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Mas Elysia

Hidden behind an imposing portail are gardens, a farmhouse and a barn. Those are the essential elements of this unforgettable property, where tradition and modern luxury blend seamlessly. But to think this is just another Provencal mas is to miss the perfect expression of a beautifully restored 18th-century farmhouse, with every comfort both inside and out fulfilled. Every glance offers another delight for the senses and the soul, from the sun dappling across the shimmering pool to the breeze ruffling the curtains of the pergola over the outdoor salon. A meandering path bordered by soft lawn traverses a garden with a library of local species – roses, oleander and lavender in beds, a lane of olive trees and an orchard of fruit trees beyond the pool. A tall pine and an impressive plane tree anchor the property, and a splendid octagonal fountain in the middle completes the idyllic picture. To relax in this enchanting setting and to be within an easy stroll of Saint-Remy-de-Provence is paradise indeed.

One natural gathering space will be the restored barn, with its massive 4 meter table for up to 24, its whimsical yet practical convertible kitchen and a casual salon area before the fireplace and flatscreen TV. Exposed beams and flagstone floors catch the light streaming in from multiple sets of French doors. Several tables just outside ,with enormous parasols for shade, ensure that meals can be taken in comfort during any season.

The path leads past the barn to the farmhouse, with a terrace that lines the front facade and a vine-covered entrance into the salon. This room is called the salon d’hiver, or winter salon, and is beautifully proportioned, with exposed beams and two large sofas gatherered before an impressive fireplace and flatscreen TV with satellite reception. A staircase with tall steps leads to two of the four upstairs bedrooms. The traditional layout and construction of the house conceals one of its most modern and unusual features: central air-conditioning. This oft-requested but still exceedingly rare amenity means the house is comfortable even on the hottest July day.

From the terrace one can also reach the foyer and the dining area outside the kitchen. The kitchen is itself a work of art, from the five-burner gas stove with double oven, large two-door refrigerator with in-door icemaker and a sensible L-shaped layout with dishwasher, espresso maker, juicer and a host of small appliances. A generous eat-in table for six is complemented by the table outside, shaded by a massive plane tree and a parasol, with benches for eight. Beyond the kitchen is a laundry room with washer and dryer, additional storage and appliances.

The delights of Mas Elysia are only sweetened when one considers the two bedroom suites on the ground floor, both accessible from the garden. These bedrooms ensure an older couple can comfortably join the group or an early riser can exit the house without waking the others. The bedroom suites are on opposite sides of the common rooms, ensuring maximum privacy. The bedroom off the salon is a secret hideaway, with a king-sized bed, built-in shelves, separate walk-in closet and ensuite bath with clawfoot bath, separate shower, double vanity and WC. On the western end of the house, past the kitchen, the second ground-floor bedroom has a beautiful arched French window opening to a private terrace and sitting area. Tommettes floor tiles add character to the neutral linens and furniture. A generous ensuite bath has tub, separate shower, double sinks and WC.

An open staircase here leads to a guest powder room a few steps up from ground level and then rises to a generous landing. To one side, a narrow room can be a young child’s room, with a full-sized crib or single bed, and a wall of closets. Through a door is a romantic guest room, with double French doors overlooking the garden, a queen-sized bed and ensuite bath with glass and stone shower, long vanity counter in sparkling white tile and WC.

The first master bedroom is off the other side of the landing and has two steps down to pass through an anteroom with a single bed and WC, perfect for a small child. Beyond is a very large room with king-sized bed and views over the gardens, cathedral ceiling, writing desk, in-wall closets and ensuite bath with clawfoot tub, separate shower, double vanity and WC.

The fifth bedroom opens from the stairs that rise from the salon. This is the second master bedroom and is enormous and airy, with beamed cathedral ceiling, a separate seating area, two sets of French windows with views over the garden and an equally large ensuite bath with tub, separate shower, double vanity and WC. A door along the front of the room opens to the sixth bedroom.

This last bedroom offers maximum flexibility for a family or for the older children in a group. A large open room with bookshelves offers two twin beds or a king-sized bed. A wide mezzanine staircase leads to a spacious landing with two twin beds. While this bedroom can be accessed from the second master, it also has a private entrance and staircase from the terrace. A spacious bathroom with shower and WC is tucked under the mezzanine stairs.

Guests will naturally make the barn the center of activity, with two adjoining areas competing for attention. The first is the gym, in a separate part of the barn, with exercise machines, an enormous sauna and a sparkling shower with WC. The second is the heated pool, with a shallow beach portion under a fountain and a current to swim against. It is easy to imagine spending days on end in this beautiful and practical place.

The property is indeed hard to leave, but 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.

There is the slightest bit of road noise from the real world outside the tall gates, but it is not enough to disturb paradise. The rental price includes four hours of cleaning and fresh towels daily (hotel-type services that are very rare in a private rental home). With six large bedrooms, each with a big bed and luxurious ensuite bathroom, Mas Elysia is that elusive house for six couples. Its long list of high-end amenities, central air-conditioning and ideal location make it a wonderful fit for a group of friends or family looking for the perfect property in Provence.


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