From bargain treehouses to luxury hotels, find your own secluded retreat in France and get away from it all
Set beside a private lake in the Périgord-Limousin regional park, this eco-friendly timber cabin is set up perfectly for an active holiday. You will find everything here from fishing rods and art supplies to telescopes and microscopes, although you could always just take it easy in front of the wood-burning stove. The main bedroom is on the ground floor and there is a twin room on the mezzanine, but the restricted headroom makes it more suitable for children. A hot shower and composting toilet are attached to the cabin. Guests have tea and coffee-making facilities, and there are lunch and dinner options in the surrounding villages.
Prices start from €95 per night, based on two people sharing. Minimum stay three nights.
Roulotte des Manèges, Pissefour, Rhône, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Go back in time to the travelling fairs of the 1920s with a stay in an authentic roulotte. The cosy caravan (one of three at the property) stands at the bottom of a village garden and has room for two people. Toilets and showers are situated in the guests’ section of the caravan owner’s house, along with a large kitchen and a dining room where you take breakfast. It is easy to explore the surrounding area as several footpaths lead off into the hills and forests of Beaujolais. Local activities include horse riding, quad biking and tree climbing.
Prices start from €68 per night based on two people sharing. Breakfast included.
This enchanting stone cottage in the Brittany countryside provides couples with an ideal escape from everyday life. Toul Bleïz is owned by British expatriates Julie and Jez Rooke, who have turned part of their ground floor into a guest bedroom which comes with a summerhouse kitchenette and an outdoor, lavender-filled seating area. The property sits in the middle of nowhere with no light pollution, making it a stargazer’s dream. The surrounding moorlands make ideal rambling territory, while the Nante-Brest canal is a 20-minute bicycle ride away.
Prices start from €75 per night, based on two people sharing. Breakfast included.
If you are searching for serenity and the simple life, look no further than this cabin high up in the hills of the Haut-Languedoc regional park. This back-to-nature hideaway can accommodate up to five guests, with two canopied double beds on the mezzanine, and a sofa downstairs that turns into a single bed. The morning bathroom ritual is a rustic affair; the shower is outside and consists of a large bucket inside a wooden cubicle, and is accompanied by an environmentally friendly straw composting toilet. The spaious kitchen has stunning views of the countryside. Wild swimming, wine tasting and canoeing are all available nearby.
Accommodation from €99 per night, basket of fruit, vegetables, bread, cheese, eggs and wine €45.
Moulin 85, Saint-Cyr-des-Gâts, Vendée, Pays-de-la-Loire
This lovingly restored 19th-century mill in the Vendée countryside has all the charm and cosiness that you would expect, but it doesn’t disappoint on the home comforts front either. Over four floors, the mill features a well-equipped kitchen with granite surfaces, an open fireplace in the living room and a modern bathroom with power shower and flushing toilet. Climb the wrought-iron stairs to the top floor, where the bedroom looks over vineyards and fields of sunflowers. The marshy expanse of the Marais Poitevin and the maritime city of La Rochelle are within driving distance.
Prices start from €500 per week, based on two people sharing.
La Toue Reine, La Chapelle-aux-Naux, Indre-et-Loire, Centre-Val de Loire
Take in the beauty of the River Loire on board a replica of the toues cabanées – working boats that were once a familiar sight on the waterway. La Toue Reine can accommodate up to four people at its riverbank mooring, from where you can admire the scenery and the abundant wildlife including the balbuzard pêcheur, a Loire eagle. The cabin’s light pine interior includes a small modern kitchen and bathroom, and there is also a sun deck for alfresco breakfasts.
Prices start from €160 per night, based on two people sharing. Minimum two-night stay during French school holidays.
Le Refuge, Allerey-sur-Saône, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy-Franche-Comté
On the edge of a quaint Burgundy village not far from Beaune stands this little roulotte, a perfect place for any couple looking to combine an unusual stay with a touch of luxury. The decor couldn’t be further from a traditional traveller’s caravan – think parquet wooden floors, ergonomic bed and tiled bathroom complete with power shower and flushing toilet. Other luxuries include an espresso machine, a minibar and an iPad, which you use to order breakfast and dinner from the caravan’s owners. On the deck, the private hot tub allows you to admire views of the countryside, which can then by explored by hiring a classic Citroën 2CV or a Solex electric bike.
Prices start from €198 per night, based on two people sharing. Breakfast €16.
This tranquil treehouse in the grounds of a farmhouse B&B combines the best of the great outdoors with the comforts of a modern home, including contemporary decor. Accommodation comprises a double bedroom, a plumbed-in shower and separate flushing toilet. Two single beds for children are also available if required. The treehouse’s calling card is a private hot tub on the wooden terrace, where you can enjoy views over the wooded hills. A buffet breakfast picnic basket is hoisted up by rope, and dinner can be arranged in the same way.
Treehouse for two from €200 per night including breakfast.
Les Sources de Caudalie, Martillac, Gironde, Nouvelle Aquitaine
Lying beside a lake in the Bordeaux vineyards, this wine-inspired spa and country hotel combines grape-based treatments with gourmet dining. The hotel is spread over six buildings, and rooms are decorated with antiques, stressed wood and warm colours, many with a terrace or balcony overlooking the lake or vineyards. Staff can organise a range of activities, from wine tasting and cookery classes to participating in the grape harvest. The spa pioneered vinotherapy – rubbing wine residue (the pips and pulp) into the skin – and treatments on offer include a cabernet scrub and a merlot, honey and vine flower wrap.
Prices start from €220 per night, based on two people sharing. Breakfast €25.
Le Couvent des Minimes, Mane, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
Housed in a 17th-century convent in the Luberon, this five-star hotel offers plenty of opportunity for quiet reflection, as it comes with a spa and six hectares of aromatic gardens. The 46 rooms and suites are spacious and have a distinctly contemporary decor, as do the main reception and dining areas. There are two pools – one indoor and one outdoor – and a fully furnished sun terrace. Just steps away is the spa, which offers plant-based treatments, a sauna and a hammam. After a day of relaxation, guests can dine on the best Provençal cuisine at the Le Cloître gastronomic restaurant or the Le Pesquier bistro.
Prices start from €225 per night, based on two people sharing. Breakfast €29.
Château Saint-Martin and Spa, Vence, Alpes-Maritimes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
Perched high above Vence about 11 kilometres from the French Riviera, this luxurious château hotel is the perfect place to unwind. It occupies a former stronghold of the Knights Templar, and has spectacular views over the Mediterranean. Rooms are timelessly classic and spacious, with marbled bathrooms; they include a number of suites, which come with lounges as well as balconies or terraces. On the gastronomic front, the one-Michelin-star Saint-Martin restaurant showcases chef Jean-Luc Lefrançois’s modern takes on Provençal dishes such as Sisteron lamb, pigeon and red mullet. For more informal dining, L’Oliveraie occupies a large terrace in the shade of an olive grove. Other facilities include a heated infinity pool, tennis courts and an award-winning spa.
Doubles from €420 per night, breakfast €40.
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