Book your stay in Provence
Thank you for choosing to stay at Villa Fontane. We are delighted to welcome you into our home and will do our best to make your stay comfortable, enchanting and joyful.
We are a French-Australian couple who first came to the Gulf of St Tropez twenty-five years ago and immediately fell in love with the region. In 2018 we bought and renovated Villa Fontane.
La Garde-Freinet is a distinct area of the Gulf of St Tropez – geographically as well as being unique in cultural and social aspects. Artists and intellectuals have chosen to stay in La Garde-Freinet leaving a profound mark on the village. The surrounding forests are a gift to everyone with a passion for hiking. The proximity to the sea and Saint-Tropez opens the coast and all its sensual pleasures. Finally, La Garde-Freinet’s position means easy access to the North with the Verdon Gorges, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Cannes, Nice, Monaco and on to Italy.
The House and Grounds
WIFI: Livebox BD92 Password: gigaro2016
We have two carparks: 3 spaces including an electric car battery recharger near the house and another 2 spaces down the lane. It has a separate entrance gate with a pathway leading up through the garden.
We live in a dry part of the world. Please be careful with this precious resource. If you are staying with us for several days, the bedlinen and towels will be changed every 4 days.
FOOD AND DRINKS
We can offer you the following choices:
– Restaurants: ask us for recommendations.
– Take-away meals: we will order for you, deliver and serve in the garden.
– Summer kitchen: we provide cutlery, plates, a fridge and gas plancha/hot grill. Cook then clean at your convenience
Heated swimming pool
Please respect the peace and quiet of other guests.
Do not forget to rinse off creams etc under the poolside shower before swimming.
Parents are responsible for the supervision of their children (or anybody who always needs supervision) around the swimming pool.
In accordance with French law, there is a sensor alarm in place which detects movement in the water. The basic functions of our alarm are as follows:
When the light is GREEN the alarm is ON. Swipe over the ‘swimmer’ sign with the magnet key. It beeps 5 times and deactivates the alarm.
When the light changes to RED the alarm is OFF. You can swim.
However if the water surface stays calm for a while, the sensor reactivates automatically. Please check if the light is RED before you go back to swim.
The grounds are maintained without the use of any chemical substances and left in as natural state as possible. You will find separate areas where you can rest and relax – tree hammocks, deck chairs and armchairs, a fountain pool, a tree-swing, benches, a slack-line and works of art provided by Mother Nature.
A Daydream Wander: walk over the bridge and then follow your instinct to reach the far end of the grounds, near the tent; take the natural stairway down into the gulley then walk back towards the villa via the fountain. Try different ways to make time stand still.
A Short Stroll: from the swimming pool, walk down towards the carpark and take the path to the right towards the fountain pool; walk to the end of the gulley and then back again – you’ll be completely surrounded by nature.
Villa Fontane … revitalise your body, spirit and soul.
Parents are responsible for the supervision of their children!
Dinner – book the day before – home cooking – Aperitif, starter, main course and dessert – 20€ / 30€ with half bottle of wine.
Pizza Margherita/Regina/Four Cheese/Calzone/Goat Cheese and salad – 15€. Order one hour in advance.
Aperitif *: Beer, Pastis, Wine (rosé/white/red) – 5€ per glass
Coffee, tea, soda, water – self service, in the fridge in the dining room – 1€ (honesty box)
Wine: rosé/white/red * – 7€ per glass; 17€ per bottle
Champagne * – coupe 7€ ; bottle 45€
* only served with meals
Charging your electric car: 10€
E-bike rental: half day (4 hours) 15€; full day (8 hours) 25€
Private Tour (3-4 people): Half day (4 hours) 200€; full day (8 hours) 400€; price includes transport. Entrance fees and meals are not included.
Wineries and wine tasting tour: Half day 200€, transport included.
Boat trip: Motorboat – 4/5 people plus skipper: on request
Cookery session: Typical French and Provencal dishes with locals on request
Painting lessons: with an artist in Provence: on request
Yoga lessons: on request
All you need to know
The “Office de Tourisme” is located opposite the Town Hall in La Garde-Freinet. Bettina will be more than happy to answer your questions.
Conservatoire du Patrimoine
This is a small association next to the Tourist Office. They organise a wealth of activities for families and cultural excursions including a weekly guided tour of the village. A minimum of French is an advantage to be able to participate fully.
The closest beach is at Port Grimaud, about 15 minutes’ drive away. Follow the signposts and park in the public carpark on your left when you arrive.
Our favourite beach is Gigaro in La Croix Valmer. It’s also the departure point for a magnificent coastal walk in the Cape Lardier National Park.
The coastline of Ramatuelle includes the beach of l’Escalet with exquisite turquoise waters around Cape Taillat and sandy coves accessed by a rocky pathway. Pampelonne Beach is where you will find the A-listers, very chic St Tropez crowd – sunbed rental, restaurants, bars and discos on seven kilometres of fine sand.
La Garde Freinet is the ideal place to start discovering the Maures Mountain Range. There are twelve trails to walk, or to ride on horseback or by bicycle. Information with detailed leaflets is available from the Tourist Office and the Conservatoire du Patrimoine.
Start by a one-hour walk – climb to the Fort Freinet ruin, continue to the Cross and wind your way back to the village for a well-deserved drink in one of the outdoor bistros.
Markets in Provence
Shops in La Garde Freinet
There are two convenience stores, Proxy and Spar, open every day until 7pm.
There are bakeries, butchers/delicatessens, a wine cellar and a chemist. You will also find many art galleries, antique shops, clothes shops and lots of friendly café terraces.
There are ten restaurants in La Garde Freinet, mainly in the pedestrian road and on the old market square. They are all quite affordable and offer simple, local cooking. Le Petit Freinet has a good reputation. La Feuille does excellent oriental cuisine (couscous and tajines). La Petite Fontaine is a good restaurant for families.
In Grimaud we recommend the excellent Italian Trattoria St Joseph, the delightful and amusing Ecuries de la Marquise and Le Clemenceau which is open all day and late in the evening. More upmarket are Apopino and Les Santons.
In St Tropez we like Le Café des Arts (Place des Lices), La Sardine and Gigi e Renato (on the port, opposite the traditional fishing boats) and Le Café Pastis (near the museum l’Annonciade). For a refined meal, we recommend Caprice des Deux, rue du Portail Neuf in the old village centre.
In Gigaro we often go to Marius à la Plage (restaurant on the beach) and Couleur Jardin (plus chic).
Ideas for Memorable Days
Other « must do »:
Catholic Sunday mass in French is at 10.30 in Grimaud and 11.15 in La Garde-Freinet.
Following are the traditional ways that people in Provence keep their houses cool in the hot summer weeks:
Remember to stay well hydrated: The tap water is safe to drink. You can buy cool drinks from the fridge on the terrace downstairs.
How to go to La Garde-Freinet (village)
Exit from Villa Fontane Provence on your left; continue uphill – then turn left at the chapel; then turn right at the Stop sign; note that restaurants and shops are on the left side of the fork in the main road, just before the traffic lights.
How to go to Grimaud (village)
Exit from Villa Fontane Provence on your right ; at the bridge, turn right and follow the sign “Vers Grimaud”; when you reach the main road, turn left; when you reach Grimaud, at the first round-about, turn left and keep left to access car parks – you’ll avoid huge complications with your car!
At our modest level, we are trying to protect the environment. Here’s how:
* Zero pesticides and herbicides are used in the grounds, herb garden and vegetable patch. We use companion planting, mulching and hand weeding instead.
* Parts of the grounds are left wild to encourage insects such as butterflies and bees which help with pollination.
* Our electricity is 100% renewable (hydro, solar, wind) through Ilek.
* The food we serve to our guests is mostly organic.
* As much as possible, we source produce locally.
* Each bathroom has a supply of lavender-scented, organic liquid soap which may be used both as a bodywash and shampoo.
* Much of our furniture and equipment has been bought second-hand at bric-a-brac markets. We repair and reuse as much as possible.
* Our computers are tuned to search engines Lilo and Eclosia which use carbon offsetting and give donations to green charities.
* For our annual trip to Australia and the inevitable car-use here, we have signed up to a carbon offsetting project of reforestation in Senegal.
THE DAY YOU LEAVE
Your room will be cleaned and then disinfected, so we ask you to please check out before 10am.