Provençal Auberge accommodation

What better place to stay in Provence than an old hotel now lovingly converted into a family-run auberge, offering tailor made holidays and set just inland from Nice and the French Riviera. What better way to explore the surrounding area than with a host that spent a childhood there, knows it like the back of his hand, and can introduce you to friendly neighbours and local producers? And by the way if you’re a yoga-lover, it’s a specialty.

You’d be hard put to find a more appealing location for a guesthouse than the small medieval village of Saint Jeannet. The peaceful streets here inspired artists such as Matisse and Picasso, and the attitude of local people to holidaymakers is incredibly welcoming. Recent guest Arlene Fleischmann found “an intimate view into the lives of the St. Jeannet villagers who sustain the beauty and natural resources of this 1000 year old medieval village.” You’re just 15km from the Côte d'Azur, and the views from the Frogs’ House go all the way down to the harbour of Nice and the glittering Mediterranean.

The focus here is providing guests with a mindful, relaxed introduction to the countryside and gastronomy of Provence, but in the background your holiday will support traditional and artisan industries, from olive oil mills to vineyards. Rural communities such as this do suffer from lack of employment opportunities, leading them to be hollowed out as people seek work elsewhere.

Activities

The area around Saint Jeannet is perfect for a wide range of outdoor activities, from hiking to rock climbing, canyoning to river rafting. But at the heart of your stay (depending of course on your preferences as these are tailor made holidays) are likely to be three main activities: yoga, walking and gastronomy. And wow, do they know their stuff.

Yoga

Just as suitable for novices as for more experienced practitioners, yoga sessions are a regular feature. They mainly follow ashtanga or hatha techniques, combined with asana, and there is also the option for Tibetan bowl sound massages. Mats are provided to save you bringing your own, and you can expect to get into the swing of things very easily, as guest Cate Falconer found:

“I went as a single person, thinking that I would experience some social elements but would largely find myself on my own for much of it. I would have been respected for wanting to be solitary too, but the people, the yoga and the day programs were just so engaging...the atmosphere so inviting and inclusive, I just allowed myself to relax into the lovely, warm rhythm of the place, and I'm so glad I did.”

Walking

Led by a certified local guide that takes care to ensure you stick to well-marked trails, thereby protecting the natural landscape, walks from Saint Jeannet explore ‘perched villages’ on hilltops, gorges and even go as far as Mercantour National Park, an hour away, where you might see reintroduced raptors and even wolves. Sublime viewpoints are, of course, de rigueur.

Gastronomy

It’s ‘farm to fork’ all the way in Saint Jeannet, where pretty much everything on your plate will be sourced from local markets and neighbourhood producers. Organic breakfasts on the sunny terrace are included, while the village has a range of good restaurants. You can visit a goat cheese farm, an olive oil mill, and a local vineyard, providing support to these small businesses, and take part in a fun cookery class in the auberge’s large open kitchen to explore regional gastronomy further still.

Naturally there are plenty of cultural visits available to you in this area. You have Nice and the French Riviera just 30km away; Cannes of course; Antibes with its billionaires’ harbour and Picasso museum; the Chapelle du Rosaire of Vence, decorated by Matisse, as well as popular destinations such as Eze and Villefranche-sur-Mer. And with your hosts pleased to arrange transfers and act as guides if required, there’s absolutely no need to hire a car while here. Add that to the amount of local food on offer, and your holiday’s carbon footprint can be kept to an absolute minimum. Happy days.

Our top Provence Holiday

French Riviera holiday, walking, culture & cooking option

French Riviera holiday, walking, culture & cooking option

Experience real French culture while relaxing mindfully...

From €450 to €1080 4 days ex flights
Tailor made:
This trip runs every week (April- Nov) with a set itinerary but the length of stay & arrival date can be adjusted to your needs
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Provence or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Practicalities

Holidays in Saint Jeannet are tailor made, so the exact nature of your itinerary as well as your travel dates are up to you, but the travel season generally runs from March to November. Provence can also be wonderful in winter. The auberge has a range of rooms available, some overlooking the lush hillsides, others with sea views from their balconies, and a relaxed atmosphere prevails, as one former guest, Arlene Fleischmann, mentions:

“Shop at the village grocer, baker and join other guests in making meals some nights. You have kitchen privileges. The house is essentially yours in the common areas. You can eat dinner outside and watch the stars and moon. Add a bottle of local wine and you are in heaven.”

You can get to Nice from London by train in as little as eight-and-a-half hours and once there your hosts can assist with transfers or guided day-trips – no driving or flying required.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: The Frogs House] [Intro: The Frogs' House] [Yoga: The Frogs' House] [Walking: hape662] [Cooking: The Frogs' House]
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