Carolyne Kauser-AbbottRental & Self-Catered Properties in ProvenceStay: Accommodation & Rentals in Provence

Escapes in the Olives and Vines of Provence

A summertime escape to the Cote d’Azur from the French Alps.


One might be tempted to describe the combination of a villa near Bandol, in Provence, and a home in the French mountain resort of Val d’Isère as the “the best of both worlds.” In 2010, Su Stephens and her husband Andy decided that a little bit of Provencal weather was precisely what they needed, and they bought an 1850s structure suffering from twenty years of neglect.

Mas des Avelines #Provence @OlivesVines

Now, before you start thinking here comes a Peter Mayle renovation in Provence story…

Interior designer Stephens and her building contractor husband are in the business. The couple has been renovating flats in Val d’Isère since 2007. Stephens locates the properties, and after Andy’s crew are finished with the renovation work the units are available for rent to Val d’Isère visitors. It seemed only logical to add a summer location to their rental portfolio. The couple purchased Mas des Avelines and spent the next three years renovating, the villa is currently available for rent, in summer months.

Interiors Mas des Avelines @OlivesVines

Mas des Avelines is named after the walnut (aveline) trees on the property. The original structure was likely a small one or two room dwelling before additions enlarged the residence. However, the floor plan and two-decades of disrepair necessitated a full-scale revamp. Most of the walls, including some that were 50-60cm thick, were knocked down to create five exquisitely decorated bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. The villa can sleep up to ten people in Egyptian cotton sheets and surround-sound comfort.

Interiors Mas des Avelines @OlivesVines

The exterior work included excavations for a salt-water pool, outdoor shower, and terraces for al fresco dining. The couple worked with a landscaping architect on a full improvement plan to re-established olive trees and other plants native to the region. Check out this video for an aerial peek at the property:

The bedrooms are named after the different varieties of trees found on the property acknowledgement of the spectacular natural environment. Currently, this luxury holiday villa can be rented in its’ entirety during the months of July and August. In the future, Stephens tells me that they plan to offer the home for rental all year round.

Bedroom Mas des Avelines @OlivesVines

In addition to renting the property, they are offering tempting Olives and Vines Escapes in Provence with a focus on well-being. These 3-5 day retreats include a variety of physical activities (yoga, pilates and cycling) and cooking classes. These short-break holidays also include tours of local vineyards and markets.

Yoga Escapes Mas des Avelines @OlivesVines

The accessibility of Mas des Avelines to the Cote d’Azur is what first attracted Stephens and her husband:

“We also liked it because it is less chaotic than Cannes and Nice. We loved being surrounded by the vineyards, which offer so much beauty and a great place to bike. We also enjoy the peace and quiet that makes it an ideal spot for our yoga and pilates escapes.”

Dive-in with this video clip.

Is it time for your Provencal escape this May or September?

Olive and Vines Escapes are open to couples, individuals, newbies and experts. However, only for a maximum of 10 people. Book now – here is the link.

Dinner Mas des Avelines @OlivesVines

Mas des Avelines, Le Brulat, Le Castellet, 83330 near Bandol, Provence.

Telephone: 00 33 (0)6 33 31 12 46

Image Credits: All photos were provided by and published with the permission of the owners of Mas des Avelines


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Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).

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