The beach at Cavalière was recently voted the best in France, and a series of restaurants, from Les Couleurs Jardins in La Croix Valmer to Raymond Blanc's favourite restaurant, Le Club de Cavalière, place the area firmly on the gastronomic map.
Despite its headland position, the Villa Rayol is not immediately evident from the coastal road below that weaves its way from St Tropez to Toulon. Yet for all its reticence, the Villa Rayol is one of the leading villas in the Cote d'Azur. Neat, symmetrical gardens, bordered with white roses and lavender provide spectacular views across the Mediterranean, including the serene bay of Rayol-Canadel and the islands of Port Cros - a view at first glance more Pacific than Mediterranean.
The pool, which can be heated, is well furnished with Italian sun beds, and a long dining table which runs the length of the summer house, and flickers with candles on warm, scented evenings. Here, meals can be prepared pool-side by the chef, from casual lunches to dinner parties under the stars. There is a bar and extensive wine-list, music system, Satellite TV and games.
Accommodation consists of four large and comfortable bedrooms in the main house, with a further four bedrooms, equally well-presented, in a guest wing. Rooms have a state-of-the-art under-floor cooling system and bathrooms come with rain showers and Occitane products. A drawing room, formal dining room and kitchen all open onto south-facing terraces, with 180 degree sea views, and an inner courtyard, surrounded with scented climbing jasmine, provides a perfect spot for pre-dinner canapés and cocktails.
Within walking distance, the Tropicana Beach Club has sun beds on the beach and simple light lunches during the day, and music late into the evening. Along the coast, several additional excellent sandy beaches are available, including Cavalière and Cabasson - as well as a number of reputed restaurants: Le Tamarin, Le Club de Cavalière and the Couleurs Jardins to name a few. For the sporty, a cycle path runs the length of the coast, from Toulon to St Tropez, water sports are available at various points along the coast and the backdrop of the Massif des Maures National Park provides a network of mountain bike paths and hiking trails.
Compared to some of the more celebrated towns of the Riviera, Le Rayol may be considered relatively unknown. But with house prices on the up and an increasingly celebrity list of visitors, what is certain is that this splendid stretch of the southern coast will not remain a secret for long.
- Two double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms opening onto terraces
- Cinema room
- Kitchen with breakfast terrace
- Living area
- Formal dining room
- Summer terrace
- Two Master bedrooms with private en suite bathrooms and dressing rooms
Accessed via an internal courtyard, the guest house is a separate and wholly independent wing of the villa.
- Two double bedrooms with en suite bathrooms
- Further two double bedrooms with en suite bathrooms