|Minimum Stay||2 - 7 nights|
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As you step inside this 400 year-old 'maison de maitre' onto the flagstone floors, 'La Maison du Faiencier' exudes a sense of history. From the vaulted hall you enter a stylish living/dining room, separated by an archway from the exceptionally well-equipped kitchen. Both, look on to and have access to a charming courtyard (ideal outdoor eating area) which leads into the 350 m2 walled garden. There you can sit under the shade of the vines and fruit trees or take a dip in the pool (7mx3.5m). Throughout the house the emphases is on quality and luxury with all the original features having been carefully restored. Each bedroom is light and airy, tastefully decorated with original materials, and with its own private bathroom. Rooms can be made up with large single or super-king-sized double beds.
The house is situated on the main square, right in the heart of a small but active village. Across the square, you'll find the local, (very ‘French’) boulangerie, boucherie, cafe and restaurant.
Local Activities: This is an excellent place for walking, given its proximity to the Gorge du Verdon and its lesser known lower gorges and lakes. Panoramic views in abundance. Lavender plains also near-by, which are so worth seeing when in full flower June/July. Local markets can be experienced most days of the week and there are plenty of delightful medieval, hill-top villages to explore.
Local beaches and swimming at the near-by lakes. Mediterranean coast is 1 hour's drive away.
Local Food & Wine: A restaurant serving traditional French cuisine is right on the 'doorstep' in Varages and several good, inexpensive restaurants can be found in Barjols, just 10-minutes drive way. For the more exclusive menu, a drive to some of the exquisite local hill-top villages is to be recommended with views and sunsets to accompany the meal. Local domaines abound, where you can sample the Provence wines.
All Year Round Holiday Place: With the locals boasting '300 days of sun a year', La Maison du Faiencier is a special place to come any time of the year. Home, in the past, to Masters of earthenware and porcelain (faience), you'll be experiencing a piece of history in comfortable luxury surroundings, with all the amenities on your doorstep. And there is the added bonus that this little bit of Provence, though exceptionally beautiful, is largely 'undiscovered'.
Please note that in the mid season, individual rooms at La Maison du Faiencier can sometimes be booked on a bed & breakfast basis. A two-people occupancy double room is 185 € per two-night stay with shared use of the kitchen, garden and pool.
I am a typical ‘Brit’ living the dream … or rather escaping the hustle and bustle of big city life. Before coming to France I lived in the centre of London and worked as a reporter for BBC Radio.
Ron Alldridge purchased this house in 2003
The house is unique and hugely characterful. The Maison de Maître (or Master’s House) was build just about the time when William Shakespeare was writing his poems and plays, and 30 years before Harvard University in the USA was established. I am sure of the date as when renovating the property in 2003 we discovered a plaque in the wall which was initialled by the two chief ‘Compagnons’ (master builders). ‘MA’ and ‘FP’ finished their work, as it is clearly inscribed, on ‘The last day of March, 1609’.
A lot of the original features remain. The most impressive perhaps is the stone floor of the vaulted entrance hall - the same stone as can be found in the Catholic Cathedral in near by St Maximin St Baume. Who can imagine who has trodden these massive flagstones in the last 400 years! The walls are built from rocks and ‘tuff’ found in the fields around the original village. Most of the walls are 70 centimetres thick with large tall windows fitted with outer ‘volets’. The thickness of the walls make the house a wonderful refuge of coolness in the summer, and preserve all the warmth of the property in the winter.
In the main salon the wild cherry tree beams are six meters long and support in their turn 160 smaller beams which hold up the floors of the bedrooms above. Most of the floors in the house are covered with ‘tommette’ – the local hexagonal deep-red terracotta tiles for which this area is famous throughout France.
The house is in the very centre of the little village. Step out of the front door and you’re in the central ‘Place’ with the main village fountain just a few meters away. In the summer, with the windows open, my day is accompanied by the trickle of water dribbling from it’s four spouts.
The village has it’s own water source just a short walk from the house. All that can be seen is a little still clear-as-clear-can-be pond. If you weren’t aware of it’s abiding importance to the village and all who live here you would walk by it without a second thought. But the water that fills this pond comes from an unknown source deep beneath the ground. It has never been known to dry up and apparently springs to the surface within one degree in temperature be it 35 degrees in the summer or -12 in the winter.
Ron : You having a good time painting?
Peggy : I’m having a wonderful time painting … and look at the light, it’s wonderful and so golden and so as long as we’re not in the direct sunshine …. everything dries pretty fast
Ron : What is it about the light in Provence … everyone goes on about it…
Peggy : You know you mentioned the shade being do deep and making the contrast but I really think it’s the golden sun and someone else mentioned something about the pollution …. there’s no pollution.. the sky is as blue as blue can be, and the blue colour varies, it’s really interesting. Susie and I who also paints has mentioned, as we drive down the roads, how things just strike you that you’d like to take a shot at painting because they’re so … the light’s so interesting.
Ron : So it’s inspirational
Peggy : Oh yes! Well perhaps your home (one’s home) should be more inspirational. But really to go away and see the light, see the way the vegetation is here, the older buildings, and the colour of the buildings and their shutters, even when their weathered .. they have a really interesting quality about them so that’s fun to paint, I’m a new painter, but it’s still challenging to me …. so it’s a great experience
For the full interview see the video on YouTube at 'LaMaisonDuFaiencier'
Ron : I remember when you first arrived, you took one look at the house and said that your holiday was going to be great. Did it work out to be that great?
Sandie : It worked out to be better than great! Ten people in our group, nobody knew everyone. Some were friends of others, we were meeting some people for the first time and some of us were best friends. When we all arrived we were amazed.
The house is large … it’s spacious. We have privacy. Everyone has their own bathroom which was important for our group. We didn’t have to wait for showers, hot water a plenty. I would get up early in the morning and hot water would be waiting for me.
The most important thing for us was to have a place that felt like ‘home’ and we truly now refer to this as ‘our home’. You cannot even begin to imagine the comfort of having both privacy and large enough spaces that you can dine together, you can laugh and play games together, but you can go off and have a very relaxing spacious space of your own.
These things were important to us and it exceeded our expectations!
For the full interview see the video on YouTube ‘LaMaisonDuFaiencier’
Varages, famous over the last three centuries for its painted earthenware (faience), is an 'undiscovered' village situated in the Haut Var, 25 minutes north of the A8 (St Maximin exit) motorway and the same distance from the spectacular lakes of 'The gorges du Verdon', the deepest river gorge in Europe. It's an hour's drive from Marseille and Toulon airports and under two hours from Nice and Nimes airports. Only 50 mins drive from the beautiful city of Aix-en-Provence. The village has 2 bakers, 2 bars, 2 resturants, a butcher and general stores. The nearest sizeable supermarket with a petrol station is 10 minutes drive away, in the charming market town of Barjols.
Other Activities: rock-climbing, hiking, boating & canoeing
Golf: There are several golf courses a short drive (about 35 minutes) from the house. But the course which all the golf-playing guests rave about as being 'world class' is called 'Golf de la Sainte Baume' at Nans les Pins.
|Rate Period||Nightly||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly||Event|
Sep 3 2016 - Dec 16 2016
7 night minimum stay
Christmas & New Year
Dec 17 2016 - Jan 6 2017
7 night minimum stay
My Standard Rate
2 night minimum stay
There is a security deposit of €1000. It is paid at the same time as the balance of the rental is paid i.e. 60 days before the holiday begins.
The bed linen is pure white top-quality cotton. It is included in the rental rate.
There is an end-of-stay cleaning charge of €185. However, on the middle Saturday(s) of your holiday period, if staying for more than one week, the house is cleaned for two hours at our cost (kitchen, bathrooms, etc) and the beds changed with fresh linen.
House towels sets (bath towel, hand towel and face cloth) are available at €10 per person per week. These are not for use outside the house e.g. for the pool.