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Review 210: Owner, Les Bastides du Prioura #1


Review by Shelley from WA

house in Menerbes, Luberon, Provence


Winter 2002, 3 months


This is the fourth review I am sending to Pauline. We are 2/3 of the way through our year in Europe. We have been here in Menerbes, for two months, January and February, 2002. We have another month to go, but we are expecting a flurry of guests so I thought I'd better get this written.

We are 4 km from the village of Menerbes, out in the countryside in Provence. It is very beautiful here, and we have seen and done so much! This area really has it all. There are numerous ancient stone villages, built on the tops of hills, and of the stone of which the hills are composed. These villages are utterly charming. They have narrow, cobbled streets which wind past tall, narrow houses with tall, narrow windows, all with bright shutters and lace curtains. We have loved exploring Menerbes and Gordes, Bonnieux and LaCoste-which has a chateau owned by the Marquis de Sade and destroyed during the French Revolution. These are but a few of the sweet little villages nearby.

The Romans have positively littered the landscape with ancient structures from the Pont du Gard, ampitheaters in Arles and Nimes, triumphal arches in St Remy de Provence and Cavaillon. There are natural wonders in abundance, from the mountains of the Luberon to the Fontaine de Vaucluse. There are also lots of great cities including Avignon, with its Palace of the Popes and the famous bridge, Marseilles, Orange - and more - grab a map! There is a ton to see here. Oh, and we are about an hour from the Mediterranean and the Cote d'Azur as well.

I'd like to begin with a rave about our landlady. We are completely at home here, due in no small part to her efforts. She speaks English pretty well, and her husband speaks Spanish, as does mine, so with my smattering of French, we have enjoyed some very multi-lingual conversations with them. Luckily, there were no grammarians nearby to shudder at our abuse of all these languages!

We are in the house of Jean-Marie's grandmother. It is a very old stone house, which has been renovated with all the modern conveniences. It is a modest house, but we are completely comfortable here. In fact, after Italy, we are finding this a haven of comfort. There are electric heaters in every room, good plumbing, a dishwasher, washer, and an ample supply of hot water (which we never encountered during three months in Italy!)

Downstairs there is a living room with couch, chair, coffee table, fireplace, dining table with six chairs, and a hutch with dishes, glassware and cutlery. There is a TV set with satellite, which receives several stations in English, as well as French and German stations in abundance. Next to the living room, the kitchen, with refrigerator, electric range, dishwasher, table and chairs. The stairway from the kitchen leads up to the bedroom. In the main bedroom there are two comfortable double beds, nightstands with reading lamps, an armoire and a stand for hanging clothes. Off this bedroom is another bedroom, with a double bed, a single bed and a crib, as well as a closet and shelving, and again reading lamps. Also off the main bedroom is the bathroom with shower, tub, toilet and sink.

There are windows in all the rooms, with lace curtains inside, shutters outside. Sometimes it gets very windy here, and then the shutters are a useful addition. The beds are all comfortable, and there were ample blankets provided. Linens can also be rented for a small fee.

We were here during the winter and though we did have some very cold days, in general it was very sunny, and usually mild. There is a fenced yard in front of the house, with a clothesline and tables and chairs. We sat outside and had lunch in February, it was so warm, and watched the little lizards scurry across the front of the house. There is also a garage provided, and across the street, there is a swimming pool for guests during the summer. Hmmm? I said 'street'. Let me explain. This house is set on a tiny lane between two vineyards. There are maybe six houses on this lane, so a few steps across to the pool is nothing at all. At the end of the street, there are dirt roads leading up into the hills, and off to nearby villages, so there is no end to the wonderful rambles right outside your door.

If you visit the Morello's website, you will see that they have several houses and apartments to rent. One is next door to this one, and it is very nice. It also has two bedrooms, but has been more modernized than the one we are in. During the summer, the two houses share the pool.

The Morello's are farmers. They grow grapes, cherries and olives, and if you are lucky, Roselyne may share some of her confits with you. We cannot recommend them or this house highly enough. Our landlords are wonderful, the house is comfortable, there are a million things to do and see, even though we are here during the off season, when many of the really touristy attractions are closed. We really are in heaven!

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

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