Marco, Michelle & Bertie the Springer
Originally from South West London, after years spent in banking and management consultancy, 3 years ago we upped sticks and moved to Normandy. Renting a farmhouse close to the sea between Saint-Lô and Mont St Michel, we spent a very happy year there and made some life-long French friends. It was a great introduction to French life but when our lease came to an end we decided to experiment in warmer climes.
Heading South we stopped just short of Spain in Southern Gers where we rented another traditional farmhouse with stunning views of the snow-capped Pyrénées. Le Gers was definitely the place for us, so much so that we decided to sell our home in London and move to Northern Gers (Flamarens, near Lectoure); an area we had fallen in love with.
Together with Bertie, our beautiful and gentle English Springer Spaniel, we bought Maison Lamothe from where we provide a bespoke accommodation and events service, unlike anything else available in the area.
Our first sighting of Maison Lamothe could not have been more impressive; a domaine snuggling in the folds of the land down below the hilltop village of Flamarens with its fairy tale round keep castle. The Immobilier driving her car ahead of us at break-neck speed began waving and signalling for us to follow her down a long and bumpy private lane and by the time our car crunched up the gravel drive we were mesmerised by its charms.
As is the tradition with Gascon farmhouses, the back of the house faces towards the outside world, saving its best face to point towards the breath-taking views of the rolling golden countryside and the swimming pool. Nestled into the side of the sloping ground, with cream coloured walls, terracotta pantiles and pale blue shutters, it’s deceptive just how big the house is. But with 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, we’ve plenty of room for guests to enjoy our hospitality as well as their own seclusion.
We’re not sure how old the house is – the rendering hides the stone which is clearly visible in parts of the house, but we think at least mid-19th Century and maybe older. The Dépendence – for which we have so many plans and that is currently a garage and woodstore – probably gives more clues, as does the wonderful and huge 300 year old oak tree which stands proudly in the garden near the swimming pool.
Our ancient oak tree is the perfect place under which to rest. Sit a while on the bench and read a book or survey the magical landscape. In Summer it shades you from the heat. In the cooler months you can snuggle up there under blankets next to one of our terrace heaters.
At night the tree, house and upper gardens are illuminated, making for long, lazy nights putting the world to rights. Or taking relaxing swims under the star-studded skies. In the inky black darkness, the Milky Way and shooting stars are both common sights down here.
But there are lots of other places to lose yourself or explore in the gardens which extend to almost 5 acres and are cared for and managed by our fabulous gardener, Thierry. We have a small vineyard of eating grapes. Help yourself, if the birds don’t get there first. On the slopes down to the fields, we also have plum, damson, nectarine, and peach trees amongst others. You are welcome to pick and eat.
The swimming pool is open to all, usually between April and November. Bring your swimsuit but don’t worry about towels or floats, they’re provided.