At the end of a small lane off the road from Saint-Remy-de-Provence to Maillane, a sculpted drive beckons guests toward Le Mazet du Soleil
. The newer portion of the house is framed in an L-shape by the original 18th-Century farmhouse, with a lovely terrace along both sides and a raised pool. The covered part of the terrace lines the façade of the older structure and features a full outdoor kitchen and dining. Borders of roses and oleander define the various gathering areas, with olive trees and cypress drawing the eye toward the nearby Alpilles. Across from the main entrance of the house, purposely hidden under vines in a field of lavender and olive trees, is the most unusual feature of this enchanting home: an orangerie, fully realized in wrought-iron and glass, with breezy curtains to assure privacy or sun, comprising the fourth air-conditioned luxury suite in this truly exceptional home.
Many of the charms of Le Mazet du Soleil are found on the ground floor, making it an ideal choice for couples of a certain age or those with mobility issues. The main entrance is through triple wrought-iron and glass doors into the broad salon and dining room. With stone floors, beamed ceilings, sheer curtains and muted tones, the atmosphere is warm and invites the eye to linger on the massive stone fireplace, the pedestal carved wood table or the flatscreen TV bordered by comfortable sofas. Here and throughout the 380 m2 (4,100 square feet) house is a deliberate feeling of refinement and tranquility, with carefully chosen decorative pieces, high-end fabrics and excellent lighting to show it all off. The kitchen is adjacent to the salon and opens to the terrace through double French doors. Breakfast can be enjoyed on the terrace, thanks to the espresso maker, electric kettle and juicer, and more elaborate meals are possible when using the ceramic stove and double oven, refrigerator-freezer with in-door icemaker, wine fridge and a number of smaller appliances. An eat-in table for 4 is a natural gathering spot. Off the kitchen is a laundry room with additional pantry items and the washer, dryer and ironing facilities.
Two bedrooms are on the ground floor. The first is beyond the dining room and gives onto the garden from two sides. This is a lovely large bedroom with beamed ceilings, polished wood floors and king-sized bed. The multiple windows and doors give this room a lovely glow. The huge ensuite bathroom has its own set of French doors and a long clawfoot-style bathtub, separate glass shower with sunflower head, custom wood vanity with vessel sinks and WC. The second bedroom is beyond the kitchen and opens through arched French doors to the terrace and covered outdoor dining area. Together with the fireplace, built-in shelves and stone floors, this room has a more traditional ambiance. The queen-sized bed with its top-quality linens and sparkling ensuite bathroom with glass shower stall, double sink and WC are all modern.
A stone spiral staircase rises from the small foyer next to the kitchen to the master bedroom. This expansive suite with king-sized bed enjoys dramatic views of the entire property and the Alpilles mountain chain. Beamed cathedral ceilings, striking paint choices and seagrass carpets amplify the impact of the room. A writing desk and an upholstered daybed are perfect spots for inspiration. The ensuite bath has an enormous Italian shower in tumbled marble and smoked glass, long single vanity and WC.
The fourth bedroom is located in the orangerie and is utterly enchanting, with three walls of windows and the fourth of exposed stone. Completely separate from the main house, the orangerie offers privacy for early or late risers and an unforgettable setting. The open space is separated into the sleeping area, with a beautiful king-sized bed and, behind the wall, an open stall shower, vanity with tall vessel sinks and WC. The combination of Balinese-style statuary and furniture adds an exotic touch to this zen garden-inspired suite.
With the four bedroom suites completely separated from one another, Le Mazet du Soleil is ideal for a group of couples, as each can choose a unique and attractive suite. The entire house is equipped with a reversible multi-zone air-conditioning system, assuring comfort at any season. The natural gathering spot is the covered outdoor eating area, with a long wooden table for 8 and a full kitchen, including four-burner gas stove and oven, microwave oven, built-in stone barbecue for charcoal or wood, sink and refrigerator. There is also a shower and WC, and wide steps give onto the 17 m X 8 m (56’ X 26’) pool. An extra cut-out at the side nearest the house has a shallow beach area then several more steps leading into the pool. Along with the mature landscaping, a handful of teak chaise longues with cushions, a set of wicker armchairs and a stone bench surround the pool. Flat grassy lawns interspersed with local trees complete the 1.3 hectare (3.2 acre) grounds.
Everything at Le Mazet du Soleil has been imagined for guests, and the rental price includes four hours of cleaning each morning as well as fresh towels daily. Chef service and babysitting can be arranged and a wide variety of spa-type services are available upon request. It would be hard to conceive a more peaceful atmosphere than the orangerie, which would provide an ideal setting for practicing yoga; Just France can arrange for private lessons. The pool deck or the front porch off the dining room would also be inviting for yoga, or perhaps a clear spot in the middle of the fields, with the Alpilles and the house framed under a perfect sunny blue sky.
As hard as it may be to leave the comforts of Le Mazet du Soleil, the center of Saint-Remy-de-Provence is less than 800 meters away. The location is yet another stunning feature of this magnificent property. Guests can walk, ride a bike (two are provided) or hop in the car to visit one of the region’s most interesting towns. All commerce can be found in this bustling little city, with its renowned Wednesday morning market and Roman ruins just outside the center at Glanum. Cafés and restaurants of all levels are to be discovered in Saint-Remy, and for nightlife Avignon is less than 30 minutes to the north.
A myriad of villages and attractions surround Saint-Remy, from the ruins at Les Baux just south over the Alpilles, to Carrieres des Lumieres tucked into the Alpilles, to boutique-rich Maussanne-les-Alpilles and Eygalieres. The perched villages of the Luberon are 45 minutes to the east and the wine villages of the Vaucluse Plateau are an hour to the north. With the convenient access from the TGV station at Avignon and from the Marseille-Provence airport at Marignane an hour’s drive to the south, Le Mazet du Soleil is as easy to reach as it is difficult to leave.