The last train left from here in 1969 and the rails have since been lifted, but the elegant and spacious station building remains and has been meticulously restored and adapted into a comfortable holiday home.
It sits across the river Gélise from the foot of the village of Sos, along a classic avenue of huge plane trees, quietly minding its own business in the peaceful Gascon countryside.
Now you can sleep where the stationmaster used to sleep and dream of the arrivals and departures long ago.
Where the goods wagons were once loaded with local produce there is now a swimming pool and poolhouse for your own exclusive use, surrounded by seven acres of long, thin, railway-shaped grounds.
On the ground floor are the living and dining room in the former waiting room and parcels office which now form one enormous L-shaped space, with turn-of-the-century posters advertising the delights of Lourdes and Luchon and the remains of the 1924 timetable on the walls.
Instead of the wooden benches in the old waiting room there are now several sofas, with two dining tables and plenty of chairs in the parcels office area for meals indoors.
High ceilings and thick stone walls helped by internal shutters on all five large doors and windows ensure relative cool in summer. A huge wood-burning stove ensures warmth in winter or for chilly evenings.
There is a music system (CD – bring your own music or browse through my CDs as you wish), a piano, some games and an extensive library, television with a dvd player and some UK Freesat channels. At the moment, there is limited coverage for mobile phones at the station. Free wi-fi internet access is available throughout the building.
In the former ticket office is a well-equipped kitchen, and the ticket office window looks through into the waiting room so the cook in your party doesn’t feel too detached from the others.
The kitchen was completely rebuilt in 2007 and is now a wall of oak with luxury appliances – Neff multifunction oven, Asko gas hob (both new 2018), Miele dishwasher as well as a microwave oven, washing machine and large fridge, along with plenty of good quality pans, glasses, trays and crockery etc.
There are teapots, cafétières, a toaster, a food processor, scales, an orange squeezer and an electric kettle.
A vast selection of tools (including the vital corkscrews and wine coolers), sharp knives and other cutlery can be found in the drawers.
The broom cupboard has a high chair, cleaning tools and materials, a steam iron and ironing board. Tea towels, hand towels, oven gloves, aprons, table cloths and napkins are provided, along with detergents etc. for the washing machine and dishwasher, rubbish bags, clingfilm, foil etc…
There is a herb garden in pots outside the door and a stock of culinary basics (salt, pepper, oil and vinegar, spices, tea, coffee, sugar etc) in the kitchen and I will happily try and buy anything else you require if you let me know in advance.
The original oak staircase leads up from the ticket office to the first floor and what was the station master’s apartment until 1969 when the railway closed.
There are now three light and airy bedrooms; two of them double (160 cm beds) and one twin (2 x 90 cm beds which can be made up together if you wish).
There is a big bathroom with a big bath, shower, handbasin/wc, and a huge shower room with a huge shower, handbasin/wc.
There are hanging cupboards (with plenty of clothes hangers), chests of drawers and more books in each bedroom, with rugs on the attractive original pitch pine floors.
All beds are made up for your arrival with pure cotton sheets/pillowcases and light bedcovers or cosy down-filled duvets according to the season, and plenty of towels are provided, both for indoor and for pool use. Bedding and towels are changed weekly during longer stays.
There is a highsided wooden cot with mattress, and a hairdryer for each bedroom.
Upstairs again is the attic, which children love.
This vast space of almost a hundred square metres has been left open, furnished with four good quality 90cm beds plus wardrobes and rugs and is perfect for indoor play should the weather be wet.
Some toys are provided, including Brio railways. The attic roof is heavily insulated to ensure relative cool in summer and warmth in winter, and there is a separate small shower room with wc and handbasin.
Bedrooms and bathrooms are heated by electric space heaters as required, and three large capacity immersion heaters provide hot water continuously.
Outside, down a broad tiled path lies the 12m by 5m pool, surrounded by wide tiled terraces and equipped with tables, chairs, and sunloungers.
The pool is normally available for use from Easter to October, though it isn’t usually what I would call warm enough until the end of May/early June.
A pool house provides further shade under its wide veranda, along with a shower, wc, double sink/drainer and another fridge/freezer inside, and a large barbecue and table-tennis table outside.
Another kettle and a cupboard full of picnic ware, glasses and cutlery make meals round the pool easy. The pool is entered by steps in the semi-circular “Roman End”; water depth in the shallower end is 1.2m, with a hopper to 2.4m at the deeper end.
The water is slightly salted and treated by an electrolytic cell rather than conventionally chlorinated (much gentler on eyes and skin), and powerful pumps, filter and an automatic robot help to keep it all clean. A pair of submerged floodlights encourage swimming in the velvety nights under the stars. A pool alarm system is fitted as required by French law.