We are Carol and Emma, your holiday hosts
Our aim is for you to have an experience you’ll treasure long after we say au revoir (or à bientôt we hope). Our passion is to enable others to follow their dreams and develop their skills and talents in a friendly, supportive and fun environment. Of course coffee and cake must be involved too! We look forward to welcoming you to the area, our homes, to what we think is the heart of France, hearing your story or just being able to give you a bit of time and space to relax.
Both of us come from an extensive teaching and training background so we’re used to designing and running courses and it is with great pleasure that we can combine our French ventures with that background and be able to offer you a bit of something special. We look forward to you enjoying the experience of developing your skills, whilst appreciating the character and ambience of our two guest houses and being able to taste some culinary delights. You’ll have the opportunity to make new friends or simply have time for those that may accompany you.
Hi I’m Emma and my husband Derek and I have spent time renovating our old French property in the heart of this beautiful area the Haute Vienne in the Limousin. I now run Vue de Vallée Chambres d’hôtes. I started my working life as all sorts including being PA to a finance director, running a factory canteen, a road sweeper, Human Resources and a Care Assistant to name but a few.
Finally deciding on teaching and school leadership and training, I had an extensive career living and working all around the UK from Glasgow to Bolton to Barrow to Birmingham to Banbury to Bath (yes notice the running theme!), I now run Vue de Vallée … yes you’ve guessed it … in Bersac!
We moved out here to France with our two young daughters to live and were quickly joined by Sandy the dog. I would describe myself as the average ‘Mum’ who enjoys being with people, painting, running and a bit of television. It’s always been an ambition of mine to build and create a place for people to stay, and in beautiful surroundings, here in the region that is also known as the land of a 1,000 lakes, is the ideal spot for that. Following all the dust, rubble, blood, sweat and tears that inevitably a building renovation project brings with it, with my arty background, it has been the decorating, styling and dressing the rooms that I’ve particularly enjoyed. I wanted and continue to ensure that each room has its own character and offers a touch of comfortable luxury for everyone from families to couples across the age spectrum. So the design aspect has allowed me to indulge but equally enjoyable is the comings and goings that people bring with them. Running a Chambres d’hôtes means that I get to meet many people with different backgrounds from all over the world and spend time hearing their stories and plans for the future.
Carol, I met as a fellow Bed & Breakfast’er’ through a mutual friend. We immediately hit it off as I recognised that the same successes and struggles I have had and continue to, so does Carol! Carol has an inordinate amount of energy and is the most helpful and thoughtful person. She’s a great listener and is perceptive, creative, talented particularly at cooking and great at taking a step back and seeing the whole picture. These assets coupled with the greatest of determination to see things through and a ‘get stuck in’ attitude makes for a great working partner.
Two themes run through my life – people and the earth. Combining these with being a ‘doer’ has got me into all sorts of adventures. From a varied working career spanning teaching geography and outdoor field studies, promoting ecological and social sustainability in Manchester to working on an organic rice farm and bird reserve on the Ebro Delta in Spain.
Back in 2012 an opportunity arose and we could put a long held ambition of building a home into practice. My husband, James, and I took the plunge to start a new life, a life where we could be the change we wanted to see in the world. So, rather than always wondering ‘what if’ we embarked on our journey. Having gained planning permission for our self-designed straw bale house we moved to France permanently in 2015, to build our home and new lives with our young son Monty.
With our house nearing completion our path has now meandered to us managing a beautiful local chambres d’hôtes nestled in the Haute Vienne countryside. The world comes to us and we are privileged to host guests from a wide variety of countries. I find running a guest house is the perfect way of combining meeting new people with my passion for growing organic veggies and cooking up tasty food. If you can’t find me I’ll be in the kitchen or garden…or sorting through a mountain of lego to help Monty finish his lego helicopter.
Emma and I have had similar journeys and as such can really relate to each other. She follows her dreams and is completely committed to seeing things through. She’s able to look at things in different ways and come up with creative ways of navigating the trickier stuff. Her ability to bring humour to any situation is a true gift, and one I very much appreciate. With her warm, genuine interest in people, Emma is able to really connect to what’s important to somebody else. It’s a rare quality and I feel very privileged to work with her.