Category Archives: Places to stay

B&Bs, guest houses, villas to rent, etc.

Newly renovated Medieval Bastidon Tower

Le Chaudon Medieval Bastidon Tower is a truly authentic Provencal house. Newly renovated to high standard, this two-bedroom (sleeps up to four persons) property is located in an idyllic Provençal setting, surrounded by olive groves and vines and just 2km from the centre of Cotignac. There is five acres of space that includes terraces, a BBQ area, swimming pool (from May to October), fish pond and children’s play area.

The bastidon is a building of character with a rounded turret over three floors. The accommodation is laid out over two floors. The ground floor offers an ample open-plan living area and a fully-equipped state-of-the-art kitchen with induction hob, fan oven and full-size fridge/freezer. The living room has satellite TV with English channels, a sound system and a wood burning fire. On this floor there is also a toilet and under-the-stairs storage.

The two bedrooms are located on the first floor and are equipped with ceiling fans. The bedrooms share a full “Jack-and-Jill” bathroom, equipped with a washer and a dryer. The lower floor is the owners’ wine-making cellar, which can be viewed. The outdoor space offers a private terrace with table, chairs and parasol. There is also a playground for children with a swing set, a playhouse and a large sandpit. The owners live on the property but have their separate house. They look after the olive grove and the vines making olive oil and red wine. They are English-speaking but they also speak French, German and Spanish. They are welcoming and ready to share their knowledge of the area. The property is currently available for long-term rental until 15 May 2020 and then for holiday lets during the Summer. PRICE: 1,100 euros per month plus bills (electricity and water), Internet and TV included. July and August rates for 2020 are 170 euros per night for a minimum of seven nights or 4,000 euros for the month. September 2020 can be let out at 130 euros per night or 3,400 euros for the entire month. From October 2020 the price is lowered to 1,100 euros per month plus bills. Internet use and cable TV is included in the rental price. For more photos and reservations go to:
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/36592743?adults=4&source_impression_id=p3_1572701513_9%2FOK36FEa6MQHZMt

Or contact the owners directly at davidandmiruna@gmail.com

The Silk Farm Retreat in Le Thoronet

A charming stone villa nestled into a hamlet just near the famous Abbaye de Thoronet is the pleasant surprise that awaits those seaking a relaxing, healthy getaway. The Silk Farm Retreat is run by Shona Arthur who is an experienced and talented chef particularly where plant-based cuisine is concerned. She is also a yoga teacher, the perfect combination to host week long retreats in this most beautiful part of the world, La Provence.

I was immediately smitten by Shona’s charm. She was beautiful, welcoming, and chatty but not at all overwhelming. She spoke about her parents who had bought the house that she spent many happy childood memories in during Summer vacations. Her love of nature, yoga, and healthy cooking were obviously passions that dictate her daily life. I felt like I was breathing better just standing next to her.

But I wasn’t prepared for the seriously tasty aperos that were immediately served with luscious Mirabeau La Follie sparking rosé. Falafels made with chickpeas and sautéed sweet potato, polenta with guacamole, and an absolutely amazing vegan pizza made with “nozzarella” – to mimick mozzarella but made from cashew nuts, with fresh organic garden basil and roquette. Actually, it tasted better than the real cheese. This would have been enough as the entire meal but we went on to dine in a romantically lit covered pool house (next to the very pretty swimming pool) with Mirabeau’s Pure Rosé wine that accompanied a Thai salad (hints of spicy ginger with mint, basil, red peppers, slices of bamboo shoots and red cabbage) then a main of olive oil-infused chickpea cake with sautéed vegetables and fresh herbs. I have had a few vegan meals in my life but by golly, this was the best I have ever dined on, hands down!!

Shona talked about the many celebrities she has cooked for in the South of France. From extremely fussy vegans to meat eaters, she can cater for anyone’s needs but prefers the plant based diet 80 per cent of the time. She didn’t need to convince me. If every bite of a vegan meal tasted like this, I’d convert myself.

But back to what’s on offer: Shona hosts one week retreats for people looking to relax, retune, rewind, and rejuvenate over the clean air, walks through grape vines, swims in the local river Argens, yoga at the villa and be fully pampered with locally sourced plant based meals that are truly delicious, I can guarantee this and would recommend The Silk Farm Retreat as the perfect place to getaway from work related stress that too often creeps into our daily lives. A warm and attentive host, fantastic wine, fabulous food, and dreamy Provençal landscapes…you can’t get a better combination than that.

I raise a glass to Shona and her team and wish them the very best of success in this new adventure, they deserve it!

As a footnote: Le Thoronet is just a 20 mins’ drive from Cotignac!

For more information and availability, click on https://www.thesilkfarmretreat.com/

Ultimate Provence in La Garde-Freinet

The new wine domaine-slash-stylish guest house is situated in La Garde-Freinet about 45 mins north of St Tropez and 40 mins’ drive from our village of Cotignac. It opened in June of this year and I went to check it out 2 weeks into their opening.

At first glance Ultimate Provence looks really out of place. The Urban-chic look attracts a younger clientele, perhaps the rich St Tropez vacationers who couldn’t find a place nearer the coast or preferred to have a more spacious and relaxed feel without all the glitz and blitz. The tasting room sparkles to the contrasting heavy dark iron details; a mélange of New York loft à la plage. But it’s all new so it’s clean and impressive and certainly commands a “wow” reaction. Their wine bottles look like elongated perfume bottles with ridges that can’t be cheap to produce. They’d make great gifts.

The main hall leads one straight through to the tasting room on one side and the outdoor terrace where fluffy big white couches and wooden plank tables under thin bamboo rods for shade are inviting in an understated and carefree “Club 55” kinda way. It’s a pleasant feel of natural and modern comfort with the big sky above.

The service was a little awkward; the staff are still trying to get a feel for how things should be managed (nothing was very smooth and check-in took a good 20 minutes). But the bedrooms are nicely spread out, two-in-one town house buildings with outdoor entries, views of the vineyards from every building. There are no elevators anywhere, but some disabled-friendly-access-rooms on the ground floor. The gardens are impressive with modern fountains, a massive dark grey pool with dark stone plage and black showers and stunning mediterranean plants, lavender, and tall standing grapevines that adorned a long pergola to walk through. It was very romantic. The establishment is still going through some teething problems, not unexpected, since it is big and will eventually be popular but I get the feeling they never want to get crowded.

I opted for a glass of champagne for an aperitif, some of their rosé (very nice) with our meal, and although a bit disappointed with the sushi (being half Japanese I’m a huge sushi snob as I make it myself) the steak was great and the desserts very good. The beds were very comfortable, the huge breakfast spread was A-class, they had fantastic coffee, and filtered and home-gassed water in pretty bottles was offered without ever suggesting brand names, this was a huge plus. Overall I give this establishment an 8 out of 10. When they get used to how to manage the place I’m sure they’ll be overwhelmed with bookings in the future. Ultimate Provence does have that uber-cool feel but it’s not for those looking for an authentic Provence village experience. Come to Cotignac for that!

Domaine Ultimate Provence Hotel-Restaurant and Bar: 7270 route du Luc 83630 La Garde-Freinet 0494 85 29 10 www.ultimate-provence.com or click here https://www.ultimateprovence.com/en/

Cotignac Village House for longterm or holiday let

AVAILABLE FOR HOLIDAY RENTAL, 3 nights’ minimum stay.

Updated available dates: September 1st, 2020, onwards! If interested in a long term rental, the minimum number of month’s rent is 3 months at a discounted rate. The house is available for long term let up to 9 months. Holiday rental rates include electricity, water, internet, and gas/oil. Long term lets will charge utilities separately, according to use, on a monthly basis. For long term rental a security deposit will be required, followed by first month’s rent to book, payable by bank transfer.

Please email Susana at provencelivingconsulting@gmail.com to confirm availability and best price. Or call me on my mobile: +33 (0) 624 23 26 55. Or if you prefer, you can go to the Airbnb listing (a little more expensive as it will require service fees): https://www.airbnb.fr/rooms/3771828

The house is fully furnished and located in the heart of the gorgeous village of Cotignac, close to all shops, cafés, bars and restaurants now open. At least two disposable surgical protective masks will be provided upon arrival for all guests.

Details of accommodation:
The village house, suitable for one, two couples or a four to five-member- family is just steps away from the centre of the village, but in a quiet neighbourhood (near the outdoor Théâtre du Rocher and the Place de la Mairie), has a new kitchen fully equipped with dining area on the ground floor, a master bedroom (one King size bed) with ensuite shower and toilet as well as a TV on the first floor, an additional bedroom (with 2 single beds that can be used separately or together to make one super king size) with separate bathroom on the second floor, and a large living room (convertible 4-poster futon bed) with bar and kitchenette on the top floor with 3 velux windows for lots of light as well as a TV and DVD player. A mezzanine is just above this floor where there is an additional single sized bed suitable for an older child or adult guest. In total, the house has 124 square metres of living space. Parking can usually be found about 30 metres away, but anyone can perch in front of the house to load/unload. Further parking is located about 150 metres down the road behind the newly restored primary school.

NB: interior furnishings may change slightly without notice, Maximum capacity 5 adults or 5 adults and one child

Book a villa through Terravana with code TVPL19!

Looking for the perfect holiday in our neck of the woods? Look no further. Terravana in Cotignac has a great selection of the best and their attention is on quality service and customer satisfaction. The company is run by two local Frech women who are experts on what Provence has to offer visitors. Combine that with Provence Living’s knowledge of our village and how it all works here for expats and anglophone tourists and you get the complete happy picture of a satisfied holidaymaker or future resident!

Take a look here at Terravana’s villa selection. If you have any questions feel free to ask them directly or here on Provence Living where I (Susana) will do my best to get back to you. When you are ready to book direct (this way you avoid Airbnb and Tripadvisor fees), be sure to mention the code “TVPL19” on the booking site for best service!

La Bastide de Tourtour

The 23 room hotel-restaurant, located just past the church perched at the top of the hill in Tourtour, is perfect for a romantic getaway in the Winter.

It was a bit chilly at the beginning of February and Tourtour is known to be windy but the charm is still very much alluring and the views from the village were breathless. At first I was disappointed we didn’t have more sun but then I realised I was getting some really good photos of cloud formations and the lighting was decent. A walk into the village from the bastide is an easy 10 minutes. Tourtour is about a 25 minutes’ drive from Cotignac so you could easily go there just for lunch or dinner.

Continue reading La Bastide de Tourtour

Mas de Brulat and restaurant L’Olivier in Le Castellet

Having lived in London and Yorkshire for a few years (after moving there from Los Angeles) I was always impressed with the way Brits did interiors. Maybe the weather has something to do with the fact that they generally concentrate more on the inside of a house than the French. Overall, in my opinion, the Brits are pretty good at it and the new owners at Mas de Brulat are no exception.

Continue reading Mas de Brulat and restaurant L’Olivier in Le Castellet

Le Mas de Cotignac – accommodation and table d’hôtes

Recently written up in our local newspaper the Var Matin, Le Mas de Cotignac offers Michelin standard “voluptuous” accommodation for even the fussiest of guests. If you are looking for a romantic break, a tranquil vacation, or a weekend getaway without the kids, this is the place to unwind and be luxuriously pampered.  They are located just outside the village. Le Mas de Cotignac is an exceptional bed and breakfast with table d’hôtes (possibility to book lunches and dinners) with swimming pool and jacuzzi.  And their service is also top notch and attentive to guests’ every need. Continue reading Le Mas de Cotignac – accommodation and table d’hôtes

Chateau de Berne – hotel, restaurant, and spa

Chateau de Berne used to be a small upscale auberge tucked into the middle of their vast property but nowadays boasts five stars for its hotel and spa facilities. They have invested heavily in making the resort top-notch with super equipment and amenities to excite and attract even the fussiest of upscale visitors. Continue reading Chateau de Berne – hotel, restaurant, and spa