– Shop the Look –
I am traveling in style with my fabulous team of Londoners; stylist photographer, Victoria, chic fashionista blogger, Emily, and food blogger, Milly. We are about to take a break from the city an embark on an adventure in the South of France.
People living in big cities like London, Paris, Rome or New York, tend to lead to a fast-paced lifestyle and are constantly hidden behind their mobile phones. In life, we ought to think more of ourselves more and live in the moment. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was to book a flight at the last minute and set off around three hours later.
This year, it seems I have visited the south of France more than the south of England. The weather here is predictable as it guarantees sunshine over the lavender fields and picturesque old villages with cobbled stones that are still unspoiled by tourists. Here, the small town charm remains.
The south of France can be a bit difficult to get to sometimes, so I have to careful when choosing my destination and use my imagination. By my surprise, the flight from London to Carcassonne takes an hour, and the villa I found is located a 30-minute drive away from the airport. This means that I get to see rustic houses with colourful pastel shutters and their fields on my way there. Perfect!
The day has come for us to depart. At last, we are approaching La Fraissinede residence. I can’t believe how gorgeous this villa is. Situated on 120 acres of land and set in the picturesque hills of the Corbieres wine region, this is the place where you can sit back and enjoy the tranquility of the French countryside.
The owner of La Fraissinede villa, also known as La F, bought this property when it was a ruin and built it up to the grandeur of today. The 18th-century barn has been converted to six opulent bedrooms, an entertainment room, a dining room, a very spacious kitchen, a pool, a tennis court and a very chic bar.
Every room is tastefully designed by Samantha Todhunter, giving the villa a light, airy and Francophile style with a mixture of abstract artwork.
After checking in, I follow an inviting scent around the room to find a delicious feast, cooked by the talented chef Helen, who cooked us breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We all sat together on the veranda, surrounded by the lavender fields, sharing stories, gossiping and sipping on rosé until dusk. I haven’t had a night like this in ages.
Places to visit
During your stay at La F, there are so many beautiful places to see are only a short distance away from the villa. The best thing to do is to plan sensibly as you may tend to miss some hidden gems if you try to cram too much into your visit. If you see something worthy, stop the car somewhere and have a little wander around.
These are the three main places we visited. Excuse my French, I tend to pronounce things wrong as some words are pronounced differently from their spelling.
The musical ‘Sound of Music’ comes to mind upon entering this village. I have never seen something so dreamy. I thought places like this only existed on Instagram and Pinterest.
This place seems untouched, with its rustic buildings painted a beige, grey and cream shade along with pastel-coloured shutters and its cobbled street. The village is quiet during the summer months, so it’s nice to have your own space to take some photos. It makes me wonder how many British villages like this I have not yet seen.
My first impression upon visiting this town was that it is the Notting Hill of France, with rows of colourful buildings which looks like a rainbow of houses. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see how much pride the residents have in their homes. They have boxes of flowers in their front windows, looking ever so cheerful.
The moment I stepped out of the car, I sensed something was missing… Now I realise I’m missing a pair of sparkling red shoes and someone singing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’! This does look very Wizard of Oz-like. We started debating which colours were the best. I chose dark Olive Green on the French grey woodwork. It looks heavenly.
Carcassone is the largest town in the region and is busier than the first two locations I visited. You can’t miss the magnificent medieval castle, eye-catching antique shops, and chic cafes. I was tempted to have some ice-cream since it was a hot day. We all went for a short stroll around this town since this was our last day and had to check out from La F.
La F is flexible; it can accommodate your family and friends for a simple retreat, the wedding of your dreams or a business trip. I am dreaming of staying for longer next time.
We said our goodbyes and we all should organise another visit to LA F again soon. Having put The Rollinson London life on hold for a short while, don’t you think it’s your turn?