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One warm autumnal evening, in the Languedoc region of France, the owners of Belle Vallée were out walking amongst the vines on their property when they came across an old man carrying a basket of wild mushrooms. After questioning the old man on his findings, they learnt that he had been foraging the forest that thrives within their 15 acres of property. “Les bois sont pour tout le monde”, he declared. The woods are for everyone. As are the vineyards, the valleys and the villages in this authentically antiquated area of the south. Old charm prevails beyond the stone walls of the 16th Century farmhouse, along the shady lanes lined by tall plane trees, into the village of Plaissan, and out of the affable eyes of the locals. A trait that seduced the South African-Californian owners into undertaking the mammoth task of tenderly restoring the decrepit Mas into the perfect hideaway it is today.
Half an hour from Montpellier – the city that is known as the Paris of the South – Belle Vallée bares its repurposed Pont du Gard stone stacked into the “patates” walls, and welcomes you in to a Napoleonic paradise. From the ground up, the interior architect-owner has dutifully salvaged the remnants of the stone and romanced them back to life. Original 17th Century wooden beams, vaulted stone ceilings, a domed stone bread oven in the kitchen dating back to 1600’s, and livestock feeding troughs outside the grand salon are all embellished by a collection of 17th century Languedoc and Provençal antique furniture that populates the space.
Reminiscent of its roots, the revived farmhouse shares its medieval foundations with parasol pines, ancient olive trees, white rose bushes, rolling lawns, and over 700 lavender plants. A young olive grove of 30 Lucques trees, unique to the region, borders the vines and les bois that surrounds. Afternoons can be spent on the pétanque court or in the 17-metre swimming pool, that entices you in to its cooling waters where a good book can be enjoyed as you take shade beneath the parasol. Paisible picnic spots are scattered around the wild grasses, behind low stone walls, overlooking the valley below. When the Mediterranean summer sun takes its toll there are five colossal air-conditioned ensuite bedrooms to retire to, for an hour or two of sieste. Where you can drift off listening to the leaves whistling with the breeze, as it carries your thoughts beyond the walls, through the vines and into the valley.
What is known as the coin magique is affirmed in the stillness, peace and calm of Belle Vallée. Indeed, it is a magic corner of the world. A place where you can return to your most brilliant and best self – the self that bares the beauty that’s been chiselled over time. Let it be revived by buttery Lucques olives, and lathered in lavender. Bask in all your glory of what presides amongst the tall cypresses. The property will romance you back to life, just like the owners did to the property.
What we love!
What you need to know…
Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie
Unfortunately no pets allowed.
The owners have a small dog (not at the house during rentals)
Based on 8 reviews
Guest reviews are written by our customers after their stay at Belle Vallée.
Belle Vallee was the perfect launching pad to the best part of France: We could tour small villages with beautiful medieval abbayes, cobblestone streets from Molière's time, lively farmer's markets, and open-air restaurants. But we wanted to be back by 5 pm to swim in the beautiful salt pool. And the crowning part of each day: to watch the sun set over the property's vineyards. An enchanting place to connect and relax.
As a former travel writer for five years and 100 countries, I'm a little bit picky, but this place stood out. One can see from the photos that it is beautiful, but what struck me most was the ambience. I was enchanted by the aesthetic and the decor, and the vibe of the place is sublime. I felt transported into 18th century France, and there was a languorous, thick exoticism that permeated the place. If you're not already a Francophile, this place will convert you. Sensual. Memorable. Exceptional.
At Belle Vallée, you find true luxury in the elegance, harmony and prestige of the home. It is an inspirational and fascinating destination where 18th-century splendour and modern comforts sit happily side by side. The home is nestled on the hillside a short drive from historical Pézenas with its quaint restaurants, antique shops, and Saturday market. We enjoyed eating outside - there are patios on three sides of the house, all offering different views - breakfast looking at the hills, lunch gazing at the vineyards, and dinner under the wisteria overlooking the gardens and swimming pool. There’s also a magnificent fire pit for a late night drink and s'mores! A truly memorable place to spend time.
Belle Vallée is a tranquil oasis. The lavender bordered driveway hides the magnificent home that awaits as you enter the gates between ancient olive trees to the courtyard. The old “Mas”, or traditional Midi farmhouse, has been sympathetically restored, is elegantly decorated and contains all the modern conveniences you could expect with multiple patios from which to enjoy sweeping views and outdoor dining. You don’t have to leave the property to enjoy a walk in the surrounding vineyards, trek through the forest to find wild boar tracks, dip in the swimming pool, or play a traditional game of boules under the huge pine trees. The perfect place to get away from everything!
We enjoyed 10 days of sunshine during our wonderful September holiday at Belle Vallée, a spectacular home in the south of France. We took day trips to the lively town of Aigues Mortes where we could walk the medieval ramparts or choose to bike the pink salt flats; Nîmes to discover Les Arènes (colosseum arena); and Pont du Gard, the astonishing ancient Roman aqueduct bridge which back in the first century carried water to Nîmes. We cycled along the Canal du Midi, had lunch in the tiny town of Minerve so rich in Cathar history, and went further afield to visit the old city of Carcassonne. A true highlight was a visit to Abbaye de Fontfroide, a former Cistercian monastery (don’t miss the divine restaurant there). Back at Belle Vallée we luxuriated inside and out and even helped harvest a row of grapes. All the exploring was fun yet the time spent at this beautifully restored farmhouse was the most memorable part of our trip.
It’s not often that a home so lovingly restored is offered to guests. I felt extremely lucky for the opportunity to enjoy this serene, graceful and impressive farmhouse, from the moment we turned onto the tree-lined lane, drove through the iron gates, crunched over the courtyard, and stepped into Belle Vallée. My favourite room was the foyer with its stunning staircase and artwork. More beautiful rooms lead in every direction. Each morning I’d come down that staircase after a comfortable night on soft white sheets, see the artwork in a new light and wonder at the effort to refurbish each and every baluster post. The whole place exudes history and charm. Pure joy to stay here! Arriving back to Belle Vallée after a day of exploring felt like pure heaven. We’d lounge by the pool, sip Languedoc rosé, and relax while the sun sets over the vineyards inflaming golden stone walls. Some days we simply stayed put—relaxing and enjoying both the sun and shade by the pool—spending the entire day in luxury and beauty. A family dinner in the courtyard under the trellis was the perfect ending to many fantastic memorable days.
We have returned to the magnificent Belle Vallée three years in a row because we love it so much. It is a most special place, replete with all the luxuries and comforts one dreams of, set in a breathtakingly beautiful, private vineyard. There is so much to do in the Languedoc so that whether you prefer to relax at the pool, swim in the Mediterranean, wine taste, hike, visit ancient sites, or shop in either a small ancient town or the larger Montpellier, there is really something for everyone. This is a place to enjoy the best the French countryside has to offer, without the touristy, overcrowded feel of Provence or the Cote D’Azur.
Belle Vallée is an amazing place. The owners have created the most perfect balance of grace and beauty with warmth and welcome. The house has been “restored” – really rebuilt from the ground up! – with meticulous attention to its long history and interesting architectural features, but at the same time, it is modern in all the best ways. It is superbly decorated, with many beautiful details that enhance the appeal of the house itself. There are many beautiful spaces to relax, and it seems like every window offers a unique and picturesque perspective on the stunning grounds. I usually distrust spectacular photos of rental properties, but in this case, the photos perfectly capture this unique and marvellous property.
Peak US$ 1,785
Off-peak US$ 1,450