio directly next to the river.

During the first few days staying here, the weather was not at all kind to us, but we still explored the local area and wow, what an area it is – even in the rain!

However, when the sun did come out, it shone bright and hot and opened a whole other world Puivert has to offer! Although there are no beaches, there are fabulous spots to soak up the sun and have a dip in the nearby swimming lakes. Just a short walk away, the smaller one had stunning views across the rolling hills to the right and to the left; in the distance sits the Montsegur castle, which although is quite a trek is so worth the effort. The views from the top are absolutely incredible.

Slightly further afield is Montbel lake, and this lake was… HUGE! And breathtaking. The weather was glorious, and the kids loved splashing around in the water. Still, the most amazing thing was sitting in 32-degree heat and seeing mountains covered in snow in the distance. There are loads of things to do with the kids at this lake, definitely worth a visit.

 

After a fun-packed day, we drove back through numerous picturesque villages that were quintessentially French. We returned to a sun-soaked patio by the river where the kids hopped from rock to rock, catching tiny fish in their nets, hunting for shells and throwing sticks in the river while we sipped cold Chablis.

On one of our days staying here, we ventured to a drive-through safari park that replicates the African Plains. I’m not really a huge fan of animals being kept captive however this safari park has demonstrated how natural wild habitats can be created to allow the animals to roam free in natural surroundings. It was incredibly well maintained and was a great day out for all of us. There was so much to see and do, you certainly will want to make a day of it.

In the village, there are three restaurants and a Brewery taproom. We had some fantastic evenings enjoying all of these. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and the food was delicious.
If you need to stock up on smaller items, there’s a small cafe and grocery shop where you pick up freshly baked bread and warm croissants – but get there early; they sell out pretty fast! Further afield, you can find many outdoor markets and large supermarkets, including bakeries, butchers and greengrocers for all your produce. There’s also a lovely little town that is extremely pretty in the evenings with lots of restaurants to choose from.

Although we did eat out a few times, we loved nothing more than cooking fresh homemade meals to enjoy on the private patio. We sat around the firepit among the whisper of the trees, lazing in the hammocks and listening to the mesmerising sound of the river. It’s that enchanting; I’m pretty sure fairies ARE at the bottom of the garden.