If the thought of packing up and living in a treehouse doesn’t stir a tiny bit of nostalgia, your inner child may be in need of some nurturing. Which might have been exactly what Natalie and Andy had in mind when they first dreamed up the idea of building their fantasy treehouse in the grounds of their 19th century château in Creuse, central France.
Fortunately, Andy is a master carpenter and Natalie has a background in interior design, the perfect skillset to take on such a project, especially when coupled with beautiful historic woodland, heaps of creativity and imagination, and an unerring instinct for fairytale enchantment – the secret to all the best treehouses.
There’s more than a hint of luxury in this alternative wooden escape. Compact yet spacious, it’s finished to a high spec with lovely little details to make you feel right at home (including a handy Netflix subscription).
The master bedroom feels almost opulent with a show-stopping chandelier hung from a double-height ceiling, and squishy, sink-into-me bedding guarantees a great nights sleep.
Large french doors open from the lounge and the master bedroom onto the outdoor terrace, meaning you wake up to a countryside vista and a sense of tranquillity.
Kiddies get to climb a cute ladder to their secret, turreted sleeping quarters, almost as exciting as breakfast time, where you’ll hear a bell and get to winch a lovely basket up to the treehouse by pulley! The terrace hot tub comes complete with al fresco dining table and stunning sunset views over the Thaurion Valley.
As fun as soaring in the treetops undoubtedly is, Sommet de Memanat is just as enticing at ground level. Pop downstairs and you’ll find kids’ adventure playgrounds, tyre swings suspended from impressively sturdy trees, trampolines tucked into the forest, and even an ancient grotto (just in case the treehouse itself doesn’t satisfy all fairytale desires).
If you like dogs, the family has three and they’re always up for making new friends, although kids might find the resident donkeys, goats, horses and chickens a bit more exciting, since they probably don’t have those at home.
Naturally, the woodland is wonderful for long walks and silent contemplation, but it’s just as good for den building, family picnics, or fishing and swimming in the river. All the massive trees are an open invitation to clambering and climbing, and the outdoor swimming pool is ideal for cooling down on the warm, sunny afternoons that are pretty much summer staples in this part of France.
If any of your French family holiday fantasies involve wild, untouched countryside and dense forests, huge lakes with peaceful beaches, quaint villages, charming local traditions, and a fair scattering time-stood-still towns, then this is the family holiday destination for you.
Creuse could be described as the undiscovered department of central France, which most folks simply whisk past on the way south. This actually turns out to be a good thing, since crowds of visitors would definitely spoil the magic for those in the know. Natalie and Andy have heaps of experience entertaining their own young family and they’re always happy to share tips and give advice on what to see and do.
Note, a car is essential to explore this part of France. We opted for an Avis Renault Scenic, which had enough space and comfort for us all.
Château de Memanat, Chavanat, Creuse
Direct UK flights to Limoges take 1 hour, 40 minutes.
Château de Memanat is 1 hour, 15 minutes drive east of Limoges.
Creuse is made for driving around, the country roads are a delight and you’ll definitely want to hire a car to go exploring.
Avis has a pick-up point at Limoges Airport, and a wide range of family cars from as little as £35 per day. Plus, if you’re tempted by the thought of escaping into the trees in the very near future, the Avis Early Summer Sale is offering savings of up to 20% on family car hire until 31 May 2018.
From £135 per night, based on a family of four.
Including Welcome Pack with a bottle of wine or champagne (groceries on request), and Breakfast Hamper each morning.