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The three houses open to guests share a large estate which brings together the wooded and stony reliefs of this Provencal noon. The views over the valley and the landscapes that we never tire of contemplating can be breathtaking. All the necessary comforts are provided, simple and fashionable, and according to the codes of this sunny region where the light colours enhanced by the terracotta tiles keep the rooms cool and fresh. With a swimming pool designed like a water point in the middle of an arid land, trunks of pines shaped by the wind and brushstrokes of the cypresses in the sky, Provence certainly remains Provence here.
My ancestor François Rozan, master glassmaker, made glass blown with cane and cut with a millstone. They were refined objects in both their form and execution. In 1846, he bought this 150 hectare estate which was known as the Domaine des Bastides at the time. He bought it to make a reserve of wood to supply the ovens of his glassworks and renamed it the Domaine de Pinval.
The house is located on a Gallo-Roman site referenced by national archaeological studies. On the terrace, the imposing cut limestone blocks are remnants of this era. The current buildings were built on the foundations of a ruined farm which still housed loggers (who supplied wood for the glass making family) and peasants until the beginning of the 19th century. Significant work was carried out by our father in 1984 with the support of a couple of young architects to modernise the design. Many architectural elements specific to Provence were implemented while also respecting the precise requirements defined by my father: the shades of ocher on the floors and plaster, small openings and a staircase with a typical banister. Excellent insulation, a double wall for all those who are in contact with the outside, non-flammable material (there is no wood outside, nor in frame) an autonomous water supply by only using rain water. Inside, the volumes are very carefully designed, the cut of the openings, the huge fireplace and the choice of joinery give a feeling of simplicity and well-being.
Our ancestor, François Rozan (1778-1858) lived in Châteauroux-les-Alpes in a large family of peasants. In 1795, then aged 17, he decided to descend to Marseille to make a fortune and found a place as a glazier in an important glassworks in Gémenos. With his ambition, he managed to become a master glassmaker and eventually bought the glassworks. The glass was blown with cane and cut with a grinding wheel. At that time, the glass ovens were heated with wood, which led François Rozan and his sons to buy the Domaine des Bastides in October 1846 and use the 150 hectares to make their wood reserve. Every day, carts loaded with Aleppo pine shuttled between Gémenos and the family estate.
A stay at Gros Driou is a real break from life, a total immersion in the country of Giono and Pagnol's trilogy - "My Father's Glory", "My Mother's Castle" and "The Time of Secrets". The site is completely isolated but not far from the beaches. Twelve kilometres away are La Ciotat, Les Lecques in Saint-Cyr and wilder spots such as the Calanque du Port d'Alon and Figuerolle. Guests can enjoy both the sea and the land during their stay. Many hikes leave from Gros Driou - you will find rocky ledges overlooking the massif at more than 45 metres, a forgotten valley in the north with an abundance of flora and a vast expanse of scrubland with Kermès oaks and masses of fallen rocks. Those with an adventurous side can spend an hour, three hours or a night at L’Ermitage - it is a place of meditation that we can be organised for you. The classic, comfortable and spectacular outing is an aperitif on the Navire, a huge and surprising gazebo made by a cabinetmaker friend of the family. The Navire overlooks the Cuges-les-Pins valley and faces the imposing Sainte-Baume massif.
The village square of Signe is very Provencal and features Fouque, a famous nougat maker. The Domaine de la Bégude (one of the best wines in Bandol) is worth a visit for a tour of the cellars and the view of Saint-Cyr, Bandol and Sanary. The beaches of Lecques in Saint-Cyr and La Ciotat has a number of restaurants on the beach including La Vague on the port, De la Vigne à l'Olivier serving Italian specialties and the Écuries de La Ciotat with a magnificent view of the sea and specialties from local farms. The calanques to the east, at Port Alon and to the west from Cassis the Calanques National Park up to Marseille. The authentic village of Cadière and the village of Evenos, volcanic and forgotten with breathtaking views. La Miellerie de l'Oratoire in Sainte-Anne-du-Castellet which is very welcoming and teaches visitors about honey and all its derivatives. Drive the magnificent road over the Sainte-Baume massif, going up the Saint-Pons valley, to arrive at the Espigoulier pass at over 700m. Continue by going to visit the Sainte-Marie-Madeleine cave and the bravest can go up to the ridge.
The property and its eighty hectares are accessible for filming and photo shoots. Accommodation is made up of nine rooms. A larger offer is possible at Beausset or La Ciotat.
Randonnée autour de la Propriété, Vues spectaculaire, Barres de rochers, vallons oubliés, le Navrie, la Tête de Nige....