THE ELECTRIC ENERGY OF SUMMER IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE
When the great landscape painters set out to create their masterpieces, they would begin by laying out a palette that reinforces, you might even say exaggerates the mood of the scenes they painted. So with Paris, the location we usually write about, the palette includes a certain diffuse grey, for the local stone that defines that city; pale pinks for the winter sky and sunsets; and more somber blues, blacks and greens to define the contours of urbanity there. It’s a northerly palette, suggestive of serious thought and industry – in other words, leave the sunglasses at home.
When it came to Southern France, it was a whole different proposition. The dazzle of daylight and brilliance of the colors called for the great masters to break out of that somber Parisian palette and engage with a riotously vibrant spectrum. So they treated our eyes to a riot of bright tones and more intense light and shadow.
Not surprisingly, the south of France has long been a haven for artists, from Van Gogh to Picasso to the Scottish environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy, who subsequently answered to this craving for color. Their work is drenched in the sunny ochre yellows of the local clay of the “Midi,” as the South of France is called colloquially – as well as the intense blues of sky and sea, purple of local lavender, and reds of the poppy fields. The colors are so seductive all by themselves that you hardly need more, apart from a way to enjoy them.
Which brings us to this lovely Southern estate, equally drenched in dazzle and hue. Close to St. Tropez, Port Grimaud and La Garde Freinet, it comes with its own name, La Loma, as well as its own caretaker – who will tend to your needs during your stay. Aside from the tantalizing prospect of lovely day trips to people-watch on the Riviera, there’s the nearby picturesque village of Congolin, where movies from Wise Guys to La Cage Aux Folles to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang were filmed. Take in the sights, the scents, the spray of the sunny South… then return to your wonderful little ochre castle in the sky. Enjoy the views, which go on uninterrupted for miles, from its numerous terraces. Splash and swim in the gorgeous private pool that would inspire stars building their own estates in Beverly Hills. And above all… relax.
This is the ultimate sophisticated getaway for a group of your nearest and dearest – the South of France as you’ve never experienced it – and you are the painter.
Three couples can be accommodated in complete opulence in this lovely, private villa, with additional sleeping possibilities for the kids, as necessary. But you may want this place to yourselves. A huge salon accommodates everyone handily, whether to regroup from sightseeing exertions, savor the ritual of local Pastis, or just sit and read for awhile. There’s an ample table indoors for dining, another one at the ready on the terrace, with its breathtaking views.
Three grand bedrooms sport oversize (king or queen) beds and luxury linens. A couple of them have terraces off the French doors, so you can take the pulse of the morning air or watch the stars. Deep bathtubs sit at the center of huge, sundrenched bathrooms, all tiled with that local, impeccable, rustic feeling.
Look down a terrace or two and you’ll spy the turquoise pool built into the local stone, winking in the clear light. And everywhere, sunny ochre and green hills, blue sky, rolling out as far as the eye can see.
This is an experience of nature cultivated, charmed by the Mediterranean. You’ll feel you’re in a dream....Read more
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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