An olive grove in the Luberon
The silvery foliage of the olive trees of the aglandau variety, a variety used to make the PDO Provence oil, tremble in the wind. The trees of the Ferme des Callis are young: the owner, an oleologist, only started producing oil three years ago. Terraces galore, a living room under the vaults of a stable and five peaceful rooms upstairs occupy the former post house. A fountain gurgles and the swimming pool warms in the sun. The owner offers tastings of her produce, while Laurie gives gardening lessons in the vegetable garden. Tomatoes and basil are picked there and drizzled with the fruity nectar of the domain.
A breeder's house in Ardèche
Christine Breysse raises poultry, rabbits and lambs at the foot of the Escrinet pass separating the valleys of the Ardèche and the Rhône. Just 200 metres from the hutches and chicken coops of her Ferme du Clos Long, she rents a house for 10 people with her husband Gil. With basalt walls and tiled floors, the four rooms overlook a small hamlet. The path in front of the gîte leads to the heights of the Coiron massif or to the pools of the Ouvèze. Cheeses and sausages for picnics are available at the Echoppe paysanne in Privas, a nearby cooperative of 24 producers to which Christine belongs.
A little nest in Haut-Doubs
Barely 30 years old, Pauline and Rémi share their dream and their little piece of the world lost in the middle of the great Jura pine forests. They look after 80 dairy sheep in their sheepfold in the Combe de l'Ours, in the middle of the fields half an hour's drive from Salins-les-Bains, the source of the Lison. From the bright, wooded family room, you can hear the bleating and the tinkling of bells. Yoghurts, faisselles and homemade crottins take pride of place at breakfast. Milking takes place twice a day. Children who ask for it are entitled to a few drops of the warm milk straight from the cow!
Strawberry hunting in Normandy
Awaken your picking instinct! From the Gîtes de France approved guest rooms or gîte of their Ferme du Grand Parc, the raspberry and blackcurrant bushes of Anne and Olivier François-Chauvin are accessible on foot. As integrative farmers, the couple also grows corn, wheat, rapeseed and beans on their 175 hectares between Caen and Bayeux. The stone manor farm, typical of the Bessin region, sometimes welcomes riders: the riding route ‘La chevauchée de Guillaume’ passes behind the orchards. You can run or walk your dog here too. The beach of Ver-sur-Mer is seven kilometres away as the crow flies.
The lakes near Nantes
The scent of wild mint floats over the Mazerolles marsh, 650 hectares bordered by the Erdre between meadows and ponds. "Breeding is the key to managing wetlands," explains Emmanuel Rialland. He pampers over 200 wagyu cattle, a precious and placid Japanese breed. Two kotas, Finnish-inspired wooden huts, allow visitors to immerse themselves in the domain, also home to frogs and white egrets. A boat carries guests there, along with an evening meal and breakfast. It’s an adventure 15km north of Nantes.
Corsica, the land of clementines
In May, when the clementine trees bloom, the sweet smell is intoxicating. All year round, Patrick Berghman's farm looks like a green paradise. The first trees, hybrids of sweet orange and mandarin, were acclimatised in 1925 in this eastern Corsican plain. The citrus orchard backs onto the mountain: the sea shimmers less than two kilometres away, between the glazed leaves. Nestled near the river, two mobile homes provide a discreet welcome. Birds abound, aware that the place is all beautiful and organic. There are mosquitoes too, so take precautions.
An intro to permaculture in Saint Jeannet
At the foot of the Baous (limestone crowns that dominate the hinterland of Nice), terraces shelter an abundant mishmash of shrubs, vegetables and flowers. At first glance it looks a bit cluttered, but far from it. Since 2002, Isabella Sallusti has been practising permaculture, a way of working the land respectfully by cultivating the synergies between plants and other living organisms. Herbs flourish in vegetable patches near the natural pond, and bees buzz about. Guests in the three tents rest in their deckchairs, practice yoga or peel courgettes and grill them on a plancha in front of their lodge. The charming village of Saint-Jeannet is a 10-minute walk away.