L’Escale du Ciel, France

When I was searching for a place to stay in the South of France, I knew this was the place for us as soon as I saw it. L’Escale du Ciel is the most charming, honey-coloured stone guesthouse in the French hills (approximately half an hour’s drive inland from Nice and the French Riviera). If you’re searching for a serene, peaceful and stylish spot to stay in the south of France then this is the place for you!

The name ‘L’Escale du Ciel’ literally means ‘a stop-over in heaven’. When we finally arrived for our week long stay after a very long flight from Australia (with delays and lost luggage!), it felt like we’d arrived in heaven! It really is the most beautiful, tranquil place.

Judith, the owner and host at L’ Escale du Ciel has created the most gorgeous guesthouse with her impeccable style and attention to detail. The ground floor is home to an open plan kitchen, dining and living area with open fireplace. There are two bedrooms on the ground floor and two on the first floor. The house can be rented individually by bedroom as a B and B option, or it can be rented in its entirety for families or a group of friends.

The interiors are tasteful, rustic, innovative and very French - terracotta tiled floors, antique chairs and tables, a well-loved leather sofa and a wonderful old oven inherited from the previous owners (now used as a side table) are some of the highlights of the open-plan living and dining area. One of the features I loved most were the old black and white postcards from the local village that are now hung in individual frames along the wall in the dining area.

The tiled kitchen is beautiful, and this is where Judith prepares a magnificent breakfast every morning for her guests. Fresh fruit, creamy yoghurt, a basket filled with a variety of delicious pastries from the local Boulangerie, eggs cooked to order, charcuterie and cheeses together with fresh orange juice and coffee. We all jumped out of bed each morning in anticipation of our delicious breakfast outside in the garden or terrace overlooking the valley. If you would like to eat in for lunch or dinner, guests are able to make use of the kitchen to prepare food for themselves.

The bedrooms are simply and luxuriously decorated - we loved the antique furnishings, large king-size bed, linen sheets and beautiful French bedlinen. The view from our bedroom and bathroom over the valley and mountains was breathtaking!!

The gardens here are simply beautiful and filled with flowers, olive and fruit trees. There are many different areas in which to relax - by the wonderful infinity swimming pool with it’s own shaded cabana, near the pétanque court with it’s cream coloured sofas overlooking the valley, or in various locations around the property where Judith has set up chairs and tables in the garden and on the terrace. We loved the fact that we could see other guests when we felt like company, or we enjoyed peaceful time on our own.

We loved the location - it was even more spectacular than can really be shown in the photos. The view was ever-changing with the weather and light, and was completely mesmerising. What could be more perfect than sitting on the terrace with a glass of cold rosè as the sun went down across the valley!

The local village of Le Bar sur Loup is authentically French and quiet. We loved taking a walk here (only 5 minutes up the road) and exploring the old streets. Judith recommended dinner in the village one night at a former girls school called ‘L’ École des Filles’. The food was outstanding and it was a lovely spot for a warm evening outside under the shade of a large tree as the sun went down over the valley. There are also many beautiful walks or hikes through the countryside you can do here, and the river is a short distance away if you feel like a swim in the cold mountain water.

The other best part about this location is that you are so close to many beautiful French villages. We explored the villages of Valbonne, Gourdon, Tourettes sur Loup and Saint Paul de Vence - all of them were different in their own way, stunningly beautiful and an easy drive away. We also visited beach clubs for the day in Antibes and Cap d’Ail near Monaco which were an easy drive.

L’Escale du Ciel really felt like our home away from home and we can’t wait to return one day - thank you Judith for making us feel so welcome!


stayNicola Dethridge