We drove down from Paris through every type of weather. As we left the flat lands behind and started to get nearer to our destination in the Dordogne the landscape slowly started to evolve, with long rolling hills and all the forests changing their coats for more autumnal oranges and reds. The nearer we got to Le Vieux Logis the roads became quieter and quieter, the hills less rolling and more snuggled together and we finally reached our destination with the sun having departed an hour or so ago. It had felt like a long journey, so Cheeky my travel companion and I were very excited to arrive in the picturesque little village of Trémolat on the Dordogne River.
When we pulled up at Le Vieux Logis, in front of us was a gorgeous rustic old 16th/17th century stone farm building. Night had already descended on the Dordogne the warm glow of the light emanating through the windows of the hotel created an inviting homely quality that made one feel as if one had ‘Arrived’. Once inside there certainly was a very calm and peaceful atmosphere to the place, we received a very friendly welcome. Once we reached our room we found a very elegant C18th styled interior awaiting us. It was bright and airy with, as we would discover the next morning beautiful views of the terrace and French style gardens.
Apparently Le Vieux Logis was initially a priory in the 16th-17th centuries, but it was then transformed into a farm growing of all things tobacco! The current family bought the place in the 50s and turned it into the hotel that it is today. Le Vieux Logis also became a member of the Relais & Châteaux association in 1955 and gained a Michelin star for the restaurant in 2005. The current second generation owner Bernard Giraudel lives by the motto “I don’t work, I look after my guests”, he has become “Marchand de bonheur” literally translated as merchant of happiness. The house itself seems to echo Bernard’s sentiment with so many different areas where one can sit and while away the hours; whether it is in the gardens, by the pool, in either of the homely sitting rooms or even the cosy smoking room and bar. Le Vieux Logis also boasts three restaurants: the Michelin star Gourmet Restaurant in the gorgeous old Tobacco barn, the intimate but traditional Bistrot de la Place and The Toast which serves more simple fare. That evening we were to experience the fine dining of the Michelin Star Gourmet restaurant, a great introduction to the local culinary delights and a lovely way to unwind after our long journey. Once we had finished dinner it was through to the small but intimate bar to once again spread the ‘Espresso Martini with rum’ love, once again the bar staff were convinced by the rum replacement over vodka. One step at a time, we will convert the world.
We awoke the next morning to complete peace and tranquillity with just the odd chiming of the church bells, someone cutting their grass and relaxing sounds of the countryside. The early sun was up and we could now see the beauty of the surrounding gardens and village. We prepared ourselves with a hearty breakfast for the day ahead, then ventured off to experience the beauty of the Perigord region. It seems that History and Geology are rife in this part of the world, you will never be stuck for places to visit. From gorgeous historical villages such as the La Roque Gageac, Sarlat and Domme to the outstanding painted caves of Lascaux or the countless Troglodyte dwellings which seem to hide in every cliff face, or prehistoric museums. Twice I nearly cricked my neck whilst driving due to ‘double taking’ when spotting giant T-rex skeletons inhabiting the front gardens of local museums.
It is worth mentioning the local terroir which can be experienced at Le Vieux Logis but all around the region too. It seems that every other shop in the region will sell you Foie Gras in every type and size of jar, tin or bottle, Truffles in 101 different forms and an endless supply of locally grown Ceps. It seems that to the locals that a meal is not a meal unless you have Foie Gras with every course! Which for myself and Cheeky went down a treat, though I do wonder if after the amount that we ate that our livers were just about ready to turn into Foie Gras.
After the day’s escapades it was such a pleasure to come back to Le Vieux Logis to unwind and freshen up. It was then off to Bistrot de la Place for a more laid back approach to French cuisine. The place had the feel of a small village French dinner, but seemed to be full of Americans on this particular evening. The food was simple but our appetites we very well satiated all washed down with a bottle of ??????. We strolled back to our hotel through the sleepy little village of Tremolat where time seems to have stood still since the 1920’s, straight to the bar for a cheeky little nightcap… or two, until we could hear our comfy bed beckoning us to visit that old familiar land of nod.
Le Vieux Logis is a classic boutique hotel with its 14 rooms and 9 apartments. It is a part of the world where one stops paying attention to the time begins to throw off the worries and the stresses of 21st Century life. What more does one need for a relaxing break in the south of France.
Le Vieux Logis
Le Vieux Logis’ 3-night Christmas package guarantees total relaxation and legendary Perigord food and wine to savour in the beautiful surroundings of this former priory, now a luxurious retreat, at Trémolat, one of the prettiest villages in the Dordogne. Their 3-night package is based around December 24th, the most important day in France, and priced from €780 per room (based on 2 sharing) including a memorable gourmet dinner in the Michelin Star restaurant on Christmas Eve, accommodation, a sumptuous buffet breakfast each day and taxes. Reservations: www.vieux-logis.com / (+33 553 228006).