The photos of this stone house in the quaint Medieval french village of Beynac looked too good to be true. As it turned out, if anything, they didn't do the place justice. Mont Joie is a little piece of magic where we spent two weeks recently. Imagine waking up in the morning and your biggest decision is which patisserie to walk to for fresh croissants! The place has three private terraces, all with slightly different views of the misty Dordogne. The house has a great kitchen, so many nights we cooked for ourselves and enjoyed the view. One great plus for us was there are TWO master bedrooms, each with private bathrooms and each equally desirable, so if you travel with friends, nobody has to settle for a bad room. The owner, Vincent, was easily available to answer email questions, and he supplied a huge and very useful guide to the town and the region. Plus, he has people in the town to address any needs you might have. The only very slight downside is the single parking space, which is small and extremely hard to access. We never even tried - we just kept our car in one of the very reasonable public lots about a five-minute walk from our door. Don't just take my word for it. Rent the 2000 film Chocolat. Look at the early scene of Juliet Binoche and her daughter making their way up a narrow stone street. That is YOUR street if you stay at Mont Joie!
We enjoyed staying at Mont Joie so much in 2014 that we planned our 2017 trip around a return to Beynac (which is the loveliest village in the Dordogne - quite a feat!)
Mont Joie itself is even nicer and more charming than it appears in the photos and of course fits perfectly with the rest of the village. As other reviewers have said, this is perhaps the best one or two family holiday rental that we have ever stayed in.
Communication with the owner Vincent and the greeter was excellent and we were thrilled to find that Mont Joie remained absolutely perfect. It is clear that this is a home as much as a holiday rental and is beautifully and authentically furnished with obvious care and taste.
We were greeted again by a welcome basket with some local essentials, and a quick trip to the mini-store with its small but excellent wine, terrine and foie gras collections ensured a relaxing first night. It was so nice to open the big windows overlooking the Dordogne River and watch the hot air balloons float by as we enjoyed dinner at the big table.
The bedrooms are large with excellent beds, linen and storage. Our party included 2 small children this time (3 and 5 years) and they very much enjoyed their cosy bunk room next to the master bedroom.
The bathrooms remain excellent and the separate laundry with washer and dryer was most welcome after staying in hotels earlier in our trip.
Vincent provides a very comprehensive orientation booklet and list of suggested activities which we highly recommend following. Being our second visit, we enjoyed some favourites such as a self-guided tour of Beynac Chateau (more authentic and far less crowded than Castelnaud), a visit to the Marquessac Gardens, the Sunday market in St Cyprien and the unmissable Wednesday night market at Belves. We also discovered Gourdon which is a wonderful hill town in the Lot department 30 minutes away.
We will most definitely return again!
My wife and I were lucky enough to spend six nights at Mont Joie in early December and cannot speak highly enough of this beautiful home in what is a truly exceptional part of France.
As Chateau Beynac and the village first came into view the effect was simply stupendous and we could hardly believe that the next week was to be spent in such a glorious village.
Martine met us in the car park and very ably assisted the transfer of the luggage and our introduction to the joys of Mont Joie. She is a wonderful asset to the owners and as helpful and friendly as can be. She also kindly booked dinner for us at a local restaurant.
As you step into the house the feeling of stepping back in time is inescapable however the furniture and fit out are so comfortable and welcoming that you feel completely at home (not that our home is in any sense comparable!).
I won't describe the house in detail as that has been done many times before. Suffice to say that absolutely everything you have read in the reviews Mont Joie is accurate. As we were there in early winter we did not get to spend much time in the two terraced gardens or on the terrace off the main bedroom however they would clearly be wonderful and peaceful areas in warmer weather.
The weather for early December was wonderful for touring however with crisp nights clearing to sunny skies and no rain or winds at all so we counted ourselves very lucky.
Mont Joie and Beynac are a fantastic base from which to tour the Dordogne and we certainly did a lot of that. The options are almost endless and are such as to cater to all interests. What was equally wonderful however was to come home at the end of a long days touring to the comforts of our temporary home in Mont Joie. Often the highlight of the day was to sit in the comfortable couches with a glass of local wine and review the wonders we had seen, with the beauty of the setting sun turning the evening sky a glorious pink superbly reflected off the surface of the river just below the house! Oh to be an artist and try to capture the beauty of those evenings. Even so the memories remain strongly and the photos will have to do.
We feel very lucky to have been able to stay at Mont Joie and to have experienced all that the home, village and area can provide, even for such a short period of time. Our hosts were very kind to promptly arrange the return of several items of clothing that I had left during the final pack up.
We could not imagine a more satisfying vacation than our 2 weeks at Mont Joie in picture perfect Beynac. Having spent 3-4 weeks annually in most European countries from Norway to Hungary, Turkey and Sicily over the past 30 years, this year we wanted something special for our family's return to the Dordogne and indeed we found it in Mont Joie. Everything about it was superb including the spectacular setting, the architecture, the tastefulness of its furnishings, the privacy and tranquility, the high level of comfort, the proximity to excellent resources and nearby attractions, the owner's extraordinary attention to detail and responsiveness. We must also mention the exceptionally warm, friendly and helpful Martine who greeted us and was repeatedly helpful to us during our stay and, if you are interested in wildlife, you'll be very pleased with the swans, herons, egrets, ducks and the constant aerial display of the swallows in full view from the great room, the balcony and terraces. Mont Joie is a great value and we are most grateful to the owner for this truly exceptional, most rewarding and memorable experience.
We stayed at Mont Joie for 5 days and had the most wonderful holiday. Beynac is one of our favourite places in France, so we were delighted to find Mont Joie was as good as we had hoped. The room proportions were bigger than expected and it is an exceptionally well renovated and equipped property. Beds really comfortable, v good kitchen. The balcony and terraces are so relaxing. We spent a lot if time on the balcony off the top master bedroom, as it was the nearest to the kitchen, caught a lot of sun, had a BBQ, and had great views in different directions. The evening temperatures meant we could stay out enjoying the evening until very late. The bonus of this property is that it would be equally good in rainy weather as inside and outside areas both great.
We has a 7 year old and 11 year old with us, and they loved Mont Joie too. They chose to shared the small bunk room, and didn't seem to mind in the slightest that it is small and without a window.... In fact they loved it for that (and there is a small window in the door of the adjoining hallway). Thoughtful touches such as a nightlight in here made you realise this is a home.
The position of this property is fabulous. Short walk down the hill to the shops and river, and upwards to the chateau. We loved all the tourists passing the door and the sense of life it gives, whilst being able to tuck ourselves away in the peace of the villa.
We parked in the parking grotto on the first day to unload luggage, and later received a round of applause from passers-by for getting the car out again, but after that we decided to buy a week-long car park ticket for the nearby car parks.
We enjoyed the many levels of the house and the steepness of the access pathways/road, but anyone with very bad knees, other mobility problems or heart failure would find the location challenging.
The owner, agent and housekeeper were all a delight to deal with. Very friendly, efficient and helpful. The locals were similarly so. The information pack is very useful too.
I am certain we will be back, and definitely recommend Mont Joie.