who am I?
I am from Brive-la-Gaillarde, a town renowned for its rugby (!) and its market, made famous through one of Georges Brassens’ songs. Brive is located between Bordeaux and Toulouse and is named the ‘riant portail du Midi’; we consider it to be already the South, with sunny weather from May to October.
We like our food, and have many specialities such as truffles, foie gras, conserve of duck and duck breast, walnut oil, cabécous (goat cheese). Brive even has its very own type of mustard: the moutarde violette, or purple mustard, very much appreciated by my in-laws.
Only now do I realise to what extent I was spoilt in my childhood food-wise, and nowadays I make the most of every ray of sunshine when I come back to France!
why laurence residence?
It all started a few years ago, shortly after my last daughter’s birth. I had stopped working in customer relations, but still wanted to work with a concept that appealed to me. This is when I started to think about France, and particularly the region I’m coming from; of course I am extremely proud of it (!) It finally took shape when a friend told me he was always disappointed with holiday houses in Dordogne, that they were always very rustic, and that it was a shame there weren’t any charming residences where you could really feel at home, be it with friends or family. This person, without knowing it, has helped me a great deal; from that moment on, my goal was to look for houses with a « soul », holiday homes as pleasant inside as outside, like some of the ones I knew.
how do I select my houses?
For me, the key word is custom made, for the client but also the owner. It isn’t the quantity, but truly the quality and originality.
I have a special relationship with each house. For now, I’m only working with French owners. A few times a year, I go and search for a ‘hidden gem’. In a very pleasant way, my parents and I leave Brive to go and tour around the neighbouring regions.
In order to associate business and pleasure, we book a room in a Bed & Breakfast where we spend the night. And every time, we realise how important it is to see it for ourselves, and not trust the photos on the internet, as they can be misleading, and you could be greatly disappointed…
The visit of the place and the location are both relevant: to make sure that the property is not too near a busy road, an airport or any other neighbouring nuisance.
what is my approach?
I always ask myself whether I would like to stay in this house on holiday with my husband and daughters, during our much-awaited break. This is why the properties always have a swimming pool.
Furthermore, a wide range of options are possible: for example, we find it much easier not to have to bring our bed linen or towels. Sometimes, we like to call a baby-sitter to go and have a romantic dinner.
At other times, we wish to rent bikes to go and explore the surroundings. But a wine-tasting session, organised by the owner or a local producer is, for us, simply the best way to relax and spend some good time with lovely people.
In regard to the final household cleaning (not really our favourite part of the stay…), it is mandatory (and sometimes included in the rental price) out of respect to the next holiday-goers.
where are the properties?
I found it to be a shame to restrict myself to the Dordogne region, as the South-West in its ensemble is also breathtaking. My parents, for example, have had a holiday house in the Lot, near Souillac, for years; it is where they go to play golf and do some gardening. The region is simply superb.
The Lot-et-Garonne, with its numerous fortified towns, is also full of charm. But for me, the real discovery was the Gers: not very populated (compared to Holland!), this region remains untouched and is truly a feast for the eyes with its adorable little churches and castles. Its reputation as the ‘French Tuscany’ is, for me, completely justified. While you may not find a Cahors or Monbazillac wine, it is full of gems such as the Madiran wine or, for amateurs, the Armagnac brandy.
free french lesson
In order for you to fully enjoy the region, I would be delighted to offer a free French lesson with your booking of one of the properties. The emphasis of the lesson would be a practical approach to anything you may need during your stay.
cooking of the South-West workshop on request
You will discover the traditional dishes in which you will be able to use delicious ingredients, namely from the Périgord. You will think you have already left for France! The lunch takes place in a very pleasant villa in the Amsterdam Zuid.