Maison de L’amitie – click any image for full size
I first visited Maison de L’amitie a year ago in April 2016. For reasons that escape me, I never actually blogged about it. So a suggestion from Shakespeare that Caitlyn and I should head on over came as a timely reminder.
As I recall (with the aid of photos taken at the time), a year ago Maison de L’amitie presented a rural scene with windmills, vines and lots of green. A year on and the region – designed by Corina Wonder with help from Lan Erin – now presents a seafront environment which, although surrounded on all four sides by water, suggests that the land should actually continue to the south-east, where it otherwise falls sharply into the sea.
It is a place evocative of sea-side vacation destinations; much of the region is given over to water to form a natural bay which reflects a golden-hued sky. Sand bars to the south and west protect the bay on two sides. These form two broad, low beaches, the one to the south adjoining a sharp upthrust of land against which a little village sits. Running before this, and separating it from a sandy waterfront, is a wide road overlooking a line of rowing boats moored just off-shore, watched over by cormorants, gulls and a pelican.
The little hamlet – has a decidedly Mediterranean look to it: whitewashed walls fading from the effects of the sun and air doubtless heavy with sea-salt, sitting under red-tiled roofs. The houses and villa occupy a set of terraces stepping up the hill, a broad stone stairway dissecting them. On the lowest tier, at the roadside, sits a cosy-looking villa hotel. above and behind it are more houses – perhaps chalet-style accommodation for the guest of the hotel. The uppermost terrace is the home of a small chapel and the remnants of other buildings, their broken walls adding a certain charm to the island while suggesting a history lies here awaiting discovery.
Down on the waterfront, the road crosses the water via the triple arches of a sturdy stone bridge to arrive at a grand château. Sitting amidst tidy lawns with trim yew bushes on parade either side of the wide footpath lading up to it, the château appears to have been converted into a ballet school, and offers a commanding view out over the bay from this windows and from its well-tended lawns.
And out on the bay, boats lie at anchor, two single-masted sailing boats, a motor-cruiser, a fishing boats and – a commanding presence among all of them – a three-masted corvette. This sits with sails furled, far enough out to suggest it is standing guard over the bay and the little hamlet. Another protector can be found at the end of the western sand bar, looking out towards the corvette, warding boats away from the risk of running aground.
Maison de L’amitie is a place for meandering, unhurried exploration. The beaches offer space to walk on golden sand, coupled with little snuggle points on or under old rowing boats or on blankets just above the edge of the tide. A little book store between beach and village presents a place for browsing, while a short walk beyond it and around the headland, the broken finger of an old lighthouse lies forlornly at the foot of the hill against which the village has been built. Elsewhere lies a chance to see inside the workshop of a craftsman who makes surf boards, and everywhere are opportunities for photographs.
For those who wish to rez props for use with photos, a land group is available to join – either accept via the greeter at the landing point or step into the reception at the hotel, where you can touch the visitor counter up on the gallery overlooking the reception desk, and join the group. Should you enjoy your visit, please consider a donation towards the continued upkeep of the region for others to enjoy.
- Maison de L’amitie (Orchid, rated: Moderate)