Branche D'Olive is a large stone gite for rent in the Aveyron area of the midi-Pyrenees, one of the most exquisite parts of South West France. It overlooks a stunning valley, bathed in sunshine and with wonderful views. Lying in several acres, Branche D'Olive is a spacious home overlooking a pool which will be for your use during your stay. With it's own ancient stone pizza oven (although pizzas are no longer cooked there), and equipped with modern conveniences such as Sky TV (you can also get the BBC) DVD, and CD players, the one thing all guests choose to write home about are the beds - six foot cherry wood 'bateau lit' beds. The house is beautifully decorated, and there is a large library of books as well as a large selection of DVDs for children and grown ups.

Set opposite a small convent building (
the English owner's occasional summer residence), guests have complete privacy. Except that is, for the cows in the field adjacent (who may occasionally peek their noses through the bushes to watch) and the local farmer and his wife who are utterly charming, very friendly and speak more English than you think they do....

The gite has it's own private terrace overlooking the gardens with barbeque, and there is outdoor chess and boules available for guests. Parking is sufficient for two cars (but no more), and you can walk into the dramatic village of Najac (only 10 mins drive away). Horse-riding, kayaking, a tarzan park (swinging between trees) and mountaineering are also nearby - as well as mini golf if you so fancy. There is an excellent golf course in Albi, the town where Toulouse Lautrec was born, where the red stone walls of the buildings see as much sun as they do in Nice. There are some amazing walks around Najac, as well as a charming market on Sunday mornings. There is also a much grander market at St Antonin du Val (where kayaking with the 'Blue Duck' company is highly recommended - just by the bridge entering the town.)

The most colourful of markets is held in nearby (20 mins drive) Villefranche, where on Thursday morning the local farmers and traders sell their wares in the medieval town square, cobbled and overlooked by the majestic church. Eat at Dali's overlooking the square, (you'll need to book a table on the terrace several weeks in advance!), and watch the locals sell their fruit and vegetables at a fraction of the price of UK supermarkets. Previous guests have reported buying a tray of peaches for less than fifty pence!

Toulouse is a foodie paradise and very much worth a day trip, as is Cordes, where the views at the top of the hill are awe inspiring - it's a place for artists and writers. If you are so inspired, there is an easel available for your use at the gite, and artists paints and canvasses are easily bought at nearby Villefranche in the Bricolage.

There is a list of all the good restaurants and 'must sees' during your stay. There are grocers, a patisserie, a smashing pizzeria, wonderful creperie and traditional restaurant (Salamander) in Najac, which all offer excellent value.  

In short, if you have forgotten what it is to relax or to have fun, Branche D'Olive will teach you again.
STOP PRESS! Both Branche D'Olive and the neighbouring house are for sale! Offers in the region of £500,000 to be made to Sarah Tucker, the owner, via this link

Rental of Branche D'Olive will only be in conjunction with the
next couple of Yoga retreats