Places to go
The nearest village, Vallerargues, is delightful but tiny – it’s an easy ten minute stroll from Mas Cabanne to buy your daily breakfast baguettes, but there are no shops other than the bakery. There is a good high-end restaurant, the Auberge Gardoise, on the roundabout on the route D6 between Mas Cabanne and Vallerargues, so in very easy walking distance of the house. The nearest small town, a five-minute drive to the north, is the hilltop fortified citadel of Lussan. Here there are two or three excellent restaurants, a famous pottery that makes ceramic pintades (guinea fowl), and a beautiful walk around the mediaeval walls offering fine views over the countryside in all directions. The nearest large town is Uzes, a twenty minute drive south, with its Duchy castle, every kind of shop and restaurant you could want, and an excellent open-air market. Uzes is also home to the Haribo Sweets Museum, which is a magnet for small children. Beyond Uzes is the great Roman aqueduct of the Pont Du Gard, which you can explore on foot or inspect from below, if you hire a canoe from the little riverside town of Remoulins.
Nimes makes for a wonderful day out, with its amazing collection of Roman ruins, particularly the Maison Carree, possibly the best-preserved Roman temple in the world, and the Arenes (amphitheatre), which is still used for shows and concerts. There is a lovely roof-top restaurant in Norman Foster’s Carre D’Art, overlooking the Maison Carree and the Nimes roofscape.
West of the house lie the Cevennes, with their spectacular peaks and chestnut forests, and between these mountains and the house is the Bambouseraie d’Anduze, a beautiful and mysterious bamboo and botanical garden. To the north are the Gorges d’Ardeche; there is an outstandingly panoramic drive along the D290 which skirts the lip of the gorge, or you could stop to hire canoes in the town of Vallon Pont d’Arc and explore the canyon from the water.
Extreme sports enthusiasts might want to try paragliding from Mont Bouquet, which is the nearest prominent peak to Mas Cabanne.