Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 2048: La Cordiere, Studio Apartment
Studio in Lourmarin, Provence
April 2006, 1 week
La Cordiere is located in the beautiful village of Lourmarin. It's a B&B, offering three rooms, and a studio apartment, which is where we stayed. The main entry to the B&B is next to a lovely old fountain, on the main street of the town; the studio has a private entrance off a small side street, and also has a separate entry into the main house. We couldn't find any part of town that wasn't charming and inviting. We parked on the street, although the owners will provide a garage spot if requested (small fee involved). We never had a problem with parking (in April), and always felt safe in the town.
Lourmarin is a very small village. Just a skip down the main street from La Cordiere is the boulangerie, the tabac, a grocery store, two sidewalk cafes, all in the heart of town. There are numerous (easily a dozen) restaurants in town, and a couple salons du the.
La Cordiere was built in the late 1500s, and is completely renovated. The studio was very quaint, with exposed wood beam ceilings, and very quiet; from the street entry, you went up two steps to the main living area, which included a bed, sofa, hutch for clothes, table and two chairs. Off to one side was the kitchen, and off to the other side was the bathroom. A large hearth housed a television and radio/cd/tape player. The pictures on the website adequately depict the studio.
You enter the main house through a vaulted entry from the street, into an incredibly lovely inner courtyard, where there is a seating area where you may relax, or climb the steps to a lovely patio overlooking the courtyard. This is a common area for all guests. This is really a beautiful space. There is no pool.
The studio was furnished simply but very lovely, with scattered antiques. The sofa (which is also a sofabed) was fairly hard and not very comfortable. Everything was clean and well-kept, with very nice decorative, provencal touches - like tablecloths, old bedside tables, wall hangings and pictures, lamps. There was adequate lighting.
The bed was a king, and was very comfortable. The pillows were not - they were more like throw pillows covered with pillow cases - nice pillowcases, but not nice pillows. There were ample blankets. The linens were soft. There was a nighttable and lamp on each side of the bed.
The bathroom was large. Nicely decorated, too. Heated towel rack. Blowdryer. Tiled counter space around the sink. The shower, inside an old clawfoot bathtub, had an overhead rain shower head, and a handheld showerhead attachment. The handheld broke after the first day we were there - just fell off! The shower curtain seemed 'jimmy-rigged' to fit the size of the tub, and you had to fight with it every morning when taking your shower just to keep it closed so the shower water wouldn't wet the whole bathroom, which it still did anyway despite your very best efforts.
The kitchen was very pretty - tiled countertops with room to prepare, large sink and drainage area. Nice knick/knacks. Stove and microwave oven. Small under-the-counter refrigerator that we had to turn off every night due to noise factor. Silverware and dishes provided, all very nice and in good shape. Pots and pans and utensils were more than adequate. Dishwashing soap/sponge-dish towels were provided. There was also a table for two with two chairs. The under-counter rolling storage cabinet seemed to have been bought from the French equivalent of K-mart, drawers difficult to pull open and close.
Problems or Bonuses
The biggest surprise was the hot water, or lack thereof. Every morning there was plenty, but by late afternoon and evening, NO HOT WATER. We've never been at an establishment where this has happened.
Also, on the website, the studio was advertised as having a dishwasher and a washing machine, neither of which was there.
Another surprise to us was that there wasn't even a bar of soap in the bathroom - the evening we arrived, we walked to the grocery and bought some, in addition to sugar and napkins.
The owners did give us a change of towels once, after the second night.
The television got little to poor reception; the radio did not work.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
I had contacted the owner from her website, and it was easy doing business with her. Her English was excellent, her correspondences were prompt and she answered all my questions honestly. The price of the studio was 450 euros for the week, with a security deposit of $150 that was returned to us at the end of our stay. The owner greeted us when we arrived, and gave us a complimentary breakfast our first morning. They were very hospitable.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
The studio at La Cordiere gets high marks on curb appeal and old charm, but I would not stay there again, nor would I recommend it, unless you don't mind having no hot water after the morning. The owners were not truthful in their advertising of the studio, in reference to the dishwasher and the washing machine, and also the TV for that matter. I also think it would have been hospitable to provide a bar of soap, or some sugar in the kitchen. We never talked to them about our issues; we still very much enjoyed our stay, and were not interested in getting confrontative.
Things to do in this area
Lourmarin is a great town to explore, and very easy to walk, as it is not a hilltop village. The town is very old, and very alive. Catch a peek into any old home and you'll find a completely inviting and updated interior living space. The back streets twist and turn, with all kinds of interesting shops, galleries, and homes. The town is small and intimate. By the end of the week, shopkeepers and local residents began to recognize and greet us, and we them. There are many beautiful fountains and statues throughout the village to admire; its ancient churches; the cemetary, where Albert Camus is buried; and the medieval Lourmarin chateau, from the 16th century. The boulangerie on the main street is excellent, and make sure you try their gibassier - the olive oil cookie - a provencal specialty.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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