Many people ask us the story behind Mas de Mahystre. Why do we rent it? How did we find it? Why the hell are we not still living in the South of France?
The truth is, we fell in love with the place but at different stages of our lives, we need different things…
We bought Mas de Mahystre in the Languedoc, South of France in June 2005. A long time ago now. My husband, Neil, was working in Montpellier and we had two young children, Rosie and Tristan.We adored the centre of Montpellier, a buzzing, beautiful city, but we craved countryside and space for our expanding family and for friends and relations to visit. A space to make as much noise as we wanted, uninhibited by close city neighbours. We drew an hour’s circle around Montpellier and hunted for about a year before we stumbled upon Mas de Mahystre.
A year and a half after we moved in, our daughter, Freya, was born and we felt more and more settled. The rascals attended the lovely village school and we reaped the benefits of life in a beautiful, unspoiled, charming, corner of France. “Do you think you’ll always stay in France?” our friends always asked, “We will stay until it is no longer right for us anymore.” We lived here for over six unforgettable years.
In February 2012 an unmissable opportunity arose to move to Montreal, Canada, so we upped sticks again for another adventure for nearly two years before returning to London. And in July 2016, we settled in Brighton and are loving living by the sea.
We could have returned to St Come after Montreal but we had been out of the UK for 11 years and to be honest, it was time to return – for our family, for the education and for us. And the marmite of course.
But how could we abandon Mas de Mahystre completely? So many memories, friends and experiences. The only affordable option was to rent, unless we sold, but none of us wanted that. So the rental experience began and oh, did we have a lot to learn! Clutter to clear, linen to buy, photos to take, website to make, not to mention choosing the right advertising sites, finding the cleaner, the gardener and the pool person! We are so fortunate that we lived in St Come for many years, for without our neighbours and friends from the village, renting Mas de Mahystre would be tricky.
Our aim is to give our guests a truly memorable holiday. So, we strive to provide a gorgeous holiday house, in a beautiful setting, nestled in an interesting, authentic and private part of France. We aim to provide a personal touch and to forge great relationships with our guests.
Of course, there are ups and downs and you can’t please everyone but every year our guests, many who return year on year, seem happier and happier. We listen, learn and improve, for there is always something to do. Fortunately Neil is rather a dab hand at the DIY stuff…
As for the future? We will certainly continue to rent our house through the wonderful Sawdays site, as well our own website. And we want to try to spend more time at Mas de Mahystre. For our kids, family, friends and guests to come together and create more memories. Having just spent 10 days there over Christmas, we know it’s a perfect place to catch up, slow down and appreciate life.
Looking for a place to rent in the south of France anyone?
Ten full days at Mas de Mahystre is a real treat for us. Winter brings different colours and experiences in St Come, with plenty of time for cooking, eating, chatting, backgammon, walking and reflecting. Especially at Christmas…
Highlights are always:
- Nimes Les Halles food market on Christmas Eve, carefully choosing the chapon, oysters, cheese and veg, amidst the festive hustle and bustle.
- Christmas Eve lunch by Les Arenes in Nimes
- Walks in the garrigue above St Come with our dog Ringo (please admire his special Christmas coat!)
- Hours spent by the fire with a glass of vino battling fierce games of backgammon
- Decorating the tree
- Catching up with special neighbours, friends and family
- Taking time to cook up feasts
- Time for each other
- Just being at Mas de Mahystre together