Don’t you just love the anticipation of going away on your summer break? Aside from the packing of Calpol and nappies and numerous other baby related paraphernalia this year, I couldn’t wait for our holiday in the South of France. We were very lucky that David’s family invited us all to share their week away. Having holidayed on the Mediterranean in the south of France and northern Spain since the age of seven, I was keen to visit the region again.
We flew from Bristol to Marseille and hired a car to drive to the villa, situated in the beautiful, small town of Eygalières, which was about an hour’s drive from the airport. We took our own baby seat as we couldn’t be guaranteed a car seat on arrival. If you’re worried about taking your car seat on the plane, don’t be; it was really easy to check in at the special luggage desk after checking our cases in at the main desk. The flight is an ideal length for travelling with little ones; just an hour and forty minutes, which was all my nerves would handle with a four month old in tow!
The drive to the villa was so picturesque, full of greenery and jagged rocks. As we came closer to Eygalières, which is about an hour’s drive from the coast, there was no mistaking the fact that we were in France. We passed through quaint villages and towns, with old shutters and flowers at their windows and eventually came to the track which led to our villa.
The villa itself was spectacular, surrounded by fragrant lavender and the biggest, most beautiful butterflies and bees I’ve ever seen! The villa was traditional in style both inside and out. I spent most of the holiday feeling like Belle from Beauty and the Beast!
The villa boasted a heated pool, which sounds funny but it was actually freezing when you first dipped your toes. With three children under two and a half, which included our two nephews, we were glad of the warmth! There were numerous places to shelter with Hugo, including a superb gazebo and large parasols too.
Attached to the house were pergolas with vines growing up them. I loved the dappled sun under these when feeding Hugo or having a chat with Ruby. A friend had recommended a swim float with canopy like this but I hadn’t left enough time to mail it so I found a last minute alternative. I found it here. Hugo really liked having us close when he was floating around so this paired float was ideal.
The main villa had three double bedrooms, with a gorgeous gallery landing stretching between the two bedrooms on the first floor. There were two bungalows within the villa grounds, probably fifteen metres from the main house. These slept an additional four people in each. We slept in the main villa so that the children would be safe in bed while we socialised downstairs on the terrace.
Obviously, being in a villa meant we were self-catering, which suited us very well. Although it’s lovely to holiday at a hotel, there’s something so nice about grabbing a spot of lunch when you fancy it and you’re not constrained by timings at all; this is especially good with young children and babies.
There are multiple villa rental companies out there to choose from. There’s a wide price range available and each comes with a differing level of extras, like our villa, for example, which supplied a selection of bikes in various sizes. Other villas will direct you to where you can hire bikes. I have to say, I didn’t do any cycling at all as I was keen to keep Hugo in the shade but Ruby loved cycling around the town with David’s Dad.
The small town of Eygalières is just as you’d expect and can be found about 10km south east of Saint Remy de Provence. There’s a central square to play pétanque and numerous restaurants and bars opening out onto the streets. At the far end of the town, there’s a steep incline up to a magnificent view point at the chateau ruins, perched on top of the hill, with olive groves and vineyards as far as the eye can see. Ruby loved the walk up to the top, searching for cute doors and shutters along the little alleyways.
Our favourite day in Eygalières was Friday, market day. The little streets were bustling with people, buying fresh fruits and vegetables and of course, olives. The market place was beautifully scented with the bags of lavender and soaps for sale everywhere. The whole place was so authentic.
The holiday was so relaxing and tranquil, so much so that we only ventured away from Eygalières on a day trip to Les Baux de Provence, which was a twenty minute car journey away. I would really recommend a visit here. Set on the side of a hill, this French commune is topped by more castle ruins and the views are amazing. It was a little bumpy for Hugo on the cobbles in the pushchair, so have your baby wraps at the ready!
It was here at Les Baux that we visited the most breath-taking art exhibition. Les Carrières de Lumières is an art exhibition set in an old quarry with artwork projected in all directions and set to music. I’ve never seen anything quite like it but it was lovely and cool in there too. It’s definitely worth a look.
And then it was time to come home, but not before another trip into town to search for Hugh Grant, who my sister-in-law saw at the park.
I hope you enjoyed reading about this beautiful place. Au revoir!