Win a week in France


Artspace Gites is offering one lucky winner and their guest the prize of a week’s stay in the Maylis gite in the village of Fontaine-Daniel, France, complete with a welcome hamper including wine and other goodies on arrival. The prize can be taken any time before the end of 2021, except the Christmas and New Year period.

ArtSpace Gites and Artist Residencies were loving restored two years ago by author, crafter and videographer Ursula Benjamin. They are located in the heart of the historical village of Fontaine-Daniel in the Mayenne, a hidden gem in the Pays de la Loire region of France.

The Maylis gîte is perfect for couples. It also functions as an artist’s residence for professional artists who want to draw inspiration from this unique village. With a spectacular bathroom featuring a huge bath and underfloor heating, a comprehensive kitchen, an inviting queen-size bed and a spacious sitting room with a wood-burning stove ideal for chilly evenings, you will not want to go far!

The walls are lime-rendered or bare stone and are hung with original local artworks, the furniture is handcrafted or reclaimed, and there are plenty of books to read. The gite also showcases the historic Toiles de Mayenne fabric, which is manufactured in the village.

Everything you need for your stay is right here in the village. It has a bar, organic epicerie (often hosting concerts and other events), restaurant and bakery, and there are lovely walks nearby. The Toiles de Mayenne fabric shop is close, and here you will also find a history of the village on its walls. There is an ancient abbey, as well as other Cistercian buildings which are still in use.

The village itself was built as a social enterprise by the original owners of the Toiles de Mayenne factory and resembles the West Yorkshire model village of Saltaire in its atmosphere. It is a lively and vibrant village with substantial allotments, set in the heart of the forest of Bois-salair; there you will also find a small community of Serbian Orthodox nuns who make beautiful candles and tissanes.

There is a lot to discover in the region around Fontaine-Daniel. It is close to Chateau de la Motte, made famous by the TV series Escape to the Chateau. You will also find the Robert Tatin Museum with its amazing sculptures and paintings, and many beautiful walks and cycle paths. The medieval citadel of Ste Suzanne, the palaeolithic caves of Saulges, and the Roman village of Jublains meanwhile provide plenty to keep history lovers happy.

Ursula Benjamin is author of many books, most recently the historical novel, The Soul Midwife, which features Fontaine-Daniel. She is happy to take you on a private guided tour of the 800-year history of this village, and can recommend brocantes (flea markets) and local events which make your stay much more than a visit. She also organises art and craft workshops as well as visits to local artists’ studios. Art is at the heart of ArtSpace Gites, and she hopes to inspire you to your own artwork.

For more details on Artspace Gites, visit

To enter our prize draw, simply answer the question below by 24 April 2020.