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Retreat on the Riviera

Plan sorties to the Côte d'Azur from a chic villa in a medieval village.

While the sparkle and bling of the Côte d'Azur is hard to resist, less than half an hour's drive from bustling Nice and glam Cannes is St Paul de Vence, a perfectly picturesque example of a French medieval village. Its sleepy charm has long attracted artists and a bohemian crowd (artist Marc Chagall, actor Yves Montand, poet Jacques Prévert, among others, have lived here). The village's narrow, cobbled streets and the presence of a modern-art museum, the Fondation Maeght, and landmark restaurant-hotel La Colombe d'Or draw daytrippers. It's worth lingering, however, and Villa Mandarinette is a luxe and logical choice.

The four-bedroom self-contained villa is a case study in understated design: scrubbed-back parquetry, textured linens and a palette of soothing charcoal, grey and ecru. The combination of high-design pieces and vintage patina is a welcome change from the ubiquitous French provincial style. French doors open to a generous terrace overlooking a swimming pool and the village beyond. The dining room of La Colombe d'Or is close by; otherwise the villa's sleek kitchen is well-equipped for feasting.

Thereafter, retire to a low-slung sofa for an afternoon nap or laze in the garden under the mandarin trees that give the villa its name.

Emirates flies daily from Dubai to Nice. Villa Mandarinette can be rented through Nice Pebbles, a high-end holiday-letting company with more than 100 properties in and around Nice. Villa Mandarinette costs from $995 per night, with a three-night minimum. 


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