The journey to the Hautes-Pyrénées is possible in one day, but you need a few more to get over it. We suggest taking your time and enjoying an overnight stop at a chambre d'hôtes or a hotel.
Caroline's cousins. Marc and Jacqueline, have a chambre d'hôtes at the edge of a small village called Soubran, in the Charente Maritime. There are five guestrooms, each with their own bathroom, plus a fully equipped gite. It has a swimming pool terrace with an impressive view over the valley. They offer table d'hôtes a couple a times a week, where you can join them for dinner. This is a great half way house en route for us.
Our present situation and that of our house in Puydarrieux, do not offer much in the way of comfort. We have just one bedroom until we renovate the upstairs of the house and although the bathrooms are complete, there's still loads to do still to make it complete. So unless you want to camp in the garden, we have a few charming locations for you to rest your head in the meantime.
NEW Harmonie Bed & Breakfast is run by Mandy and Jonathan Gilbert and is in Bonnefont, just 8 kms from our house. They have some sweet rooms, a large garden, sunny terraces and are fun people.
August in Gascony is a beautiful Gascon farmhouse that is to rent in August each year. Just up the road from Marciac, with its Jazz festival, restaurants, cafés and shops. The Pallanne golf club is a few kms away too. The house is newly renovated in great style, has a large secluded pool and gardens and sleeps eight. Perfect for family and friends.
Cardeillac, Gite in the Gers is run by John and Marie Perrin, a fun couple who originate from Bristol. Their gascon farmhouse sleeps up to nine and is in the quiet village of Haget, about half an hour away from us, midway between Marciac and Tarbes. It has a large, secluded garden and is a place you'll feel at home in. Perry created their website and leaflets.
'Jouandassou'. Nick and Dominique Collinson have a great chambres d'hôtes just up the road in Fontrailles. Walk under the stone archway into an old world ambiance. Swimming pool, gardens and a separate lounge/games room.
The Trie-sur-Baise tourist office offer a selection of chambres d'hôtes (B&B) all within ten minutes of Puydarrieux.
Friends with kids have stayed at La Ribere in Bernadet Debat run by Mick and Gaynor David and liked it. They have a large gîte with swimming pool, gym, sauna and a games room for when the weather turns wet.
Domaine à Marmande The Domaine à Marmande is a chambres d'hôtes close to Mirande (about a half hour drive north of us). Run by Charles (US), his wife Caroline (NL), it is positioned peacefully up a country lane and set among the maize fields. The interiors are warm and Mediterranean and they have a separate gîte for those who wish to self cater. Charles also offers his talents as a shaitsu and acupuncture specialist. Domaine à Marmande is an oasis for those wishing to unplug in the Gers. Visit their site here.
Chez Liselotte in Marciac is a chambres d'hotes run by a Swedish friend of ours. Liselotte has worked very hard to create three gorgeous rooms with ensuite bathrooms. Decorated with style, there are art, fabrics and objets trouvés throughout this double-fronted town house. Liselotte is an excellent cook and the perfect host. Her tranquil garden is an oasis during the busy jazz festival. For more details click here. Her site is in Flash and takes a little time to load, but is worth the wait.
The à la campagne organisation have a large list of accommodation in the Hautes-Pyrénées and throughout France.
If you want to find a Bed and breakfast en route, try this site. It's best to print out a few alternatives, perhaps between Orleans and Limoges. That is approximately an eight hours drive from Holland.
If you fancy a gourmet stopover, try the Michelin guides.
Another great resource is the Gîtes de France, who have a huge range of chambres d'hôtes to choose from.
We will be gathering more information as time goes by and any golden tips will be welcome. It would be great to build up a list of stop offs to recommend to others.