Visitors’ comments

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THE TOWER HOUSE

“Thank you so much for a wonderful stay. It couldn’t be any better. Everything is just perfect. Such a special place.

Really hope we get to return to the tower house.”

Kristinn, Brighton, UK. September 2016

“The Olive Mill was unbelievably special – the home and grounds far exceeded my expectations. We loved the river and waterfall beneath your property.”

Liza, New York

“Thank you for a lovely piece of heaven for a week.”

Tom, London

Domaine des Baumes Commentaires7“We had a wonderful holiday and the Olive Mill received the unanimous vote as our favourite part of the holiday. The Tower House was superb, we had perfect weather & loved the region. You are to be congratulated for the generous way you have provided everything – particularly in the kitchen. We certainly would love to return. “

Julie, Australia

“Our stay here was absolutely wonderful & we hope we can return in the near future. The Olive Mill is a dream come true!“

D.B., Colorado

“Many thanks, the girls are still agreed that it was best holiday ever ! Bearing in mind they have been to Florida, Australia, Greece and France numerous times that is saying something !”

Gary, Surrey, United Kingdom

“We’ve had an incredible holiday – the highlight was preparing dinner while looking out over your beautiful property & drinking local wine ! Everything was perfect. We hope to return !”

Angela, Colorado

“Everything was perfect thank you, in fact you supplied way more in terms of childrens’ items than we had expected and that is a real bonus when you have children with you !“

Gavin, Windsor, United Kingdom

“I forgot to tell you how much I appreciated the lovely presentation of the house upon our arrival.  The girls went directly the the little table & chairs and started playing with the toys. It made it easier to get settled in the house. We were charmed with the house, & we especially liked the rooftop terrace. I think it is a bit downplayed in the description you have of the house. I loved sitting up there in the evening.  You get such a sense of openness with the vast view, but it also feels so cozy & private. Perfect for a book & coffee in the morning & for star gazing at night. The overall sense of privacy combined with the extensive surroundings was absolutely delightful for a person coming from greater London.

In fact, we could hardly be bothered to leave the house the first week because we were so satisfied with our surroundings that we could not see the point. I don’t remember if you mention the fragrance in your advertisement, but I think it could be worth doing so. It is an absolute pleasure to walk the path between the olive trees & the broom all the while stirring up the fragrance of mint, thyme & anaise as you make your way.“

Leah, London, United Kingdom

Domaine des Baumes Commentaires6“Many thanks for letting us share a piece of Eden. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Tower House,especially the roof terrace & the river ! It has certainly hit the upper end of our holiday experiences ! Thank you, again, for your help in us having a relaxing, comfortable, peaceful & very memorable holiday.“

Melanie, Guernsey, Chanel Islands

“We’re experienced travellers, and we’ve become used to discounting the claims made (and photographs shown) for properties around the world.

We had to discard our cynicism as soon as we were welcomed to the Tower House. It was everything that was promised and more.

The property was genuinely enchanting and immaculately prepared for us. We particularly liked the roof terrace (a great place to have a barbecue and relax at dusk watching swifts swooping after insects), the private pool (complete with concealed fridge to keep your drinks cool), and the stroll through the olive grove down to the secluded river (complete with cascades, pools and, yes, a proper waterfall).

It’s a great centre for touring, too, if you can bear to tear yourself away from the property itself and the charming nearby towns and villages (we particularly liked Tourtour). We went north to Moustiers and the Gorges du Verdon (outstanding natural beauty and grandeur) south for some glamour at St Tropez (a bit of a trek – it’s really designed for people to turn up by yacht or helicopter !); west to Nice and Monte Carlo; and finally east to Aix-en Provence to catch the TGV to Paris for the next leg of our trip.

We were a mixed group : me (a mid-50s pommy expat living in Australia); my mother (aged 76 and sprightly enough to handle the stairs); my fourteen-year-old step-daughter; and my beautiful Australian wife (age withheld because I’m not entirely stupid). Not an automatic recipe for harmony or shared interests.

But we all adored touring Provence and in particular our base at the Tower House. Thanks to Catherine and Alexia for providing us with such a perfect place to stay.”

Paul, South Yarra, Australia, June 2010

“Thank you very much for a wonderful stay – although we didn’t get the weather that we wanted, we still had fun. And Catherine was huge amounts of help.

We are thinking of coming again next year for two weeks in August.”

Steven, England, April 2011

“Good Morning and Thankyou

I believe they had a wonderful time…”

Australian travel agent whose clients stayed in May 2011

“Thank you so much for such a wonderful holiday home. If was much more than we ever expected to see – it exceeded our expectation in all the ways !

We love beautiful location, privacy, colorful little villages with markets, and of course beautifully restored Tower House.  It was so unique, had a rustic atmosphere but with modern conveniences. We found everything we needed – great selection of books, movies, description of activities and local attractions.

Fresh mint, rosemary, thyme and poppy flowers were a highlight for me personally.

We had a wonderful time!

We will come back one day and will bring our extended family with us. Next time we should spend two weeks at your place.”

Natalya, Switzerland, May 2011

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“We had a really lovely time at the Tower House – thank you so much.  The property is beautiful and wonderfully well equipped and it was great having so many toys for the children to play with.”

Debra, England, June 2011

“Thanks again for everything. It was a week of pure bliss to wake up to the wonderful smells and sounds emanating from your beautiful property. I’m still dreaming about the smells of lavender, sage, thyme and rosemary that wafted up from the plants on the Tower House grounds.  I had to tear myself away from the roof deck and the glorious sound of the breeze rustling through the olive grove. It was a delight to explore the towns in the region and to experience a small town circus one night (my daughter’s favorite experience) in Sillans-la-Cascade. The people we met were wonderful, the food delicious, and your place was a little slice of heaven. Thank you, thank you for making your property available to us for a week – what a delight ! Your daughter Catherine was also incredibly kind to us.”

  1. L . Oslo, July 2011

“Thanks for sharing your private paradise with us : everything was fantastic, beyond expectations! We will strongly recommend your property to our friends. The warm welcome received from your daughter made us feeling immediately at home. This holiday in Provence will remain one of the best ever.”

Elisabetta, Torino, Italy, September 2011

“We had a fabulous time; though are friend Loren almost met an untimely demise with some wild boar !

We were so glad to finally get to come back to your lovely property.  It was nice and relaxing–we love Provence.

I am glad that we were able to share it with our boys, my family and our best friend.

All our best to you and Catherine.”

Marni, United States, 2013

THE COTTAGE

“Tout d’abord je voulais vous remercier pour ces vacances ! Le Cottage et le Domaine ont tenu toutes leurs promesses et l’accueil de Catherine nous a vraiment conquis et touché ! Nous nous sommes sentis comme chez nous.
Nous avons tous les 4 été ravis de notre séjour, les grands comme les petites.”
A & G, Lille, France, July 2017
 
“I just wanted to write a quick email to thank you both for everything that you have done for us during our recent visit to Des Baumes.
My mother and I had a wonderful break away and have returned feeling refreshed and happy with the longing to return to Des Baumes as soon as possible!
Catherine was a delight and so accommodating.  The Cottage was absolutely spotless which we really appreciated.”
Suzie, Bristol, UK, May 2017
 
“It was one of the most perfect holidays we have ever had,  and we hope to re-visit some day…”
Nat, Sydney, Australia, August 2016 
 
“We had a brilliant stay in the cottage and had a fantastic time! it was a lovely place to stay and enjoy the local countryside, waterfalls and access to local towns of interest like Moustier, Cotignac, Aix, Antibes, St Paul de Vence, even Sillans was very lovely!  Everything was perfect and we had all we needed to have a very comfortable stay.
Thank you so much for re scheduling us in and we hope to return.
Would highly recommend the cottage! Great to have a swim in the first week of October! “
 KG, Norfolk, England, October 2016
 
“The Cottage was exactly what we were after – a picturesque property set in beautiful grounds. Catherine provided a warm welcome upon arrival and checked that we had everything we needed. The Cottage itself was spotlessly clean and had all the mod cons one would require (loved the gas bbq). The swimming pool was lovely for a quick dip to cool down and had magnificent views. The nearby river and waterfall (which you could swim in) was a hidden gem. Lots of quaint little Provincial towns nearby to explore and near the Lac de Sainte-Croix (30 mins drive away) was unbelievable for swimming in – much better than any beach I have been to of late. Would highly recommend this property.”
George and Clair, London, September 2016
 
“We had a great time – very special, we loved every minute of it.
We had such a good time we have been thinking of making a return visit next year.”
Gregory, UK, August 2016
 

“We had a wonderful time thank you, the cottage and facilities were lovely. For reference for future guests we also found Eurostar direct from UK (St Pancras or Ashford International) to Avignon (I think it only runs certain days in the summer) and a hire car an easy way to travel and more comfortable than flying.”

Peter & Julie, Hampshire, England, July 2016

“Thank you so much for the lovely photos. Whilst we couldn’t possibly have forgotten how beautiful the cottage and the surrounding countryside was when we spent our honeymoon there last May, it was wonderful to see such a gorgeous reminder. Our honeymoon may be a romantic memory now, but we are still longing to come back once again to re-capture the tranquil, romantic time we spent there.”

DB, Oxford

“We would like to return for another holiday : it was so peaceful and relaxing. The barbeque was a wonderful feature (we used it most nights), also the pool was fantastic. The holiday was a lot more than I could have imagined, I was just remembering the view from the pool of the mountains, it was so stunning. I really can’t think of any thing you can do to improve on the property.”

Alan, Aberdeen

“Thank you so much – we had a fantastic time. The cottage is absolutely gorgeous and we loved it. We’re now trying to adjust back to London life again. The weather here isn’t too bad, but we now realise how noisy and smelly it is !”

Allen & Antonia, London

“Thank you once again for your charming and attentive hospitality. We all had a great time here at the cottage. We look forward to our next visit.”

Daryn and family, New York (third visit) 

“We had a wonderful time at the olive mill. Our love affair with Provence continues !”

George and Mary, New York 

“I just wanted to thank you very much for our wonderful stay at the Olive Grove. It was fabulous and we have so many special memories of our holiday. The kids keep asking when we are going back to Alexia’s house…I hope it will not be long !

Thank you once again for making our holiday so special and for your attentiveness to every detail of our stay.”

Karen, Belfast.

“The holiday was truly fantastic.  Mostly due to your lovely cottage in Sillans. It felt so much like a home away from home – although our homes certainly don’t have a poolside view like the one you have ! We ate in mostly, having walked the various village markets picking up local produce and cooking it at the cottage.  Fish, BBQ meat etc etc. A very relaxing time was had by us all, helped by the masses of Rosé wine and  products from the Boulangerie I must add ! Thank you very much for your terrific hospitality and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend your accommodation to anyone.”

Peter, Glasgow, October 2008

“Thank you once again for your charming and attentive hospitality. We all had a great time here at the cottage. We look forward to our next visit.“

Daryn and family, New York (third visit) 

“Sally & I had the most wonderful time while staying in your cottage located in such a stunning location. Thank you for your hospitality, we look forward to returning.

We had such a lovely time staying in your gorgeous home in Provence.  The website looked great but the reality was so much better.  We loved the cottage, the beautiful countryside around, the walk through the olive grove to the amazing waterfall – the delicious perfume of herbs all the time!!  It was just perfect.”

Stephen, Thailand, July 2009

“I can’t tell you what a shock it was coming home after our two week break in France, it was such a wonderful and relaxing holiday, it made us realise when coming back to work that we certainly work far too hard!“

Tracey, London, July 2009

“Many thanks, we had a wonderful relaxing holiday, very different to anything we had done before.”

Stephen & Mandy, Northern Ireland, 2009

“Again thank you for a wonderfull honeymoon. We have been singing your praises to everyone.”

Anne & Cathal, 2009

Domaine des Baumes Commentaires4“We had a wonderful time. Your home had a tranquil and calming setting which we very much enjoyed.   (Could you also thank your daughter Catherine for making us feel so welcome.).”

Jane and Peter, Kent (UK), June 2010

I am writing to thank you for a lovely stay at Les Baumes.  We especially wanted to thank Catherine for the chocolate cake she brought for Thomas’ birthday.  He was so pleased.  It was a thoughtful touch.  I should send you a photo of Tom’s face as he looked at the cake with 12 candles on!
We very much enjoyed our holiday.
We loved the house and the river and would very much like to visit again in the future.
 Wendy H. , Middlesex, England, August 2010

“Thank you for the lovely time we had at the cottage. The cottage itself was beautifully renovated and the grounds are a peaceful oasis.”

Maxine & James, London, June 2010

“I’ve just returned with the children from Wales where we spent the rest of the summer with our family. Now I am at my computer, I wanted to thank you and Catherine so much for the wonderful accommodation you provided. Les Baumes was a perfect place to both unwind and explore the coastline, cultural centres and countryside of the area. You thoughtfully provided everything we needed and for two weeks we imagined we were the owners of an idyllic Cottage in Provence !”

Lucy, Henley-on-Thames (UK), July 2010 

“Thanks once again for all your help and for such beautiful accommodation – we had a wonderful experience. We are alll so appreciateive of your support for our helper’s visa- which has enabled us to have a real holiday, in the most beautiful, peaceful haven you have created. I am sure we will be returning.”

Carole and Graeme, Thailand, August 2010

“We had an absolutely amazing time and to say we have the holiday blues now would be a serious understatement! “
James and Dawn London, England, September 2010

“Many thanks for the fantastic holiday.”

Sandra, Germany, May 2011

“Thank you we had a lovely holiday. The Olive Mill is charming and contained everything we required … It is a truly beautiful place nobody could wish for anymore.”

Pamela, Wales, June 2011

“We had a wonderful time at the Cottage and felt very much at home there.”

Natalie, Brussels, Belgium, July 2011

“Had a fantastic time, thank you ! Everything has been perfect and you were a great hostess.”

Morag &Richard, England, July 2011

“We have just returned home after spending a wonderful 2 weeks at your lovely Domaine in the Haut Var.  We truly enjoyed every aspect of your cottage, pool and property – the enticing plant fragances, river, mountain and field views, night skies, and secret bat cave. Catherine was a delightful hostess who took care of every detail for us. We were very spoiled indeed.

Thank you both for your warm reception and assistance during our stay at the Domaine des Baumes.  We most certainly will consider a return stay.”

Michelle and Alan, Pennsylvania, United States, September 2011

“We greatly enjoyed our fortnight. We were lazy and did very little, but had the rest that we needed in superb surroundings. Perhaps we will be able to come again – we slightly preferred the studio with its pleasing panorama.

We also enjoyed meeting and chatting with Catherine. Please tell her that we highly recommend La Maison Rouge in Noeux-les-Mines.

Thank you very much for your efforts in making our stay so enjoyable.”

Clive & Margaret, Leicestershire, 2013

“We enjoyed our stay in the cottage very much – it was just beautiful.

Best wishes from (cold) Vienna.”

Philipp, 2013

THE STUDIO

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“We so enjoyed our stay in the studio just relaxing and wandering off to the local villages for lunch. It’s a little difficult to get back to work here.”
Yvonne and Alan, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, September 2016
“Thanks for marvellous accommodation.”  Peter L-S, September 2016

“I wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed staying at your Olive Mill. It was such a gorgeous setting – from the arched stone ceiling to the view over the valley to the private pool. It was all that I hoped it would be. It’s always a little scary committing to a place sight unseen, but the Studio lived up – and even surpassed – our expectations. The time we spent at the Olive Mill will always be remembered as a special period.”

Texas – and see an extract, at the end of the reviews, from her book “The Unlikely Lavender Queen : A Memoir of Unexpected Blossoming”.

“We had a wonderful holiday in your fabulous property. It was the most relaxing holiday we have had for many years. The studio is absolutely perfect & the setting is glorious. We hope to return in the future.”

Dr F and Dr J .C.,Oxford

“We had a great time, really enjoyed our stay at your property and hope that we will come back at some point in the foreseeable future. It was really peaceful and relaxing and I don’t think I have been anywhere where you don’t have to see people for days !! It was great !“

Ian, Luton, UK

“Thank you for a terrific two weeks. This was our first go at a holiday of this kind, we usually stay in hotels, & to say that we are highly delighted is understating how we feel about our 2 weeks in your property.”

Carol & Martin, UK

“We had a wonderful holiday and thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the Studio, I would absolutely recommend it to anyone wishing to stay in Provence.”

Deborah, Edinburgh

“Thanks for letting us stay in your beautiful house; we had a fabulous time and the memories will stay with us forever. Highlights were exploring the waterfalls, watching the wild boar every night and sitting outside on the bench, just watching and listening to the wildlife of the forest. We couldn’t have asked for a more idyllic spot to enjoy our honeymoon.”

Gillian & Mark, Warwick 

“We have thoroughly enjoyed staying in your beautiful house – we loved the things you have done.“

Jennie and Matthew, Kent

“Thank you for our stay in this beautiful place. We truly enjoyed the region, and the studio and surrounding landscapes are magnificent.”

Ellie and Matt, Washington

“We had a really good ‘chilled out’ holiday with the studio and your property playing the major role. We both like the countryside and being able to sit outside and watch the wildlife on your doorstep was incredible.”

Claire & Tom

“Letting you know that we had a wonderful couple of weeks in the studio. Thank you.”

James and Caroline, London

“Our stay at the Olive Mill has been an unforgettable one ! We have treasured every day here. We took little trips out to Cotignac, Salernes, Barjols, Fox-Amphoux, Aups … we only wish we had more time. We took a bottle of wine down to the river one evening – very romantic. We have listened to your collection of cd’s, which are wonderful. It has been heaven… just the kind of peace & tranquillity we were searching for. Thank you both.”

Emma & Sam, United Kingdom

“First thing to say is that the Studio was a fabulous place, the buildings, the location and the surrounding area were truly memorable. Quite the most enchanting of holidays. We particularly liked Cotignac and browsing the ateliers in Salernes, but sitting outside the studio watching the greens change shade as the sun moved over,  with bottle of rose, baguettes and camembert was idyllic. Don’t be surprised if we make a return !”

RM, London

“Thank you so much for everything, it really is such a beautiful place and all your preparations to make us feel welcome were extremely kind of you. Thank you for transferring the deposit so quickly as well.”

Olivia, Edinburgh, Scotland

“We had a lovely time. The light of the full moon across the valley will stay with us for a long time. We didn’t see boar, but we heard them, and saw their footprints on the road the following day.”

Graham & Julie, West Midlands, United Kingdom, 2008

“The Studio was a great experience and is ideally situated, so we really had a great time there. Moreover, we really relaxed ! I can’t say there is anything extra we would have liked.”

Lawrie, London, September 2008

“We had a wonderful time when we stayed at the studio, so many thanks – it’s a lovely place and we will recommend it.”

Kate, Leeds, United Kingdom, September 2008

“Thanks again Alexia. We had a trully amazing time at the studio!! As we said before, we would love to sign some kind of visitors book, but have decided against this because we want to keep this little treasure to ourselves! Expect us again soon, maybe in the spring ?”

Daniel & Hazel, Yorkshire, England, July 2009

Domaine des Baumes Commentaires3“Just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks again for providing the Studio for our holiday, it was a truly wonderful place to stay – I wasn’t expecting the wild tortoise! We seem to have brought the weather with us back to England too, although there’s no danger of getting burnt here !  We will definitely be looking to return, there was so much more we wanted to do, you were right – a week is nowhere near enough. We now know that there’s no point searching for anywhere else to stay in the region either – you wouldn’t find better !”

Matt and Catherine, Lancashire, August 2009

“We had a lovely, relaxing time. The location is great.”

Gareth, Switzerland, April 2011

“Thank you so much for our stay, it was so beautiful and peaceful. We found everything we needed , and were especially excited to find the bottle of rosé waiting after our long drive!

Catherine was very helpful too and she kindly chatted and told us the history of the mill which was interesting too.

Thanks again for having us.”

Ian& Lindsey, Northern Ireland, May 2011

“We would like to thank-you for our stay at your studio at Domaine des Baumes from 16th to 26th May 2011.  It truely is an idyllic hideaway and far exceeded our expectations. We were overwhelmed with the surrounding landscape, the abundance of herbs, the beautiful crystal clear river and waterfall!! and of course the very comfortable and well designed studio – I must say I have not slept so well for years !

We had a really wonderful Honeymoon and I hope you found everything in order after we left.

We will certainly never forget our stay and would love to return again one day.”

Jacqueline, Scotland, May 2011

“We really had a fantastic time in the old olive mill and we received a very warm welcome from your daughter! One week is too short!!!

We sure want to come back next year, probably 2 weeks :)”

Simon & Maaike, Holland, May 2011

“We had a superb holiday Alexia, thought your studio was charming and the location was just as we had hoped for.  Thank you so much.  Please also thank your daughter Catherine who was delightful.

We have much appreciated your help and wish you well for the future.”

LD & CW, East Sussex, England, June 2011

“We had a fabulous time at the Studio and it was the perfect break for us – just what we were looking for after the last year of rushing about – some much needed rest and relaxation and that is what we got !  Many thanks to your daughter too for such a warm welcome and for showing us where everything was.

You have a beautiful property and we hope to return again some day.”

M & A I, Scotland, June 2011

“Please let me thank you and your daughter for the stay in september. Myself and Charlotte had a wonderful time and we will be recommending your place to anyone. The studio itself is wonderfully laid out and contains anything you might need. The views and the land are of course spectacular. Your daughter was very helpful whilst we were there and friendly. We were recommended to you place by jo and pete b. who stayed a few years ago and so that shows what a wonderful place you have.“

Gary & Charlotte, September 2011

“Carla and I had a fantastic stay in the studio. It was a lovely little place to call home for the week and the location was stunning. We had a very relaxing week and returned home fully charged up again. We would both love to return at some point. Many thanks.“

Julian, Salisbury, 2013 

“We loved your place in Provence and we were sad to leave (must visit again!); we also really enjoyed meeting and chatting with Catherine. I don’t think that anything could have made our holiday more perfect, the only absolute minor detail could have been a hook in the kitchen to hang a tea towel on ! Many thanks and kind regards.“

Sue, Belgium, 2013

“Many, many thanks for a wonderful stay in the Studio. Despite the difficulties and limitations of a broken leg, we still managed to thoroughly enjoy the beautiful surroundings and the tranquility that Les Baumes provided. In fact, Graeme received good news from the consultant yesterday, at the hospital, informing him that his bones are now beginning to align correctly and mend, thus hopefully avoiding an operation (this was a very real possibility before we went on holiday). The doctor suggested all the good Provençal sunshine, food and wine must have worked their magic and perhaps the NHS should consider prescribing it !! Everything else was absolutely perfect and we certainly hope to return in the future to do all those things we were unable to do this year.“

Susan & Graeme, Surrey, 2013

“Many thanks for a truly wonderful stay in the studio at Domaine des Baumes. The one consolation of being home is that the weather here is very Provencal !

Jill and I have thought and thought about how or if our stay could have been improved any further and we have to admit that we can’t. It was all pretty perfect. I think that what you are doing and what you have got is just about right. We would certainly have no hesitation in recommending the holiday to friends and relatives.

Do pass on our thanks to Catherine, she was so helpful and full of really good tips about what to do and what to see (her providing us with a bottle of bite relief – when I was stung by a wasp – was so kind and thoughtful).

Once again, thanks for a memorable holiday.“

Mike & Jill, Northants, United Kingdom, 2013

 

Dear Alexia,

Just came across your website yesterday and looking at the pictures of Domaine des Baumes and reading people’s comments about their stay just made us feel so nostalgic about our stay in the Olive Mill way back in November 1998.
When we arrived you were doing some yard work and there was the distinctly Australian smell of  having a bit of a “burn off” – we felt at home instantly.  Using Domaine des Baumes as a base we explored the coast and saw the first snow at Tourtour.  We looked at tiles at Salernes and were recognised as “regulars” at one of the Aups markets.
We walked around your property and marvelled at the native plants – such a beautiful wild-garden.  And coming home at the end of the day driving down the track to our “home” just gave us the best feeling of what Provence was all about.
 Dieter’s enthusiasm and hospitality was wonderful and a very valued part of our time there.  If we ever do get back to Provence we will certainly look you up.
We also had afternoon tea with you at your place at Hyeres – but of course you won’t remember that…
Thank you so much for our special memories of a beautiful part of the world and congratulations on the fact that it is still “going strong”…
Regards 
Lee  and Janelle, April 2013

 

Hermann and I wish you both a happy and healthy New Year !!!
We think of you and Les Baumes often. We have never before stayed in such a gorgeous place . It was one of the best vacations we have ever had. The Provence is such a beautiful place and you are so lucky to live there. We definitely will be back.
All the best !
Greetings from snowy BC January 2016

Claudia and Hermann (British Columbia, Canada)
Domaine des Baumes Commentaires10

Extract from the book « The Unlikely Lavender Queen : A Memoir of Unexpected Blossoming » from Jeannie Ralston (who stayed at the Olive Mill) :

« I couldn’t think of a more perfect vacation for a new mother. The olive mill was within walking distance of the town of Sillans la Cascade, which was in a remote part of Provence, far from the crowds in Aix or Nice. I lapped up the antiquity of Sillans, with its crumbling stone steps from the main road up to the plaza. The narrow streets were lined with old three-story buildings, either stone or stucco, accented by flowers bursting from boxes beneath shuttered windows, and by lamps that looked like gas lanterns from the last century. Twice a week a farmer’s market offered pastries, bread, sausages, fresh cheese, a stunning array leeks, tomatoes, eggplant, melons, blackberries. At a nearby winery we bought rosé wine by the jug, and we returned often to refill the jug from a tap on a wine barrel. I diligently followed almost every baby book directive but drew the line at giving up drinking while nursing (though I never overdid it). Going without wine in France to me was as illogical as not having sex on your honeymoon.

Our favorite restaurant in Sillans was Les Pins, where we went for steak frites and boeuf en daube. We were there often enough that the waitstaff began to know which wine we liked best and to even tolerate my French. While we ate on the outdoor terrace, I’d often lay Gus on a blanket below our table, where he’d flail his arms and legs happily looking up at the sky and the comings and goings of waiters and other guests. (…)

The terrain in Provence was rocky limestone, just as it was in our part of Texas. Provence was hily, the vegetation sparse. The air was dry, and fig trees grew near the olive mill, as they did on our property in Texas. Many of the buildings in both places were made of stone, he noted, though I countered that the difference was that the buildings in Provence were hundreds of years old. (…)

Once Robb started photographing, I spent many days in our rented olive mill alone with Gus. Sometimes I’d push Gus’s stroller into town and watch the old men play boule or wander down a wooded path to the stupendous column of water that poured into a turquoise pool below – the cascade for which the was named. Or I’d lie in a lounge chair on the terrace surrounded by an herb garden that scented the air with thyme, rosemary, and fennel and read Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence. »