Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 194: Doorways, Dans le Vent
house that sleeps 6 on French Riviera, Provence
End of June, 2000
An airline strike. A 7-hour van ride. Two hours to rent a car. All this was the prelude to an absolutely wonderful week at one of the most beautiful vacation homes we’ve ever stayed in: Dans le Vent in La Napoule on the French Riviera.
We booked our trip through Doorways, Ltd., a gem of a travel agency in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in villa, home and apartment rentals throughout France, Spain and Italy. We’ve booked rentals in France and Italy through Doorways on many occasions and they’ve never disappointed us. What’s really special about Doorways is that staff members actually stay in every property they showcase.
At the end of June in 2000, after spending one week at another of Doorways’ properties in the Chianti region of Italy – it was a beautiful and spacious three-bedroom apartment on a private estate with olive groves and a stunning pool – Doorways had scheduled us to fly from Florence to Nice where we planned to spend the next relaxing week on the French Riviera. We were booked on Air Littoral (a French regional air line).
As so often happens in Europe, Air Littoral went on strike the day we arrived at the airport. They were very accommodating and completely understood our plight. Their solution was to transport us – and 8 other passengers - to Nice by van. Luckily I was able to call the owner of the house and inform her that we’d be arriving much later than originally anticipated. That was an understatement.
Departing on a Saturday at 10:00 a.m., and at the start of the peak travel season for Italians, it seemed as if everyone in Italy was heading to the coast. We sat in traffic, inched along, sat again, finally arriving at the airport in Nice after 7 long, agonizing hours.
We finally got our rental car (that’s another story) and headed toward Cannes. The map we had received wasn’t the greatest so we found ourselves driving around and around looking for street signs and landmarks. At 9:30 p.m. (remember, we started at 10:00 a.m. that morning), three weary travelers arrived at their final destination. WOW! WOW! And double WOW! Dans le Vent was spectacular. It’s a huge home that sits on top of a hill and looks down on the spectacular Cote d’Azur.
The owner was waiting for us when we arrived, gave us a brief introduction to the house and the grounds, explained how to get to the supermarket and then bid us a fond adieu.
On Sunday morning, since we hadn’t had a chance to buy food, I decided to take the car to find breakfast for us – my wife, daughter and myself. La Napoule, just down the hill from Dans le Vent, is a lovely village with, among other stores, several Patisseries (bakeries). I was able to purchase the freshest baguettes, the most delicious croissants and to-die-for brioche. But the best part was enjoying our breakfast – and the view -- from the terrace of Dans le Vent.
Two sets of sliding glass doors in the spacious living room open onto a HUGE terrace that provided us with unobstructed views down below of the beautiful French coast and the blue-green Mediterranean.
Besides the living room, Dans le Vent has a huge dining room, a large kitchen, plus three bedrooms upstairs, one with a huge balcony that also looks out on the sea.
Each morning, I eagerly repeated the trip for breakfast. And, since Cannes is only about 10 minutes away, we soon found ourselves driving to the beach after breakfast where we’d spend 2-3 hours swimming and soaking up the sun. Then, following our ritual nap each afternoon, we drove into Cannes for sightseeing along the famed Croisette (seaside walk) and dinner.
We discovered the old section of Cannes, with its winding walkways, excellent restaurants and many shops. We went back to this area several times during our stay. We usually ate lunch at the beach and had our dinners in Cannes. Parking wasn’t always easy, but we managed to find spots, even if we had to walk several blocks.
We also spent many hours just reading and relaxing at Dans le Vent. It’s the perfect venue for this. The weather was sunny and warm, as you’d expect on the Riviera. The house was spacious and comfortable, providing everything we could have wanted. Despite the rocky start, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay on the Cote d’Azur and plan to return very soon.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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