This is a large traditional Provençal house on the outskirts of Sainte Anne near Castellet, in the middle of the Bandol wine countryside. It is surrounded by a garden, in turn set in the middle of extensive vineyards just east of the coastal resort of Cassis and north of Sanary-sur-Mer. This ultimately peaceful holiday home, 180 m above sea level, is within a few minutes of both the sea and the wooded hilly hinterland of the Var.
Built in the late 1800s with one upper floor, the extended family home was modernised ten years ago and has now become a holiday residence to accommodate ten people in five bedrooms. The downstairs bedroom has its own access to the garden and can be used as the "grandparents' annex".
The building fabric and furnishings are of excellent quality and in perfect condition.
Ground floor: Living room, dining room, kitchen (spacious and fully equipped, with gas cooking, washing-up machine, giant fridge, gas and microwave ovens, capsule coffee machine), laundry room, general toilet, and grandparents' annex (with double bed, and en-suite bathroom and toilet).
First floor: Four more bedrooms (of which two with double beds, two with twin beds). The master bedroom has a king-size bed with dressing room. The three others share a further dressing room. Three en-suite bathrooms with separate toilets (of which two with tub and shower, one with shower only). Other facilities comprise a general toilet, an office and a TV/playroom.
Swimming pool: 5m * 11m, protected by a rolling cover.
Garden and other outside facilities: Pool-side studio with fully equipped kitchen and lounge. Table and seating for outside dining for the full complement of ten occupants. Barbeque and pizza oven. Boules pitch. The gently sloping garden includes plane trees, olive trees, cypresses and lavender, and is surrounded by vineyards as far as the eye can see. Note that there is no physical boundary separating the garden from the vineyards: the holiday property is the "ancestral home" of the vineyard owners.
Drive and parking: Gated drive just below house; covered car port for two cars, plus unlimited parking on the grounds elsewhere.
Television: French channels only for the time being.
Internet/telephone: A fixed telephone line is available (for reasonable use); however you might also find it convenient to buy a local SIM card at a tourist tariff in the village. Internet available throughout by wifi.
Baby facilities: Most facilities such as high chair and cot are available, but please inquire to ensure that the owners can supply any further items.
Washing facilities: Washing machine and drying equipment available.
Air conditioning: None. Not generally needed in this cooler hilly climate. However fans are available in all bedrooms.
Supplementary services: This is a part of a large family undertaking, and so there is little that cannot be laid on on request. Please inquire for baby-sitting, wine-tasting at the family outlet a couple of miles away (or gentle cycle ride), on-site chef, driver, masseur....
Disabled-friendliness: The ground floor with the grandparents' annex is disabled friendly but not strictly wheelchair accessible. There are two low steps to overcome..
Environmental features: None
Damage deposit: €2,000 (cash in Euros, or by Visa or Mastercard credit card reservation, or any combination thereof), payable on arrival; refundable less the replacement cost of any breakages.
Bed & bathroom linen: weekly change included in rental cost. Pool towels also provided.
Gas, electricity & water: included in rental cost.
Cleaning: End cleaning included in the rental cost.
Holiday tax: Included in the rental cost.
Change-over day: Normally on Saturdays, but contact us to find out if another day is possible. Arrival 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. or by special arrangement. Depart before 11 a.m.
Pets: Pets allowed if well domesticated, but subject to inquiry (please quote size, race etc).
Smoking: Strictly no-smoking inside the house; in the garden please pay special attention to fire risks and ensure that no stubs are left lying around.
HOW TO GET THERE
By Car: The roads and autoroutes in France are a pleasure, so driving can sometimes make a good alternative to flying – at least you’ll already have your car with you! From the UK you have the choice of using the ferries or the Eurotunnel for your crossing. Once in the South of France, this property can be easily accessed via the A7 and A50 autoroutes: exit at La Cadière/ le Castellet. As you'll still be fresh after crossing the country from top to bottom, break off 15 minutes before arrival and plunge into the sea from the beaches of la Ciotat and St.-Cyr.
By Air: Toulon is the closest international airport (50km, 43 minutes), but Marseille Provence (66km, 1h06m) has more flights and connections, and Nice (though further at 168 km, 1h50m) offers additional alternatives.
By Train: Eurostar runs from London to Paris city centres and then the high speed TGV service runs from Paris to Nice. The nearest TGV station to this property is Aix-en-Provence. Hire a car here and drive 71km (1h01m) to your new home.
• Full directions will be sent to you once you have made a booking.
About the local area
LOCAL AREA INFORMATION
As with all our properties in the Var "hinterland", just drive out of the gate and find yourself in magnificent rolling countryside. The surroundings here are mainly vineyards (of which the owner manages many hundreds of hectares roundabout, including a good proportion of olive trees). Drop down to the coastline at Saint Cyr some 10 km away, and within 13 km the hills rise to 1000 m above sea level, where you'll find yourself surrounded by dense woodland for miles around.
Our wisest guests come with few preconceptions: they drift happily and ad-hoc from one activity to another, absorbing sport, culture, history and high-life as they come, and then combining them to a wonderfully stress-free holiday.
Local shops, bakers, restaurants, butchers and supermarkets are all located in le Castellet , 5 km away. If you get more serious about shopping, then drive to St Cyr (all of 8 km away).
Local markets: Le Castellet, la Cadière, le Beausset will provide all you would like to dream of for tasty nibbles, solid food, heavy drinking, and more. Provençal markets are well known for their tapenades and brandade: if you don't know how to interpret these terms then just book this holiday and try them out at first hand.
Sporting activities are abundant: hire bikes, donkeys and horses in more or less each of the surrounding towns and villages. There are limitless walks into the hills around, so start with the gros cerveau and the chemin des douaniers, and see where you land up. Climb the rocks or work out in the gym at le Beausset (6 km). Play golf at the small course at le Castellet nearby (6 holes in "compact format"). We have spotted another five other golf courses ranging between 10 and 30 km of your holiday home. Hire a dinghy on the gorgeous artificial lake of Ste. Croix, or kayak along the Verdon River hundreds of metres below the vertical cliffs propping up the rest of the world.
Beaches might not be your first port of call on this holiday, but they are easily accessible from the house. With the Mediterranean only 10 km away, and the more obvious access points stretching from the Calanques of Marseille to Bandol, Cassis, la Ciotat and Sanary. If you want to show off your convertible (and its scantily-clad contents) along the beautiful coastal roads on the way, then forge on to the sands of la Londe, le Lavandou, Cavalaire and the famous bays of St. Tropez.
Getting around certainly requires a car, unless you are devoted to your bike or horse, or like using public transport for the sake of it. Buses serving the villages will be rare, particularly off-season, so take a taxi to st. Cyr and then a train or bus to the rest of the world from there.
Sightseeing knows no bounds: Start by looking at the mediaeval village of le Castellet, then cycle in to the pretty and typical Provence village of la Cadière. Progress to hyperventilating around the serpentines of the Verdon Canyon, smell the horse stables around Hyères, "do" the Côte d'Azur from the Calanques of Marseille and Cassis along the windy, tricky roads that lead to Fréjus via the Bay of Tropez. Plan your own house purchase in a bar in each of the pretty coastal villages on the way, then let us rent it out for you!
Other entertainment includes the Paul Ricard race circuit next to the business airport of le Castellet (10 minutes by car and up into the hills), the nightlife of the Bay of Tropez (90 minutes away), boat trips, cinemas, wine tasting, dining out in village squares, boat trips out to the islands or just talking to the locals. Bring your phrase book!