Bien Loin d'Ici

Nimes, Provence, France Book from Book from £212 per night

A seductive retreat in the Provencal countryside near Nîmes with just three luxury lodges, each equipped with a private sauna and Jacuzzi
Charles Baudelaire’s enigmatic poem Bien Loin d’ici ('Far, far from here') beautifully describes a maiden sleeping in a distant chamber where winds and waters sing afar. As the doors to Bien Loin d’Ici swing open in front of us, the poem's inspiration becomes immediately clear: we are greeted with the smell of Provencal lavender, the sight of dragonflies gliding between poppies, and the sound of water lapping at the edge of a pool.

This oh-so-romantic bolthole is the epitome of laidback rural luxury. Surrounded by trees and hidden among the hills above the glistening ancient city of Nîmes, it was created by Manuel, a former Parisian engineer, for the purpose of providing total escapism for romantic couples. Each of its three chic wooden lodges is uniquely designed with sumptuous beds, impressive eco credentials, and utterly private sprawling terraces boasting sunken Jacuzzis and saunas. The garden is bursting with colour and the infinity pool beckons for late night dips. Breakfast is brought to your door each morning and the pool bar is stocked with locally-produced wines and champagnes. By the end of our stay, we felt far, far away from the bustle of modern life, and we couldn’t have been happier.

Highs

  • This is the height of luxury with the atmosphere of a laidback B&B
  • The garden is stunning: we loved lazing by the pool among the lavender, aloe vera and olive trees
  • The region is rich in history and culture, and you could happily spend weeks exploring
  • We adored the mix of wood and stone, blended with modern design pieces and French flourishes
  • The three lodges are genuinely unique and incredibly eco-friendly

Lows

  • There’s no on-site restaurant, so you’ll have to venture to Nîmes or (further afield) Uzès for meals
  • Some may find the breakfast choice limited, but if you’re staying for more than a few days Manuel will adapt the offerings
  • You’ll need a car to make the most of the area
  • It’s very popular, so you’ll need to book ahead
  • A small country road passes the property, and the sounds of occasional cars can be heard by the pool

Best time to go

We love the Provencal countryside at all times of the year. Late spring and early autumn are both ideal times as the weather is warm and the region less crowded. In the early summer, the garden is bursting with colour and dragonflies skim the pool. In mid-July, Montpellier (a 45min drive) hosts Fête de la Musique, a true regional highlight. Note: Bien Loin d’Ici is closed for five months over the winter.

Our top tips

If you’re here on a Saturday, visit the weekly market in Uzès. Head out early to avoid the traffic and spend your morning browsing freshly made food, local handicrafts and delicate antiques. On your way back, stop at the Pont du Gard. It’s a breathtaking UNESCO-listed Roman aqueduct built over three levels in order to bridge the 40m gorge.

Great for...

Eco
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 3
  • Breakfast + dinners on request
  • Over 12s only
  • Closed: Nov-March
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Jacuzzi
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

There are just three airy wooden lodges, ensuring total privacy and tranquillity. Each is uniquely designed and we struggled to pick a favourite. So, wherever you choose to lay your head, expect sprawling beds, sophisticated design touches, and an iPad preloaded with music. Better still, each lodge terrace comes complete with a sauna/hammam and private Jacuzzi.

We stayed in Calme, which boasts views over treetops to the Alpilles. We loved the natural colours and mix of wood and concrete, as well as the expansive sun-baked terrace.

Luxe is perfect for those in search of a little more glitz. Here you’ll find Swarovski crystals in the bathroom and faux-fur rugs by the bed. Though not as private as the other two lodges, it has our favourite terrace, which is surrounded by greenery and overlooks the pool.

Volupte is the most secretive cabin, tucked away in the corner of the garden. It is decorated with darker colours and features French nudes on the walls.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Bluetooth sound system
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Hairdryer
  • IPad
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Jacuzzi
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is a treat. Slip out from under your duvet and open the front door. There you’ll find a picnic hamper packed full of freshly prepared goodies to enjoy. Expect mouth-watering buttery croissants, sweet fruit salads, creamy yoghurts and homemade jams. Each room has a Nespresso machine and a selection of coffee and organic teas to sip alongside your freshly squeezed orange juice.

For lunch and dinner you’ll have to venture out. You can either buy ingredients at the local market and prepare them in the communal pool house, where you’ll find a barbecue; or - like us you can venture into Nîmes, which is a foodie nirvana. Owner Manuel has compiled a list of his favourite restaurants which ranges from tiny French brasseries to double-Michelin-starred eateries.

A selection of food platters is available to order, but Manuel needs 24-hours notice to buy ingredients from the market. There’s also an honesty bar stocked full of locally-produced wine, beer and champagne.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Spend your mornings lazing by the pool watching dragonflies skim the surface, and your evenings on your private terrace, alternating between your Jacuzzi and sauna/hammam. Massages are also available on request.
  • Jump on one of Bien Loin d’Ici’s bicycles (there’s one per guest) and head into Nîmes - an important ancient Roman city - for a day of exploration. Don’t miss the temple Maison Carrée and the Arena of Nîmes amphitheatre - both among the best preserved in Europe
  • The Pont du Gard is an impressive three-storey Roman aqueduct which spans a gorge. Pack a picnic and swimming costume, and relax beneath this first century AD structure
  • If you want to head further afield, Avignon, Montpellier and Arles all make for great day trips
  • For beach days, drive down to the Camargue or Le Grau-du-Roi - both areas boast long sandy beaches

      Activities on site or nearby include:

      • Cycling
      • Hiking
      • Historical sites
      • Horse riding
      • Museums / galleries
      • Shopping / markets
      • Swimming
      • Well being
      • Wine tasting

Kids

Children over 12 are allowed, but this is essentially a romantic adult guesthouse and each lodge can sleep a maximum of two adults (no extra beds).

Kid Friendly:

Location

Bien Loin d'Ici is set in the Provencal countryside, 4km (10 mins) from Nîmes' historical city centre. Nîmes is mid-way between Montpellier and Avignon in the south of France.

By Air:
Nimes is the closest airport (10km), but Marseille is also close (90km).

Most people hire a car to get here and explore the region; you can park for free at the guesthouse.

By Train:
But if you don't want to drive, you can take the Eurostar and/or TGV to Nimes, then jump in a taxi. Once at the guesthouse, there are bikes to borrow.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Nîmes-Garons 19.0 km FNI

Other:

  • Beach 25.0 km
  • Shops 4.0 km
  • Restaurant 4.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
8/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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