Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 4554: Owner, La Petite Maison (#80678)
1bed/1bath house in Lourmarin, Provence
May 2010, 1 week
La Petite Maison is a small attractive apartment in an old house at the top of the village of Lourmarin in Provence, directly opposite the church.
Lourmarin is now a well-known and pretty village many of whose houses are 'second homes' for folk from Paris and further afield. There are something like 16 restaurants in the village, an unusually high number. The restaurants are not cheap (for example a 'menu' of €35 without wine was fairly typical in May 2010), but there are several really good ones. Lourmarin is at the foot of the Luberon hills, not up in the hills like some of the other famous Luberon villages such as Bonnieux, Saignon and Menerbes. This makes it quite a good base for touring.
There is a small grocery store, 'SuperTaf', in the village. There's also a big supermarket, Super U, a few kilometres away (you'd need a car for that). There are numerous restaurants and bars in the village, and one terrific cafe, Le The dans l'Encrier, which does delicious cakes and lunches and teas. It closes at 6.30pm. There's a weekly market on Friday mornings - some food, and other Provencal gifts such as honey, things made from olive wood, table linens etc.
The building is certainly historical. La Petite Maison is a self-contained tiny house with its own steps up to its front door. The apartment consists of two rooms: a downstairs living room/kitchen, and a pleasant upstairs bedroom with a small bathroom carved out of one corner. There is no door separating the upstairs from the downstairs, so you can't shut the bedroom (or living-room) door. This shouldn't be a problem for most couples, but it's something to be aware of. There is also a separate little basement room with a washing-machine and tumble dryer. This room is entered from the street, not from within the apartment.
There's a tiny balcony directly outside the kitchen door, with a little round table and two chairs, and in good weather it's pleasant to sit opposite the church and watch people coming and going. You can pretend to be a real inhabitant of the village, smiling at visitors as they turn away from the almost always locked doors of the church.
There is no pool.
The apartment is attractively furnished, with interesting pictures on the walls. There was plenty of furniture for two people: a little two-seat sofa downstairs, plus a wooden armchair, and a little desk with a chair in the bedroom.
Yes, the double bed was comfortable and the view from the window, across to the old church, was lovely.
One thing not mentioned in the description of the apartment is that the bathroom is not soundproof. Its partition walls do not go all the way up to the ceiling, and are open at the top on two sides, one to the bedroom and the other to the stairwell. The bathroom door is a little swing door and has no latch or lock. All this came as a bit of a shock to us privacy-loving Brits, but we found tactful ways round the problem.
Yes, the small kitchen (in the living-room) was fine, though I imagine that most visitors don't do a lot of cooking. There was a efficient little hot plate with space for two pans, and there was a tiny free-standing oven which could be switched to use as a grill. There was an electric kettle and also a coffee-making machine for use with filter papers.
Problems or Bonuses
We've mentioned the surprise of the bathroom. Perhaps it's worth saying also that the bells strike every hour in the night, and at ten minutes to seven in the morning (and again in the evening) they strike 18 times - we never discovered why!
Another thing to be aware of is that the basement laundry room, which contains a washing-machine and a tumble dryer, is shared with whoever is renting Le Loft, another apartment owned by the same people. We didn't know this until we bumped into someone else doing her washing in 'our' laundry room one day.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owners were helpful and prompt. Joseph is American and Elizabeth is English, so obviously they speak English. The information was accurate and helpful, though as we've mentioned above, we felt there were a couple of things that should be included in case they're important to potential renters.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We do recommend it.
Things to do in this area
Provence is really gorgeous and there is no end of places to visit. Most of those visits involve driving on small and winding roads going up and down steep hills. The local French driving style takes a bit of getting used to, especially when encountered on those winding mountain roads. If you are a confident driver, it's probably fun!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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