Are we who we say we are?

Are we who we say we are? Can you trust us?

Yes we are…but it’s hard to prove it to you! However, booking any sort of holiday or service entails a degree of trust… Even big companies – especially if dealing with them over the internet – cannot guarantee everything. We are not a big company. We are a husband and wife team who moved to France in October 2015 specifically to start this business of providing holiday accommodation – gites and B&B – and running Textiles courses and cycling holidays.

Ways to check we exist….

  1. If you go to Google and type in “Le Jardin du Berger, Challignac” you will see us appear on the map, along with some photos and general information. When I set up this, in order to verify it, Google sent out – physically, in the post – a postcard with a log in code/password. Our official postal address is Le Maine Neuf, 16300 Challignac. We have called ourselves “Le Jardin du Berger” because our surname is Shepherd…!
  2. You could get our telephone number from Google to check we’re here – though more often than not you’ll have to leave a message and we’ll call you back. It’s a large property and the phone is usually somewhere where we’re not!
  3. We have met with - and Le Jardin du Berger is registered with - the local Mayor and he knows who we are and where we live. 
  4. We have a Facebook business page… We also have a dedicated website for the Textile and Sewing holidays: (plus a Facebook page for that side of the business). The blog on the website is updated frequently and there are reviews on there from some of my regular "students", plus samples of their work.
  5. We currently appear on two gite listing websites: Holiday France Direct (Brittany Ferries) and Chez Nous, plus on
  6. If you Google "Bronwen Shepherd" (or indeed "Bronwen Kaja"!) I will appear under various headings including my most recent UK teaching job at Cheltenham College.
  7. We have reviews from past guests - these appear under "Guestbook".

Apart from this… It’s hard to “prove” who we are but if you’d like to read our story, here it is as it appears on the “Holiday France Direct” website…


The owners are John and Bronwen Shepherd - hence the name of the property! - and we gave up our teaching careers in the uk in summer 2015. We wanted to do something different, to have an adventure... So, we sold our uk house and came out to France to find a new home, bringing with us our elderly cat Henry and our young golden retriever, Pippa. Unfortunately, Henry is no longer with us, but we now have Lexie the cat and Theo the puppy to keep Pippa company! Our aim, for our own lives and for holidays, is to create somewhere ideal for relaxing, being creative and cycling.


Our first visit to this part of France was in July 2015 when we were house hunting in 3 different areas - we were living in the Cotswolds and were looking for somewhere rural, with open views but within easy reach of a variety of towns because we wanted to live somewhere "real". We immediately fell in love with the stunning countryside, the miles of vineyards and sunflowers, and the lovely towns and villages in this part of the Charente. We also like the fact that Bordeaux - a beautiful, vibrant city - is close enough for day trips, as is the west coast.


We have a Textiles studio where we host Textiles courses and holidays throughout the year. The woodland and surrounding countryside is obvious inspiration... We also run cycling holidays... We love our private oak woodland which you drive through to reach the property and which makes arriving home feel very special... It's a beautiful, tranquil location surrounded by fields of various crops which add so much colour and interest.. That said, it's not at all isolated - there are lots of places to visit nearby... The property has a wonderful mix of character and charm, but light, modern and - we hope - comfortable rooms. It's a peaceful place to be creative, to reflect, to relax...




  • 2019 Festival Cognac Blues Passions. Dates: 4th-8th July

Guest Comments

This was a part of France we hadn't explored before and it was a real treat. The sunflower fields and vineyards surrounding the property were the perfect backdrop. Bronwyn and John made us very welcom ...

Martin Bright
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