The area around Le Coin de Manon
Approached along a quiet lane, Le Coin de Manon is nestled among Provence's vineyards and indigenous forest in a beautiful undulating valley.
The villa is situated north-west of Toulon, near La Cadiére-d'Azur and Le Beausset. Surrounded by the region's signature vines, it is part of the Côtes de Provence Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) of Bandol. This is where the French Impressionists would paint, a place well-known for its great beauty and charm.
Le Brulat du Castellet
Le Coin de Manon is only a few minutes drive from the quaint little hamlet of Le Brulat du Castellet. Here you can buy daily provisions, freshly baked baguettes, croissants, cherry jam, butter, cured ham, fruits and vegetables from the boulangerie, or go out for tasty pizza and other dishes of local cuisine at the excellent but informal restaurant, Le 52. The market town of Le Beausset is about 10 minutes away by car and you'll find much more on offer here, including supermarkets, Casino and Carrefour.
The centre of Le Beausset is taken over on Sundays and Fridays for the local markets with a great array of local produce -a colourful way for you to do your shopping.
A medieval village perched up high on a cliff's edge in sight of Le Coin de Manon, Le Castellet is a stunning venue to discover and explore only a 10 minute drive away. People from all over the country are drawn here by its architectural heritage, its narrow cobbled streets, its restaurants and art galleries, and its numerous shops selling pretty wares, candles, knick-knacks and souvenirs. A favourite for candles is Bougies du Castellet. They are truly works of art.
Gaze out across the sumptuous green landscape below from the edge of the village, stop for freshly squeezed juice along the winding streets and then dine under stars on the steps of La Cantine, or another favourite Le Pied de Nez.
One of our favourite expeditions is to Cassis, an ancient fishing port that lies under the watch of an 18th Century castle. Pastel-coloured buildings fringe the picturesque harbour. Find a table in the shade of Bar le Port where many locals have their early-morning coffee, read their paper and watch the world go by while fisherman sell their catch just in front of the café on the harbour front. The traditional market is full of colour and verve -pottery, cheese, flowers, olives, breads and succulent rotisserie chicken are all sold here. Filled with street cafés, crêperies and restaurants, this town has everything you'd expect from the French Riviera without the huge crowds.
Stroll around the harbour, drink your coffee in view of the rows of bobbing yachts and fishing boats, or lie back on the beach before dipping into the the cool of the Med. This stunning town is a short 20 minute drive from Le Coin de Manon and a lovely spot for breakfast or an evening meal.
You can take the scenic route along the Route des Crêtes into or out of Cassis and enjoy the breathtaking views across the cobalt sea. The 10-mile stretch of coast between Cassis and Marseilles features not only France's highest sea cliffs, but also a series of calanques: stunning fjord-like inlets carved into the white limestone. You can hire a boat for the day, pack a picnic and explore the calanques from Cassis -a wonderful day out. If you are a rock climber, you can try your hand at Calanque d'En-Vau.
There is plenty to do in the area around Le Coin de Manon. You can hike, bike, sail, swim, shop and more. An hour from Marseilles and not much further to Aix-en-Provence, this is a wonderful base from which to discover the beauty of the South of France.
If you want to go even further afield, Avignon hides behind its 800-year old wall, along the Rhone River, and the beautiful Arles, a UNESCO World Heritage site dating back to 7th Century BC, is located further downstream. A great place for kids would be a visit to the Camargue, a regional nature park famous for its white horses and special cattle that roam the marshes.
Closer to home, try your hand on the Frégate 18-hole golf course, a mere 15 minutes drive from the house, or explore the local vineyards and go wine-tasting across the region. Harvested from the grapes grown on the doorstep of Le Coin de Manon is the renowned Domain Lou Capelan Bandol wine so make sure you have a taste.
You really do need to stay for weeks to enjoy it all!