Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 4438: Provence-Location, La Villa Italienne
4bed/2bath house in Goult, Provence
May 2009, 2 weeks
Villa Italianne is one of twelve houses in a cluster at the lower, eastern side of the village of Goult. Some of the houses are occupied by owners, and the others are rented through Provence-Rentals. The houses are close to each other, but because they are sited well, with different elevations and orientations, they felt quite private. From the villas it's a five minute walk to the boulangerie and another few minutes up the hill to the main square.
The village of Goult is delightful. It’s built with lovely honey-colored stones and has beautiful views from the top of the hill. It’s not far off the main D900 road, so it’s convenient for getting to other places in the Luberon or for going towards Avignon, Orange, Arles, St. Remy, etc. We were there in early May, so there were fewer tourists everywhere we went, but I understand Goult does not get as crowded as some of the more famous perched villages.
Near the square there’s a wonderful épicerie that is quite well stocked, and they don't severely overcharge for the convenience of being in town. There are also two boucheries and a boulangerie. Larger stores such as Monoprix, LeClerc, Intermarché, etc. are 15 minutes away in Apt or 30 minutes away in Cavaillon.
Goult has several restaurants, a number of which get good reviews on various websites. We had delightful lunches in Café de la Poste and the café across the street, but we cooked dinners at “home” because the family included a two year old. The Cave de Bonnieux, not far south of the D900, has quite good wines, including boxed wine that works well for “everyday.”
Goult has a lovely windmill, a viewing platform, a nice boules court (with the recycling bins for glass across the street), a number of shops, a Marie with informative brochures, an interesting church and the old lavarie that had been used by the entire town in the past. At the bottom of the hill there is a public park with tennis courts and a playground.
Another attraction is that a hiking trail runs along the edge of Goult, and from there it’s a nice walk to Gordes, with bories along the way, or to Goult’s area that showcases terraced agriculture.
The architect and the engineer in the family guessed that this group of houses were perhaps 15-20 years old but were built in the local vernacular to appear to be older, renovated houses. They have been rented long enough that the small plants in the photos on the web site have matured, and some of the furniture is different.
There was a keyed gate to enter the parking area for the cluster, and there was a house security system which we didn’t use. That was an omission in our check-in; the contact person forgot to tell us that it existed. The parking area had enough places for the houses, with some covered places.
Our house was in excellent condition, and we were pleased that the rooms in the living area were as large as they appear on the web site. There were several sofas, a table/desk that was useful, and a large armoire containing some games and some larger serving platters. The entrance had a large console for holding bags, cameras, books, etc.
The living room had two sets of double doors that opened to the front yard, so we had lovely breezes. There was WiFi and a TV, which we never turned on except to watch a short DVD one of the family brought.
The dining room had a table that was quite comfortable for our six adults and a high chair, plus there was a covered terrace with a table where we enjoyed lunches. We especially enjoyed having a grill near the terrace. It was delightful to sit with a glass of rosé and watch my husband grill some local lamb seasoned with rosemary from the garden for dinner!
The yard in front of the house had a huge oak tree, some chairs and a rough table. The side area contained the pool, the grill and the covered terrace. The plantings were quite nice, especially the rosemary and roses. We even planted some basil while we were there. The yard was small, but it managed to have shade and sun to keep everyone happy.
The bedrooms were adequate, but not special. Upstairs were three bedrooms: one with two twins, a closet, a dresser, an en suite large shower room and a nice outside porch, another with a double bed and an armoire, and the third with two twin beds and a huge dresser but no closet. There was a second bathroom with good storage space and a separate WC. On the main floor was a bedroom with a double bed and en suite shower, and there was a separate water closet.
We each received a bath towel and a hand towel, but if we had used the pool, we probably would have wanted some pool towels. In the middle of our two-week stay, clean towels and sheets were provided, but we changed our own sheets.
The kitchen was well stocked with pots, pans, plates, bowls, wine glasses, silverware, etc. We told the local contact about a few things that would be helpful – another spatula, more water glasses, etc., and they were there the next day. There was not quite enough counter space for four cooks (is there ever?), but the kitchen functioned well.
Problems or Bonuses
The pool was the only real problem we had with the house. We had expected to be able to use the pool, but it hadn’t been made ready for the season yet. As it turned out, it was too chilly to go in the water anyway. I was so relaxed when I returned home that I didn’t write the owner about it, which I should have done.
Villa Italienne had a beautiful view of Bonnieux from the second floor, but the view from the garden was nothing special. I had emailed with the owner several times, and she told me there wasn’t much of a view, but this house’s arrangements of beds and bedrooms suited our needs better than her houses with better views. I appreciated her being so candid about the limited view.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Villa Italienne and its sister houses are on many web sites, but I dealt directly with the owner who quoted a lower rent than what most web sites listed. Dealing with her was quite easy. Her English is certainly better than my French, and we managed a bi-lingual email exchange about the houses, their location in the town, and all the details of the contract and check-in.
The owner was quite flexible and accommodated our requests. We were able to put our luggage in the house early so that we could go back to Avignon to pick up other family members. My credit union wired my payments in dollars, so I had to guess how much to send, ending up about €10 short. The owner forgave that amount.
Alexander, the contact/housekeeper, spoke limited English. We communicated about the appliances, the TV, the new sets of linens and the deposit, but we did miss out on the explanation of the security system. For May 2009 we paid €1000 per week and were given a €100 deduction for the second week since there was no mid-stay cleaning.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Only one thing might present a problem: the large expanse of tile floors made sounds bounce around a bit. It didn’t bother us, but it might disturb a very light sleeper.
I would recommend with enthusiasm this house to my best friend. The house, Goult, and the Luberon area are delightful.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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