It was time to head to our home for the next two weeks.
Rather than stay near the coast I wanted to be up in the hills. There is a bewildering choice of holiday accommodation in the South of France but the photos on the website of the Villa D’Olive with its views across the green mountains of the Pyrenees Orientale tipped the balance
When we arrived on the Saturday evening the weather was looking dark and stormy but what it couldn’t hide was just what an amazing location the villa was in.
High on hillside at around 800m near the pretty village of Montferrer the views were every bit as stunning as the photos promised – a real “wow “moment as we stepped from the car to the warm greeting from the owners Ian and Linda. They were the perfect hosts, always on hand to help with any questions about the local area but respectful in allowing us to chill and relax
The house itself was marvellous, beautifully appointed with loads of space and plenty of homely touches. As to the grounds a profusion of wild flowers surrounded the lawns (with its own table tennis, the kids really liked that) and of course the pool. The kids needless to say were straight in while me and Jane did the unpacking.The true test of any holiday home for me is how quickly you feel at home, in this case about 30 minutes.
Despite my natural instinct to explore, just like our previous visits to Provence I quickly drop into a chill-out regime that scratches my itch to get back in the car (mind you 4 days living out of a suitcase does that pretty well). In the morning either me or TBF would take the 15 minute stroll into the village to collect the fresh bread and croissants for the day. After a leisurely breakfast, a morning of relaxing by the pool, reading and swimming, and a mid morning snack of local fresh fruit. Lunch taken in the conservatory (even at 800m it’s too hot to sit in the sun).
Lots of local wildlife to share the place with
More of the same in the afternoon with a game of table tennis thrown in until it was time for the evening meal outside by the pool while the sun went down.
We had a few evening showers with being so hot and in such close proximity to the mountains. We were treated to a double rainbow display on one evening….
And some blazing sunsets as well.
There are actually two properties on the estate with a Mas lower down the slopes with its own much larger pool.
Linda kindly let us spend a day by the pool at the Mas during the changeover day so we could compare and contrast.
The kids loved the bigger pool and the fact they could jump in as there was a deep end.
I loved the large hammock and could have spent the whole 2 weeks lying it.
I’d obviously love to go back and it would be a hard choice between the properties as they are both superb
We spent at least half of the two weeks just chilling by the house with some local walks thrown in (more posts to follow). Whilst my natural instinct is to explore the local towns and villages and especially in this mountainous region, climb the hills, I love these relaxing days and despite all the great things we did, it’s the days spent at the villa that are my own abiding memory.
As I have to work full-time I don’t get as much time as I’d like with the family but these days are real quality time to spend together and I treasure them.
These are the simple pleasures of life. Good food (and yes a few beers too, including the local cherry beer), warm sunshine, play and relaxation, all in a mountain setting to die for. A real detox from modern life.
I’ll follow-up with a few posts about pool antics, a couple of local walks (including a walk from the villa) and some nearby excursions to gorges and fortified towns but for now a few pictures of the villa and it’s surroundings and a little slide show to feel the sun as winter approaches back in the UK. A big thanks again to Linda and Ian for their hospitality and sharing their small slice of heaven