The Courtyard at St Catherines

The Courtyard at St Catherines Amenities

The Courtyard at St Catherines Amenities

Idyllically set amongst sunflowers and rolling meadows, this former priory is now an idyllic family-friendly retreat comprising three luxurious gites and a stylish B&B, along with a large heated pool and a ‘pop-up’ bistro, plus a whole host of child-friendly play gear and nursery equipment. This is most definitely, self-catering for softies!

The priory buildings of Ste Catherine de la Champ were built by monks in the 1700s and were all but ruined when the friendly May family fell in love with the place in 2006 and decided this would be the start of a new life in France. Undaunted by the scale of the restoration and renovation project, the Mays set about creating a home for themselves and a place where other families could share their dream in the Charente countryside.



The family of three, plus their soppy dogs and Jet the cat, finally moved here from the UK in 2010 and have made it their mission to go way above and beyond the average gite holiday and especially catering for parents with preschoolers.



They’ve sensitively converted the priory into three luxuriously appointed gites and have been justly rewarded with 4-star ratings by the Chambre de Tourisme. Not content with simply adding quality fixtures and fittings for grown-ups, the Mays also provide top notch child-friendly kit too. To take the pain out of packing, there’s a long list of nursery gear (see Fast Facts tab) and boxes of toys all tailored to children’s ages, including Lego, Playmobil, garage, train set, shop, dressing up outfits, loads of books and DVD’s. Plus, the TV’s have UK channels including all-important Cbeebies and Wi FI is available inside and out.



Each of the three gites boasts the privacy of their own garden and dining patio but families can also safely spill into the secure shared grounds of The Courtyard, where children have lots to keep them happy including a trampoline, swings plus baby swing, sand pit, slide and climbing frame, swing ball, basket ball and football goal posts. During the summer, children can also sign up for Bebe Poney from 3, mug painting workshops with arty Michaela who will take away the masterpieces to be baked and glazed as a perfect memento. Even babies can do a foot print plate to take back for Granny.



The swimming pool at The Courtyard is completely fenced and gated, to give parents peace of mind while children roam, free range, around the garden and there are plenty of sun loungers for a sneaky snooze in the sun. The pool is 1.5 metres deep right the way across, with corner steps for easier access and it’s heated to a comfortable 27°c from May to September.



Perhaps the thing that really sets The Courtyard apart from other gites is Steph’s ‘pop up restaurant’ which serves 3-course Table d’hote menus, healthy children’s menus al la Annabel Karmel and delicious take away meals. Steph has a real passion for cooking and takes full advantage of the superb Charentais produce to create a range of menus, not just of French dishes but also Italian, Greek, Indian, Thai, Caribbean and Middle Eastern. The Mays have a licence to serve alcohol and the covered, al fresco dining terrace is the perfect setting to enjoy a delicious and relaxing restaurant-style meal, in the twinkle of fairy lights, with gentle mood music beneath star-studded skies. Breakfasts and morning croissant delivery are also available, so although the gites have well equipped fitted kitchens for self catering, mealtimes at The Courtyard can be a highlight of the holiday rather than a hassle.


Accommodation overview

Chez Coco (sleeps 5 + baby in a cot) has an official 4-star rating from the French tourist board and is a stylish blend of original character and modern comfort. The living/dining area and kitchen is open plan, with a beautiful exposed stone feature wall and a 3.5 metre high by 4 metre wide window, dressed in Bombay muslin to diffuse plenty of light into the room while maintaining privacy. The living area features two sofas, a wood burning stove, HD TV with Freesat channels, DVD player and an iPod dock and French doors open to the private terrace and garden with outdoor dining table, shade sail and barbecue. The kitchen is well equipped and includes an oven and hob, microwave, coffee machine, fridge freezer, dishwasher and washing machine. The master bedroom at Chez Coco, with an exposed stone feature wall, has a king size bed and a Juliet balcony with views to the south over open countryside. This bedroom also has an ensuite shower room with washbasin and WC. The second bedroom has a double bed, a single bed and a cot, plus an ensuite shower room with a washbasin and WC.

Check Availability Here

The Courtyard at St Catherines Family-Friendly Gites

Chez Coco - The Courtyard at St Catherines

  • €695.00 - €1495.00 per week
  • Sleeps 4 in 2 Bedrooms

Maison Cachee - The Courtyard at St Catherines

  • €495.00 - €1050.00 per week
  • Sleeps 4 in 2 Bedrooms

Chez Aristide - The Courtyard at St Catherines

  • €595.00 - €1695.00 per week
  • Sleeps 6 in 3 Bedrooms
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The Owner / Manager

Stephanie May

Member since Jul 2015
  • Bookings Accepted:76.92%
  • Avg. Response Time:11 minutes
  • Availability Updated:9 days 13 hours

Reviews

  • Steph is a warm and attentive hostess with the culinary mostess! Being parents of a toddler means endless nights in but we treated ourselves to Steph's cooking 3 nights in a week and every mouthful was incredible; it really was a highlight... alongside English TV (no missing out on Bake Off or Night Garden!) and tonnes of toys for our son. Much recommended!Review dated 09/10/2016

  • We had a wonderful time here staying in Chez Coco. The Courtyard staying setting is really nice. The gite was very well equipped for kids with lots of toys, plastic cutlery and baby mat etc. Very French in design it has wooden floors and lots of period features and opens out at the back to a private garden area with a BBQ. The hospitality from Steph and Charlie is what sets this place apart, they can't do enough for you and understand the daily stress of kids and so try to alleviate some of that whilst you are there. The welcome cooked dinner we had booked was fantastic and meant we didn't need to worry about a supermarket on arrival (which is 10 mins drive from Gite as it turned out). We also did a couple of the dinners that Steph puts on, the kids eat at 6pm and are then whisked off to the main house to do crafts etc whilst the adults eat at 7pm which meant we got some adult conversation and a relaxing glass of wine, it's a great addition to this place. The pool and playground are very safe and kept our 2 year old occupied. The Courtyard sits in a beautiful setting, it is quite remote so you will need to drive everywhere and if you search the places out there are things to do to keep the kids occupied, the aquarium at La Rochelle was very good. Overall a great 2 week holiday.Review dated 30/09/2016

  • Idyllic location surrounded by vines and sunflower fields. The gite was spacious and well presented with luxurious touches. Plenty of toys and activities for the little ones. The pool was clean and warm with lots of loungers. Great base with easy access to the beaches, Saintes and Cognac to the west and Angouleme to the east. Steph, Charlie and Finn were great hosts, very welcoming and genuinely friendly. Would thoroughly recommend Steph's cooking which was a lovely way to spend an evening or two.Review dated 19/09/2016

  • This place is a dream! Starting with the setting; it truly is idyllic, the image of beautiful France you conjure up when you dream of rolling hills, vineyards and poppies everywhere. The gites and grounds are like something out of an interior magazine, authentic, charming and luxuriously shabby chic. The pool is warm and the playground a huge hit with our 18month old. Steph and her family are so lovely. They strike the right balance of leaving you to it, but being incredibly hospitable and helpful. Everything from pre arrival shopping, baby necessities and baby meals (3 x per week) are taken care of. And the cooking.. Wow Steph can cook! We ate top end restaurant standard meals with a sleeping toddler and the peace of mind of the monitor working to the courtyard.. Very relaxing. We don't normally go back to places twice, but we could be persuaded back here!Review dated 26/06/2016

  • We stayed at the Courtyard as an extended family for 10 nights after recommendation from some good friends of ours. What can I say, a fantastic experience with amazing hosts! We already knew they had a lot of baby related equipment (stair gates etc), but they also have a lot of DVDs, toys and books to keep the little ones entertained. Put simply, you could quite easily fly with clothes and toiletries and ease the journey! We will travel with a lot less next time! The setting is peaceful, supermarkets within 15 mins drive and there's plenty to do. We did pony riding, chocolate making (a must), a farm visit and plate decorating, plus visited the many beautiful towns and villages in the area. Further afield, there's a zoo (well worth a visit), parks and the seaside should you wish. Back at the courtyard, if you do nothing else all holiday, sample Steph's incredible cooking at every opportunity and enjoy the socialness of an outdoor french dining experience. We really didn't want to go home, and we're already booked in for next year!Review dated 19/06/2016

Fast Facts

sleeps 4 plus a baby, 1 king size bed, 1 x double bedroom with additional single bed, plus infant in a wooden cot.

Airport under 2 hours drive

Limoges, Bordeaux, La Rochelle all under 90 minutes.

Airport under 3 hours drive

Limoges, Bordeaux, La Rochelle all under 90 minutes

Any Pool

Lovely shared, heated, gated pool with incline steps.

Nursery Gear (additional)

Each cottage has a “proper wooden cot” with mattress protector, cotton sheet and bumpers provided. Each cottage has a high chair, socket cover, stairgates, plastic crockery, cups and steriliser.

Indoor Toys / Games Room

Loads of books, DVD, boxes of lego, playmobil and a dressing up box.

Meal Delivery / Room Service

Breakfast deliveries can be arranged, meal delivery, pre arrival shopping and catering can also be organised.

Outdoor Toys

Trampoline, swing, slide, climbing frame, swing ball, football goal and basket ball.

Onsite Restaurant

Table d’hote and alcohol licence. “healthy” children food available along the lines of Annabel Karmel.

Stairgates / no stairs

Stairgates are provided.

Private Garden / Terrace / Balcony

Each cottage has a private terrace and there are large gated grounds with plenty of space to run around.

Wifi / Cable Internet Access

Complimentary Wi-fi is available.

Pet Friendly

Dogs are accepted.

Golf

Golf course 20 minutes drive away.

Tennis Court(s)

Tennis courts can be found under 5 minutes drive away.

Fireplace / Wood Burner

Wood burning stove in the lounge.

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