Some readers may remember that back in April 2011, my husband and I took two glorious weeks of vacation in France. We spent the first week seeing the obligatory sights of Paris, but the second week we ventured a little further from the typical tourist track: we journeyed south to the Dordogne River Valley, where we stayed in a gorgeous little cottage called La Maisonnette du Couteau in the beautiful village of Beynac.
What made us choose this little out-of-the-way corner of France for a week-long stay? Why, La Maisonnette itself! It’s a historic 400-year old cottage just a stone’s throw from an honest-to-goodness Medieval castle, and I made up my mind years ago that I would stay there someday after following the progress of its amazing renovation on Stephmodo, a favorite blog of mine. The woman behind Stephmodo is the lovely Stephanie Brubaker, who has been kind enough to feature my home and my photography on her blog on several occasions (here, here, and here, for starters) and with whom—through the magic of the Internet—I’ve become friends. She and her husband (both Americans!) purchased La Maisonnette on a whim while vacationing in the Dordogne back in 2009 and then undertook a full-scale transatlantic renovation of the property, the results of which were spectacular. I knew from the moment I saw those “after” photos that I wanted to spend a week there myself.
When we finally did, it exceeded even my sky-high expectations. La Maisonnette itself is perfection, with its original limestone walls and wood beams, its carefully restrained decor, the sublime juxtaposition of old and modern—and that to-die-for clawfoot tub in the master suite with the amazing view of the castle and River valley! (I had a long soak and watched the sunset there almost every evening. But I digress….) La Maisonnette’s home, the village of Beynac, is just as beautiful. It’s been featured in films like “Chocolat” and “Ever After,” but there’s more to do there than simply enjoy the views. We explored three different Medieval castles, canoed the Dordogne river, hiked to the top of a bluff for more incredible vantage points, visited a foie gras farm, ate amazing local food (strawberries, cheeses, duck confit, anything with walnuts), and shopped at the outdoor markets—the very same ones the locals have been visiting for centuries. It was a week full of fun and relaxation that my husband and I still talk about all the time. We’ve even vowed to take our kids there someday.
But now that someday could perhaps be coming sooner than we thought, because this week Stephmodo is giving away a free week’s stay at La Maisonnette. Did you catch that?? A FREE WEEK’S STAY at the most beautiful cottage in France! I cannot tell you how lucky you would be to win this generous prize. There are five ways to enter—some as easy as commenting on her blog post or liking Stephmodo’s Facebook page. Check out Stephmodo for all the entry details and get entered pronto—the deadline is midnight tonight! You can bet I’m entered every way possible, and my husband better be too….
Now, because I never managed to get my act together to post my photos of La Maisonnette last year, here are a few to show you where you could be vacationing if you win. GO ENTER NOW!