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

Mas de la Croix de Fer Self-Catered Gites in Mallemort

The owners of Mas de la Croix de Fer are celebrating their second season of running self-catering cottages in the Bouches-du-Rhône.

The story of how they ended up in Mallemort is one of fate. Born in Zambia, Charmaine is a genuine South African – she speaks both English and Afrikaans. Her husband hails from Provence, so she is now learning French too. They met in South Africa, but Charmaine insisted that they relocate to France and look for a property where they could establish guest accommodation.

According to Charmaine, it took two years of searching before they found the “perfect property” which dictated that Mallemort would be their new French address. Their home is now an old Provencal farmhouse (mas) on a property that is 7000sqm with lavender gardens, rose bushes, oleander plants and enormous plane trees.

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The previous owner presented the couple with the gift of a large wrought iron cross, hence the name Mas de la Croix de Fer.

For guests, there is a choice of accommodation in a gite (self-catering cottage) located in one corner of the property with a private, shady garden.  Alternatively, visitors can stay in one of the two bachelor apartments equipped with small, well-appointed kitchenettes and en-suite bathrooms.

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Charmaine admits that their first season was slow. She was not certain how to proceed with advertising or marketing. This year (2014) was a big improvement with many bookings coming via Airbnb and Abritel. In a short period, their guest register has begun to fill with names of clients from all parts of Europe and North America.

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This is how Charmaine describes the appeal of Mas de la Croix de Fer.

We are situated between the Luberon and les Alpilles, which means that in any direction around us, within a one hour drive, guests find a multitude of places to visit. There is so much to do here that all guests complain that their stay is too short, even those that stayed two weeks.

It is no surprise that the guests love it!

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Recently, they have started outdoor Provencal cooking sessions using a big gas cooker. Participants are taken to the market to purchase ingredients, and then at home the group prepares traditional favourites such as ratatouille and soupe au pistou. They make enough during the class for guests to take home the extras in glass jars – a savoury reminder of Mas de la Croix de Fer. This may just be the secret to return visitors – the prospect of replenished containers next year.

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It is clear, after a few minutes with Charmaine that she loves her new home and obvious that she wants her guests to feel the same way. If their visitors can pull themselves away from the pool, they are free to make use of a couple spare bikes or a set of boules.

To find out more about Mas de la Croix de Fer check out the website here or connect via email gite.croixdefer@gmail.com.

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Image Credits: All Photos were provided by Mas de la Croix de Fer and published with permission

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Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

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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