Joie de Vivre
Joie de Vivre


Our reviews below are from Trip Advisor.

What could be better than staying in a beautiful 18th century Maison situated in a little village in Provence, enjoying warm and wonderful hospitality, picturesque surroundings, interesting and diverse local excursions, wonderful cuisine both in-house and out, French wines (and a few unique cocktails!) musical evenings, markets, and so much more?

Why, return the following year of course (the ultimate compliment!), this time with a group of NZ friends who were keen to experience all of this. We were not disappointed!

The 13 days were so much fun, we were well looked after and richly entertained - every day was an absolute pleasure. Amanda Taylor-Ace is an exceptional host and the highly social and varied experiences provided were enjoyed by all of our group. A three-day visit to beautiful San Remo in Italy at the end of our stay in France was the icing on the cake, a delightful way to end a truly fabulous trip.
Highly recommended (again!)

Linda G - October 2017

We were persuaded by some friends to join them on a culinary experience with Amanda Taylor-Ace at her villas in St Maximin for 13 days and then a further 3 days in San Remo. We were in our own enchanting world at the villas.
Amanda was a great host and we enjoyed great food and wine (plenty of it) and were entertained by first class musicians. It was also a bundle of laughs from start to finish.
Amanda organised some very good daily excursions and was prepared to be flexible to meet the needs of the group.

ght43 - September 2017

We rented the two houses for two weeks; there were 16 of us. The facilities in both houses were excellent and really french. The town of St Maximin is a superb centre for this area especially Uzes. We would hope to stay with Amanda and Judy again

davidlee250 - August 2016

We had to come back to this amazing place after visiting 3 years ago. It is best enjoyed with a larger group and the facilities and accommodation are just perfect for the occasion. The pool, dining areas and large decks under shelter or the vines are so relaxing, and there is plenty of room for everyone. The village is very special, and so convenient to all leisure activities or exploring. The hosts are fantastic, and so much fun to be had in this very special place of French history and 17th ?? century architecture. You will not be disappointed.

Simon P - July 2016

We loved the week we spent at Saint Maximin as it was close to all the genuine French history attractions that were so close by. Amanda was a special host and was able to sort out all the local festivals that were around the area at that time of the year for us to participate in. An unforgettable holiday.

684mark - July 2016

We have stayed here a number of times before. We brought a group of 18 friends and family back with us this time to show them what was so god about it. It accommodated all of us wonderfully. It is an ideal location to be based, with so much to do and see in th region. Amanda and Judy are wonderful hosts and nothing is ever a problem. They even offer a full dining option and with 18 people we took advantage of it 3 of 4 times in the week. Wonderful value for money.

Stephengmarshall - July 2016

An authentic and charming French Maison . Our wonderful hostess Amanda made us feel so welcome the minute we arrived... being invited to join in with her and many interesting friends dining al fresco, tasting the local wines, and enjoying the wonderful Provence culture. A fabulous setting with character accommodation , crystal swimming pool and a lovely relaxed vibe. St Maxim is quaint, unspoiled, and just off the tourist trail so you can experience a Medievil French village at its best.

Luke H - June 2016

If you're looking for a truly fabulous and authentic French experience, then this Provence Culinary Tour (although it's so much more) is not to be missed. It truly delivers the 'Wow' factor! Two beautifully and authentically restored 3-storey 18th Century Maisons in the quaint little village of St Maximin in Provence was the guest accommodation for the 12 days I was there. My room was large, comfortable and tastefully decorated and had views of the pretty countryside whilst overlooking the garden, outdoor entertaining area, and swimming pool. I had my own separate bathroom.

Most days after our typical French breakfast in the Maison we had the opportunity to receive some basic French lessons, which was helpful, before we headed out to explore and experience Provence. The itinerary was interesting and diverse - fabulous markets (produce, antique and flea), exquisite food, wine tastings, special cocktails, a gourmet picnic, many excursions including several fantastic ''surprise'' locations, the opportunity to meander through cobbled streets and explore tiny alleyways whilst exploring historical towns and villages, ancient buildings and monuments.

There was musical entertainment both in-house and out, walking tours, cooking school - and so much more. But the tour is well balanced and also gave sufficient time to relax at home, or chill out by the pool. Not only do Amanda and Judy have warm and effervescent personalities, but they're well-versed in the history of the many fascinating places we visited and happy to share their impressive culinary skills during the hands-on cooking school lessons. There was lots of fun and laughter during the tour - it was memorable, diverse and highly recommended.

Linda G - June 2016

What a great house, but even more impressive is the hospitality. Amanda and Judy are excellent hosts. The location's fabulous too. St Maximin is a very cute town, and nearby to Uzes, gave us the opportunity to visit the market, and a 'hidden treasure' the flea market, in Uzes. The house is close by to the ancient aquaduct, Pont du Gard, the Palais des Papes in Avignon which we really enjoyed.

Neale P - June 2016

Everything about our holiday was so exceptional. All our food, excursions and entertainment were to such a high standard that it would be hard to beat such a unique holiday.

Marqueriteandclive - June 2016

We stayed here with 18 others, booking out both properties. It was a fantastic location to explore the surrounding areas, and ride up Mont Ventoux. We cooked for ourselves most nights and enjoyed the outdoor dining and swimming pool. This property is fully self catering, which suited all of us. We would recommend these properties to our friends.

Susan C - July 2015

Maison de Maitresse is centrally located within Provence in the quaint village of Saint Maximin. We visited Mont Ventoux, Sault, Vaison la Romaine, Avignon, and several smaller towns. Of course we visited a winery and tasted wine at many different wine houses. Within a few miles of the Maison are Roman ruins and sunflower fields – keep your eyes peeled. We rented the Maison for four nights and also hired the owners -- Amanda and Judy – to prepare two dinners for us– one on the evening of our arrival and another evening. The dinners were delicious.

Amanda and July were 'absolutely fabulous' hosts and exceptionally hospitable and entertaining. They even had a welcome basket for us!. Our visit to the Maison wouldn’t have been the same without them. The Maison is a large old eclectic house with ample bedrooms and living space, both inside and outside on the veranda and pool area, to accommodate a large group of people. The outdoor living area and the pool are an added bonus. We spent a day sitting by the beautiful pool and sipping locally purchased wine.

I recommend a stay at the Maison, especially to enjoy the hospitality of Amanda and Judy.

Tracey O - June 2015

The 'Joie de Vivre' tour meant we enjoyed great food, great wines, and great company. We left regretfully, feeling we'd been amongst friends who looked after us royally, and provided outings tailored to our interests and limitations! We thoroughly enjoyed our glimpse into life in a small French village.

Teko2001 - June 2015

Amanda, our hostess, provided us with excellent advice, recommendations of what to see and do, as well as wonderful social opportunities. She advised us of where to stay in Paris, and in Italy, and provided unique accommodation for us in Provence, all at an affordable cost. Her instructions on how to find our accommodation were extremely accurate and easy to follow. She assisted us develop a daily itinerary to meet our interests and needs. We also enjoyed her company, her hospitality and local friends. We feel we have developed a close friendship with her and her supporters which we value highly. We have recommended her website and the possibilities she offers to many friends already and can't speak highly enough of our experiences, thanks to Amanda.

Dorothy B - April 2015

...and an Ode to Amanda from Linda


We read her book, we caught the bug, we researched and we booked AND wondered – could it be that good?....but the website had us hooked! So dutifully we all arrived at the designated place AND finally got to meet the famous – Amanda…Taylor…Ace!

And yes – she is outrageous, she’s personality-plus!
Dynamic and outgoing (with her overflowing bust!)

Her life she lives with gusto, she thinks outside the square. Her antics sometimes shocking, but they have led her here - To Maison de Maitresse (and some neighbours she has shocked) - Her parties are quite famous – those rafters have been rocked!

This truly is the best tour, well-planned and quite diverse - Wine and food – more wine and food… Y’know, it could be worse. With co-star Judy always there to lend a helping hand To drive us here, and guide us there, the tour was so well-planned.
It’s hard to pick a favourite, but Chez Phillipe’s lunch was great!

The Pont du Gard, Gypsy band, shucked oysters, Picolet.
Amanda’s “soup”, roses and reds, pizzas, salmon, snails, rabbit, gizzards, tapenades, and eggs of tiny quails.

Marguerite and I were such efficient kitchen hands that Clive was served a radish soup complete with rubber bands!
Hazelle’s been a treasure, Pat liked a sneaky smoke.
And Neil (‘im with the metal leg), loved to talk and joke.

The five of us have had a ball, and now it’s plain to see
Why your life right here in France is truly “Jo8e de Vivre’!

Merci beaucoup!

Ode to Amanda from Linda - Provence Adventure 2016