We came on holiday to The Courtyard at the beginning of August as return visitors this year. Everyone has their reasons as you will see from the reviews, but for us it was the feeling of being somewhere warm, welcoming and beautiful, with amazing people!
We drove through the night via the tunnel (there are other quicker ways such as flying or the new quick TGV service, but our young family comes with a carful of luggage) and spent the day in Poitier before the final drive to St Catherine. Within minutes of the car doors opening, our son and daughter had made friends with the other families' children and headed off to play!
The gites are clean and very well appointed with every piece of equipment you could ever need (stairgates, cots, childrens toys, well equipped kitchens, dishwashers, even Tassimo machines!) The arrival dinner is extremely welcoming after the long drive and gives a taste of what's to come.
Our kids LOVE the two dogs Suzy and Lyla, and had a great time feeding and watching the chickens roam through the yard. The swimming pool and play area were a big hit, and it was hard to keep the kids away from them!
In terms of activities, chocolate making is a must, as is the horse riding and crafts. 90 mins drive will get you to the seaside and the amazing zoo situated on the coast. Although a reasonable drive, we thoroughly recommend it. Angouleme and Cognac are close, and pretty towns to visit and look round.
Of course, the holiday wouldn't be complete without sampling Steph's amazing cooking. My wife is dairy and gluten free, and Steph didn't disappoint, going out of her way to make sure we were catered for! The children get their food first, then head off to do a number of activities after dinner.
We've spoken about the children, but equally important for any family is how Steph and Charlie look after the adults. They have a way of making sure the children are occupied so the adults can get on with the important task of relaxing with some good food, drink and a bit of socialising! On a family holiday the adults are just as important as the kids. We spent most evenings of our week on the terrace chatting to Charlie, Steph and the other families long after the children had gone to bed, and for us this made our week. To sit on the terrace watching the sun go down and chatting about non child related subjects was bliss!
Our week was capped off when adults and children all jumped in the pool at once (search for the photo on this page). The children even got certificates to say what they enjoyed best during their week- a really nice touch.
Sorry for the long review, but its hard to do the Courtyard justice any other way. You have to experience it to believe it- We promise you won't be disappointed!