have a full size outdoor ping pong table which is great fun no matter
how good you are.
There are four bikes for guests to use - two adult, one small adult - suitable for child aged 10 upwards and one child's suitable for 5-10 year-olds.
There are two tennis rackets, children's toys and things to play with in the lake.We also have a badminton set and boules, and of
course a hammock for the less energetic.
There are board games, books, CDs and DVDs for quieter days.
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
Gorges du Verdon
The fresh water Lac de Sainte-Croix is a five-minute walk away.
Canoes and other watersports are available to hire from various
points around the Lac de Sainte Croix including Bauduen and Aiguines.
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.
You might need to be fit as there are some steep hills around! There
are marked cycle routes within ten minutes of the house.
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
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.
This is available at Comps-sur-Artuby on the south rim of the Gorges
du Verdon bungee
There is a mini golf course at Aiguines and a range of other courses
in the region.
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.
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.
Casino in the square at Aups or Intermarché on the D22 road out
is a selection of local restaurants with some recommendations from
friends and family - we haven't eaten in all of them!
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.
Plenty of restaurants to try, ranging from pizzas, vegetarian, and
smartish hotel restaurants. Restaurant des Gourmets - 04 94 70 14
Several restaurants and cafés with lovely views.
L'Amandier - 04 94 70 56 64 Good views, delicate food but a bit
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
Les Chênes Verts - 04 94 70 55 06 Restaurant perched on the side
of the mountain, good food, pricey, nice views, fairly sophisticated
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.
Auberge du Vieux Fox 04 94 80 71 69 Restaurant in small, medieval
village with good food and lovely views.
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!
Another medieval village with vineyards to visit and three restaurants
in the square.
which has a good atmosphere and reasonable menu - 04 94 70 67 39
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.
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.
Esparrus - 04 94 70 63 19 On the main road from Salernes to Draguignan
- large hotel restaurant with some good menus, terrace, good friendly
Saint Lambert Privilege - 04 94 73 98 87 Apparently a good menu,
recommended but not yet tried by us.
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!
Le Logis du Guetteur - 04 94 04 99 51 10 Good menu, bit pricey for
the town, interesting wines.
La Fontaine - 04 94 70 66 73 Good food and service.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
du Cours - 04 94 04 78 50 Opposite La Fontaine and good value, simple
pizza place in the square.
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.
recommendations a bit further afield
- 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.
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.
Café in the Place des Lices is cheap and cheerful and very good
local atmosphere - 04 94 97 44 69
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.
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,
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 president, Pierre and his wife Giselle are very welcoming and enthusiastic.
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.
Club Nautique de Bauduen
This article appeared in the Var Village Voice