The Mas du Vieux Charron is a seventeenth century Provençal stone farmhouse. It formerly belonged to the violinist and conductor Alexander (Sasha) Schneider, who often gave concerts there. Pablo Casals, Isaac Stern, the Guarneri Quartet, Jaime Laredo, Peter Serkin, and many other musicians have stayed in the house and rehearsed in the enormous music room - two stories high and running the full length of the house, with a thirty foot high wood beam ceiling.
The house is light and airy, with about 3,500 square feet of floor space, consisting of, on the first floor, a kitchen, a library, a small bathroom with shower, a studio/office, and the music room; and on the second floor, of two bedrooms and a large bathroom with bath. There are windows in every room and large doors to the garden from every ground floor room.
The house is furnished with old French country pieces and a good supply of china, glassware, silverware, cooking utensils, linens and towels. The kitchen has a Viking stove and its antique wooden table will seat six to eight. There are three working fireplaces in the house: in the kitchen, the study, and the second bedroom; the atelier has a Godin wood-burning stove.
Cars may be parked on the gravel-covered area in front of the house. The surrounding garden has a round stone table, a well, fig trees, an almond tree and rose bushes, as well as rosemary, lavender and other herbs and flowers. Beyond the garden is an orchard with fifteen apricot, cherry, and pear trees, surrounded on two sides by cypress trees and on the third by oleander and laurel. There is a 5 m. x 10 m. swimming pool at the far end of the property, separated from the orchard by a stone wall, with a covered area and pool-house for changing or getting out of the sun.
The village of le Paradou is our idea of the perfect village in Provence - too small to attract many tourists, but large enough to have the basic conveniences, and within a half hour of Avignon, Arles, Tarascon, les Baux-de-Provence, St.-Rémy-de-Provence, Fontvielle and Nîmes, and an hour of Marseille. In easy walking distance are a bakery, grocery store, and two restaurants, one of them the famous Bistrot du Paradou.
There are four bicycles in the house, and bicycling on the back roads of Provence is fabulous. Located in the heart of the Alpilles, there are unlimited possibilities for walking and exploring within minutes.
Life in Provence is generally slow-paced, relaxed and enjoyable. The village, the house and the garden smell wonderfully of lavender and herbs. It's hard to describe the pleasure of opening the big wooden doors to let in the morning sunlight, or of having lunch beneath the fig tree in front of the house.
A nap after lunch is more or less required. Almost every day there is a great open-air market in one of the nearby towns: Arles, Beaucaire, Fontvielle, Maussane-les-Alpilles, St.-Martin-de-Crau, St.Rémy-de-Provence, or Tarascon. Wonderful local wines and olive oil are easy to find, as are Provençal fabrics and antiques.