Here is a stylishly decorated home with original art in each room. All furnishings are of a very high quality and there is every attention to detail. There are covered terraces and a pool for Summer, a log burner and skiing for Winter and fabulous walking and cycling all year round. This is accessible rural France only 30 minutes from the airport. The house is perfect for extended families or two families as there are two distinct sleeping areas. We caution that the pool is not fenced, the indoor staircase is not gated and there is a wood-burner and an outdoor fire, so the house may not be suitable for under-fives.
Mas Darré la Foun (Occitan for 'Behind the Fountain') has four bedrooms: two upstairs (one double, one twin) each with en-suite shower room and dressing area, and two downstairs (one double, one king-size) secluded in their own wing and sharing a large bathroom, separate loo and petit salon for quiet reading.
Upstairs the double bedroom has a huge, arched window framing inviting walks up the country lane. The twin room at the back has a juliet balcony overlooking the pool and village. The downstairs bedrooms each have French doors giving on to the pretty garden and face East for the best of the morning sun.
The spacious main salon and dining area sit under a lofty beamed ceiling with a semi-open-plan kitchen. This is hand built with granite work surfaces and is set up for serious cooking. There is Rangemaster five-ringed gas stove with twin electric ovens and grill, a Rangemaster cooker hood and double ceramic sink. There is a large dishwasher, extra-wide fridge-freezer and microwave. The crockery is largely fine bone china and more than enough cutlery and glassware is provided. Every pot and pan and utensil you might need are available and in the oak larder cupboard you will find all basic condiments and pantry goods which you are welcome to use.
There is an island with an oak surface matching the eight-seater oak dining table. These complement oak sideboards and oak occasional furniture in the sitting area where sofas and a reading chair and lamp are arranged around the log-burning stove. A SMART TV, Books, DVDs and games are provided for holiday entertainment.
Three sets of French windows give out onto shady terraces offering rattan sofas and a barbeque which also functions as an outdoor fireplace which we designed ourselves and decorated with an iron-work Occitan cross. There is a luxury rattan and glass outdoor dining set for eight.
Down in the summer kitchen a sink and fridge allow for snacks and cold drinks. There is a further dining set here and a shower-room and WC convenient to the 12m x 4m pool. Swim along gazing at patchwork vineyards whilst kites and buzzards circle in high skies. There are four loungers on the poolside in addition to reclining chairs, the sofa and easy chair and the comfortable rattan dining chairs on the upper terrace, so everyone should find a place to read, sun-bathe, play games or just gaze at the lovely garden and views.
The garden is exceptionally pretty with fruit and olive trees, local cypresses, wisteria, honeysuckle, jasmine, lavender and trailing rosemary. Much of the area near the house is paved with travertine stone, extending from the travertine flooring to the whole of the inside living space. Outside this includes the terraces, the path down to the pool and the sunbathing area. There are gravel walks to take a morning turn around the rose garden and a little walled kitchen garden next to the drive.
There is a lawn, or rather a 'lawn' which we are trying to persuade the Mediterranean climate to accept so we can put out our croquet set.
Four bikes are provided (bring your own helmets) and there are various pool and garden games, in addition to a ping pong table in the garage. There is also an inflatable kayak which is fantastic for taking on to the lake at Montbel or for more serious river kayaking if you are sufficiently experienced. In the village is a recently-renovated tennis court. We have a guest membership card and tennis racquets and balls for you to use for free.
Mas Darré la Foun was designed for us by a French architect and built by local artisans in 2013. The garden is maintained by Michael who sings to concert standard and plays woodwind. The house and pool are maintained by Barry the Brit from the village who used to work in engineering and motor racing and is a stickler for detail. Everything is ship-shape and Bristol fashion for your stay and no corners are cut in quality or what is provided.
It is very much a home which is let out to only a few exclusive parties. Our guests have delighted in the house and receive a splendid welcome. Unfortunately the proximity of the pool to the house and the lack of stairgates or equipment for babies mean that we prefer children who visit to be over five years old.
We provide more information about local services and restaurants when you book. We have also prepared a ‘How to…’ booklet to unlock all the mysteries of how to get there, how to get in, how to operate equipment and emergency contacts. Guests often have special arriving or departure requests and have to co-ordinate holidays with flights to any of five airports within a two-hour drive plus a couple more under two-and-a-half hours. We are happy to accommodate all reasonable requests and are completely flexible about arrival and departure dates out of high season, where the minimum recommended stay is seven days, preferably Saturday-Saturday.
Enjoy the peace and luxury of a holiday at Mas Darré la Foun!