April 15, 2015
Settled amongst the vines of the Rhone Valley, where the fresh air is perfumed with the scent of the surrounding fruit orchards and olive groves, you’ll find Nick and Sabine’s slice of paradise in France’s Côtes du Rhône region.
Converted stables that date from the 19th century have been home to Sabine’s family for over three generations. The main house, which comprises five bedrooms spread over two wings and includes a private garden and swimming pool, has maintained its charm while integrating modern comforts over the years. This is thanks to Nick and Sabine, who made a “slightly crazy bet” in the early 1980s when they decided to take over the property, when they realized no one else in the family was interested in keeping it up.
Since then, Nick has been dedicated to overseeing the working vineyard, whose vines surround the family house, while Sabine welcomes tourists and manages the dream house as a rental property for lucky visitors. The arrangement almost seems destined to come about, with Sabine keeping the history of her family alive and Nick using his experience in Bordeaux and Burgundy vineyards in his youth – a way to learn French during his early days in France – in his everyday life as a winemaker.
Nick and Sabine are proud of their wine, which they are dedicated to making “as natural as possible.” L’Ameillaud Domaine produces structured wines from grapes farmed in a way that is respectful of nature and the region’s terroir. The vineyard is made up of typical Rhone Valley varietals including Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, and Mourvèdre, which Nick describes as having “great aromatic potential” that results in bottles that can be opened and enjoyed immediately, but also kept to age gracefully over time.
Wine isn’t the only reason travellers from around the world flock to this region. While certainly biased, Nick and Sabine describe the Vaucluse area as undeniably charming, with “a light that is gorgeous at any time of the day.” Their home is surrounded by charming villages such a Seguret, located only 3 miles (5 km) away, which is classed as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France.
The area is rife with alluring, luxurious specialties, including “black diamond” winter truffles, world-renowned wines, Michelin-star restaurants, and fantastic regional cheeses. Culture events abound, especially in the summertime when various festivals bring music, dance, and theater to local venues.
Sporty types will enjoy a variety of active options, including hiking on Mont Ventoux as you climb to get stunning views of the Alps. Both families and hard cyclists will get their fill of biking as they explore the countryside on two wheels. Rock climbing and bouldering are also popular outdoor activities in this mountainous region.
Whether you’re an oenophile or an athlete, on a romantic getaway or en famille, Carianne is a great initiation to the delights and charms of Southeastern France, a region that Nick and Sabine know by heart. Stop by and visit the friendly couple for a wine tasting during the week or rent their home for a holiday in Paradise!
- Read up on Burgundy, another of France’s incredible wine regions, in this guide to Bourgogne wines.
- Follow Maggie on her weekend travels in the South of France, including a stay in the charming Chateau Raissac.
- Free wine and cheese? Yes please! Messy Nessy Chic on French road trips and travelling to host sites across France’s wine regions.
Written by Emily Dilling for the HiP Paris Blog. All images courtesy of the Owners of the Cairanne Villa. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.
Written by Emily Dilling
Emily Dilling is a Paris-based American. She is the founder of the blog Paris Paysanne, which documents her quest to find local farmers and seasonal produce at Paris markets. Emily’s writing has also appeared in publications such as The Huffington Post (US & French editions), Ecosalon, The Portland Mercury, and Local Spotter.
Website: Paris Paysanne
Tags: Apartment, Cairanne, cheese, cotes du rhone, Cycling, cyclist, hiking, holiday home, Mont Ventoux, Natural wine, Nick Thompson, rental, Restaurants, Rhone Valley, romantic, Sabine Thompson, Seguret, Southeastern France, travel, truffle, Vaucluse, Villa, Vineyard, wine, winemaker
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