What many of you probably already know is that in addition to my job as a travel blogger and photographer, I also run an air bnb with my boyfriend, at the North Sea coast. For a long time I doubted whether I should write a blog post about our cozy air bnb AKA Maison Botanique in the heart of De Panne. But why not? A little self-promotion never killed nobody. Moreover, we are very proud of what we have achieved. So why not share this with you? In this blog post I take you to Maison Botanique, an authentic air bnb where you can stay in De Panne.
Maison Botanique is located on the ground floor of a beautiful Belle Époque villa ‘Les Lauriers’, in the Dumont district. This makes the air bnb ideally located in the heart of De Panne, barely 200 m from the North Sea beach and the shopping street.
Couples and families can experience the best of both worlds in this air bnb for 4 people. On the one hand an oasis of peace in a beautiful, authentic interior with a contemporary botanical touch. And on the other hand, the lively atmosphere with all the pleasures that a stay on the Belgian coast in De Panne has to offer.
Staying at Maison Botanique in De Panne is a true experience in itself.
How it all started?
The history of Les Lauriers AKA Maison Botanique
At the end of the 19th century, the large landowners of De Panne were open to more tourism. The construction of the Zeelaan was the first project of many. The architect A.Dumont was appointed to design a residential area, taking the undulating dune landscape into account.
This is how the famous Dumont district was created with its picturesque beach villas in typical cottage style. Les Lauriers was also one of these beautiful homes. The dune landscape ensured that this neighbourhood was characterized by narrow winding, hilly streets. All this contributes to the charming character of the Dumont district. Here you can really experience how the beau monde of yesteryear enjoyed their vacation on the Belgian coast.
More than 100 years later
More than 100 years later during the autumn holidays of 2019, Jan and I were on a trip to the Dutch coast. In the meantime, Jan had been working in Plospaland De Panne for 3 years, so he commuted 3 hours every day. He had asked me several times if I wanted to move to De Panne near the Belgian coast. To which I always answered with a resounding no. First of all, I didn’t want to leave Ghent and it would also mean that I’d have to drastically change my life by changing job, and so on…
Completely enchanted by spending some time near the Dutch North Sea, my vision started to change. I discovered the charm of the North Sea and was thinking that a little change in my life wouldn’t be so bad after all.
So I started to search for houses online. Les Lauriers, a beautiful belle époque villa in the Dumont district , immediately caught my eye. I told Jan that I wanted to move to De Panne on one condition, and that was that we would live in Les Lauriers. Jan took a breath, because Les Lauriers clearly needed a major makeover. But no sooner said than done, we went to visit Les Lauriers and it was love at first sight.
Since Les Lauriers was so big and I had to look for a new job, the idea of establishing an air bnb on the ground floor of the house emerged. An authentic air bnb where you can stay in the heart of De Panne. In short, a stay that is a travel experience in itself with a nod to the Belle Époque past, but with all modern comfort. From June 2020, Les Lauriers was officially ours. We immediately started the renovation works and in September 2021 the airbnb, Maison Botanique opened its doors.
Staying in De Panne. What can you expect from Maison Botanique?
Since Jan and I travel a lot ourselves and have therefore already stayed in countless accommodations, we were able to draw a lot of inspiration from our own travel experiences.
For example, we think it is super important that the stay should be an experience in itself. We like nothing more than when an accommodation tells us a little more about the culture, the history, the owners,… of the destination or the property. This also what we wanted to achieve with Maison Botanique.
The Belle Époque villa ‘Les Lauriers’, in which Maison Botanique is located, dates from around 1910. In this zeitgeist, the beau monde traveled to the Belgian coast in good weather and stayed in their villas between the dunes. When you walk through the historic Dumont district, it is as if you travel back to this period. Naturally, we wanted to bring this atmosphere back to Maison Botanique as much as possible. For the interior, we opted for second-hand furniture that we refurbished ourselves in combination with contemporary design. We also attached great importance to details such as lighting and decoration. We brought everything together in a harmonious whole where you can experience the cozy cottage atmosphere of yesteryear with, of course, all the comforts of today.
In addition to the interior, we also spent a lot of time integrating our personal touch into Maison Botanique. The name already gives it away a bit, because in the air bnb you can literally see our love for plants and flowers.
The personal touch
Besides a personal touch in the interior, we attach great importance to a personal approach. That is why we try to welcome our guests ourselves as much as possible and give them a short tour. For every guest there’s also a little welcome gift with local delicacies. In this way we want to ensure that our guests feel right at home and lower the threshold for contacting us with questions. But we also enjoy having a chat and getting to know our guests a little better.
With our personal approach, we want to show our guests that we are always ready to help them where we can and to give them an unforgettable stay.
Comfort and tranquility
In Maison Botanique relaxtion is key and the location of the air bnb is perfect for that. The air bnb is located in the charming Dumont district, which was established on a dune landscape. This resulted in a pleasant neighborhood with a maze of narrow streets with winding bends and gentle slopes, which also safeguards the peace and privacy of residents and guests. Even during the busy summer season, it generally remains quiet here. Since we live above the air bnb ourselves, we can say that the location is definitely one of the greatest assets.
Besides this peaceful environment, we also want to relieve our guests and offer them as much comfort as possible. That is why we provide some basic facilities such as sheets, towels, toilet paper, cleaning products, coffee and tea, baby cot and high chair, … so that you don’t have to take as much with you to experience a carefree vacation.
Since you can find all facilities in detail on the site, I would like to refer you to the website. Of course you can also find the availabilities there. If you have any questions, you can always reach me via the contact details on the website of Maison Botanique.
Curious about how others have experienced their stay? Then read some reviews here.
What can you do near Maison Botanique?
Enjoying the beach of De Panne
A day of water fun, a nice walk on the beach, sunbathing, creating sand castles, flying a kite,…? It’s all possible here!
De Panne is known for its vast and wide beach. You can walk along the coastline all the way to the French border and even further. The beach along the dike and close to the centre of De Panne, is a vibrant area. The colored beach cabins are located here during the summer months. It is also the place-to-be for practicing water sports and events. A bit more towards the French border where the dike gives way to dunes, it gets a bit more quiet and here you can enjoy a more relaxed vibe. This is also one of my favorite places in De Panne to admire beautiful sunsets with an occasional glass of wine or picnic.
Get into nature in De Panne
There is also much to experience in De Panne and the surrounding area for nature lovers. De Panne has some beautiful nature reserves where you can cycle and walk to your heart’s content. In the Duinpanne visitor center you can find more information about the local fauna and flora, but also about hiking and cycling trails. One of our favorite hiking trails is the Westhoek walking route through the nature reserve ‘De Westhoek’. The hiking trail is about 10 km long and during the hike you can enjoy the beautiful landscapes that De Panne has to offer, such as the Calmeynbos, the different types of dunes and the extensive coastline. In the spring you can spot many bluebells in the Calmeynbos.
Soak up culture in De Panne
Soaking up culture in De Panne is possible with a walk through the Dumont district. This cozy neighborhood, where Maison Botanique is also located, consists of a maze of picturesque streets and beautiful Belle Époque villas. Today you can still experience how wealthy families traveled to the sea in the early 1900s. From the Kykhill, the highest dune in De Panne, you have a beautiful view of the Dumont district. Here the fishermen’s wives used to stand on the lookout for the arriving ships of their husbands. In the summer you will find a beautiful poppy field on the flank of this dune.
Have a little fun in De Panne
Besides the beach, De Panne has numerous fun activities for both young and old, couples or families. The most famous attraction is of course the theme park Plopsaland with subtropical swimming pool Plopsaqua. Not far from there you can also find the Bowl Inn where you can enjoy a game of bowling. In the Pannebaaltje lake towards Koksijde, you can play a game of midget golf.
On Saturday morning there is a market on the market square and the streets around it. Here you can buy delicious fresh and local products. Do you like shopping? Then stay in and around the Zeelaan and Duinkerkelaan, because there you will find the nicest boutique with clothing and souvenirs, but also supermarkets such as Lidl, a Proxy Delhaize and Carrefour. There are also plenty of cozy bars and restaurants in that area.
Where can you find the best places to eat or drink near Maison Botanique?
Do you want to enjoy a nice breakfast or lunch during the weekend? Then go to Coco bar & food. In this small, but trendy establishment you can mainly taste small dishes with a wide range of vegan and gluten-free options. The spots are very popular, so don’t forget to book in time.
Another place where you can enjoy breakfast or lunch during weekends and holidays is Armalot by Julia. This beautiful business is also a bed & breakfast where you can spend the night.
For coffee and fashion, Alfons Clothes & Coffee is the place-to-be. In this trendy boutique you will find a super cozy sitting area where you can enjoy coffee or tea with a delicious pastry while choosing the nicest outfit.
Not near the coast, but in the city centre of De Panne you will find Petit Comité. In this small, but very cozy restaurant, food sharing is key. Here you can taste the most unique dishes and share them with your group. Petit Comité also has a charming roof top terrace where you can sit when the weather is good.
Are you looking for tasty local food in big portions? Then be sure to visit Brasserie Robinson where you can enjoy Belgian classics. One thing is certain. You definitely won’t leave here hungry.
Good food with a view of the North Sea? Then you definitely have to go to Imperial.. Here you can enjoy gastronomic dishes with a contemporary twist. Moreover, this is the perfect place for families, because the children can play to their heart’s content in their own kids area.
For tasty cocktails in a fun setting you have to be at L’oasis. In this cocktail bar you not only enjoy the most colorful cocktails, but also the themed decor. You immediately imagine yourself in tropical places.
I hope that with this blog post I can offer you inspiration on where to stay in an authentic air bnb in De Panne. Besides that I want to give you a little bit more insight into the mission and vision of Maison Botanique. Hopefully I can welcome you as a guest in our authentic air bnb in the near future.
Would you choose for a stay in Maison Botanique in De Panne? Let me know in the comments below
Thank you for reading.