AT THE HOUSE
We have a full size outdoor ping pong table which is great fun no matter how good you are.

There are two tennis rackets, children's toys and things to play with in the lake. We also have a badminton set and boules, board games, books, CDs and DVDs for quieter days.

 
Sunbeds in the garden   Ping pong on the terrace
 
Time to swing View into the garden Windsurfing on the lake
 

Sports:
provencebeyond

Hiking/walking
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 hiking Gorges du Verdon

Swimming
The fresh water Lac de Sainte-Croix is a five-minute walk away. St Croix

Canoeing/boating/rafting/pedalo/sailing/windsurfing
Canoes and other watersports are available to hire from various points around the Lac de Sainte Croix including Bauduen and Aiguines.
St Croix  
Verdon
rafting
sailing

Tennis
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.

Art lessons

Flower workshop led by artist, Mimi Kay. She 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

Horse riding
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. horse riding

Bungee jumping
This is available at Comps-sur-Artuby on the south rim of the Gorges du Verdon bungee jumping

Golf
There is a mini golf course at Aiguines and a range of other courses in the region.  golf

Fishing
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.  fishing

Shopping
Local markets
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.
markets

Supermarkets
Casino in the square at Aups or Intermarché on the D22 road out of Aups.

Eating out
This is a selection of local restaurants with some recommendations from friends and family - we haven't eaten in all of them!

Bauduen
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.

Aups
Plenty of restaurants to try, ranging from pizzas, vegetarian, and smartish hotel restaurants. Restaurant des Gourmets - 04 94 70 14 97

Tourtour
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.

Fox Amphoux
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!

Villecroze
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 road.

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 service.

Lorgues
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 experience!

Les Arcs
Le Logis du Guetteur - 04 94 04 99 51 10 Good menu, bit pricey for the town, interesting wines.

Salernes
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 recommended.

Sillans-la-Cascade
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.

Cotignac
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 of buzz

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 further afield
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.

St Tropez
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.

Festivals
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 Bauduen
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 safely.

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 a family.

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 vegetables.

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.

Information:
Club Nautique de Bauduen
04-94-70-09-22
Mobile: 06-89-59-67-20
Email: centrenautique83@wanadoo.fr
Website: www.centre-nautique-bauduen.com

This article appeared in the Var Village Voice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bauduen
Bauduen is a little village perched on the side of a hill overlooking the Lac de Sainte-Croix. There are three restaurants, a hotel, post office, bakery and grocery store. There is also a weekly market. Many of the buildings, including the church and clock tower, date back to the 16th or 17th century. There are two tennis courts and watersport hire facilities and Bauduen is on one of France's 'grandes randonnées' - long hiking routes.
Fetes are held in the village on various dates throughout the summer.
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Lac de Sainte-Croix
This lake is so large it can be seen from the air as you fly in towards Nice. It is great for sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, pedalo or swimming. You can reach it for a swim, within five minutes' drive or fifteen minutes' walk from the house, and the nearest sports hire facilities are located at Bauduen. At either end of the lake you enter the spectacularly steep Gorges du Verdon.
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Les Gorges du Verdon
The 'grand canyon' of France is 21km long and up to 700m deep. You can see it from the top by taking a hike, which involves ladders up some of the steeper areas or you can see it from the bottom, taking a canoe through its shady interior.
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Aups
This is the nearest town, which has a range of restaurants and bars and a market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It also has two supermarkets, Casino, in the main square and the larger, Intermarché, on the other side of town.
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Tourtour
Nicknamed the "village dans le ciel", or village in the sky; this picturesque village is about 10km away.
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Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

This village is about 30km away and is set in the rocks with a mountain stream rushing through it. Famous for pottery.
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Lavender fields
Head for the town of Riez, 24 km away, to be at the heart of the famous Provençal lavender fields.
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Further afield (within two hours' drive):
  • StTropez
  • Nice
  • Cannes
  • Bauduen boulangerie
  • Aix-en-Provence
  • Marseille
  • Toulon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THREE As

The Three A's of Provence
If you've decided to head to Provence this summer, but are having trouble knowing where to start in your plans, don't panic! Provence is a vast region of France that is home to many spectacular sights and colourful customs, but as long as you do a little bit of research it shouldn't be too hard to tailor your trip to your needs. To start you off with a few ideas, here's a brief guide to the 3 A's of Provence: Aix, Arles and Avignon.

Aix is perhaps one of the most famous towns in the Provence region - long regarded as the cultural capital of Provence, it is home to some beautiful architecture as well as a wealth of history for you to discover. The town plays host to many educational institutions, giving it a refined air, whilst also remaining a favourite spot for writers and artists across the world. Aix played a large part in the life and art of Paul Cézanne, and visitors can call in at his studio, view his art on display in the Musée Granet, or even take a special Cézanne tour through the town. A popular spot for those in search of a bit of French culture, Aix is definitely worth a visit.

Arles, on the other hand, is perhaps slightly less renowned as one of Provence's towns to visit. Visitors tend to be drawn in by the town's Roman history and the paintings of Vincent van Gogh, its most celebrated ex-resident. As yet, Arles has remained largely untouched by the tourist industry, making it a nice place to stop off to escape the hustle and bustle of larger Provence towns. Full to the brim with monuments and museums, Arles is certainly an artistic town, with a fine line in crafts and cultural traditions. For somewhere with a less hectic pace of life, Arles stands out as a must-see Provence town.

Avignon is another town in Provence which is well known to tourists, largely due to the popular "Sur le pont d'Avignon" rhyme. The town contains much impressive and well preserved art and architecture, proving that it has more to offer than its infamous bridge. The Papal Palace, for example, was home to several popes during the 14th century, and is the largest Gothic palace in the world. Avignon itself is a vibrant place with lots of history and culture to explore, and is sure to wow you with its picturesque vistas.

Whether you choose to stick with the A's, or venture further into other Provence destinations like Nice and Marseilles, it truly is a wonderful spot for a summer holiday. Pick up a cheap hotel and accommodation package deal online, and save by purchasing your holiday insurance with companies like GO Travel- you can have a memorable break in the South of France without breaking the bank.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A FEW THINGS

A Few Things to do in Provence
France has always been a popular holiday destination for British travellers - for a relatively short, cheap journey, you can find yourself immersed in a different culture and, if you've chosen to head for Provence, a beautiful, warm climate. As a nation, France is known for its gastronomy as well as its proud traditions, and if you spend your holiday in the countryside you can enjoy the rich, age-old customs whilst soaking up some rays. If you're looking for things to do whilst in Provence, here are a few suggestions to get you started.

To begin with, why not take in some Roman ruins at the same time as visiting the infamous village where Van Gogh painted 'Starry Night'? Located 20 km south of Avignon, Saint Remy de Provence is a quaint, traditional Provencal village. It stands out, however, as it is home to the Triumphant Arch of Glanum, an awe-inspiring sight for those with an interest in Roman history. The small town also contains the Monastery de Mausole, where Van Gogh was staying when he painted his famous Starry Night painting. On Wednesdays, you can also visit Saint Remy's bustling market to pick up some fresh produce, pottery and other Provencal goods.

For something on a larger scale, you can always opt to visit Aix-en-Provence, the supposed cultural capital of Provence. A beautiful university town, Aix's riches are based on agriculture and academia. It is home to some truly superb architecture that has been carefully preserved and restored over the years, as well as a wealth of artistic and cultural sights, such as the Musée Granet and Cézanne's old studio. You can even finish your trip by relaxing at one of the town's many spas - Aix is built over hot thermal springs which are rich in minerals and can be a wonderful way to chill out after a bustling holiday.

Another area of Provence that is worth a visit is the Carmargue. It is essentially a large lagoon delta where it can be difficult to work out where the land begins in the water ends. Though it is not home to much human life, it does serve as a giant nature reserve for those who like to view birds and animals in their natural habitat. Home to flamingos, seabirds, marsh birds and all manner of amphibians, the Camargue is also frequented by white horses and bulls. This could be the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of tourist Provence.

The Provence region is rich in options for all manner of travellers, and can provide you with a holiday you'll always remember. It doesn't even have to be expensive - flights and hotels can be bought on the cheap from reputable internet sites. Find cheap travel insurance from companies such as GO Travel . So don't let money hold you back - start planning your Provence holiday today.