Les Sardines aux Yeux Bleus

Aigaliers, Provence, France Book from Book from £102 per night

Beautiful B&B and apartments with a courtyard pool, in a sleepy hamlet close to magnificent Uzès
Those looking for a chic place to chill in beautiful countryside will find it here. Anna Karin and Olivier (respectively a model and photographer) escaped Paris in 2000 for life in the country. They now have 3 cats, 2 children and one exceptionally welcoming home, which doubles as a B&B. It sits in a tiny hamlet, dates to the 12th century and comes with a small pool in its courtyard. It’s the kind of place where everyone who visits thinks, “let’s run away to Provence and run a B&B like this!”

Interiors are lovely: beautiful colours, a magnificent stone staircase, the décor a contemporary take on old French country style. Sweet-smelling wood burns on roaring fires, one of which is lit for breakfast in winter; vines shade the courtyard table, where you dig into your croissants in summer. Despite the urge to linger in your gorgeous room or apartment, make sure you don’t. Uzès, Nîmes and Pont du Gard are all close, but take a day to explore the north, too (fabulously beautiful, madly neglected): Mont Bouquet, the stunning hilltop village of Lussan and the magnificent Gorge de l’Ardèche all await you.

Highs

  • The pretty shaded courtyard is draped in roses and perfect for long, lazy breakfasts in the sun
  • When we revisited in 2015, we found Anna Karin is warm, friendly and relaxed, a vibe very much reflected through the B&B
  • The bedrooms and apartments are stylish, rustic and original (this is not ‘off-the-shelf contemporary’), with irresistible prices
  • The pool is perfect for hot afternoons
  • You're near Lussan, a stunning hilltop village to the north

Lows

  • You’re in the sticks and may need to drive out for dinner
  • The house is very child-friendly; if you’re looking for absolute peace, this might not be for you
  • Perhaps a plus for pet lovers, but do be aware that you'll often find the family's cats wandering the grounds

Best time to go

Les Sardines really is a house for all seasons and, while hotels can feel empty in mid-winter, here you’ll find roaring fires and life being lived around you. Come whenever you can and, if you love nothing more than pottering through ‘undiscovered’ French landscapes, visit in off-season to have the place to yourselves.

Our top tips

Don’t miss the north (most people do, so it's all the more special as a result). Start with Mont Bouquet, where you can walk, ride, climb, cycle and paraglide. Keep on going and you'll come to the pretty hilltop village of Lussan, then head up to the stunning Gorge de L’Ardeche, where a winding road weaves through blistering country with rocks to climb, kayaks to paddle and caves to explore.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Eco
Family
  • Boutique B&B & Apartments
  • 3 rooms + 3 apartments
  • Breakfast only + self-catering (restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

The 3 gorgeous B&B rooms are rustic-Provencal with a hint of fresh Swedish design. Extremely comfortable beds wear smart, embroidered linen, and you get interesting art, old radiators and shuttered windows.

Blue is the biggest with a chandelier hanging from its high ceiling. We stayed in Green and loved the linen-draped doors that open over the rose-filled terrace below. That said, petite Pink is astonishingly good value, only slightly smaller than the others and very pretty!

The 3 apartments all have open-plan sitting/kitchen areas. In the main house, The Small Apartment is accessed via open stone stairs. From the living area, glass doors slide open onto a terrace, and there’s a double bedroom overlooking the front of the house.

The Large Apartment is similar in layout but almost twice the size. There’s a simple, soothing white double bedroom, a rustic bathroom with a sink carved from a chunk of stone, and a private terrace.

The Little House apartment is in a small tower on the far side of the courtyard. Old stone steps lead up to the front door, where there’s space for a table and chairs. Inside is a small but ever-so-pretty duplex studio - old walls harbour a contemporary interior with glass steps rising to a galleried bedroom and pebbled shower room.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfasts here are gloriously lazy. We spent a few hours happily munching away, slurping coffee and chatting with other guests in the rose-scented gardens, dappled sunlight filtering through the vines. A bountiful self-serve table is laid with freshly baked pastries and pretty homemade cakes, plus a fabulous selection of local produce including meats, cheeses, fruits and scrumptious jams and jellies; jugs of freshly squeezed fruit juices round things off. When it gets colder, you eat in front of a blazing fire in the dining room instead.

For other meals, the apartments have their own kitchenettes (with a microwave, hob and fridge, but no oven or freezer) and there are a few good-value local restaurants. We ate at L’Auberge d’Aigaliers, a charming no-frills kind of place with a pretty terrace, just a 10-minute walk away.

Further afield, try Le Tracteur at Samillac (8km) for simple food brilliantly cooked by lovely people. There’s also lots of choice in Uzès, not least a small profusion of cafés and bistros in the central Place des Herbes, where you can eat in the sunny square or in the shade of the medieval vaulted walkways.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Uzès, one of the best-preserved medieval towns in France, is 7km down the road. Its hallmark is a network of beautiful vaulted stone walkways that snake around the city and its market is one of the best in Provence
  • Head south into the Gorge de Gardon for a good walk in sublime country. Then nip across to the Pont du Gard, the magnificent 3-storey Roman aqueduct dates from 50AD
  • Nîmes is a hive of Roman architecture. Its amphitheatre is the best-preserved in Europe, while the only fully-preserved Roman temple in the world sits nearby in Place Carrée
  • Spin west from Nîmes and discover the Languedoc wine fields at Pic Saint Loup, a commune of 13 villages and 36 producers who are creating great (and much under-rated) AOC wine
  • Explore magnificent Arles for all things Van Gogh (he lived here for a while), and Avignon for its spectacular architecture
  • But most of all, make use of your little slice of Provencal heaven - laze by the tranquil pool or read in the pretty shaded courtyard covered in climbing roses and cats snoozing in the shade

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Though not exclusively family-oriented, Les Sardines is very family-friendly - Anna Karin’s own son was often splashing around in the pool during our visit.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The apartments have more space, sofabeds, kitchenettes and private balconies, making them popular with families; though The Little House apartment is not recommended for small children due to its steep stairs. The double rooms can be booked in conjunction with an Annex twin room to make a family-sized suite. All rooms can hold a baby cot.

Babysitting:

Available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

Fenced swimming pool with lots of inflatable toys

Families Should Know:

The property has steep staircases so children should be supervised

Distances:

  • Airport: 30 minutes
  • Shops: 10 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 8 independent reviews from i-escape guests

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

Even the French air traffic control strikes which seriously impacted our return from France could not dampen how good a holiday we had at Les Sardines. Anna-Karin is a perfect host and her small supporting team could not be faulted either - cheerful and attentive but never over bearing. Laid back breakfasts in the court yard with a different home made cake every morning were delicious, as were the crepes. We stayed in the little house and found that it fulfilled our requirements entirely, the balcony a particular bonus for whiling away the evening with a glass of wine. The small pool is great with enough shade or no shade to cover both bases. Uzes, a 10km drive away from Gattigues (and you do need a car), is a beautiful town with a large number of eateries, boutique shops, art galleries and obligatory boulangeries (the pissaladiére at 'La Fougasse D'Uzes' is not to be missed). Anna-Karin recommended we eat at 'Bec a Vin' and her recommendation could not be faulted, whilst we would also recommend 'Maison Comte', though you should avoid LaCuisine du Boucher who can't even cook a steak frites well. The local auberge in Aigailers is a little more rustic but the owner doing terrible frog impressions to describle frogs legs on the menu to 3 terrible French speakers was highlight enough for us.
All in all, we had a great holiday, would happily return and would highly recommend Les Sardines to anybody who fancies a laid back holiday in Provence.

10/10,

we just got back from a fantastic stay at Les Sardines. Anna Karin is the perfect host. My pregnant partner and I had a nightmare flying out when easyjet cancelled our flight meaning we lost a day. Anna Karin offered advice on alternative airports and routes to the hotel. She also held some breakfast back for us when we arrived the next day.
Breakfast - is incredible there is homemade cake every day! Not to mention fruit, bread, eggs everything you could want to start the day. The Hotel itself in a beautiful little village with ample parking in front or round the back. It is laid out well so that rooms are private and there are so many little corners to curl up and read both inside and out or to have a glass of wine in the evening. There is a little fridge so you can keep some wine or some small bits to make your own lunch with everything you need provided. This is a really nice touch and helps keep the cost down.
The pool area is lovely and the top terrace keeps the sun all day which was great for us as we were keen to get a tan before the baby arrives. There is one restaurant within walking distance but the food wasn't great. However table de Julien is a fantastic and reasonable restaurant an 8 min drive on the way to the supermarche and Uzes. We wish we had gone sooner than the last night as we would have gone back. The Supermarche is easy to get to and very big. Uzes is a beautiful town with lots of good restaurants like TEN and La Famille however they are a bit more expensive. All of Uzes turns into a market on Saturday then hosts a food market in the main square on a Wednesday as well as a flea market on a Sunday. We flew to Nimes which was so easy as the airport is tiny and only 40 mins away I would highly recommend. We stayed in the pink room which is huge and more than lovely enough for two. It is at the front of the house so maybe a little noisier than some others and there was a family of birds nesting in the house opposite which were loud at 7am but the room was blissful. We can't thank Anna Korin and her team enough for making every bit of our stay perfect. We had a very relaxing time and would love to go back again probably with some friends as soon as we can. Thank you I-escape for another little gem!

10/10,

We have had the most lovely stay here. Anna Karin is an utterly charming host, kind and generous but relaxed and fuss free. The house is beautiful and shows her artistry and style at every turn but in a casual, simple way. It is as much fun to sit with a glass of rose or linger over breakfast in the courtyard as it is to go exploring. The local auberge in Aigaliers is welcoming and fun and we also ate well in Uzes ( Le Bec a Vin) and St Maximin ( L'Estanquet). I would like to wake up there every day!

10/10,

Les Sardines aux yeux bleues is a wonderful place of nonchalant chic. Very easy going and full of nice details. Perfect spot in the beautiful countryside, Nimes, Uzes, Arles & co.

10/10,

The perfect relaxing place for a break in the sun. Anna-Karin is the perfect host.
Restaurant La Table 2 Julian in Monaren-et-Saint-Mediers (a few kilometres away) is fantastic and a not to miss lunch.

10/10,

Both the house and location gave us a fantastically relaxing week. The house is beautiful and Annakarin and her 'girls' are the perfect hosts. It was a great base for exploring the area and we felt perfectly at home for the whole week. Would highly recommend.

10/10,

A wonderful home from home country retreat with shabby chic styling, perfectly located for beautiful Uzes and many other local historic towns. As you drift off to sleep to the smell of cakes baking for breakfast, prepare yourself for a day with as much activity as you feel like planning. Annakarin is always on hand to provide the local info; it is after all her home and by the end of your stay you'll be wanting to make it yours too!

10/10,

What a fabulous haven of tranquility in such a hectic world! Anna Karin was a wonderful host, immediately sharing her home, her gentle lifestyle and wealth of local knowledge to ensure a most enjoyable stay. The style of the hotel and garden is simply beautiful in a bohemian fashion - the lack of invasive technology provided a welcome respite.

10/10,

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