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Le Canard au Parapluie Rouge, Celon, Centre, France

Exterior view of Le Canard

Le Canard logoLe Canard au Parapluie Rouge, which translates, delightfully, as The Duck With The Red Umbrella, is a lovely, ivy-clad country home set in large grounds and gardens and dating back, in its oldest part, to the 17th century. The property has served travellers for more than 100 years and at one time was known as the Hotel de la Gare. The station referred to in that incarnation is now closed but evidence of the house's past is there in the occasional train that rattles past. Le Canard, however, is more than a little bit of local history. Owners Kathy and Martin have combined the property's characterful past with a touch that is both thoroughly modern and eclectic.

A touch of Caribbean magic

Bedroom at Le CanardLe Canard's owners, Kathy, who comes from Ohio, and Martin, originally from Wiltshire, met while working in the Caribbean and their experiences there are reflected in the warm and vibrant tones of the decor and furnishings, which combine brilliantly with the house's traditionally French feel. The five bedrooms, all on the first floor, are subtly different, with influences ranging from the West Indies to the French seaside. All have been updated with modern fittings and combine comfort with style and character. Downstairs guests can unwind from the rigours of the road, enjoying a relaxing drink in the garden in summer or toasting their toes before a roaring fire in winter.

Food for friends

We have just returned from our second stay at Le Canard and found it to be refreshingly un-changed. The hosts are just as welcoming (including the dog, Ruby) comfort equally as good, food as divine as ever and although we stayed for one night only would happily make it longer. This time were on our way to Perigird Noir and wanted to visit Kathy and Martin again to set the tone for our holiday - Le Canard did not disappoint. We first visited in mid-September 2010, stopping off en route from Calais to the Haut Languedoc with border collies Fynn and Jack in tow, Le Canard presented a real haven after seven hours of driving that included the customary battle with Le Peripherique, surely still the worst ring-road in the world. As well as a warm and cheery welcome from Kathy and Martin, Ruby the dog did her best to make Fynn and Jack feel at home, joining in their seemingly endless games of football. The promise of a cool drink in the garden and a chance to meet the other guests before we sat down for dinner was irresistible, and as we all gathered it became obvious that a great night of eating, drinking and travellers' tales was on the menu. Dinner at Le Canard is always a social occasion with guests and hosts

Le Canard au Parapluie Rouge

sat around the huge, candlelit dining table and enjoying Kathy's excellent and varied cuisine. As Martin ensured that the wine flowed and we all tucked in to whole baked camembert, chicken and tarragon pie, a selecion of wonderful French cheeses and topped off by an alcoholic peach treat, we unwound and enjoyed the atmosphere of a unique evening. Around the table were travellers from far afield as well as Britain, some calling in at Le Canard while on the way home, others, like us, enjoying a break from the long journey south. Paws In Britain were not the only ones taking advantage of Le Canard's wonderfully dog friendly outlook. Wally the rescue dog had come all the way from Hong Kong with his Australian owners, and won the hearts of all his fellow guests. After a comfortable night's sleep, we somehow found room for breakfast before heading off in our different directions. It was like saying goodbye to old friends, even though we had known each other for only one evening.

Wildlife and walks

Walking country near Le CanardLe Canard is well-placed for the Brenne National park, the area of 1,000 lakes renowned for its bird-watching opportunities. But you don't have to leave the garden to enjoy the wildlife. Red squirrels live among the trees there and the pic noir, the characterful, red-capped French woodpecker, is a frequent visitor. The region features plenty of peaceful countryside, with rivers and woodland creating a gentle landscape, ideal for walkers and cyclists.

For details of Le Canard au Parapluie Rouge
visit Paws Abroad

The perfect stopover

mapThe French region of Centre didn't get its name for nothing. It is right in the middle of France and, as such, is the perfect location for a stop-over on the long journey between north and south, east and west. But that is not the full story. Centre has many
charms and attractions
in its own right, and is one of the most popular areas for Britons seeking either an away from it all holiday home, or even a new life in what many would regard as a more genuinely French corner of
France than some of the other perhaps better known destinations.

Le Canard au Parapluie Rouge
3, rue des rollets
36200 Celon
France
Telephone: 33 (0) 254253008
email: info@lecanardbandb.com
website: www.lecanardbandb.com
Le Canard - the Buddha
Contact Paws In Britain 01233 861337 info@pawsforawalk.co.uk
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