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Menu

Essentials

The important stuff

  • Check in is from 4pm
  • Check out is before 11am
  • If you’re coming in May or early June you might like to bring some ear plugs - the frogs can get very noisy!
  • Sleeping arrangements
  • Double bed

Cooking

  • Fully-equipped communal kitchen with full size 4 ring gas cooker. The kitchen is 20m from Orchid Lodge and 80m from Peony Lodge.
  • Small individual BBQs or larger one if cooking for more than 2 – charcoal and lighter also provided
  • Toaster, kettle, cafetiere, chopping boards, knives, crockery, cutlery and under counter fridge with freezer compartment all in lodge

Washing

  • Shared shower block with two shower cabins, flushing toilet and urinal - 100m from Orchid Lodge and 180m from Peony Lodge

Heating, lighting & bedding

  • Electric lighting
  • Tea lights
  • Lanterns
  • All bedding and towels provided
  • Plug sockets

Entertainment

  • Cards, board games, books and boules provided in the individual lodges.
  • Telescope, artists’ easel, binoculars , flora & fauna guides at the house - just ask!

Activities

At The Good Life in France

There are several secluded spots to relax around the property, with hammocks, shady benches, sun loungers for the daytime and a fire bowl in the evening.

You are welcome to fish the lake which is stocked with various coarse fish including carp, but no keep nets or barbed hooks please.

If you would like to learn smallholding skills such as sausage making, curing, home brewing, bread making, home dairying, preserves, soap and cosmetic making etc. Steve and Jane are happy to set up a half or one day course, season and time permitting. Get in touch with them as soon as possible after booking to arrange this! Costs vary, but as an example, a half day sausage making course to cost €75 for the first person and €25 for each additional person, including a cooked lunch or dinner.

Steve and Jane keep bees, chickens, rabbits and grow most of their own vegetables. If you're interested, they'll be happy to talk to you about what they're doing and why, and if you want to help, you're more than welcome!

Places to Visit

Puy du Fou - The premier attraction in the Vendée is about 30 minutes drive away. It combines a daytime historical theme park which manages to be both tasteful and great fun for all ages. We have yet to meet someone who has been and didn't enjoy it! 

Les Sables d'Olonne  - This is a major port and seaside resort and hosts the Vendee Globe round the world yacht race. - (Remember Pete Goss and Ellen McArthur?). The food halls are well worth a visit and there is a long promenade with many restaurants and cafes to watch the world go by whilst soaking up the sun. It has some of the best restaurants on the west coast as well as a fantastic beach. About 50 minutes drive. 

La Rochelle - Superbly picturesque old fishing port with a large selection of bars and restaurants, museums and a wonderful waterfront. Described as "the most attractive and unspoilt seaside town in France" due mainly to its charming old town. It also has the largest marina on the Atlantic coast, and an extremely impressive aquarium. Approximately 50 hours drive.

Ile de Ré - Beautiful small island just off the La Rochelle peninsula, this isle is reached by toll bridge and boasts calm seas ideal for bathing on the eastern side with more boisterous waters to the west, reputedly good for surfing. A selection of bars and restaurants to enjoy in the sun as well as many stylish boutiques - so be prepared for a shopping spree! The whole area is famous for its oysters and you can see how they are harvested as well as sampling the local produce. Remarkable too are the donkeys in their gingham pyjamas, which protect them from mosquitoes in the summer. Approximately 1 hours drive.

Fontenay le Comte - A charming country town that used to be the centre of the area. The river Vendée runs through its medieval centre, a Saturday market full of local delicacies and a variety of restaurants including Moroccan and Chinese. Approximately 20 minutes drive.

Marais Poitevin (Green Venice). Paddle or punt (or hire a boatman) through a maze of tree-lined canals from Coulon, Maillezais, Damvix, Maille or Le Mazeau. Now, this is the life. Don't forget the picnic and a bottle or two to cool in the lazy water. Approximately 30 minutes drive.

Outdoor & Active

The area is particularly good for walking and cycling with marked routes of different lengths and difficulty. Steve and Jane have plenty of books and maps they can lend you.

Go Go bike hire is about 10km away, run by an English couple and comes highly recommended.

If sea fishing or golf are your thing, your hosts are happy to point you in the right direction. There are just too many things to do in the area to list them all so if you have a particular interest, just ask!

Food & Drink

At The Good Life in France

When you arrive you'll be provided with a welcome hamper containing local wine, a basket of home grown vegetables, home-made jam, coffee, milk, sugar, orange juice, bread and Steve and Jane's own eggs when available. If you need more vegetables during your stay, just ask!

The communal kitchen is supplied with oil, pepper, sea salt, fresh and dried herbs and a selection of dry BBQ marinades and rubs.

Shops

There is a supermarket in St Hermine about 6km away, it is open on Sunday morning (unlike most French shops, so stock up!).

Pubs & Restaurants

La Morliere, Lac de Rochereau (30 mins) - this is a must, but try and save it for a warm evening, as sitting outside on the terrace overlooking the lake is definitely the best way to enjoy your meal here. Menus from €19.

Le Saint Georges, St Juire-Champgillion (10 mins) - beautifully presented haute cuisine - the chef regularly beats Michelin starred chefs in the annual Vendee cooking competition! Menus around €28-€60

Auberge du Donjon, Bazoges (15 mins) - nicely decorated restaurant with good, reasonably priced food (€18 for 2 courses - €33 for 5 courses)

Meet your hosts

From owners Steve and Jane:

"Our friends call us Tom and Barbara, but we are actually Steve and Jane! Since moving to France in 2003 we have become 90% self sufficient in fruit and vegetables; we make our own sausages, bacon, salami and air dried ham; brew beer and generally do all things 'Good Life'. We keep chickens for eggs but the next logical step for us was to start keeping animals for meat. This meant we needed to move and in 2012 we found Les Soudieres. The previous owners had installed Camping Lodges and so we thought why not share our little corner of

Chickens

paradise and The Good Life In France was born.

Wildlife & Environment

The property is a haven for wildlife.  We cut paths between the lodges, car park etc. but leave the grass on either side to form wildflower meadow land.  As well as the lakes we have shady wooded areas, orchard, soft fruit, vines, vegetables, shrubs, flowers and lots of weeds or flowers in the wrong place as I like to think of them.

We keep chickens and rabbits but we also have a lot of wild animals and birds – ducks, moorhens, herons and coypu on and in the lakes plus numerous other birds.  We regularly see Hen harriers, little owls, barn owls, woodpeckers, hoopoes. I could go on but lets just say lots of birds, butterflies, moths and insects that are rarely seen in the UK are quite common here."

Getting there

The Good Life In France, Les Soudières, 85210 La Chapelle-Thémer, FRANCE

By car

As you come out of the péage you come to a large roundabout, continue all the way round until the exit before the autoroute, take this road the D137, signposted to St Hermine drive for approximately 3.7 km crossing 2 roundabouts and turning right at the third, Place Clemenceau (there is a sculpture of Clemenceau and a bar in front of you). Go straight over this roundabout and with the bar on your left continue straight on.  Continue along this road (the old high street (D948A)) for approx 1 km until you come to a mini roundabout by the football stadium (on your right), go straight over this roundabout and take the next left signposted to Thiré on the D8.  Follow this road until you come into Thiré (about 3km). Continue on this road through Thiré (it’s quite bendy), as you come out of the village, you go over a small bridge over a river and then the road (D8) bears sharp right. Continue for just under 2 Km until you see a turning on your right, with two slate roofed Maison Bourgeoises (La Rochette), signposted to Les Soudieres, take this turning and continue for approx 300m before bearing left and The Good Life is approx 150m down on the right.

Alternatively, come off the autoroute at junction 7.1 following signs to Luçon. Go straight over the roundabout following the D206, after about 1.3km take a left turn the D 148 signposted to La Roche sur Yon/St Hermine. After approximately 13km take the right turn D10 signposted toThiré.  Drive for approximately 2 km until you come into Thiré and come to a T junction with a bar (the Roma) on your left.  Turn right here D8 and as you come out of the village, you go over a small bridge over a river and then the road (D8) bears sharp right.  Continue for just under 2km until you see a turning on your right, with two slate roofed Maison Bourgeoises (La Rochette), signposted to Les Soudières, take this turning and continue for approx 300m before bearing left and The Good Life is approx 150m down on the right.

Booking Terms

Canopy & Stars low price promise
 
Book with us in confidence knowing you won’t find that place cheaper elsewhere. All of the prices we display are set and matched by our Owners. (In this world of foreign currency, we do have to say 'subject to exchange rates' for some of our European places.)

What does ‘from price’ mean?
 
Our ‘from price’ is based on a four night stay in low season and designed to help you to compare different prices across our collection. Some of our Owners vary their nightly rates and check in days throughout the year, so it may differ from the rate quoted below the calendar. It is quite common (although by no means universal) for places to charge a little more in peak season or for shorter stays, to cover changeover costs. Consider booking longer stays during the cooler months if you’re looking for the lowest nightly rates.

Agency Terms & Conditions

Except where otherwise specified, we Sawday’s Canopy & Stars Ltd Company No 09088366 of Merchants House, Wapping Road, Bristol, BS1 4RW act only as an Agent in respect of all bookings we take and/or make on your behalf. Sawday’s Canopy & Stars is part of the Alastair Sawday’s Group of Companies. We accept no liability in relation to any contract you enter into or for any services or arrangements you purchase (“Booking(s)”) or for the acts or omissions of any supplier(s) or other person(s) or party(ies) connected with any Booking. For all Bookings, your contract will be with the supplier of the Booking in question, and in most cases this will be the owner of the property you’ll be staying at (“Owner(s)”). When making your Booking we will arrange for you to enter into a contract with the Owner of the Booking. Your Booking with us is subject to these Agency Terms & Conditions and any specific booking conditions of the relevant Owner(s) you contract with. The Owner’s booking conditions may limit and/or exclude the Owner’s liability to you.

You may decide to make more than one Booking with us at the same time. The price charged in total for more than one Booking will always equal the prices charged separately for each individual Booking. All Bookings are available to be purchased separately at the same price as they are when more than one Booking is made. This means that any multiple Bookings do not constitute a package as defined in the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.

By making a booking, you agree that:-

  1. you have read these Agency Terms & Conditions and agree to be bound by them;
  2. you consent to our use of your information in accordance with our Privacy Policy;

and

  1. you are over 18 years of age and where there may be age restrictions in place, you declare that you and all members of your party are of the appropriate age.

 

The Canopy & Stars online booking system enables Guests to make Bookings 24 hours a day. A Booking is confirmed on receipt of a 25% non-refundable deposit for all Bookings with check in dates of more than 10 weeks away. For all Bookings that have a check in date of less than 10 weeks before check in, payment for the Booking will be required in full and the entire Booking will be non-refundable. The Canopy & Stars telephone booking line is open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm. When using the online enquiry form, for those Properties without online booking, please allow 24 working hours for us to contact you by telephone to confirm the Booking. If we are unable to reach you by phone we will attempt to contact you by email. We will contact you during Canopy & Stars working hours (Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm). Online or email enquiries will be dealt with in the order they are received, but please be aware that we cannot guarantee reservation of your selected dates until the receipt of suitable payment. Therefore, if possible, we do recommend that you book on the Canopy & Stars website using the online booking system.

 

1. Booking and payments

 

1.1 In order to confirm your chosen Booking, you must pay a non-refundable deposit as required by the Owner of the Booking in question (or full payment if booking within 10 weeks of the date of your check-in).

 

1.2 Your Booking is confirmed and a contract between you and the Owner will exist when we receive payment of the deposit and send you a booking confirmation on the Owner’s behalf. This booking confirmation will normally be sent out within 24 hours in the case of email and seven working days in the case of post, and will contain the details of your Booking and of payments made and due. If you have not received your booking confirmation within the specified time, please notify us as soon as possible by email (bookings@canopyandstars.co.uk). Please check your confirmation carefully and report any incorrect or incomplete information to us immediately. As we act only as booking Agent, we have no responsibility for any errors in any documentation except where an error is made by us.

 

1.3 We're sorry for any inconvenience, but payments can only be made by credit and debit cards. A 2% surcharge will be applied to credit cards. We do not accept American Express, cheques or cash.

 

1.4 Where a deposit has been paid, full balance payment will be due 10 weeks in advance of your check in date and a reminder will be sent to you two weeks prior to this date, where applicable, by email. We automatically take the balance payment using the same card as used to make the deposit payment. It is your reponsibility to advise us if we should use a different card and to contact us by telephone (0117 204 7830) to arrange for alternative payment method. If the balance payment does not successfully go through as there is a problem with your card, such as it expiring, then we will contact you to try and take alternative payment. If we have been unable to take payment after two weeks of the balance due date, then with regret, we will notify the Owner who may cancel your Booking.

 

1.5 Except where otherwise advised or stated in the booking conditions of the Owner concerned, all monies you pay to us for a Booking will be held on behalf of the Owner(s) concerned.

 

1.6 Credit Card payments are processed via Alastair Sawday’s Publishing Co. Ltd who provide merchants services facilities to Sawday’s Canopy & Stars Ltd.

 

2. Cancellation and Amendment by You

 

2.1 Any cancellation or amendment request must be sent to us by email (bookings@canopyandstars.co.uk) and will be considered and responded to within one working day of receipt. You are also advised to confirm all changes to our Customer Services Department by calling 0117 204 7830. Please ensure that you have received written confirmation of any changes to your Booking prior to travel. Whilst we will always try to help, we cannot guarantee that such requests will be met.

 

2.2 Amendments and cancellations can only be accepted in accordance with the booking conditions of the Owner of your Arrangements. The Owner may charge the cancellation or amendment charges shown in their booking conditions (which may be as much as 100% of the cost of the Arrangements and will normally increase closer to the date of departure). The Owner may charge cancellation or amendment charges in accordance with its own booking conditions, however for the sake of convenience only, we have outlined the Owner’s charges at clause 2.3 and 2.4 below. Please note that these are the Owner’s own cancellation and amendments charges, not Canopy & Stars’, and therefore the Owner may vary their charges as they wish, without notice to us. The correct charges will be notified to you at the time of your cancellation or amendments.  

 

2.3 Owner’s General Cancellation Charges:

2.3.1 Cancellation by you at any time will result in your deposit being forfeited, as all deposits are non-refundable.

 

2.3.2 All monies paid for a holiday (deposit and balance) are non-refundable within 10 weeks before check in date.

 

2.3.3 Cancellation of any holiday after it has been paid in full and at a date 10 weeks or more in advance of your check in date, will result in forfeiture of your deposit (or an amount equivalent where one was not paid as the holiday was paid in full) and the balance being returned to you. 

 

2.3.4  Cancellation insurance is available but will be a third party arrangement and not involve Canopy & Stars or the Owner in any way.

 

2.4 Owner’s General Amendment Charges:

2.4.1 Alterations to your Booking can only be made more than 10 weeks prior to the check in date, after which time alterations will be treated as cancellation. All alterations are subject to availability and may incur a £30 adminstration fee.

 

2.4.2 Differences in the total amount payable resulting from alterations will be refunded to you in the case of a decrease in price and paid by you in the case of increases in price.

 

Special note: Generally Owners will charge the above cancellation and amendment charges, however we must stress that these are a guide only and charges may differ from those shown here depending on the Owner. The exact charges will be notified to you by the Owner at the time of cancellation and/or can be found in the Owner’s own booking conditions which are available from the Owner on request.

 

3. Changes and Cancellations by the Owner

We will inform you as soon as reasonably possible if the Owner needs to make a significant change to your confirmed Arrangements or to cancel them. We will also liaise between you and the Owner in relation to any alternative Booking offered by the Owner but we will have no further liability to you.

 

4. Complaints

Because the contract for your Booking is between you and the Owner, any queries or concerns should be addressed to them. In the event that you have any complaint about your stay, please notify the Owner as soon as possible. If you don’t follow this procedure there will be less opportunity for the Owner to investigate and resolve your complaint and so make your stay as enjoyable as possible. Delays may also mean that amount of compensation you may be entitled to may be reduced. Whether or not your complaint is dealt with satisfactorily, please also contact us as we appreciate all feedback. It’s important to us and the Owner to know that you’ve enjoyed your stay or if anything could have been improved.

 

5. Pricing

Canopy & Stars reserve the right to amend advertised prices at any time on behalf of the Owner. We also reserve the right to correct errors in both advertised and confirmed prices.Special note: changes and errors sometimes occur.

 

6. Information & Accuracy

The information and prices shown on this website are varied from time to time and may change between the time you first view a property and make a Booking. You should check that all the details are as you expect prior to making a Booking. It is always possible that, despite our best efforts, some of the properties (including the features and extras available) may be incorrectly described and/or priced. If we discover this is the case after you have made a Booking, we reserve the right to contact you with details of the correct information and/or pricing and will give you the option to:

(1) proceed with the Booking based on the correct information and/or pricing, which may require the payment of an additional amount by you;

OR

(2) subject to availability, change your booking dates to dates when the pricing can be honoured ad so no additional charge to you. In the event that a lower price can be offered for alternative dates then the difference would be refunded;

OR

(3) cancel the Booking. If we do not receive your instructions within 5 days of contacting you, we reserve the right to cancel your Booking without liability to you.

 

7. Our Responsibility for your Booking

Your contract is with the Owner and its booking conditions apply. As Agent, we accept no responsibility for the actual provision of the Booking. Our responsibilities are limited to making the Booking in accordance with your instructions and acting properly in accordance with our legal duties as an Agent. We accept no responsibility for any information about the Booking that we pass on to you in good faith. However, in the event that we are found liable to you on any basis whatsoever, our maximum liability to you is limited to twice the cost of your Booking (or the appropriate proportion of this if not everyone on the Booking is affected). We do not exclude or limit any liability for death or personal injury that arises as a result of our negligence or that of any of our employees whilst acting in the course of their employment.

 

8. Pets

Not all properties accept pets. If you wish to take your pet on holiday, please advise us before booking and we can check whether pets are accepted at the property. You must obtain the prior consent of the Owner before taking any pets to the property. A nightly charge may be made by the Owner for each pet and additional terms may apply.

 

9. VAT

Many of the Owners of properties in the Canopy & Stars portfolio are not registered for VAT in which case no tax is payable. Where VAT is payable, the tax is included in the advertised holiday rental price.

 

10. Visa, passport and health requirements.

Unless you tell us otherwise, we assume that all members of your party are British citizens who hold or will hold full British passports valid for the entire duration of the Arrangements you chose to purchase. Information on visa, passport and health requirements, where given and applicable, is so given on this basis. Requirements may change and you are therefore strongly recommended to check the up to date position with the Owner of the Booking, Passport Office, appropriate embassy or consulate or your doctor as applicable in good time before the commencement of your holiday.

 

11. Insurance

You are strongly recommended to take out personal travel insurance for all members of your party. It is your responsibility to ensure that the insurance you purchase is adequate and appropriate for your particular needs. Please read your policy details and take them with you on holiday.

 

12. Special requests

If you have any special requests (for example dietary requirements, cots or room location), please let us know at the time of booking. We will pass on all such requests to the Owner, but unfortunately, we can't guarantee that they will be met and we will have no liability to you if they are not.

 

13. Group Bookings

Not all Owners accept Bookings for a single sex group (for example, a stag or hen party). Guests wanting to make such a Booking should check with us beforehand to enable us to check whether the Owner is prepared to accept the Booking. We will then advise you accordingly. In event that an Owner does not accept this type of Booking then it is with regret, that the Booking may be cancelled and cancellation fees may apply. It is the Guest’s responsibility to enquire with Canopy & Stars and/or check on our website beforehand to make sure that this type of booking is permitted.

 

14. Maximum Numbers

Please note that except by prior arrangement confirmed in writing, only the number of persons specified on a booking confirmation may occupy  a property. Most owners reserve the right to refuse admittance or revoke a booking if this condition is not observed and you are unlikely to receive any refund.

 

15. Your Responsibilities

Please note that you have a contract with the Owner of the property. As such you are under a responsibility to behave in a proper, appropriate and legal manner whilst staying at the property with due respect to the Owner, the Property and other guests and their property. You are responsible for informing the Owner of any losses or damage to the property as soon as possible. Please note that you will be liable to pay the Owner for any losses or damage to the property caused by you or a member of your party (except reasonable wear and tear). Some Owners will also require damage deposits. You must also leave the property by the check-out time specified on your booking. If any guest behaves inappropriately or improperly (of which the Owner will be the final judge on their Property), or illegally, the Owner reserves the right to ask the guest and their party (at their discretion) to leave the Property before the end of the holiday period and/or refuse any future bookings from you.  Any refund for so doing will be at the entire discretion of the Owner. In addition, the Owner reserves the right to sue the guest for any loss, damage or injury caused to the Owner, the Property or to other guests and/or their property. As agent, we will have no liability to you in these circumstances. 

 

16. Governing Law and Jurisdiction

These terms and conditions have been drafted in accordance with and are governed by English law and the courts of England and Wales have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any and all disputes arising out of these Agency Terms & Conditions.

 

17. Discrepancies

In case of a discrepancy between these Agency Terms & Conditions and any other Canopy & Stars literature, these Agency Terms & Conditions shall prevail.

 

18. Validity clause

In the event that a court finds that a condition in these Agency Terms & Conditions is illegal or void, the illegal or void provision will be severed from the remainder of the Agency Terms & Conditions, which will continue to be valid and have full force and effect.