Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 204: Provence Byways, La Petite Maison
1bed/1bath house in Lourmarin, Provence
May 2000, 2 weeks
We rented La Petite Maison for two weeks at the beginning of May 2000 from the owners, Joe (American) and Elisabeth (British) Deliso, who live in the village. The 17th-century house is very small, with a washer and dryer (they work perfectly!) on the ground floor under the entry/terrace. The first floor is a combination kitchen/sitting room, and the single bedroom and tiny bath is on the second floor.
Most of the furnishings are quite nice, and the house is clean and very comfortable, but not fancy. The kitchen was supplied with a two-burner hot plate, a toaster oven, drip coffeemaker, good-sized refrigerator and plenty of dishes. Not enough for elaborate meals, maybe, but enough for basic needs. The sitting area is comfortable for two. There was no telephone, and I don't remember a TV, although there may have been one in the bedroom. The bedroom was very pleasant, with a large comfortable bed, a good desk and chair, large collection of good books, lots of classical music on cassette, and what may be the world's smallest bathroom -- my husband couldn't stand upright except in the shower. A toilet that didn't function well unless it had plenty of time to think between flushings was my only complaint. Big windows with Provencal-style shutters let in plenty of light.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the house was its location at the top of the village in a tiny square facing the old Catholic Church. We were able to sit on the tiny terrace at the entry and watch village life go by. There are a few parking places in the square, but not as many as needed for the houses that surround it, so we parked at the edge of the village, a quick five-minute walk away. No place in the village was more than a few minutes away so one of our great pleasures was the walk to the boulangerie for freshly baked baguettes and pastries each morning.
Joe and Elisabeth told us the village can be unbearably crowded in July and August, but we never saw that during our two visits in April and May. The main square where all the sidewalk cafes are was quite busy on Sundays, but just comfortably lively during the week.
Joe and Elisabeth were great hosts and made sure everything was just right. They recently started renting a large renovated Provencal farmhouse on the edge of the village that looks beautiful as well: www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/index.cfm/property/3713.htm
About Lourmarin, ProvenceLourmarin, which is officially designated as one of the "most beautiful villages in France," really is. It has a fascinating Renaissance chateau, many beautiful old fountains, winding narrow streets, beautifully preserved old homes and a beautiful setting among vineyards and olive and fruit orchards. It is tiny, with only about 1000 residents, but it has two boulangeries, several really fantastic restaurants, sidewalk cafes, small stores and galleries and a wonderful street market on Friday mornings. It's centrally located for day trips to Arles, Avignon, Aix and all the small villages of the Luberon. It is about 50 km east of Avignon.
We first discovered Lourmarin at the www.provencebyways.com web site maintained by Bob and Sue Winn, who also own and rent out an apartment in the village. The Winns have published a small set of guidebooks with driving tours of the back roads in the region. If you're going, buy their guidebooks via their website, because the tours were really special and take you places that you'd be unlikely to ever find using the standard tourist guides.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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