Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 2240: Owner, La Sautaire (#9578)
4bed/3.5bath house near La Tour d'Aigues/Grambois, Provence
July 2006, 1 week
La Sautaire is in the countryside, a five minute drive from the perched village of Grambois, 10 minutes from the larger town of La Tour d'Aigues, and about half an hour north of Aix en Provence. There were other houses on the road leading to the house, including one right next door. We could hear our neighbors from time to time, but La Sautaire's property is so large, and without neighbors in the other directions, that it felt perfectly private.
Grambois was a 30-40 minute walk away, with a bakery and bar/cafe. Otherwise, you needed to drive. La Tour d'Aigues had bakeries, boulangeries, etc., and there were also two enormous supermarkets within a 10 - 15 minute drive.
A beautifully restored farmhouse, and one of the most comfortable we've ever rented. The ground floor had a large kitchen with an arch through to the living room, a half bath, and a den/library. There was also a pantry off the kitchen, with washing machine, shelf space, and an extra shower. Upstairs were four very comfortable bedrooms -- three with double beds and one twin bedded. Two of the doubles had attached baths, and the other two shared a shower room and WC. The master bedroom had a beatiful large arched window with views over the vineyards out to Mont St. Victoire. Also on the second floor was a large salon with desk, tv, and three single beds/divans.
Beautiful outdoor spaces. The living room/kitchen had three sets of french doors, two of which led to a stone patio with teak table seating eight. The view from the patio was of vineyards and Mont St. Victoire. The house was surrounded by lovely little spaces and seating -- teak chairs and a bench in a gravel courtyard to the side of the house, another bench overlooking the vineyards, and yet another little garden near a gravel boules/volley ball court with a small cafe table and chairs. Mature landscaping -- lots of lavender, roses, day lilies, butterfly bushes, a bamboo hedge separating the property from the neighbors, as well as a lovely green lawn, which is a nice respite for the eyes in the dry summer landscape. The pool was set away from the house a bit, reached by a gravelled path flanked with lavender. Equally lovely, set in a wooden deck, with an automatic cover and a pool cleaning robot, and the same vineyard/Mt St Victoire view.
Everything was in excellent shape, and spotless. Plenty of comfortable seating in the living room, as well as a sofa in the den and the sofas/divans upstairs. Large dining table in the kitchen, which we used only once when a summer storm came through.
Best beds we slept in during our five week trip. Good pillows, sheets, and towels. Bathrooms were attractive, clean, and plentiful.
Great kitchen with gourmet stove -- gas cooktop and two electric ovens -- marble countertops, pretty cabinets. Lots of pots and pans, small appliances, plenty of dishware and glasses. There was also an outside barbecue. We cooked full meals with ease.
Problems or Bonuses
Everything met our expectations and then some. Although we knew the square footage of the house (3000 sq ft), we were surprised by just how spacious it was, inside and out. The number of separate living spaces (again indoors and out) makes this a great house for friends/family to share without feeling crowded. The owners have thought about many details, both in terms of furnishings and supplies and in terms of their sensitive but very practical renovation of the house. Too many extras to mention, the least of which are an ample supply of soap, toilet paper, etc., lots of books and information about the surrounding area, CD player in den and in master bedroom. Lots of windows and french doors to let light in, with well constructed and secured shutters to keep things cool when necessary. We would recommend to friends in a heart beat.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owners, Jenny and Brian, were extremely helpful and responsive. Jenny handled the reservation process, answers and information were prompt and freely given, and after we had booked, she dropped me an email about a Cezanne exhibit scheduled for Aix for which I promptly bought tickets over the internet. Their onsite representative, Sophie, met us at the house and showed us around. Her English was good. The only issue we had during our stay was a power outage on our last night; we called Sophie, and it turned out that the Sweeneys were actually in Grambois and they were at the house in minutes to help out.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Absolutely. No qualifications.
Things to do in this area
We had friends and relatives in the area, and so didn't do as much sight seeing as we otherwise would have. Spent a day in Aix; the Deux Garcons, though well touristed, was just the ticket for people watching and good though overpriced food. Had a delicious meal at L'Antiquaire in Lourmarin, and a very good one (different atmosphere -- quiet country inn)at Le Cheval Blanc in Bastide des Jourdans. There's a terrific market in Lourmarin on Fridays. A little further away and off the beaten track of Provencal activites, we kayaked on the Durance river, and spent an afternoon at the lovely Gorges de Meouges, which has beautiful natural waterfalls, rock slides, swimming holes. The stretch of Durance we kayaked and the Meouges are both near Sisteron, about an hour away. Great activities if you're looking for something to do with kids.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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