Owners: Dolphin Gîtes in Vendée
Howard and Cathy Parkinson
us & our project in France
2004, we were both teaching full-time in the UK. Cathy, originally
from Vaires-sur-Marne in Paris, was a French teacher at Birkdale High School
in Southport, and myself, originally from Formby near Liverpool, was Head of Psychology at Winstanley College
in Wigan. We lived in the semi-rural village of Ince Blundell, near
Formby on Merseyside, with our 3 children, Elodie, Luc and Tristan.
purchased the property in France in 2002.
the 1920-30s, Le Logis (the dwelling), the long-house next to
the church was a notable property in the village of La Chaize
Giraud, with a large plot of land its impressive ancient stone walls dividing up
the gardens. The early history of the house is unknown, other
than the property owner was well-to-do as a land owner, and was
also the Mayor of the village in the 1930s. We believe the
property dates from the 18th Century.
many years, perhaps more than a century, the property worked as small-holding until 1960s,
when the barn was converted into gîtes. The original long
house dates back to the early 18th century, situated next to the beautiful
Century church, it has an impressive walled garden with views over the valley of the Jaunay river.
In 2004, we
decided to embark on a new life in France and moved permanently
to our new 'old' property in France, with our 3 children aged 7, 7 and 12.
Our plan was to make a new life for our family in France, to restore
complex, to upgrade it and make it work as a family-run
holiday-let business in the Vendée.
years, by 2006, we had upgraded the 3 original gîtes, had a beautiful
in-ground swimming pool built central to all the facilities, renovated & converted
an ancient stone out-building into a quality character gîte (Stone
Cottage) and started a further conversion of out-buildings into
another gîte (The Old Logis).
this time, we
also ran weekend residential language courses whereby Cathy taught
French to English students who attended from the UK. I also taught part-time short courses at Nantes
University, Psychology and Hospitality to 3rd Year Law undergraduates.
2015 we had a new independent gîte built from scratch on-site
after 17 years living in France, all renovation work is completed and Dolphin Gîtes is now a
well established, family run, family friendly gîte complex, in
an idyllic coastal location in France, with excellent facilities onsite
and friendly hosts who are always happy to attend to all your