Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 2407: Gîtes de France, Les Sablas
3bed/2bath house in Bedoin, Provence
Sept. 2006 (and 2001 and 2003), 1 month
Les Sablas is a three-bedroom house with pool, located approximately 1 km outside of the lively village of Bedoin, at the foot of Mont Ventoux in the Haut Vaucluse. We have rented this house three times – 2001, 2003, and 2006 – for a total of 10 weeks. It is certainly time for us to contribute a review, as we know it well and have obviously enjoyed it.
The house was originally a tiny stone farm building, built into a hill. It was expanded in traditional Provencal style, and is probably about 10 years old. The road into town is a very nice walk.
This a great area, one that we feel offers the best that Provence has to offer. You could take a different day trip everyday for weeks, and never run out of attractive options. Within 20 to 30 minutes in either direction are- Vaison-la-Romaine, the Dentelles wine villages, Chateauneuf de Pape & Orange, & Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. The drive is always lovely as it is mountainous. There are many small villages in the area which are unsung, and well worth exploring. The house is surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, with a very few distant neighbors.
We recently had guests here and they thought that the best part of their experience in Provence was just hanging around this house and reveling in its charms and slow paced comforts on perfect sunny days. Bedoin is a fabulous little town, not a bit sleepy. We walked into town every morning for coffee and errands; it took about 10 minutes, half of it on a very quiet road. The usual amazing plane trees line its main streets, full of shops and outdoor cafes and restaurants. The Monday outdoor market, which attracts hundreds of people each week, is outstanding. Bedoin is crawling daily with cyclists and motor enthusiasts because of Mont Ventoux. It is a thriving place and it is easy to become part of the scene. You can easily drive to a pristine hill town, but we find Bedoin much more fun for daily living.
We noticed this year that the house is just a little more run down. Not in an “Oh no! I can’t stay here!” way. But still it needs a little paint, a little plaster work. This did not bother us, but if you are looking for immaculate perfection, this would be an issue. If you are looking for a friendly, welcoming, embracing reception, look elsewhere. Evelyne, who owns the house, is business-like and polite, but busy. Her assistants Francoise and her husband Jean Claude, who we dealt with most recently, are very nice, but speak very limited English.
In 2003, we brought our laptop and were able to use it here, with a phone card and the phone line. We brought the laptop again, but alas, there was no phone line. I guess they count on guests using cell phones. You can go to an internet business in Malaucene or Vaison-la-Romaine, and use your computer there, if you like.
You can view the house directly here: Les Sable
The house looks, inside and out, better than the photos on either website. The pool is a wonderful feature. It is full sized, clean and well maintained with a little pool robot. Though we didn’t need it, there is a pool alarm, for those with small children. The pool furniture is a little dilapidated, but all in all, it’s a real luxury to have such a nice pool for private use. From the pool area you could see Mont Ventoux, till some shrubbery got a little too large. There are some nice landscape plants around it – lavender, some leggy roses, some Russian sage, and much more. There are fresh herbs for cooking.
The yard is large, complete with gates that can be locked, should you choose. We never do. The area between the pool and the house is equipped with a couple of tables (one of which should be covered or replaced), and plenty of chairs. It is covered with small gravel, perfect for keeping feet clean. It is also perfect for petanque. In 2003, we bought two sets of steel boules, and they are still here, ready for a game. There are two pergolas for shade if the plants are thriving, and a large plum tree which is perfect for sheltering a table. Very pleasant!
The house was originally a tiny stone farm building, built into a hill. It was expanded in traditional Provencal style, and is probably about 10 years old. The road into town is a very nice walk. The house is surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, with a very few distant neighbors.
It is tastefully decorated. There are some good quality Provencal cottons, some appealing white-washed rustic furniture and some antiques. Its only major flaw is that there is nowhere comfortable to sit, not even for the two of us. The living room furniture is all pretty uncomfortable, particularly the blue sofa, which is too low and offers no support. The daybed in the living room is charming, but is best for reclining and worthless for sitting. This house could really use a comfy sofa or a couple of decent chairs.
There is also very poor lighting in the living room. When we stayed here in June, we were rarely inside the house, and didn’t really notice. The outdoor areas are so delightful to sit in. During our September stay, we stayed inside more and we noticed the inadequate comfort there.
There are plenty of windows for ventilation, and wonderful functional shutters for climate control and security. The house comes equipped with some plastic “en vrec” containers for buying wine at the local cooperatives. They can be filled cheaply with a hose – fabulous! The washing machine is handy, but there is no dryer. This is not a problem in this dry breezy climate as there is a drying rack and clothesline. There is an iron and ironing board as well. The stairs are a bit steep, fine for most people, but for the less able, a handrail would have been helpful.
The upstairs is great. The beds are comfortable. The largest bedroom is very large, attractive and comfortable, with two twin beds pushed together to make a king. The other two bedrooms have twin beds. So it sleeps six upstairs. There is plenty of closet space in the rooms, and shelves & tables aplenty. The upstairs floors look to be Pergo floors and they give it a good clean look. Like most rentals, there are quite a few books, left by various guests over the years. The upstairs bathroom is small, but fine, with a shower stall. The downstairs has a very large bathroom with bathtub and hand-held shower.
The kitchen is small but efficient and well-equipped with utensils and plates and all. It was attractive and we didn't want for anything. The dining room was a great place to eat, seating six easily and eight in a pinch. It's the hub of the house.
Problems or Bonuses
In summary, the only serious downside is interior comfort on the first level. We feel that nonetheless it is an outstanding value with many pluses. And the area is just wonderful. We may rent there again.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
In 2001 we rented this place through Provence West, based in Colorado, which was a great experience. They offer a lot of great support. We still use some of their literature. They do however charge more than Gites de France, a lot more. Gites de France rented this house (#475 Vaucluse) for 695 Euros/ week in June 2003 and September 2006. Check out the websites and compare. Virginie at Gites de France Vaucluse has offered good helpful communication on-line in English.
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