Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 3342: Owner, La Grange Vieille
1bed/1bath house near Vaison La Romaine, Provence
June/July 2005, 3 weeks
This gite is attached to the owner's farmhouse. It is set amidst the vineyard and olive groves. The long gravel driveway leads to the property, which is set less than 10 minutes from the center of Vaison La Romaine. The property itself is isolated.
While attached to the owner's home, it felt very private. The family pool was open to our use, and sometimes we were the only ones in the pool.
Territorial views of hillsides, olive groves, and vineyards were relaxing and beautiful.
In fall, winter or spring the adventurous and fit-minded could walk into town. The Provence heat of summer precluded our walking to Vaison. It would be an easy walk, as it's flat; but it would never be considered a "stroll" or a "quick run to the bakery."
The Vaison market was incredible, spreading through the town, on back streets as well as the main place. Full of Provencal treasures, food, produce, plants, etc. For other needs, the Super-U in Vaison was sufficient. Anything needed could be found in town.
We arrived in late June and the few tourists we saw were mostly European. By mid-July it was crowded with many tourists of all kinds.
This gite is a newer addition to a 200 year-old family farmhouse. It is small, and in inclement weather, could be considered claustrophobic. You would really need to "love the one you're with" in the event of days and days of rain. Windows in the bedroom and kitchen are beautiful, and the views from both are gorgeous. The bedroom is small, but comfortable with adequate storage for clothing. The bathroom was huge by any standard, with a nice shower, toilet, sink and washing machine. The kitchen is fine for cooking. There is no oven, however. The sitting/dining area is compact, but since you'll be outside most of the time it won't matter.
The owners have provided a lovely patio under an old maple, with a dining set. We spent many mornings and evenings dining and soaking up Provence on the patio. It felt private, although when anyone drives in you are visible. We also had a laundry drying rack, and with the Mistral, clothes were dry in a flash.
The pool, as mentioned, is unheated and lovely. The area around the pool is grassy, with a covered/shaded barbecue area. There is pool furniture here, and additional lounge furniture by the gite's patio. Bring your own pool towels.
Hiking through the olive groves and the hills behind the property is wonderful. You can stroll alone or take the dog. Nothing too strenuous and you might meet up with some locals on the trail.
The gite was clean and comfortable. It was perfect for the two of us. While there is a futon in the sitting area, it would be very cramped to have another body. The gite is small, yet feels wide-open due to the surroundings and the constant Provencal sunshine that draws you out of doors. There was plenty of seating for the two of us, and for four on the patio.
The double bed was comfortable, though a bit hard as it is a platform bed. The bedroom window is pretty and the view is of the vineyards ... and the farm dog!
The kitchen was usable, but without an oven. The fridge was larger than normal, there were plenty of pots and pans, although the knives were not great. There's a stereo with a CD collection, so cooking while listening to Edith and drinking local wine was a treat no matter what!
Problems or Bonuses
Since it was our first rental, we were surprised to be asked to hand over the balance - owed in cash, or pay $60 more for bank fees. However, this is standard practice.
Also, the advertisement boasted cooking lessons, but as the owners had small children it was impossible for them to offer the lessons. However, Sabine did share a few recipes while preparing for a party (to which we were generously invited), and for her apricot jam.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owners could not have been nicer. Alex, the husband, handled the e-mail correspondence and answered all of my questions in a timely manner. He is a native English-speaker and is fluent in French. He helped us find accommodations for my parents, who came the last 10 days, in a near (yet not too near!) B&B. He also offered to call and confirm those reservations before they arrived.
While we were there both Alex and Sabine were available and eager to answer our questions, yet we felt very independent. We rarely saw, or heard, their children.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I definitely recommend this gite! If you are traveling solo, or as a couple, that likes to be near amenities, yet in the country this is for you! It is pure soul-food.
Things to do in this area
Visit the Roman ruins in Vaison, the market, the old town, nearby Bedouin, the lavender fields and the Abbey de Senanque, Mt. Ventoux, Isle sur la Sorgue, markets galore, vineyards and much, much more! Do not miss the bakery on the old "place." The place itself is less than lovely, often a car-park. The bakery there is phenomenal!! The downstairs oven is in-use all morning and you can watch the baker from the walk above it ... the pastries will bring you back again and again. It is frequented by locals.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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