In spring, water gushes through the 400-acre estate: the 12th-century Knights Templar created myriad irrigation channels, the life-source of this stunning place. (Now it is proud possessor of the EU Ecolabel.) The bastide keeps it fortress-like proportions and bags of character and charm. Martina and Claude love it all, have planted 3,750 trees, and have a sense of fun that makes a stay a treat. The main house is arranged around a central patio, with stairs leading to the bedrooms above. Simple Provençal furnishings are lit by huge windows, floors are terracotta, there are cosy ’boutis’ quilts and sumptuous towels and linen, and bathrooms cleverly worked around original features. Breakfasts are scrumptious; dinners put the accent on Provençal produce and their own wine. In the cellar: music and a mini cinema. Also table football and a heated pool with a view, a sauna, a Turkish bath and a well-stocked library. Beyond are the Gorges du Verdon, Cotignac, St-Maximin-la-Ste-Baume. An isolated paradise for all ages, overseen by a charming family, donkeys, Shetland ponies, swans, ducks, geese… and one dear old dog.