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St. Saturnin-Les-Apt: B&B Le Mas Perreal

Quartier La Fortune

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Reviewed by: Jane from USA, review #2690

When: July 2009

Les Mas Perreal is a wonderfully lovely B and B. Kevin and Elizabeth have created a perfect retreat for travelers. Couldn't ask for more...maybe more nights :-)

Melon Soup, photo by Jane Parker

Le Mas Perreal is a jewel situated in a beautiful open country plain amid vineyards and fruit trees. The owners, Kevin and Elizabeth, have transformed a forsaken farmhouse into a luxurious B and B with colorful, well-furnished, comfortable bedrooms and baths, a large pool, a delightful outdoor breakfast area a common lounge and beautiful open views. The location is private and quiet--a place to relax, contemplate and enjoy life.

We had the triple room which was perfect for us - a couple and an 11 year old boy. There was a separate small room rather than all of us sleeping in the same room. Nice!

Breakfasts are superb, each day offering different treats and delicacies. Some of the offerings were: melon soup served in the carved melon shell, wonderful quiches, apricot pancakes quite different from ordinary fruit pancakes, omelets, pastries, breads, yogurts and fruit. Of course, including coffee and juices. All of this is prepared each morning by Kevin and Elizabeth.

The pool is delightful to return to after a day exploring lavender fields, hill top villages, Roman ruins, markets, natural rock formations and wonderful hiking areas.

Kevin will spend as much time as you need providing ideas of what there is to do, roads to take, places to see and where to find good food. He might even take you out to survey lavender fields.

We will always treasure the memory of our much too short time at this delightful retreat.

One caveat: Le Mas Perreal fills quickly with many reservations made a year in advance. So plan early -but, if not, it's always worth a try if you are late in making plans - you may be lucky. It worked for us.

Reviewed by: Doru from Canada, review #1652

When: September 2006

Le Mas Perréal is a wonderful place to relax and use as a base to explore the beautiful region of Luberon, Provence.

View from the terrace of Le Mas Perréal: St. Saturnin-les-Apt, photo by Doru

Location: Le Mas Perréal is a Bed & Breakfast in situated in the Northern Luberon. While the area is rural, and Le Mas Perréal is surrounded by vineyards and orchards, it is located just outside the charming little town of St. Saturnin-lès-Apt and very close to Apt, a somewhat larger town. This is a beautiful area, with high accessibility to all main Luberon points of interest.

Nearby Amenities: Le Mas Perréal is quite self-contained, but being a B&B facility guests have to consider how to resolve matters such as lunch and dinner.

St. Saturnin-lès-Apt is a couple of minutes drive away from the B&B. At the entrance to the town there is a free public parking lot. More parking is available in Place Gambetta, which is about 100 m. away from the first public parking area. In most cases, the parking in Place Gambetta was already taken, so we became used to parking at the entrance to the town. One can try parking on the main street. However, the problem will be coming back into town since, at about half way up the hill, the arcade of the church tower will allow only a small car to pass.

In Place Gambetta one finds a small but well-supplied supermarché and a boulanger-patissier. About 20-30 m. up the hill from there is another boulanger-patissier and a charcutier. The supermarché and the charcutier also stock small but adequate wine selections. A café pizzeria is located just a few steps from the public parking, and Hotel des Voyageurs’ restaurant in Place Gambetta is an intimate and wonderful gourmet heaven.

For those willing to drive farther, the region is gourmet country, and Kevin Widrow, the B&B owner, will be only too happy to encourage exploration and make suggestions. But one of the more unusual such destinations is only within a few minutes walk from Le Mas Perréal. It is called Domaine des Andéols, which is part of the Country Inns chain of Alain Ducasse. As befits an Alain Ducasse property, the Domaine des Andéols features a rather pricey restaurant. We just looked.

Le Mas Perréal provides for its guests means to prepare coffee or tea outside the hours of the luxurious included breakfast, and there is a fridge for guests where perishables can be stored.

The Farm and the rooms: The building was restored by the owners and retains all the exterior charm and characteristics of a farmhouse, while providing ample space and comfort inside. The owners retained original features of the farm house, including such as the heavy beams, the “undulated” walls, etc. There are 5 units (rooms) in all, three at the lower level and two at the second level. The latter are easily accessible with comfortable stairs. We had one of the higher units, designated as “Chambre sur le Toit” (Room on the Roof) and it had in fact 1 ½ rooms, part of the second room being dedicated to the bathroom facilities. This unit would be also recommended for couples with children, or for three adults.

Every evening the owners will set the beds and bring carafes with fresh water with lemon, a nice touch to close the day.

Heavy shutters provide the last point for a restful night, after a day of adventures. One sleeps well at Le Mas Perréal, for the heavy walls provide great insulation. And if you don’t get up real early for a jog or run or a trip to a farther location, sleeping-in will provide just the right mood for the amazing breakfast which will wait for you starting at 9 a.m. More on the breakfast later.

Terraces and garden: From “Chambre sur le Toit” we had in fact access to two terraces: the small private terrace and another terrace at the top of the stairs leading to the room. The first provides a view towards the open fields, vineyards and orchards, while the second opens to the vista of the Perréal hill and of St. Saturnin-lés-Apt. The latter in particular, at sundown, with the little town climbing up the hill, with the church and its steeple about halfway up and the château towards the hilltop, is an unforgettable view, one I have enjoyed every single afternoon, and I still carry in my mind.

Le Mas Perréal also places at its guests’ disposal a common room, with comfortable sofa, chairs, and a game table and chairs. An ample travel library, maps, etc., will provide suggestions for trips in the region.

Breakfast, depending on the weather, is served either in the large farm kitchen and dining room, or on the charming terrace just outside the dining room.

There is a swimming pool which in the summer must be a very popular place, with comfortable chaise-lounges for rest and recreation.

Cleanliness/Living Areas: Everything worked, everything was clean. I was particularly delighted with the good lighting, a bit of a rarity in Europe apartments and hotels.

Bedrooms/Bathroom/Furnishings: The bed in the main room was very large, not quite sure whether a queen or king size, and had plenty of storage space in an armoire and a large commode. A table and chairs completed the furnishings of this room. From the main bedroom a door opens to a small private terrace equipped with a table and a couple of folding chairs. This terrace is situated just above the lower roof of the farmhouse; a picturesque place to read a book, write some travel notes, have a glass of wine, or a snack, or both, while looking over the beautiful view which opens from this high point.

The ½ room features a comfortable bed and a writing desk and chair which provide additional room for writing, and storage of smaller items. In this room there is also a bookshelf loaded with available books.

The beds were comfortable and the rooms were spacious and full of daylight. The bathroom featured a huge shower. Although the floor of the shower is “non-slip” it would be a good idea to add a non-slip mat.

Breakfast: Since this is a Bed & Breakfast, let me talk about the breakfast. Le Mas Perréal’s website mentions the gourmet breakfast but one has to actually be the fortunate guest to entirely appreciate the generosity of the breakfast, with fresh croissants, and fine rolls and choices of bread, delicious danishes and a variety of other pastries, cheeses, jams, honey, maple syrup, butter, coffee, tea, etc. But the pièce de résistance and the surprise at each breakfast (and we were spoiled with seven of these, lucky us) is the daily “special”, prepared with loving care by Elisabeth and Kevin, based on their own or regional recipes.

Instead of descriptions, I will detail the “specials” for one week (well, for the last day we were in a hurry as we had to return the rented car an hour away, in Avignon, and I forgot to write it down, although I did not leave anything unfinished in my plate ... ): - Crêpes à la façon d’Elisabeth; - English Breakfast à la Provençale ; - Matefaims (hunger-killers, in Provençal) aux pommes rissolées ; - Quiche aux chèvre et poivrons ; - Omelette aux cèpes ; - Gaufres.

No space here for more details; you’ll just have to go there and taste.

One more note: my wife suffers of lactose intolerance. Kevin always made sure that she had the right brand of milk and that were sufficient choices for her on the loaded table of goodies.

The booking, the owners, and the region: Kevin replied promptly to an initial request, in fact even suggested the “Chambre sur le Toit” as the most adequate for our requirements (and was right), provided instruction and suggestions, indicated what maps would be adequate for the region, and also suggested to stay for a longer period in Aix-en-Provence than we had originally planned and made us converts to charms of Aix-en-Provence.

When we missed the access road to the B&B, Kevin came and picked us up somewhere between the B&B and St. Saturnin-lès-Apt. When I was reluctant to drive at night to and in particular from Cheval Blanc where we were meeting Slow Travelers for a get-together, Kevin drove with us and another couple of guests.

He gave us for the duration the instructive “Provence Byways,” a guidebook to the Luberon region, written by Bob and Sue Winn (Provence Byways, bobnsue@mcn.org). The authors of this very instructive guide were also guests of Le Mas Perréal when they updated the guide.

In short, Elisabeth and Kevin are totally warm and charming hosts, whom one befriends from first sight.

Things to do in this area: As mentioned above, the best reference guide to the region is “Provence Byways” by Bob and Sue Winn. I will just say that there are numerous options for day trips with less than an hour drive from Le Mas Perréal: Apt, Bonnieux, Lacoste, Lourmarin, Ménerbe, Gordes, Roussillon, Ansouis, Cadenet, Isle-sur-La-Sorgue, just to scratch the surface. Avignon is within less than one hour's drive, Aix-en-Provence, Cassis, Arles, St-Rémy within 90 minutes.

In St. Saturnin-lès-Apt not to be missed is the restaurant of the Hotel Des Voyageurs. There are also endless choices of lunch and dinner options in the region.

Recommendation: We recommend this vacation B&B without hesitation. I would go back tomorrow.

Reviewed by: Chris from CA, review #1251

When: October 2005

A wonderful B&B nestled among the vineyards and orchards of Provence.

Le Mas Perreal, photo by

I liked everything about Le Mas Perreal!

Le Mas Perreal is out in the countryside, among the vineyards and cherry orchards, close to St. Saturnin Les Apt on the hillside above. It's quiet, peaceful and seems completely away from the world, yet it's only a few minutes away from Apt and a great central location for visiting Provence.

The house has a comfortable sitting area indoors shared by the five B&B rooms as well as lots of seating outside in the garden and around the pool. Breakfast is served around a big table in a Provençal kitchen so beautiful it took my breath away.

The rooms are spacious and beautiful, decorated with colorful Provençal fabrics and tiles. Our bed was comfortable, with good reading lights, and the bath was great, with a big walk-in shower, a dressing table with plenty of room for our things, and good lighting. There was a shelf of interesting reading materials, and evening turndown included not only a piece of candy but a much-appreciated pitcher of fresh water with lemon.

Breakfast was wonderful the morning we were there, starting with a yummy dish of pureed pears with fresh goat cheese, followed by a wonderful vegetable quiche and lots of fresh pastries, coffee and tea. We were there on a cool autumn morning, but I think breakfast is served on the terrace in warmer weather.

Our hosts, Kevin (American) and Elisabeth (French) Widrow, were terrific, and very helpful with restaurant suggestions and other information.

The price was a very reasonable €110 (off season).

Reviewed by: Iris UK from England, review #1057

When: June 2005

An excellent central location for visiting Provence. The accommodation, food and the owners Elisabeth and Kevin combine to ensure a memorable stay.

Le Mas Perreal is situated amongst fields of vines and cherry trees - ripe and free to pick in June! Photographs of the individual rooms each sporting queen sized beds and walk in showers and swimming pool are shown on the excellent website. What isn't shown is the convivial atmosphere of the courtyard and the kitchen where breakfast is taken according to the weather. And what a breakfast! Fresh baked savoury and sweet croissants, a freshly baked variety of bread, home made jam and locally produced honey, a fresh fruit course and a hot course - different each day - we had crepes, quiche, omelette and scrambled eggs.

Elisabeth and Kevin know the area and their recommendations for places to go and places to eat meant that our holiday was just what we wanted.

There are several restuarants within a short driving distance; in St Saturnin les Apt there are two excellent restuarants "L'Amuse Bouche" which serves the most amazing set menu of 8 courses (not to be missed) and "Hotel des Voyageurs" which offers a range of options. Slightly further afield in Bonnieux is "Le Tinel Restaurant" which has a terrace and an indoor eating area both with views across the region to (hopefully) a spectacular sunset!

The overnight stay I think was about 125 euros (high season rate) and evening meals were about 60 euros for two of us.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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