Mas Raffin is a traditional Provençal stone farmhouse, begun over 300 years ago and ideal for a large family or friends holidaying together. The rooms are spacious, airy and sunny with tall ceilings. The property enjoys great privacy, with a weathered stone wall surrounding the house and courtyard. Under a stone arch, a double gate leads to a courtyard planted with ancient olive and pomegranate trees, and formal beds of Provençal herbs. This quiet area is ideal for eating and relaxing outdoors to the gentle sound of the stone fountain. Off the courtyard is an ancient barn containing table-tennis, darts, bikes and garden games. Behind the house lies the swimming pool, which is at the end of a large mature garden filled with trees and shrubs, offering plenty of shady places. There is also a tree house for our younger visitors. The fenced and gated pool is shaped like a figure 8, and is six metres across at its widest and nine metres long. The garden backs onto vineyards and the garrigue, the wild countryside. Mas Raffin is very peaceful and quiet.
The interior of the house is hand- decorated in sunny yellows and warm terracotta shades. Downstairs is a very large, very well-equipped kitchen and dining table for eight, looking onto the courtyard. The kitchen leads to a large dining room, full of character with an antique Provençal table and chairs, a French dresser, and a large open fireplace. There is another open fireplace in the spacious salon, which has plenty of comfortable sofas and recliners and a satellite TV, a DVD player, a library of DVDs and books as well as a selection of family board games. Off the large entrance-hall is the cloakroom area and downstairs WC and handbasin. Under the stairs are a selection of toys for younger visitors such as dolls house and duplo. Upstairs are the bedrooms and bathrooms. There are four bedrooms, all of which face south or south east and get lots of sunlight. One has a queen size bed and an ensuite bathroom; the second has two extra-long single beds, also with an ensuite bathroom; the third bedroom has a pair of single beds, and shares a bathroom with the fourth bedroom, which has two twin beds. All the bedrooms are spacious and lead onto a sunny, secluded terrace area, which is an ideal spot for dining in the last of the evening sunshine. Finally, a wi-fi internet connection is available to guests who bring their laptops.
The village of Castillon-du-Gard is a few minutes' walk from Mas Raffin. This famous medieval village is a national monument, with centuries-old buildings lining the narrow streets. Like many villages of the Middle Ages, it was built on top of a hill for security. There are four restaurants to suit most budgets, including a Michelin-starred restaurant, as well a grocer, baker, butcher, newsagent, Catholic church, post office, and bar. Within walking distance of Mas Raffin are the remains of a Roman farm, an old monastery and another old church. Tennis courts are available (racquets available at house).It's a ten-minute drive to Uzés, the nearest town. Uzés is a 15th century gem, and is currently being superbly restored. Every Saturday, the town hosts a market, with a mouth-watering array of local produce on sale and a wonderful panorama of sights, sounds, and smells. During the Fête Votive in July, Castillon runs bulls through the village, which is very exciting and great fun and the worst that happens is that the bulls have their tails pulled!
Mas Raffin is an ideal location from which to explore old Provence and the Rhône Valley. It's located 10 minutes from the A9 North/South autoroute. The Pont-du-Gard, a world heritage site is only five minutes' drive. Many great Roman ruins remain in the city of Nîmes to the South, including an arena which is still used as an outdoor theatre. This town is also famous for having given its name to “denim”; the material was originally called "serge de Nîmes". The city of Avignon is only twenty minutes away with its magnificent 14th century Papal palace. Orange, another 30 minutes due North on the A9 autoroute, has the remains of another Roman arena. Half an hour away is the glorious scenery around Les Alpilles, Les Baux and St. Rémy-de-Provence, which was immortalized on canvas by Van Gogh and Cézanne. About an hour away, the town of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a must for anyone who loves antiques. The Sunday market in this town attracts dealers from all over France and internationally.
Some of the world's most famous wine labels come from this region, including Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Tavel, and Gigondas. The owners of Mas Raffin will happily advise on local vineyard visits. A short drive is the Camargue national park, famous for the flamingoes, wild horses and bulls who live on the salt-marsh; the beaches of the Mediterranean are only an hour away; the canyon of the Gorges d'Ardèches; and the open land, the garrigue, which is filled with wild Mediterranean plants is a delight for hikers. Kayaking is available on the nearby Gard river.
“We cannot think of a better place to spend our 25th anniversary. We so enjoyed your warm hospitality, helpfulness and good humour. Everything about Mas Raffin is parfait! The accomodations, gardens, pool and surrounding area. This truly is a little slice of heaven on earth.”
Kathy and Dene S. - Seattle, Washington
“Third time around and still as enchanting. My one wish: same place, same time, next year.”
Michele G - Montréal, Quebec, Canada
“You really run a terrific show...and your hospitality is much appreciated. The house is more beautiful every time we come back.”
Eileen and John C. - Springlake, New Jersey, USA
“Being near to a village with 4 good restaurants made it the best location possible.”
Marilyn and Allan D. - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
“A true jewel! The finest holiday home we have ever rented.”
Norman and Nancy W. - Oakville, Ontario, Canada
“Mas Raffin far exceeded our expectations. We have made many previous visits to France, none as memorable as our stay at Mas Raffin! The easy access and proximity to the autoroute, Castillon du Gard and other villages make a perfect location. But the quiet, peaceful tranquility at Mas Raffin set it apart from any other locations! The courtyard and the gardens make Mas Raffin feel like home. Your hospitality and your willing and ready assistance made us feel we were among friends.”
Bob and Mary Ann P. - Frisco, Texas, USA
“The welcome, the superbly presented house, the advice, the pool, the innumerable outside dining facilities, all make this probably the best-appointed holiday home we have had anywhere. The reality is better- the rooms are larger and better decorated and furnished than expected.”
Mike H. - Sheffield, UK
“It was lovely to arrive to fresh flowers, and such a lovely clean welcoming house... Really, the nicest house we've found in France.”
Lisa G. - London, UK
“Best showers in anywhere in Europe... great kitchen...wonderful beds- we slept all night...so quiet. This must be the only house where the description is not up to the house itself, and there are no false expectations.”
Diana M. - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
“The accomodation is wonderful - a lovely large house full of character, reflecting the French country lifestyle, but full of modern comforts. The setting is wonderful - we walked up to Castillon for fresh bread every morning... I can`t think of a place in this part of France that surpasses this location.”
Ronan M. - Dublin, Ireland