“Cheerful and eccentric 3-room B&B (or house rental for 8) with a sun-dappled garden, in an authentic French village near the dramatic Verdon gorges”
There’s plenty to captivate you in the area, too. On the doorstep, Riez has a traditional market twice a week. Further afield, you can kayak and river-raft through cliff gorges, rock-climb and hike, swim in aqua-colored lakes, photograph lavender fields and wander the winding streets of Provençal villages that dot the countryside. Return home to Geraldine's wonderful home cooking or dine out in friendly village bistros - she'll point you to the best ones.
- A perfect pit stop between the chic Mediterranean coastal cities and the classic Provençal villages of the interior
- Excellent prices for this part of France; renting the whole house is extremely good value
- The dramatic Verdon gorges are ideal for sports and nature lovers
- The effervescent ‘esprit’ and cheerful guidance of Géraldine. She will take very good care of you
- Picnics and meals on request (also available if booking the whole house): delicious Provençal fare. We had a zingy heirloom tomato salad and an irresistible pissaladière tart, thick with olives and anchovies
- With only 3 rooms and a gregarious hostess, it may be too intimate and sociable for some
- Not for minimalists — or for those who don't like taxidermy
- Riez isn’t postcard-perfect, but it's authentic and less touristy
- Some guests complain of noise from the main square on mid-summer nights, though we didn’t experience any
- A late check-in time (4.30pm)
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Guesthouse or House Rental
- Breakfast + meals on request
- All ages welcome
- Closed: December - March
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
At the top of the house, the 3 guest rooms may be painted in soothing Gustavian hues, but their feeling is anything but traditional. The whimsical decor is extraordinary — a night table made from a drum; a headboard fashioned from a wooden door; modern wire sculptures on taupe-colored walls. And antique knicknacks abound: dolls’ heads, statuettes, taxidermy. Open a closet, and you'll probably find vintage postcards pinned to the back of the door.
But there’s calm when you need it, too: jute rugs, linen sheets, and gorgeous ensuite bathrooms, fashioned entirely from pewter-colored poured concrete. Opium-fragranced soaps are handmade, stamped by a lady in the village. These are the details that count.
We stayed in the vast suite (Room 1), which has an airy sitting room in addition to 2 sleeping areas; it accommodates 4-5 comfortably. Rooms 2 and 3 are considerably smaller, but still a decent size and just as unique, overlooking the street.
- Communal kitchen
We ate breakfast in the garden at a sun-dappled picnic table, under a trellis of thick green leaves. Coffee came first — hot and strong — followed by baskets of fresh-baked goodies, homemade jams, juices, and the ripest local fruit.
Most B&B guests eat lunch and dinner out, but Géraldine is delighted to share her cheerful communal kitchen, where you can warm up the savoury tarts or roast chickens you purchased at the Riez market earlier in the day. Géraldine is also happy to pack you a picnic or to rustle up one of her specialty ‘planches,’ a lip-smacking collection of local cured meats and cheeses along with earthy tapenades, salty nuts and crusty baguettes or soft fougasse breads. Need something more substantial? She made us a zingy heirloom tomato salad and an irresistible pissaladière tart, thick with olives and anchovies: traditional Provençal fare at its simplest and best.
Rental guests will find some basics such as coffee, tea and butter in the kitchen on arrival. Provisions can be bought at Riez's bi-weekly traditional food market, as well as in the bakeries and grocery shop in the village.
- Children's meals
- Dinner by arrangement
- Restaurants nearby
- Wander Riez’s wonderful open-air market (Wednesdays and Saturdays) and try cured meats, fragrant cheeses and local honeys
- Kayak, canyon or raft through the spectacular Gorges du Verdon
- Take a picnic to the stunning Sainte Croix lake and swim in its aqua waters; or ask Geraldine to recommend secret swimming spots
- Wander a local lavender field
- Explore quaint villages, including Moustiers Sainte Marie, one of France's most beautiful, celebrated for its ‘faïence’ (tin-glazed) pottery
- Browse in Geraldine's unique boutique for a memento of your stay: brightly striped fabrics sold by the metre, deckchairs, straw bags, rugs and hammocks in a riot of exuberant colour
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Mountain biking
- Museums / galleries
- Shopping / markets
- Wine tasting
Children are welcome and will get a kick out of Colonnes' quirky decor and hide-and-seek worthy nooks and crannies. But it's a high climb to the top floor, where the guest rooms are located, and every surface is covered with (breakable) knicknacks; not easy with a wandering toddler. B&B guests are welcome to use the kitchen to whip up meals/snacks (oven, microwave, fridge). Families may prefer to rent the whole property exclusively as it sleeps up to 9 + a baby; a baby cot and an extra bed are also available.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
Each room can fit an extra bed or baby cot but we'd recomment the airy 2-room suite for families (Room 1). There's a generous living area attached to the large bedroom, which has a comfy queensized bed. Down a short hallway is the second bedroom with twin beds and charming children's decor (think vintage pull-toys and a plastic bunny lamp)
- Baby cot
- High chair
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There's a mini-fridge in the outside hallway where you're welcome to store any necessities
Kids Activities on site:
- Dressing up box of costumes
- Two SUPs and electric bikes to borrow
Kids Activities nearby:
- Mini ranch with ponies, rides from 15 mins for little ones to whole family day out
- Pédalo and boating at Lac de Sainte Croix
- Canyoning and swimming in the Gorges du Verdon
Families Should Know:
Lots of breakables everywhere! All bathrooms are shower only. Géraldine has a very friendly French bulldog who rarely leaves her side
- Airport: Marseilles (1 hr 30m)
- Shops: on the doorstep
- Hospital: opposite
Hotel des Colonnes is in Riez, a large village in the middle of the Park Naturel Regional du Verdon, in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
Fly into Marseilles Airport (108km / 1hr 30). Although Géraldine can arrange a transfer from the airport, we'd recommend you hire a car to explore the region. You can park for free in Riez.
There’s a TGV station at Aix (97km / 1hr 15), and you can hire a car from here too.
Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.
- Marseilles Provence 108.0 km MRS
- Beach 120.0 km
- Shops 0.1 km
- Restaurant 0.1 km