Rosalie and Malcolm Lewis found their dream home in France in 1995, a former convent built in 1837 in the village of St Martin de Vers in the Lot. Rosalie reveals how their wonderful home is also now a gorgeous holiday house rental. She trained as an interior designer and her skills are apparent in every room of this exquisitely decorated, dreamy holiday home…
What inspired you to move to the Lot
Our house is in the small village of St Martin de Vers in the Lot. Previously we had a small house in the Célé valley which we shared with two other families but wanted a project of our own. We were inspired by the history of Le Couvent, which despite it’s age, is one of the newest houses, as well as by the charm of the completely unspoilt medieval village. It’s unbelievably beautiful, in a small valley which feels frozen in time. Despite its small size with a population of less than 100, it’s quite cosmopolitan with expats from Belgium, UK, US, Ireland and Turkey. It was a private convent school for local children, some of whom boarded at the house; two of the bedrooms were dormitories and what are now two bathrooms were the schoolroom.
We had to completely renovate the house. It needed a new roof, electrics, bathrooms etc. Two back rooms with dirt floors were transformed into a back kitchen and dining room.
What do you love most about life in your part of France?
The stunningly beautiful landscapes – it is a region of valleys and high plateaus with numerous cliff-top villages. We are in a valley with the river Vers winding through the village and meadows. We love the sense of community in this small village, the food – lots of duck, prunes and walnuts, as well as the local Cahors wine. There are numerous vineyards to visit for wine tastings close by such as Clos de Gamot near Belaye, owned by the Jouffreau family; Domaine/Chateau d’Eugenie, between Luzech and Albas; also Domaine du Garinet owned by an English couple, Mike and Sue Spring at Le Boulvé, south of Puy L’Eveque.
We love the ‘foires de brocantes’ in the summer, just great for searching for antiques and bargains. There’s a great monthly one in our local town of Labastide Murat, a big one in Cahors every month and throughout the summer in villages such as Vers, St Germain du Bel Air, Puy L’Eveque, Cazals – and many more.
The warm and sunny weather is wonderful; the local markets and ancient towns of Figeac and Cahors are great to visit and there’s so much to do. The local area provides inspiration for painters as well as opportunities for swimming, canoeing, walking, or just picnicking and lazing around. Horse riding and tennis are available locally.
A gorgeous holiday home in the Lot
We let out our house in the summer – it’s an area that’s just perfect for holidays. The ‘protected’ small village of St Martin de Vers, established in the 1400s, is believed to have once been a stop-over on the Pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. The nearest large towns are Cahors, Figeac and Gourdon – and there are dramatic cliff-top villages, such as magnificent St Cirq Lapopie and Rocamadour, plus the beautiful Lot and Célé rivers within easy reach. The market town of Labastide Murat, only 12 minutes away, provides visitors with all amenities.