There are loads of spectacular walks in the area, from
the grande randonnee that passes through Bauduen to
well-marked circular walks. Maps and guide books are
available at the house for
Gorges du Verdon
The fresh water Lac de Sainte-Croix is a five-minute
Canoes and other watersports are available to hire from
various points around the Lac de Sainte Croix including
Bauduen and Aiguines.
There are two tennis courts in Bauduen. They are
normally unlocked and you can book at the Mairie's
office in the village, though often you can just turn up
and there is no-one there.
Flower workshop led
by artist, Mimi Kay.
will give individual tuition on painting flowers in
watercolour. This can be at the villa or out on
location. Mimi will advise on use of colour, special
techniques and styles. She will unleash your creative
energy, encouraging you to try different methods. Mimi
Kay specialises in painting flowers. She has regular
exhibitions, sells her work internationally and is often
commissioned to produce works of art. She enjoys
experimenting with different styles and teaching unusual
techniques to aspiring artists.
Lake workshop led
by artist, Mimi Kay. Painting water is harder than you
think but Mimi will teach tricks such as using salt to
create a glistening effect of the sun on water and wax
to create depth of perception. This workshop will be
held overlooking the 12km Lac-de-Sainte Croix
(pictured), with a village and mountains as a backdrop
and some flowers in the foreground, so that you combine
all the skills you have learned during the week. For
details of artist, Mimi Kay, visit: www.mimi-cards.net
There is a horse riding centre called Club Hippique five
minutes' from the house and ranches between Baudinard
and Aups. There is a riding centre near the village of
Ste-Croix-de-Verdon. Other riding stables are located at
Moustiers-Ste-Marie and at the Château de Chanteraine
near Les Salles-sur-Verdon on the eastern side of the
lake. There are many riding trails in the area,
including one that follows the GR99 hiking trail along
the southeastern side of the lake, accessed from Bauduen.
This is available at Comps-sur-Artuby on the south rim
of the Gorges du Verdon bungee
There is a mini golf course at Aiguines and a range of
other courses in the region.
You can fish in the Lac de Sainte-Croix or other nearby
lakes and rivers. You may need to check with the Mairie
or ask in the local bar, if you need a fishing permit.
There is a small weekly market in Bauduen on Sundays in
the parking area. Otherwise there is a sizeable market
in Aups on Wednesdays and Saturdays with the usual bowls
of marinated olives, cheese, paté, colourful cloth,
vegetables, fish and roasted chickens. Other nearby
markets include: Castellane - every Saturday and 2nd
Sunday; Lorgues - daily with a large one on Tuesdays;
Riez - an artisans market on 1st Sunday.
Casino in the square at Aups or Intermarché on the D22
road out of Aups.
This is a selection of local restaurants with some
recommendations from friends and family - we haven't
eaten in all of them!
The hotel restaurant is the smartest, with a delicious
fish soup. There is a good cafe/restaurant, called Cafe
du Midi (pictured) with changing menus and tables
overlooking the lake. There is also a lively restaurant,
called Le Bouchon, which has excellent pizzas, crepes
and salads and a friendly atmosphere.
Plenty of restaurants to try, ranging from pizzas,
vegetarian, and smartish hotel restaurants. Restaurant
des Gourmets - 04 94 70 14 97
Several restaurants and cafés with lovely views.
L'Amandier - 04 94 70 56 64 Good views, delicate food
but a bit pricey.
La Farigoulette- 04 94 70 57 37 Café on the right as you
go in through the one-way system, has a terrace
overlooking the view. It is cheap and cheerful.
Les Chênes Verts - 04 94 70 55 06 Restaurant perched on
the side of the mountain, good food, pricey, nice views,
fairly sophisticated but friendly.
La Bastide de Tourtour is worth a visit if you want a
grand hotel experience with lovely gardens, good food
and views - for some reason not in the telephone book,
but no doubt in the Michelin guide.
Auberge du Vieux Fox 04 94 80 71 69 Restaurant in small,
medieval village with good food and lovely views.
Restaurant Chez Jean- 04 94 80 70
76 Small bar restaurant on the route Monmeyan, opposite
La Poste. Good reasonable menu and lots of local colour!
Another medieval village with vineyards to visit and
three restaurants in the square.
L'Annexe, which has a good
atmosphere and reasonable menu - 04 94 70 67 39
La Cascade - 04 94 70 66 92 - very
good food, reasonable prices and cheerful service, but
basic décor and a bit noisy with traffic from the main
Le Colombier - 04 94 70 63 23
Sophisticated, with a terrace, good food but pricey, on
the way out of Villecroze, near a good pottery shop -
Poterie du Soleil.
Les Esparrus - 04 94 70 63 19 On
the main road from Salernes to Draguignan - large hotel
restaurant with some good menus, terrace, good friendly
Saint Lambert Privilege - 04 94 73 98 87 Apparently a
good menu, recommended but not yet tried by us.
Chez Bruno - 04 94 85 93 93 If you
like truffles and meat and don't mind your menu being
chosen for you by the chef, this is a very good
restaurant in lovely surroundings. Some customers fly in
by helicopter from the coast for this gastronomic
Le Logis du Guetteur - 04 94 04 99 51 10 Good menu, bit
pricey for the town, interesting wines.
La Fontaine - 04 94 70 66 73 Good food and service.
Le Vieux Soufflet - 04 94 70 72 72
On the road from Salernes to Draguignan. Very good food,
reasonable menu, but best either on the terrace or
inside if there are many in your party, as the interior
is a bit barn-like.
L'Etoile du Sud - 04 94 70 76 39 On
the way out of Salernes, route d'Entrecasteaux, a
Moroccan tented restaurant in the middle of nowhere, but
well sign posted. Fun atmosphere and lots to eat and
drink for a reasonable price if you like Moroccan food
and don't mind sitting on squashy cushions. Booking
Very small medieval village with its own château selling
paintings, pottery and lots of gifts in leather etc.
Work up an appetite by walking to the waterfall, which
is worth the 20-minute trek in lovely countryside.
Hotel Restaurant Les Pins - 04 94
04 63 26 A very good, jolly restaurant, with a good
selection of reasonable menus especially the Pot au Feu,
a wonderful, filling, fish 'stew' which needs to be
ordered 24 hours in advance. You should always book the
terrace for the weekend. The bar now also does 'cheap
and cheerful' daily menus.
Auberge de Grandes Chênes - 04 94
04 63 65 A cheap and cheerful restaurant on the road
from Fox to Sillans-la-Cascade. Best for huge pizzas
done in a wood-fired oven.
A very pretty 'touristique' village with a traditional
tree-lined square and cafés etc. Before your meal, drive
up to the lovely church, sign-posted 'Notre Dame', high
above the village with a very peaceful atmosphere,
gardens and beautiful views. Table de la Fontaine - 04
94 04 79 13 Good food and prices in the square so plenty
Hotel du Cours - 04 94 04 78 50
Opposite La Fontaine and good value, simple food.
Good pizza place in the square.
Le Clos des Vignes - 04 94 04 72 19
Very pretty setting in a vineyard on the road from
Cotignac to Brignoles. Good food and prices, service a
bit indifferent sometimes.
Other recommendations a bit
Cannes - chose one of the beach restaurants where
you can hire sunbeds and while away the afternoon after
lunch. We like the Okey Beach, which is on the road out
towards Antibes, park in the old part of Cannes and walk
along the front in that direction. Again cheap and very
cheerful service, with huge salads and lots of moules/frites
in delicious sauces.
Club 55 is apparently good, fashionable, and on the
beach, but expensive and needs to be booked in advance
in season - 04 94 79 80 14. Le Café in the Place des
Lices is cheap and cheerful and very good local
atmosphere - 04 94 97 44 69
Mougins, near Cannes
Go to the Moulin de Mougins for a gastronomic
experience, where they park your car for you and replace
your napkin if you get up from the table! Set in a 16th
century oil mill, it is 2.5 km south-east of the village
off the D3. Book well in advance - 04 93 75 78 24.
There is a wide range of festivals and events throughout
the year in the region, from local dances in the village
to the Cannes Film festival! Events include: the truffle
festival in Aups at the end of January; carnival in La
Palud and Aups in March; the Cannes film festival in
May; Spring fairs in Riez and Aups in May; the harvest
festivals around Riez in July; a host of firework
displays around the area on 14th July for Bastille Day;
the flower parade in Nice in July; a fete in August in
Aups and a wine, mushroom and cheese festival in Riez in
October. A local English speaking magazine, the Var
Village Voice, lists current events.
Calendar of events
Sailing on the lake at
The sails are up, the boat is swishing through
the glistening turquoise water of the Lac de Sainte
Croix and we are heading straight for the mountains of
the Gorges du Verdon. Luckily we have a sailing
instructor on board from the Club Nautique at Bauduen.
He calmly explains that letting the sails out will slow
us down and turning into the wind will stop the boat
altogether. He wants us to experience the fun and
excitement of sailing but also to know how to navigate
After three lessons, we have
learned to rig the boat, zigzag up and down the lake and
land safely on the pontoon. Lesson four is in high wind.
The instructor encourages us to lean right out of the
boat, feet under straps, bums hanging over the edge,
clinging on to the ropes to control the sails. It's
exhilarating and challenging. Your focus is completely
on balancing the boat and maintaining speed. The
beautiful scenery becomes secondary.
As well as sailing dinghies, 'deriveurs',
we have tried a catamaran, roughly translated as
'catamaran'. These seem more stable with its two hulls
and you don't have to worry about ducking the boom when
the main sail swings across. On days with no wind, we
have paddled across the lake in a two-person canoe. It
takes about an hour to reach the village of St Croix,
where you can rest in the shade of trees or have a bite
to eat. Taking a canoe out for an early evening paddle
into the middle of the lake and drifting for a while is
a wonderful way to unwind.
You can also hire electric boats,
'barques electrique' windsurfers, 'planches a voile' and
Optimistes - same word in English - small one-person
dinghies for children. On Wednesday afternoons between
14h and 16h30, there are windsurfing and Optimiste
lessons for children aged 7-17. The first session is
free and then it's 50 euros a month.
On Saturdays they are encouraging
families to come and try any of the activities on offer,
including fishing from a sailing boat - now that's a
balancing act I'd like to see. They do have one large
sailing boat, called an 'habitable', which is more
stable. Again, the first session for any activity is
free and then it's 10 euros a month per person or 30 for
The club is also planning to
organise regattas. The club is well equipped with life
jackets and they have a motorised boat to rescue anyone
in trouble. There is also a picnic area and two toilets.
To find the club, go past the little parade of shops in
Bauduen, continue over a small roundabout and you will
see the green gates of the club ahead of you. Park under
the trees in front of the gates.
Watersports certainly build up an
appetite. Luckily, Bauduen has a bakery, which sells
sandwiches and other snacks, a general store, which
could supply the ingredients for a picnic, two cafes, a
pizza restaurant and an auberge. In the summer, there is
also a place right by the sailing club, serving roasted
chickens to take away. On Sundays there is a small
market along the promenade in front of the shops. You
can pick up local goats cheese, olives, fruit and
If any of your party needs other
entertainment, the market has a range of stalls,
including clothes and toys. If you fancy a wander
through the mediaeval village, there are a couple of
shops selling trinkets. You can wind your way up through
the narrow, cool streets to the church at the top and
then bear left down towards the entrance of the village
to find the ancient washing area.
You can also take an interesting
walk beyond the sailing club, along a wide track, which
leads to two tennis courts. You can continue past the
courts, under a red and white metal barrier and along
the lakeside for about half an hour, passing some picnic
tables. When you reach the end of the wide track, you
can continue walking but you have to scramble over some
rocks in places. If you want a really long walk, you can
continue to the next village of Les Salles or make a
circuit back to Bauduen. It is part of a grand randonnee
route and a map is advisable to find the circuit, which
would take about three hours.
If you fancy a shorter walk, turn
right just before the tennis courts up a track wide
enough for cars. It is marked with red and white paint
on a tree. Follow this up past some newer houses and it
will lead you back to the old part of the village. Take
any road right and it will lead you down to the lake,
turn right when you reach the promenade and it will lead
you back to the Club Nautique.
If your idea of water sports is
pootling along using pedal power, there is also a 'Playa
Location' at the entrance to the village where you can
hire pedalos or just sit in a bar and contemplate a life
on the ocean waves.
Club Nautique de Bauduen
This article appeared in the Var