, 59 Chemin du Stade, Aups, Provence.
Alegria means 'joy' or 'happiness' in Spanish and Portuguese. Here, it is not solely a word designed to conjure up expectations of one's stay in this charming Provençal guest house, but one reflecting the cheerful demeanour of owners Cindy and Dieter. Aups is in the heart of Provence, and the guest house is set amidst pretty olive groves, from which it produces its own oil. It offers 3 deluxe suites big enough for four, a junior suite with room for five, a the romantic Prestige Suite. Each suite has a private terrace with deck chairs, a small kitchen/dining area, a generous sofa corner with desk and iPod dock, and of course an en-suite bathroom with Italian-style shower and a separate WC. They are all decorated in a pretty contemporary style with bright splashes of colour.
The house is surrounded by various ample terraces and little spots in which to relax, some in the sun, some in the shade, including one with a hammock. In the warmth of Provence, the swimming pool is certainly a welcome feature, and it too is surrounded by a sunbathing terrace with lots of sun loungers. Guests can also enjoy the traditional French game of pétanque or sample the local specialities.
Try the various themed workshops: pottery, wine, truffle-hunting, jewellery-making.
The village of Aups is just half a kilometre away so this is perfect for an evening walk for dinner. The opportunities for sightseeing around the area are fabulous, taking in the numerous regional hot spots such as the awesome Verdon Gorge and the surreal turquoise blue waters of the Lake Sainte Croix.