I hesitate to review this house in the region of La Dombes for fear that other people will discover this charming spot in central, southeast France. The renovated farmhouse was delightful: well-appointed, with a lovely country kitchen, back terrace with vegetable garden and fruit trees where one could have breakfast under a shady pergola, a gracious salon with dining area, and lots of bedrooms to choose from. The outdoor patio in the front of the property proved to be a divine spot to grill in the evenings and have dinner with a view of the marvelous gardens. No neighbors were visible, just milking cows and roosters which we heard occasionally in the morning. In fact, one house guest jogged early each day without being disturbed by passing cars.
Genevieve, Jean-Patrick and their three girls welcomed me when I arrived in Chante-Poulet where a basket of local goodies -- from wines to confiture and pates -- awaited my house guests and me. The nearby town of Chatillon-sur-Chalaronne was close by, at most 1.5 kilometers, with its famous market on Saturdays and cafes and restaurants along the picturesque Chalaronne river.
At a petanque competition on my first day, I met a local farmer who suggested we visit Georges Blanc's gastronomic restaurant in Vonnas, also nearby. One Sunday we had a leisurely four-hour lunch there of local specialties -- poulet Bresse a la creme, grenouilles (frogs) -- and of course local wines. Much of our time in the Rhone-Alpes was spent visiting vineyards and wineries, medieval towns, chateaux, enjoying the countryside of pastures with cows and sunflowers, the city of Lyon which is known for its gastronomy, and of course, chocolateries - Weiss Chocolates in St. Etienne and Valrhona's Cite du Chocolat, among others.
The vacation was perfect. As foreigners (Americans) we did have some difficulty in getting internet access on our electronic gadgets in the home, and an Ethernet cable at one desk proved to be essential. This may be due to different pass codes, though I have not encountered this problem before when traveling in Europe and staying in hotels or private homes. One note of caution, I would find out from the couple exactly what animal care duties are required during your stay. We did, however, fall in love with the handsome "country" cat who greeted us each day when we returned home and blessed us with his presence at meal times, and took naps in the sun. Ellen