Mas Armelin

Tarascon, Provence, France Book from Book from £91 per night

A beautifully converted farmhouse in the heart of Provence, with 5 chic rooms and a sparkling pool

If you're on the lookout for a stunning French retreat, with a serene and intimate vibe, and an inviting pool glimmering in huge shady gardens, this is your place. An ancient farmhouse which dates back to the mid-1700s, it is now a lovingly restored, super-chic guesthouse with just five rooms and a ton of Provençal character. We’re talking rustic powder-blue shutters, dreamy rosemary-scented gardens and some seriously swoon-worthy decor (flamingo-print wallpaper, we’re looking at you). Plus there's a two-bedroom apartment with kitchenette – perfect for families with younger kids

This is the handiwork of German owners Ulrich and Cordula, who run the show with friendly generosity. Ask ahead and they'll arrange for a chef de cuisine to prepare delicious multi-course feasts in the evenings or a poolside barbecue with sizzling shrimps and a cold glass of the local tipple. Both are fountains of knowledge when it comes to the best restaurants, walks, bike rides, stables, golf courses and wineries in the area. You're in the epicentre of Arles, Nimes, Avignon and Saint Remy de Provence; all lie within half an hour's drive. Guests say it's like staying with cultured Francophile friends, laced with an extra dose of chic and charm. We can't wait to experience it for ourselves.
Covid update: see our Flexible Booking Policy.

Highs

  • With an acre of shady, lawned gardens dotted with flowers and sculptures, it feels like a true oasis
  • There are two stylish guest salons and plenty of outdoor terraces too – so no shortage of space to relax
  • Excellent value for money, even during peak months
  • A handy location for Arles, Avignon, Nimes, Camargue & the Alpilles
  • Great for foodies with lots of good restaurants nearby helmed by acclaimed chefs, and cooking classes can be arranged

Lows

  • Tarascon, on whose fringes the mas sits, is not a classic tourist base, but an authentic, Rhone-side town with castle and markets
  • The pool isn’t heated, so can be chilly in shoulder season
  • You’ll need a car to get around but there’s plenty of free parking; local cabs can be expensive
  • There are no bathtubs, just (newly installed) showers
  • Only one bedroom – in the Apartment – can be set up as a twin and the Apartment is only available in high season as it becomes two separate rooms for the rest of the year

Best time to go

April to May is our favourite time to visit the region, when the flowers start to bloom, the restaurants and cafes reopen and the crowds are yet to arrive. Autumn is stunning and still pleasingly mild. Summers are hot and busy – not a problem if you decide to spend days here by the pool.

Our top tips

Tarascon castle - the seat of the last Provençale king – is well worth a visit. Kids will enjoy the crypt of the legendary Sainte Marthe, who tamed a fearsome dragon to save the town's residents – an event colourfully commemorated in the annual Fete de la Tarasque: this 4-day festival over the last weekend in June sees costumed parades, bull races, concerts and bodegas.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 5 rooms
  • Breakfast, other meals on request
  • 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
Room:

Rooms

Choose from a good sized Double Room, a Junior Suite set in a separate stone house within the garden, and a larger Family Suite which sleeps 2-4. There’s also a two-bedroom Apartment with a tiny kitchenette and its own small private garden – a favourite among families wanting a bit more space from mid-June until the end of August. Note that for most of the year (September - mid-June) the Apartment is split into two Deluxe Rooms with a terrace and shower bathroom each.

All are cleanly styled with a largely black (or grey) and white palette, and a few retro-industrial touches. Think bold wallpaper, cool light fittings and carefully curated art on the walls. Even better, all come with a private terrace of some sort (the Family Suite has its own reserved seating area on the ground floor terrace), plus views of the pool or lovely gardens. There are no TVs, but WiFi is fast.

Sleek contemporary shower bathrooms come with toiletries, plenty of towels (including pool towels), and bathrobes on request.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

A delicious-looking continental breakfast is served either in the dining room, or on your own private terrace in warmer months. Expect crispy pastries, succulent local cheeses, cold meats, creamy yoghurts and much more.

In the summer, you can book a chef de cuisine who can prepare a 3-4-5-course meal of your choice using local and seasonal ingredients, and also pre-book a barbecue by the pool, with mouth-watering shrimps, sausages, steak and salads, or in cooler months, home-cooked hearty meals. Don’t expect a big menu – the vibe here is more ‘staying with friends’ – but allergies are well catered for. During the day, the summer kitchen serves poolside snacks.

There are plenty of great restaurants in Tarascon, including several classic French restaurants and open-air bistrots – but bear in mind that it's 15-20 mins' walk – a bit too far for comfort. If you're happy to drive or cab it, there are more excellent options over the bridge in Beaucaire, or of course in Arles and Avignon – Ulrich and Cordula can advise.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore the handsome, historic, tourist-free centre-ville of Tarascon: a jumble of cobbled streets, pavement cafés and shuttered mansions within ancient walls, plus a forbidding riverside castle
  • Check out The Alpilles Natural Park (15 mins' drive), with its craggy limestone hills dotted with ancient villages and soaring raptors; there are hiking and biking trails galore. In the shoulder season old-time drivers and motor-cyclists take to the little twisty roads
  • Head to Nîmes (30 mins) for some of the finest Roman monuments outside Italy (a huge arena and several temples), plus lovely gardens and a strong food scene (try the epic indoor market of Les Halles)
  • The famous wetlands of the Camargue (45 mins) will delight birdwatchers and horse riders; we also loved walking the medieval walls of Aigues Mortes
  • It's not much further to the calanques (rocky creeks) and sparkling blue seas of the Cote Bleue
  • Culture vultures must visit Arles, not just for its superb art scene, but for being the inspiration for many of Van Gogh’s works
  • Other nearby attractions include 3 golf courses, countless wineries, and the Papal Palaces of Avignon
  • Book a cooking class (min 2 people, max 4) and feast on your labours afterwards; this needs to be reserved 2 weeks ahead

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Wine tasting

Kids

While there aren't any specific facilities in place for kids beyond the pool and the safe, enclosed gardens, children of all ages are made very welcome - and we think they will love it here. A note to parents: the pool isn't fenced. Extra beds and cots can be provided in all rooms apart from the Doubles, which are better suited to couples; and i-escape guests can add a cot to their booking for free.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

The Family Apartment can comfortably fit families as it sleeps up to 5 with two bedrooms (one of which can be arranged as a twin) and a sofa bed, and has a small kitchenette as well as its own private terrace and garden. The Family Suite can take a family of 4 with a bedroom plus a double sofa bed. The Junior Suite can take a family of 3.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Board games and puzzles
  • Swimming pool
  • Large garden

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • The immersive art exhibitions of Carrieres de Lumieres in Les Baux de Provence
  • Hiking in the Alpilles
  • Cycling
  • Beaches of the Camargue – around 45 minutes away

Families Should Know:

Parents are required to supervise children under 12 around the pool at all times. Note that the Apartment is only available mid-June until the end of August, it is split into two rooms for the rest of the year

Distances:

  • Airport: 1h30m (Marseilles)
  • Hospital: 15 minutes (Arles)
  • Shops: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Location

Mas Armelin is in the town of Tarascon, 15 mins' walk from the centre. It's about 30 mins' drive (or train / bus ride) from Arles, Avignon and Nimes.

By Air
The nearest airport is Marseille Provence Airport (85km / 65mins). From the airport, it's easy to hire a car (see our rental recommendations); or you can catch a train to Tarascon (about 1h30) and then take a cab or Uber to the hotel (5 mins).

By Train
It's a surprisingly fast journey by TGV to Avignon (under 3 hours from Paris), and then a regular shuttle train to Tarascon (30 mins). From Tarascon station, take a cab or Uber to the hotel (5 mins).

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

Airports:

  • Marseilles 85.0 km MRS

Other:

  • Beach 50.0 km
  • Shops 2.0 km
  • Restaurant 2.5 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

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

We had an excellent stay. Impeccable rooms and service, delicious breakfast and a warm welcome.

10/10,

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