Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 4028: Bastide Marechal Denier, Le Lieutenant
apartments in Bonnieux, Provence
October 2008, 1 week
The Bastide Maréchal Denier (also known as the Gendarmerie on web sites other than the owner's) is at the bottom of the Luberon village of Bonnieux, on a small square. It's a terrific location if you want to be IN a town with proximity to shops, stores, and restaurants, and to be able to observe village life.
It's possible to walk everywhere in town. The nearest restaurant is across the street, and the closest grocery store, a small Casino, is about a five-minute walk. (There is a hypermarché a short drive away in nearby Apt.) A terrific butcher with a few other food items is a couple of minutes' walk away. It's a hike up to the top of town -- Bonnieux, after all, IS a perched village -- but not difficult for anyone in reasonable shape.
The building is from the 17th century. It was originally a farm house and then served as the town's police station. It has been carefully restored and contains seven apartments (we stayed in a 2bed/1bath). We were never bothered by noise, although we were there in October and kept the windows shut at night. The apartment balconies overlooking the pool are away from any street noise.
There is a nice outside sitting area with a shared pool. Several of the apartments look out over the pool and the hillside beyond, and some also have a beautiful view over the countryside toward Lacoste. There is a laundry room off the pool area, as well as a shower/dressing room and a small fitness room.
The furniture is tasteful, comfortable, and in good shape, with seating for four in the living room and at the dining table. The apartment was spotlessly clean.
There are two bedrooms in the Lieutenant, one a bit larger than the other, and the beds have comfortable mattresses. The larger bedroom has a double bed and armoire, and the smaller has twins and a chest of drawers. The bath has double basins and a (very) small shower, and there is a separate W/C. The apartment is a nice size for a couple, or a couple with one or two children, but I think it would be a bit tight for two couples.
The kitchen is open to the living/dining area and as a result doesn't feel cramped although it's fairly small. It's very bright, with nice white tile, and the dishes and pots and pans are of good quality and fine for cooking full meals, which we did every night during our second week there.
Problems or Bonuses
The view of the Luberon and the countryside toward Lacoste was a real treat. Because of that view, I would recommend the Lieutenant as the most desirable of the apartments at the Bastide. The Major, on the top floor, also shares that view, but I think the Lieutenant has a nicer feel.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
I booked with the real estate agency whose owner also owns the Bastide. My email contact person was terrific - Annie answered my endless questions in perfect English, although the on site concierge doesn't speak English. But Annie is a phone call away, or a walk up the hill if you have problems.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would definitely stay here again, and would recommend it to our friends. We loved Bonnieux, with its good selection of shops and restaurants and easy access to the main highway. There are so many places to visit, like the other Luberon villages, Lourmarin, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Avignon, as well as less-well-known towns about an hour's drive away like Forcalquier and Sault, where we had a wonderful lunch at Le Louvre.
Things to do in this area
In Bonnieux, we liked Les Terrasses at the top of town for casual dining, and Le Fournil and L’Arôme for splurges. We had a great lunch at Le Pont Julien, a 10-minute drive from town, near the Roman bridge of the same name. Another favorite casual place for lunch was the Café de France in Lacoste -- we sat on the outside terrace and looked over the multi-hued vineyards back toward "our" town of Bonnieux. We especially like the wines of the Château La Canorgue, just outside Bonnieux.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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