The Gascony Farmhouse

near Tarbes, Gascony, France Book from

Reviewed by Laura Dixon
Set in glorious Gascony countryside, this hippy-deluxe 4-bedroom farmhouse offers a pool and bucolic gardens
This is the French dream: a glorious 19th-century house with a pool worthy of St Tropez, a garden filled with lavender that would put Provence to shame, and a hippy-deluxe house with dashes of Parisian style. Drowsy bees weave in and out of dusky pink roses in the 15-acre garden, views stretch out over a shimmering lake to the snow-capped Pyrenees, and you can feel your stress evaporate as you relax on loungers by the sparkling pool.

With 4 bedrooms, the farmhouse is ideal for a large family or group of friends, ideally with children, for celebrations, holidays and everything inbetween. In a lesser-visited part of France, it’s imbued with a gentle pace and the finer things in life: sunshine, wine and delicious French cheeses.

Inside, coloured chandeliers hang over bright patterned tile floors, armoires, Chinese cabinets and vases are filled with roses. Fairy lights decorate the semi-open barn, ideal for alfresco dining, and a claw-footed tub is surrounded by antique gilt framed mirrors on the bathroom wall. It's so lovely you won't want to leave.


  • Set in 15 peaceful and secluded acres, with fabulous views of one of France's most unspoilt regions
  • Exceptionally family-friendly, with baby cots, highchairs, monitor, pushchair, toys, and toddler-proof pool
  • A region packed with day trips including markets, historical cities or lunch in Spain, just an hour away
  • Bedrooms and bathrooms are stylishly-appointed, spacious and comfortable, plus a kitchen for self-catering
  • An easy drive from airports, especially Pau and Toulouse


  • There are no shops or bars within walking distance, but the nearest (highly-recommended) auberge is just 2km away
  • It's not as dependably sunny as Provence or Languedoc
  • This is a much loved and lived-in house - expect some of the owners’ clutter and knick-knacks
  • The 2 living rooms seem a little dark and shabby, although a cool respite from sun
  • It’s creaky, noise travels - early risers take note!

Best time to go

The villa is open year-round. The weather and gardens make it perfect in summer, spring and autumn will suit keen walkers, and winter draws guests for casual skiing in the Pyrenees. We also love May, which has sunshine and fewer crowds.

Come in August for the jazz festival in nearby Marciac, or for the bizarre pig festival in Trie sur Baïse: sample charcuterie, enter the contest for best piggy outfit or place a bet on a piglet race!

Our top tips

Make the most of the peaceful and rural surroundings. By day: soak up the sounds of bird song; by night listen to the chirruping crickets and tooting owls and wonder at the plentiful stars overhead.

Eat well: at the nearby Ferme du Lac for excellent rustic French food and a warm welcome, at the farmers markets for local honey, charcuterie and mountain cheeses and at the plentiful patisseries for fresh pain au chocolate, palmieries and café éclairs.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Villa
  • 4
  • Self-catering
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available


The 4 first-floor bedrooms (4 doubles, 3 of which can be twins) continue the house’s shabby-chic style and are large, filled with grand items of furniture - antique beds, armoires and chandeliers - and have fantastic views wherever you look. Voile curtains billow at the windows and old-fashioned shutters keep things cool and dark at night.

There are 2 large bathrooms, one of which is an ensuite (to Tournalet) and the other is accessed from the main landing. Both have claw-footed tubs, wooden floors and rattan recliners. Tiled, walk-in power showers and double vanity areas give a contemporary edge.

One of the bedrooms (Tournalet) is reached by walking through another bedroom (Tresbos), so these 2 rooms work best for a family, with the ensuite making a sizeable family bathroom. We think the house would be best for 4-6 adults plus assorted children, but the unusual layout might feel a bit cramped if you booked it out at capacity (8 adults).

Features include:

  • Barbeque
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Internet access
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Swimming pool
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Washing machine
  • Wifi internet


The farmhouse has 3 dining areas: an indoor dining room, the open-fronted barn with long oak table and firepit, and the garden’s café-style tables, chairs and barbecue.

The kitchen is well set up and has a good selection of utensils, crockery and glassware. There's also a large fridge/freezer, coffee machine, microwave, gas hob and dishwasher.

i-escape guests will receive a generous welcome hamper including bread, cheese, milk, ham, and wine, and the cupboards have staples (washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets, dried herbs and stock cubes)

In Trie sur Baïse (4km), there is a good supermarket, a bakery, fruit and veg shop and a farmers' market on Tuesday mornings.

Nearby Ferme Auberge du Lac (2km) serves rustic French food, all of which is produced at the farm. We loved the duck breast salad, foie gras and Ile Flotant. You can order by phone for gourmet takeaway.

Additionally, a local chef can come to the house to cook for you - anything from simple stove-top meals to 5-course dinners.

Features include:

  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • In house cook
  • Microwave
  • Oven


  • At the farmhouse: relax by the pool, stroll in the gardens and enjoy the mountainous scenery
  • Visit a different market every single day! Trie sur Baïse (4km) is close, with a weekly vide grenier (barter for antiques) and farmers’ market. Look out for saucisson, olives and the local sweet wine: Floc
  • The local lake is a bird sanctuary and fishing hotspot; hide out in a viewing platform to see kingfishers, herons, cranes and buzzards, or catch your own supper (March-Sept only, permits must be arranged in advance)
  • Drive to the Pyrenees. Hike up the Pic de Midi (there's an astronomical observatory on top), or stroll the national park to see violets and wild lilies. In season, ski the uncrowded pistes of St Lary and Val Louron
  • The owners can arrange horse-riding treks through a local stables and there are bikes to borrow - the local scenery is stunning
  • Day trips to historical cities: Auch (a pretty Roman town and river), Pau (with its famous chateau and oldest golf course in continental Europe) and even Lourdes to see Our Lady!
  • Tarbes has lovely upmarket shops, including Comptoir des Cotonniers and Galleries Lafayette
  • Visit Spain: Bossòst (just an hour away) is great for Rioja and has fantastic tapas bars

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife


The farmhouse is an exceptionally child-friendly place and we consider it ideal for a large family or for a group of families holidaying together. There's a full range of equipment for babies and toddlers as well as plenty for older children to do in the vicinity.

It's one of our very best houses for holidaying with other families, too. We especially liked the bikes to borrow and the store room full of trikes, ride-on tractors and outdoor games.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Three of the 4 bedrooms can be made up as twins. Tresbos and Tournalet are inter-connecting with an adjoining bathroom which makes a good set-up for a family. Shutters mean that the rooms stay dark and cool.


Babysitting is available by arrangement in advance with an English-speaking babysitter (additional charge)

Baby listening:

A baby monitor is available.

Baby equipment:

  • 2 baby cots
  • High chair
  • Pushchair
  • Potty and toilet seat
  • Plastic bowls, beakers, cutlery
  • Toddler bed sides
  • Pool-safety alarmed bracelets

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

The farmhouse is self catering and the kitchen is equipped with a steriliser, microwave and blender. There are 2 high chairs and a small (indoor/outdoor) children's table for nippers, too.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool with slide and inflatables (alarmed bracelets)
  • Toys and books from toddler upwards
  • Playstation
  • Playroom
  • Sky TV plus children’s books and DVDs
  • Wooden house on stilts in the garden
  • Swings, slides and seesaw
  • Children’s bikes, toddler trikes, etc.
  • Table tennis

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Waterpark with slides at Mirande (30 minutes)
  • Lake with nature reserve, woodland and nature-spotting (700 yards)
  • Canoe at Canoes de Beaucaire
  • Du Moudang: aerial rope walks and swings over a gorge
  • Le Vert en L’Air in Pavie: pony rides and open-air kid's activities
  • Small park with animals, train ride and pedaloes on a pretty lake at Parc de loisirs de la demi-lune near Lannemezan (25 mins)

Families Should Know:

There are alarm bracelets for pool safety. The alarm will go off if the bracelets are submerged in water. The nearest shop for nappies etc is 5 minutes away.


  • Airport: 1 hour
  • Medical facilities: 30 minutes
  • Nearest shop: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly:

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