Last week I returned to Terre Blanche, a serene golf and spa resort located in rural Provence, which I was first introduced to at the beginning of last summer. I fell in love with the resort, the design of which reflects that of an authentic Provincial village, and which is located less than an hour from Nice, near to the pretty village of Fayence. My first visit to the idyllic French countryside stirred my inner romantic, evoking the wanderlust that is always present in my soul but which is often clouded by the mundane responsibility of everyday life as a grown up. Since that first trip, I’ve dreamed of returning – either to Terre Blanche for a holiday or as a new resident in Fayence, selling bags of lavender on the market before walking to the boulangerie with Jake. I know, I know – extreme dreaming at its best! However, my dreams paid off because I was invited back to Terre Blanche this summer, which encompassed a trip to Fayence (if not a relocation).
Due to its location, Terre Blanche is the perfect base for exploring the rustic charm of Provence (if you can tear yourself away from relaxing at the resort). You can read all about the hotel and its facilities here, in my first blog post about Terre Blanche, but I must mention a few points again; the suites are semi-detached bungalows and all have their own private terrace, the spa is excellent, as well as being absolutely stunning, and the hotel pool really is quite something with its al fresco restaurant, shady cabanas and peaceful ambiance. This year, I was also given time to experience the world famous golf training centre – an hour on the rooftop driving range with my own personal instructor means that I now have a genuine interest in practicing more golf (and where better to take up ‘golf’ than in Scotland?).
I would gladly have lounged at the pool for the entire three days, but I was secretly pleased that we were taken outside the resort to see the real South of France. We were chauffeured (Terre Blanche concierge is on point and can arrange pretty much anything you need) to Chateau D’Esclans, a vineyard owned by an American who claims his wine has increased popularity of rose. We were given a very intense tour of the cellars and production of the winery, and a taste of all four roses produced there. Personally, I preferred the more informal wine tasting tour we did last year at Chateau des Selves, and I preferred the wine too – but then, I’m not keen on rose. If you have an interest in the production of wine, or fancy yourself as a connoisseur, then Chateau D’Esclans is for you; if not, and you would rather enjoy learning about wine in a much more informal way, Chateau des Selves – with its outdoor table, canopy of trees and delicious breads and olive paste – is probably better suited. Whatever your preference, you can’t visit France without tasting the wine….
Much like last year, what I enjoyed most about being shown the local attractions was market day in Fayence, where the colours and sounds and smells all contributed to me being completely and utterly in awe of rural French life for the second time. This trip, the group was treated to lunch in nearby town, Seillons, at a restaurant with the most gorgeous outside area complete with token cat. The macaron and raspberry dessert was to die for. In fact, all French food seems to be out of this world, and the salads, cocktails and desserts at Terre Blanche are all incredible.
Above: the food and drink at Terre Blanche
Back at the hotel, you simply must take a stroll to the spa (you can read about the facilities here) to lay eyes on the magnificent pool – swimming in it made me feel like a Greek goddess! – and be preened and pampered by the professional but oh-so-sweet therapists. My massage at the spa had me so relaxed that I woke myself up with a grunt more than once, much to my embarrassment – not chic! The spa at Terre Blanche is the most obvious way to completely chill out, but if spas aren’t your thing, don’t worry – Terre Blanche is a heavenly sanctuary of calm. Whether you’re by the pool, in your suite or on your terrace, on the golf course or in the spa, you are guaranteed to feel so at ease with your body and mind that you’ll forget the everyday worries of the world. Terre Blanche does an excellent job at looking after guests; the staff are welcoming without seeming insincere, and they’ll checking on you throughout your stay without interfering or invading your privacy. It’s the ultimate way to kick back in style, and forget about real life while you live the idyllic French life. If even just for a couple of nights.