Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 2448: At Home in France, Mas Provencal
6bed/6bath house near Cucuron, Provence
September, 2006, 2 weeks
This is a country house, 2.5 kilometers east of Cucuron, 7.5 kilometers east of Lourmarin. The location was very private and quiet. There were no other buildings close by, except for a small building housing laundry facilities, and a small apartment where the caretaker couple lived. It was sited on flat land a few kilometers south of the Grand Luberon range, which could be viewed from the patio/pool area. We liked the area, which afforded access to interesting towns of the Luberon, and to Aix-en-Provence.
The nearest cafes, bakeries, and groceries were in Cucuron. A very good restaurant in Cucuron had, sadly, recently closed. We did not try the few remaining ones there, but there are excellent restaurants and shops in Lourmarin, 7.5 kilometers away. Market day in Cucuron was very good for fresh produce, and other foods; Lourmarin market was extensive and festive. Another village 2.5 kilometers east of the villa, Cabrieres d'Aigue, has a single tiny market, a small patisserie, and not much else. It is a base for hikes into the Luberon foothills.
We walked to both Cucuron and to Cabrieres, but this was along a paved road with occasional speedy vehicles.
The house was fairly new, but was finished in an attractive Provencal style. This is a very comfortable, quiet, and peaceful villa. It was in excellent condition and well maintained. The caretakers were responsive to whatever needed attention in the house. The bedrooms were upstairs, separated into two wings. The main floor featured two sitting rooms, a large foyer with some additional seating, a guest bath, a large kitchen and a large separate dining room. There were fireplaces in the dining and the larger sitting rooms; we used the sitting room fireplace on two evenings.
Here is a direct link to Mas Provencal.
An unheated pool with a private patio area was provided as were patio tables and chairs. Some toys and a ping-pong table were available. All these facilities were private, and not shared with others.
The furniture was in good condition and comfortable. The house was very clean. The living room(s) and dining room contained adequate seating for 12. There was not adequate lighting for several persons to read in the sitting rooms, and we pointed this out to the caretaker, and I think it is likely this will be improved.
The beds were very comfortable, and there were enough bathrooms for all. The bathrooms were spacious. Occasionally the sink and shower drains were pretty slow, but Rene (the caretaker) took pretty good care of this situation. Hot water was in a little short supply in one of the bedroom wings with heavy usage, but this was not a significant problem.
The kitchen was excellent in space, lighting, work surfaces, equipment, and appliances. We cooked full meals most evenings, and except for a learning curve with the oven settings, had no problems. There were two sizable fridge/freezer combo units, and a separate larder/pantry for storage.
The owners provided a wine storage closet (not cooled) complete with good wines that could be purchased if needed. Two bottles of wine and some snacks were provided gratis on arrival. There were more appliances than we could use. Most of the kitchen and dining utensils and serving stuff was from IKEA.
Problems or Bonuses
Bonuses: Wireless broadband service was included, although there were occasional "down" periods. The caretakers were super: they offered to do a grocery shop for us for our arrival day, which we declined, but we did engage them to cook dinner for us on the first evening. This was one of the best meals we had and the charges were most reasonable. They offered some excellent restaurant tips for us, and made reservations.
Bad: We would have wished for a large automatic coffee maker. The caretaker did bring us an additional "french press" maker, and we were able to get by!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We felt well treated by the agency. The on site persons were great, as described above, and they spoke fluent English. The villa was as described; the pictures on the agency's website were very useful and accurate.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would stay again without question. For several in our group this was the best of some five villas they had rented (the rest in Italy). I would recommend this villa without hesitation.
Things to do in this area
We visited many of the pretty Luberon towns, including Lourmarin, Bonnieux, Menerbes, Saignan, LaCoste, Ansouis, Roussillon, etc. We climbed Fort Buoux, and visited the castle at Ansouis. We enjoyed market days at Caderet, Lourmarin, Cucuron, and Aix. We were able to catch the last day of the Cezanne exhibit in Aix.
Our two favorite restaurants were L'Antiquaire in Lourmarin and La Closerie in Ansouis. Our favorite "in house" meal was bouillabaise made from fresh seafood at the Thursday market in Aix. Buying it with our limited French was almost as much fun as eating it. We also had a lovely lunch at the Chateau Val Joanis winery near Pertuis ... what a fabulous garden!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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