This is one of several gites on one site, run by a friendly Anglo-French couple who live on site and engage with their guests. This included - during our week there, at least - a get together for the guests over wine in the garden.
Our gite was well maintained and clean, with the facilities we needed. It was a bit small for five (the advertised number), but easily large enough for the three of us. If we have any criticisms they were that the TV was a bit small and the shower room/WC had inadequate ventilation. However, we have no real complaints and would happily stay there again.
Facilities on the site included wi-fi, and we were grateful to the owners for going to great lengths to make sure that our teenage son could get a decent signal and a location for his Xbox. There was also a table tennis room and access (for 5 euros) to a washing machine.
Make sure you have directions to the gites before you get to La Chaize Giraud, because they are tucked away in a small lane and you won’t stumble on them while driving through. However, you can also find them on foot by parking near the church (the tower dominates the village skyline) and walking past the vehicle no entry sign left of the west end of the church. The gites actually back on to the church, an attractive Romanesque building dating back 800+ years. The church bell sounds the hour day and night but did not disturb us in the least.
The property has pleasant gardens and a small swimming pool which, tucked behind hedges, is a sun trap. The water in the pool was cold, though.
Within an hour’s drive, we found an interesting chateau at Apremont and an older one at Talmont St Hilaire, the latter associated with Richard Coeur de Lion. St Gilles is a pretty seaside town close by, and there are good beaches along much of the coastline, sometimes a substantial walk through dunes from the car park. If you have a lot of wet weather, make sure you are equipped with books and other indoor entertainment, as this area of the Vendee is not geared to providing wet weather activity.
There is a large Super U store at Bretignolles-sur-Mer, just a few minutes away by car. Within 10 minutes’ walk there is also a small Spar and a very smart bakery. However, you can purchase your bread, croissants, pains au chocolat and pains au raisins from the bakery van that visits the gites at about 8.45 six mornings a week.
The gite was just what we were looking for and it suited the two of us perfectly.
The swimming pool on site was ideal on the very hot days and the local Super U was only a short trike ride (see photos on website) away with the beach only a mile or so further on.
There is plenty to do in the area and restaurants by the lakes serve great food as does the café on the beach.
One morning when we had rain we amused ourselves playing table tennis then drove out to the windmill.
Catherine and Howard were terrific hosts, always willing to help or advise in fact overall we could not have chosen a better spot for our summer holiday.
Our second holiday at Dolphin Gites was, if possible, even more relaxing than the previous year! Gite Tamaris was clean, spacious and well-equipped, the weather was fantastic, our fellow guests were friendly, and hosts Cathy and Howard were welcoming and hospitable. Our ten year old had a great time playing with other children, which made for a relaxing holiday for us! The local area is interesting (Puy du Fou, about an hour away, is a must-see!) and there are lots of places we still have to discover. We have never returned to a holiday destination before we found Dolphin gites- but we will be definitely be going back next year for vist number three!
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Another very relaxing holiday in Dolphin Gites, we stayed in the New Cottage, which was spotlessly clean, and catered for all our needs. The owners Cathy and Howard are very welcoming and knowledgable of the local area. There are lots of good restaurants nearby, a new one has opened up within walking distance, which we would highly recommend. There is a swimming pool, bicycle's and table tennis all on-site for anyone needing to work off their croissants!
This was our second stay at Dolphin Gites. It is a small collection of gites in lawned grounds with beautiful views to the church. It is well organised with a warm swimming pool but what makes these gites special is the warmth of the welcome from the hosts, an Anglo-French couple who have a great knowledge of the area. They organise a drinks party in each week so that all guests have an opportunity to get to know each other. The area has a very good network of cycle paths and quiet lanes and would make excellent cycling for a family. We enjoyed our stay and are in the process of booking another!