We wanted to use Brittany Ferries to book ferry crossings and accommodation for a holiday in France. We wanted to spend a week in the Auvergne based near Le Puy-en-Velay. There wasn’t a lot of choice and once I had discounted places involving a long drive along narrow windy roads, that only left one suitable property, Le Betz de Verne, about 40km north east of Le Puy-en-Velay. From the pictures on the website it looked a bit basic but it had a washing machine and was the area we wanted.
Verne is a tiny hamlet on the D105 with a school and a bark processing plant. The gîte in Le Betz is down a side road which leads to a quarry. It is rather a scruffy entrance with parked cars and industrial machinery. The gîte is a typical old stone farm building with barn attached at the end of the road, and the furnishing do rather reflect the age of the building.
There was a plentiful supply of free logs and kindling in the shed. It is surrounded by lawns with a few trees and the old well house and overlooks rather unkempt farmland.
The building has very thick walls with small windows so is quite dark inside. Rooms which aren’t used felt cold and possibly a bit damp.
Downstairs there is the main living room which also serves as the dining room. This has a wood burning fire which keeps the chill off and also provides some heat to the bedroom above.
Off it are the kitchen, downstairs toilet, scullery with washing machine and a small sitting room with a TV. Upstairs through a wooden door and up a creaky old staircase, are two double bedrooms, twin bedroom and bathroom with shower.
Electricity is metered. We used the washing machine twice and didn’t use the cooker. Even so we only just scraped into the free electricity allowance. There was no-one to meet us, but note on door saying the owner was at work, go in and make ourselves at home and they would call round tomorrow. The wood burning stove in main living room had been lit for us and provided welcome warmth.
We went in and made ourselves at home only to discover there was no bed linen, even though we had requested it. We had two contact numbers. One was an answer phone so Michael left a message. He tried the second number but the person who answered didn't understand him and Michael couldn't understand a word he said. He then tried the Brittany Ferry help line which was supposed to be open until 9pm but wasn't so left a message on their answer phone. We then put on the washing machine only to find that it didn't spin and the washing came out sodden. This was not the best of starts. Fortunately Sunday was a glorious day so we got the wet washing dried outside.
We left a sign on the door when we went out next day saying back 7pm, and we have no bed linen… It was still there that evening and no one came to see us. We tried the washing machine again, pressing in different buttons this time but it still didn't spin. We decided then that we would hand wash clothes but the towels would have to last all week without being washed.
On Monday Michael rang Brittany Ferries and asked them to contact the owner for us. The caretaker appeared almost as soon as we got in that night. She spoke no english so we chickened out of reporting the problem with the washing machine until we left.
After that there were no other problems.
I would probably rate the property 6 stars on location and facilities but have further marked it down because of problems over linen and washing machine. I’m not sure that I would choose to stop here again. The nearest village to the gîte is Lapte which has a bakers, butchers and newsagent. Yssingeaux about 7 miles away has two supermarkets.