Archive for May, 2017
We love the metropolitan vibrancy and attractions of Paris, Lyon, Aix-en-Provence and many other cities of France; but now and then, we just want to wander, discover and ‘see things in new ways’. Many of us are enticed by some of the enchanting villages tuced here and there throughout France, and an excellent resource to tap is “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France”. What an enchanting array of choices! Let’s visit one.
Just an hour north of Paris, the plus beaux village of Gerberoy offers a quaint and colorful step not only into the past but into a traditional country setting. Among draping wisteria and plentiful roses, you find yourself winding along cobbled streets amidst a beautiful mix of brick-faced homes and pastel timbered buildings. Not surprisingly, this appealing blend attracted post-impressionist Henri le Sidaner for summer visits, where he crafted his mystical trademark motif – a single window lit at dusk.
Dating back to the heart of the Middle Ages, Gerberoy presents an abbreviated charm compared to the sometimes daunting list of museums and monuments found in large cities. The unique local architecture runs from Norman to Picard and shines across a variety of small townhomes, manors, farms and canonical estates. Despite the relatively small size of the village, the large, 15th-century Collegiate Church Saint-Pierre – adorned with stunning Aubusson tapestries – underscores the former prominence of the small town.
Well, we are ‘sold’ and will plan to stay a night or two in a welcoming Gîte de France – Le Logis de Gerberoy, where their first floor “La Chambre Terrasse” overlooks tranquil gardens. Hospitality, an appealing petit dejeuner and local products (cheeses, jams and local gateaux) on site sound like the perfect place to enjoy garden sights and quiet walks in the village and country – parfait!
Utopian formula for relaxation: A stunning boutique hotel, ultra-comfortable room, historic background, unparalleled views over the Bay of Saint Tropez and every moment enhanced by a hospitable, caring staff. Is it possible?
In a word – yes. Graced by the likes of Somerset Maugham, Ian Fleming and Winston Churchill; the Villa Mauresque enjoys a crisply-beautiful Morroccan atmosphere in a setting reserved for dreams, relaxation, creativity and yielding to nothing but the peace that surrounds you. The villa offers one of the few private sea front settings on the French Riviera.
Romantic dining and sea-view pools only add to your experience. I’ve touched upon this remarkable venue on France Daily Photo, but I’m not convinced that words or photos can capture the inherent wonder of Villa Mauresque. I am, however, more than willing to put that statement to the test!
Wanderlust, yes. As Florida’s ‘summer’ settles over me like a Saharan heat wave, wanderlust invades my spirit. I imagine chilly evenings near Alpine lakes and lazy, seaside terraces requiring little but beachwear and gauzy clothing. Of course, France always jumps to the forefront of my thoughts.
Through the ever-elegant members of Relais & Châteaux, I discovered the enchanting Club de Cavalière & Spa on the Mediterranean. Photos will lure you far more than words, but suffice it say that comfort, hospitality, spectacular views and exquisite cuisine are among the appealing benefits you will enjoy at this 5-star villa.
More years ago than I care to count, my daughter and I wandered along the coast; and just a couple of miles west of Club de Cavalière, we discovered our own seaside oasis – lacking, I might, add the same number of stars! Though in late March, the Riviera had not yet awakened to tourists, so the only other guests were Italian cyclists on a group adventure.
We were mesmerized by a seascape that vacillated between rocky cliffs and silky sand – enchanting in every way. We discovered a cliffside path that took us along the coast to Le Lavandou.
Of course, we would love to partake of the upscale pleasures of the villa, but either place would fulfill the wanderlust spirit and offer a touch of peace and beauty.
Don’t hesitate to contact S. Sheridan with questions or specific requests!