Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 2824: Entre Deux Mas ... Un Moulin, La Tuilerie and La Tour
Farm houses on edge of St. Remy, Provence
May, 2007, one week
Twelve friends spent a too short week at the Entre Deux Mas ... Un Moulin, renting two of the four rental units on this lovely property (soon to be five, as an additional unit is in the process of being renovated at the time of this writing – June, 2007). We occupied La Tuilerie, a four bedroom, 3.5 bath unit, and La Tour, with three bedrooms (one a bunk room that could sleep four to six) and three baths.
The property is a short drive out of the center of St. Remy de Provence, and includes a cluster of houses behind a security gate, with a large communal swimming pool and outdoor kitchen/barbecue area, surrounded by lawns, flowers and trees. It was close to all town amenities, but was quiet and secluded. It is a five minute drive into town, where there are cafes, bakeries, a large InterMarche, restaurants and all other services necessary for vacation rental living. But it is also close enough to walk to town; there is a public pathway along a nearby canal and down a shaded path, a trip of 15-20 minutes.
The owner of the Mas purchased the property recently from the estate of the family which had owned it for at least nine generations, and he has interesting stories to tell about its past. He has restored and renovated the buildings beautifully, providing all modern conveniences but maintaining the integrity of the architecture and keeping its rustic charm. Each unit has a private patio/outdoor eating area, and the grounds are lovely. Just off the spacious patio of La Tuilerie is a working water wheel, providing the soothing sounds of falling water. The table on the patio easily seats 12, and there are comfortable padded chairs and other seating for relaxing under the shaded pergola. La Tour has a private enclosed patio with umbrella shaded table and chairs.
The houses are beautifully appointed with comfortable furnishings throughout. The dining room in La Tuilerie seated twelve easily – and fourteen the evening friends from the Bay Area joined us for dinner. In La Tuilerie, which quickly became our gathering place, there were three sets of silverware for twelve, enough china and glassware for an army, a generous supply of serving dishes and platters and a fully equipped kitchen where we easily prepared multi-course meals several times during the week. The kitchen in La Tour was somewhat smaller, but both were appointed with side-by-side refrigerator-freezers with ice makers, dishwashers and full sized ranges and ovens. Each house was also equipped with a washer and dryer. There were comfortable sofas and chairs in the living areas (two downstairs lounges and one second floor library in La Tuilerie) TVs (which we never got around to watching), CD player and CDs, and a wet bar in the living room of La Tuilerie. Bedrooms were spacious and had generous closet and storage space, comfortable beds, and reading lamps! Bathrooms were modern and generously sized – in La Tuilerie the master bath included a deep soaking tub with hand held shower attachment, and, in a separate room, an American style shower! And there were large, fluffy, soft towels, hand towels and washcloths, and separate pool towels as well.
One of the special services included in the property’s rental price is dinner the first night, including wine, and delivery of breakfast fixings the next morning. We were pleasantly surprised to find the table set elegantly upon our arrival, with dinner in the fridge waiting to be heated up and served. And we found the refrigerator stocked with more wine (with the request we replace what we drank, so the next guests would have some too), eggs, butter, jam, milk, and juice, a fruit bowl full of fresh fruit, and basics such as herbs, oil, etc. in plentiful supply. Our first morning, as promised, our host arrived at our door with fresh croissants and baguettes for all, and surprised us by doing the same the morning we were reluctantly packing to leave!
William, host extraordinaire is an American ex-pat who speaks fluent French as well as English; on-site housekeeper Bettina also spoke fluent English as well as her native Flemish and a few other assorted languages. They were welcoming and helpful, and ready to answer questions, suggest itineraries, recommend places to visit, loan shopping carrier bags, and generally provide whatever services we needed.
The reality of the property and its facilities exceeded our expectations, and I am already trying to figure out how soon I can return with my whole family for another perfect week in the country – or maybe two, or three. The housekeeper mentioned during one conversation that 84% of the reservations booked for next year are from returning guests, and after spending a week at the Mas it is easy to see how that can be.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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