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Le Petit Tournesol: A Lovely Experience Like No Other

14 September 2016 | Mri & Rob Grout - Lifelong Vagabonds

Neither Rob nor I have received any benefits from Le Petit Tournesol for writing this hotel review. We simply chose this bed and breakfast in Le Grand-Madieu for being the cheapest in the area at the time, but after spending a wonderful night here, we now have so many other reasons for staying at this delightful B&B.

Le Petit Tournesol: 4.8/5 Stars

Reception: 5 stars Wifi: 3 stars
Bedroom: 5 starsCleanliness: 5 stars
Bathroom: 5 starsStaff: 5 stars
Living Room: 5 starsLocation: 3 stars
Breakfast: 5 starsValue: 5 stars

Reception: 5 Stars

As soon as we rang the doorbell at Le Petit Tournesol, we were given a very warm welcome by Karen, one of the two owners of this beautiful bed and breakfast. She was in the middle of making some homemade jam (which was freaking amazing by the way), but nevertheless she took out the time to have a chat with us and her partner inbetween checks to the kitchen.

Given this place is a B&B, the 'reception' closes for the night when the two go to bed and reopens again whenever they rise. Since Rob and I were still used to Spanish hours on our arrival, all we can say is that they were definitely up before 9 as a full continental breakfast was laid out on the table by 9.30. However, they were undoubtedly up much sooner than that because the storm had wrecked their yard and yet, when we finally came downstairs, it looked as tidy as ever.

She also showed us both rooms available (a single room at 45 euros/night and another two room rental (not including the ensuite) of 60 euros/night), told us what was availabe in the town, and made sure we had everything we needed to feel at home.

There is free, off-street parking at Le Petit Tournesol.

Bedroom: 5 stars

le petit tournesol medieval beams
le petit tournesol medieval bed

We chose the more expensive option for the night partly due to it offering a downstairs living room, a large sized bedrom, and a massive ensuite for only 15 euros more. However, the main reason for our choice (or rather, my choice and Rob's acceptance of it; lols) was that they had decorated it to resemble a medieval atmosphere and if there's one thng that would make me shell out a little bit more, it's a medieval feel.

I mean, the roof beams alone were just breath-taking. But then the bed was 300 years old and full of so many amazing carvings and it was just like wow. Then obviously the mattress itself was also to die for, especially after a long day's drive and the memory foam thickness of it gave us one of the best sleeps we've had in months.

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Bathroom: 5 stars

le petit tournesol bathroom
The bathtub was separate from the shower and had spa sprouts all along its length. Need we say more? Lols.

Little bottles of shower gel and conditioner, some cottonbuds/Q-tips, and face wipes were available at the sink. The toilet paper was of good quality and there was also some nicely scented handsoap. The towels weren't anywhere near threadbare and there were an adequate number of bathmats to keep you from slipping on the tiles.

The showerhead had a nice pressure and we never ran out of hot water. Granted, we were the only two staying the night (minus the two owners), so I'm not sure if that would change with a full house, but I doubt it given we Rob had a bath and I had a shower.

Living Room: 5 stars

le petit tournesol private living room
The living room in the area we rented housed a two person couch, a small fridge, a half-sized bookshelf full of novels of many different genres (mostly romance, but a few thrillers, fantasies, and sci-fis), and a freaking display of Roman armour! There wasn't a TV, but the place was like stepping into a museum where you could touch everything and the hosts were well up for a chat so we never even missed it.

The public living room was adjacent to the kitchen (which isn't available for use) and next to the dining room table. The table itself was huge, but there were also two other chairs in the living room, offering many sitting places to choose from.

Breakfast: 5 stars

Even though it was only a continental breakfast, what we came down to in the morning simply blew our expectations out of the water. Seven or so different boxes of cereal were spread out on the table, but they all sat untouched as we turned our attention to the bowl of fresh croissants, sliced mango, and tubs of many different types of yogurt.

Juices sat alongside a bowl of heart-shaped sugar cubes, about eight different types of jams and marmalades (4-5 homemade), and some other spreads. There was also the option of eggs on toast made out of either white or brown bread.

Wifi: 3 stars

Wifi was available at Le Petit Tournesol and the owners were even thoughtful enough to set up two repeaters on both sides of the house when a guest mentioned it wasn't strong enough on one end. Unfortunately, however, due to an amazing thunderstorm we were not able to test the strength of it. For this reason, we are forced to give it a neutral rating until we can actually test it through personal use or hear from someone who has. So if anyone has stayed at Le Petit Tournesol and used their wifi, will you please let us know how it was in the comments. Until then, the wifi category is not included in the overall score of Le Petit Tournesol.

Cleanliness: 5 stars

  • We didn't just feel alright with walking around without our shoes on, but we also felt totally okay with eating something we dropped on the floor in our private room(s) - not that we dropped anything, but if we did...lols.
  • There was a bit of mold on the ceiling window above the shower, which is more than understandable given its location, but everything else seemed to have been scrubbed with a toothbrush.

Staff: 5 stars

  • Karen and her partner are two very lovely people. They were up for nice, long chats if we so desired, but they also gave us plenty of space too.
  • They're both English, so speak it fluently. I also suspect that they speak French well enough as they welcomed us in it before quickly realising we were so not fluent.
  • They definitely made us feel at home, going much further than the average 'hello' attitude of many hostels.

Location: 3 stars

  • Le Petit Tournesol is located in a fairly small town in the middle of the triangular points of Angouleme, Poitiers, and Limoges.
  • There are a few churches with some interesting architecture within the town, but it's definitely not a tourist hotspot for them.
  • Le Grand-Madieu is a fantastic place to stargaze and Le Petit Tournesol hosts an annual stargazing/meteor watching night in their own backyard.
  • A car is needed to definitely needed to get around as we have no idea where the closest decent sized supermarket is, but we highly doubt there's one in town.

Value: 5 stars

  • We paid 60 euros for three rooms (bathroom, bedroom, living room) for the two of us.
  • The price of this room was more than our normal budget, sure, but when compared to the other hostels of France (especially around the big towns), it was far superior in value. We picked this place due to it offering the cheapest room in the area, but upon arrival, we ended up picking the more expensive one because the value of it was just spectacular.
  • For those that want to spend less, Le Petit Tournesol also offers another single double bedroom for 45 euros. It doesn't have the amazing bathtub, but it's also a fantastic rent for its value.

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Would Lifelong Vagabonds Stay Again?

Definitely. In fact, we would detour a fair bit off our route to stay at this place again. The hosts were lovely, the food was lovely, the bed was lovely, the bath was lovely, Karen and her partner were lovely, everything was extremely lovely. So yes, the next time we're down this way, Lifelong Vagabonds is definitely staying at Le Petit Tournesol and we would highly recommend that you do too.

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