It’s my passion – sourcing and advising friends on places to stay around the world. I’ve been at it for years and I probably should have made a career of it. So I’m delighted that somehow I found myself here with a blog I love to write and an opportunity to share special places with more people than just close friends. I use Alistair Sawday special places travel books every time I travel – he is the king! One of his suggestions that was always booked was Le Mas des Gres…Of course the more you can’t have something the more you want it so although yet another summer was booked last year I was determined to get there. I bagged the final room of the kids autumn school holiday. We were finally going – …exciting…Only 1 hour to drive from Aix.
Near the Luberon National Park close to Avignon, Isle sur la Sorgue, Fontaine de Vaucluse and other gorgeous well known villages in the area, this little place is an utter delight. The typically provencal country guesthouse is surrounded by plenty of grassy areas to let the kids run with a stunning enclosed pool at the front of the house. Games for children are aplenty inside and out and there is a wonderful vegetable garden too!!! But for me the winning aspect of Le Mas des Gres over many others is the exemplary service from the team. Nothing was too much trouble and we felt truly welcomed and cared for by Nina and Thierry, the owners. Their house feels like home; with red tiled floors throughout, and gorgeous provencal touches everywhere. It has a heart and a soul and a wonderful spirit about it.
So what about the food? Thierry is a renowned chef in Provence with a big personality. Dinner is a feast and Thierry is ever present in the kitchen and restaurant. The menu is fresh and enticing cooked with love and passion using local produce and vegetables and herbs from the garden. Their cosy restaurant is brimming over with people every night – coq au vin one night and the most amazing risotto I have ever tasted another…everything perfect and served with great care and finesse. I had starter, main, cheese and dessert then I rolled into my warm and oh so comfy bed and dreamt of breakfast (and oh what a breakfast!). There are so many outdoor activities in the area from rafting to horse riding and my kids favourite – swinging through the trees with zip wires. Thierry and Nina organise a host of events around the foods of the region – honey, olives and truffles. They also run children and adult cooking classes in their magnificent kitchen – something I would love to try.
Thank you Nina and Thierry for creating this wonderful little place. If I don’t book now I may never get in again…