Luxury Treehouses in France
Swinging in a hammock 30ft up, surrounded by oak trees with the wind whistling through the leaves...
I was staying in one of four treehouses at Orion B&B in a wooded area 15 minutes inland from Cagnes-sur-Mer, just along from Nice on the Côte d'Azur.
"You get the best of both worlds," said Diane Van Den Berge, Orion's owner; guests come to fulfil their childhood dreams of living in a treehouse "like Tarzan and Jane", yet while there's "a feeling of isolation, there's also a degree of comfort in nature".
The treehouses are actually stand-alone, solid structures, made of red cedar and built between the trees rather than perched on their trunks. You climb up to them via an outer wooden staircase rather than swinging over on a vine with a monkey on your back. The rooms are furnished with the kind of trappings you'd expect in this part of the world - a huge double bed and large fluffy pillows, wooden bath and open "massage shower", and even an internet cable connection in case you're feeling a little too isolated.
The treehouses are the main attraction but back on terra firma you can chill out on a sun lounger by a swimming pond that is designed to integrate into the garden "like a natural lake". It is cleaned not with chemicals but through a sophisticated natural system of gravel and aquatic plant filtration: compared with your average chlorinated pool, it feels like you're swimming in Evian. If you can stir yourself away from the tranquillity, a short walk up the hill behind Orion is La Brouette, a wonderfully intimate Danish-owned restaurant overlooking the medieval fortified village of Saint-Paul de Vence.
Orion Treehouses, 0033 6 7545 1864, from €140 per night B&B (minimum 3 nights in summer). London-Paris then TGV to Nice from £109 rtn. Bus no 400 from Nice to Saint-Paul de Vence (+4 9358 3760) €2.60 rtn. For more information on how to travel by train from London to Nice, see our detailed journey planner: Train from London to Nice.
An edited version of this article, by Richard Hammond, was first published in the Guardian newspaper.
For other treehouses and accommodations in France, follow the links below: