When planning a trip to the South of France, the golden rule is that you should never pass up on the opportunity to visit the tiny villages. You might read in travel books and in online guides that "there’s not much that goes on" in these sleepy towns and there's "no night life activity." But let's be honest — you shouldn't go to the South of France to party. You go to marvel. And at the top of your list should be Artignosc-sur-Verdon.
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This tiny French village is home to only 300 inhabitants and is so peaceful you might wonder if you’ve got the whole town to yourself. Far from big cities and shopping centers, you're sure to find safety and solitude. Yes, it’s in the same area where the picturesque lavender fields stretch for miles and you'll find the vibrant green waters of the Verdon Gorge, the Grand Canyon of Europe. But that’s not all! Artignosc-sur-Verdon is an oasis so quiet and calm you can hear the flap of a bird’s wings and the jingle of the only dog in town’s collar. It demands an almost reverent-like solitude and provides a space to relax.
The moment I met Michel and Jannik, now residents of Artignosc-sur-Verdon and artists by trade, I immediately knew we’d be friends. They greeted us with warm smiles and their friendly countenance was electric. After successful careers in international business, the traveling Belgian born duo spent years abroad and at sea — they sailed for five years from the Baltic to the Black Sea and Scotland to Turkey. Michel and Jannik agree that "the open-minded style of living is always visible in people. Voyagers are able to share ideas with people with another vision, another culture, and another language." Their journey at sea paved a path that would change the course of their lives forever.
Inspired by their lives on the move, Michel and Jannik decided they would open a B&B to keep in contact with the many other adventurers they met during their travels. They key to a successful and happy life, they believe, is to build a solid foundation of friendship and camaraderie and to share experiences.
"We like to share our ideas and experiences about the countries we visited, and to share our hobbies: astronomy, scrapbooking, and the art of watercolor," says Michel. This innate desire to share fueled Michel and Jannik’s dream to open a B&B, and it wasn’t long before an old tower in Artignosc-sur-Verdon became available and they hit the ground running.
Built between 1530 and 1570, the tower had never been used as a place of residence (unless you count pigeons). It is relaxed and secure — far away from noise and surrounded by fields of flowers. It is quite rare to not hear an engine working in the fields or driving down the road, but that's the way of life in Artignosc-sur-Verdon. Built in parallel with the Artignosc Castle in 1550, the tower is made entirely of local stones. Today, the old stones are shared with guests.
Staying in the tower is like stepping into a time capsule.Staying in the tower is like stepping into a time capsule — the place is at once charming and whimsical. The stairwell swirls up to the top of the tower, where a spacious room waits with fresh lavender herbs on your pillow to calm your wary traveling bones. Everything here is family style: meals are shared at a long table with the hosts and other guests, complete with freshly baked bread and homemade butters and jams. The fire is always stoked, and each meal is entirely made and provided by local farmers, providing a truly authentic French experience. One night in this slice of heaven is definitely not enough — plan to stay a while, because once you’ve tasted Artignosc-sur-Verdon, you might never want to leave.
Heading to Provence and in need of a place to stay? Check out the tower out on AirBnB.
[H] Originally published at Huckberry.com
Words and photos by Kylie Fly.