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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Overnight in the South of France

David and Sandrine Ausset 

Overnights spent in the south of France can be a large part of the experience, especially if you choose a place such as Domaine des Clos, an 18th century farmhouse planted squarely amid acres of grapevines on the outskirts of Beaucaire.

Lovingly restored by its owners, David and Sandrine Ausset, it has a great swimming pool set amidst gardens, delightfully imaginative play areas for children, tables and chairs temptingly tucked beneath the shady canopy of 200-year old trees and lots of intimate spots for lounging and sipping wine over end-of-the-day conversations.

There are lots of great places to lounge and relax such as this intimate spot on a porch.
Among its rooms are several apartments, each with a complete kitchen, so it’s ideal for families or others who are watching their expenditures and  looking for a central location from which to explore by car. Accommodations are air conditioned ‑ important in the hot and sunny summer weather in the south of France.
Although set along an unpaved country road probably little changed through the centuries, it’s within less than 20 miles from Nimes, Arles, the Pont du Gard, Provence and many lovely wineries and restaurants.  It makes a great headquarters for a week-long stay and that’s just what many folks do, coming from throughout the world, year after year.

When Sandrine prepares one of her twice weekly dinners and serves it in the large dining room it’s abuzz with a half dozen languages, although English is always among them. Sandrine is  a wonderful cook and our small group of writers enjoyed a dinner and a lovely breakfast there. As David showed us a scrapbook filled with photos of the restoration process we spotted preserved details that revealed the dining room had once been a stable for probably a dozen or more horses.
We played a rousing game of Foosball at the edge of the dining room, which had been transformed from an old stable. By the looks of this little guy, it's a game dating at least from the '50s.

Although wi-fi service was sometimes spotty, it was easy to put the modern world away in exchange for a rousing match of Foosball on a non-automated device probably dating from the 1950s or a round of ping pong outdoors near the courtyard.
Most will agree that prices are reasonable. A week in a spacious apartment for four guests goes for about $900 at current exchange rates, for instance.  As is the case throughout France, breakfast is included in room rates.
The breakfast table awaits in the dining room.

Tripadvisor contributors review Domaine des Clos at and the inn’s own website offers an English translation with full descriptions and the opportunity to book online.  Go to to see Tripadvisor reviews and find the Ausset’s own website at

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