Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 3009: Mas du Clos de l'Escarrat, Apartment
apartments in B&B near Avignon, Provence
June 2007, 5 nights
It was very secluded at the end of a nearly hidden drive a five minute drive from the small village of Jonquires.
The nearby village (driving not walkign distance) had a bar, a restaurant, small grocery store, and two patisseries.
The buildings were quite old and very charming, and the grounds peaceful and lovely. There were maybe four other apartments. Our room was comfortable though not luxurious. The bathroom smelled of mildew.
The shared garden was beautiful - large with many shade trees and places to sit. There was a pool but guests must bring their own towels so we didn't use it.
The furnishings were acceptable and there were plenty of chairs.
The bed was typical of lower-cost European lodgings, a little thin. The bathroom smelled of mildew but was large enough and the water worked okay -- not quite enough pressure, but was hot.
The kitchen was a teeny corner with two burners and a sink -- we made omelettes and sandwiches. You couldn't do a full meal.
Problems or Bonuses
After reading the many glowing reviews on TripAdvisor my husband and I booked Le Mas do Clos in August 2006 for our six night June 2007 stay.
Some months later I contacted Charles, the owner, to see if I could change our dates by one day (some flights had changed) and he was accommodating, but mentioned then that by the way, prices had risen since he was installing air conditioning. I *thought* they already had air conditioning or certainly wouldn't have booked it (I'm not good in the heat) but moreover found it troubling that he didn't initiate the conversation about the price increase until I contacted him.
Fast forward several months. Shortly before we left for our three week trip I emailed a quick note to Charles to confirm and to ask if the AC has been installed (I've seen A Year in Provence! ;). Unbeknown to me at the time, in my haste I typed ... confirm our 5 night stay ... instead of 6 night stay. In his reply he simply confirmed the AC was working and didn't mention that I appeared to have changed my number of nights.
We had quite a bit of trouble finding the place despite printing the instructions from the Web site (ended up stopping at a farm and getting instructions from a very kind family). Andrée greeted us and walked us to our room. I asked her how the air conditioning worked and she instructed me to read the manual. I asked about the towels for the pool and she said none were provided and not to use the towels from the room. This was quite disconcerting as part of my reason for choosing this location was the pool. (Note: if you do not pack towels, they are available at the Carrefour market in Orange for €15 euros each -- so nearly $45 for two. We chose not to spend that much money and did not use the pool).
She didn't give us any instructions about how to lock or unlock the door and we ended up in the horrifyingly embarrassing position of locking ourselves in the room when they key broke off into one of the locks. There's no phone in the room so we had no way to call for help. My husband ended up removing the lock with a corkscrew and potato peeler and we lost an hour of our first morning when we wanted to go early to a market nearby.
We saw very little of either Charles or Andrée all week other than when we explained the lock situation. I can only assume that if you decline the pitch for a wine tour they conduct that you don't get much in the way of attention. Late in the week we ran into them and I mentioned that we'd be leaving early on Friday, and asked about where to leave the key. A few minutes later Charles came to our room holding my email and pointed to the five days part. He told me we had to leave the next day, that he had already booked the room for someone else. I was pretty aghast but clearly it was my error so I just said okay.
Then it dawned on my that he had charged us for six nights. My husband went down to tell him that. He gave us the money back for the sixth night without a further word. My husband asked if he could help us find a place to stay the next night -- this was late June in Provence and we were on a limited budget, and the Internet worked little if at all on his premises so we couldn't look up places online. "No," Charles said. "B and Bs will be booked. Just stay at a hotel."
This situation brought me to tears. Though it was my mistake in the email, one would think that a change in number of nights to a booking that has stood for nearly a year would raise a question from them.
Overall, though it was a scenic setting and the room was reasonably comfortable (other than the mildewy smell in the bathroom), we can not recommend Le Mas du Clos.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We did not find that we were treated with much kindness at all. They spoke English when they did speak to us.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I do not.
Things to do in this area
Michel's in town is a welcoming bar that we visited daily. Highly recommended.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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