Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 4776: Villa Quatre Saisons, Upper Apartment
3bed/1.5bath apartment just outside Roussillon, Provence
Sept. 7-24, 2010, about 18 days
Roussillon is a beautiful Provencal village and the house is situated on one of the hills within walking distance from the center. It is adjacent to a nice little restaurant and on one of the streets used for tourist parking, cars, buses and RVs.
It is an easy walk up to a small shop selling the world renowned goat's cheese imported each morning from Banon, the patisserie for delicious bread or the butcher's shop for a roasted chicken. The tourist office is close for a daily check of the weeks' weather or travel questions. You should have a car, the local bus from Avignon only comes once a week, and the surrounding countryside is too beautiful not to explore. One cannot count all of the local chateaus nearby for wine tastings. I am an artist and was using the time to create new work for my galleries.
The house has a small kitchen with everything needed for daily cooking, coffee or teapots, dorm sized refrigerator, perfect for European shopping, lovely outdoor terrace on the front of the house, large table for family dining in the living room area, three bedrooms, two queen size and one with twin beds. There is a washer in the old cellar and facilities to hang the laundry in the "garden". Fresh figs were ripening and the most delicious grapes were available along the stairway and near the laundry.
There is a small two bedroom efficiency apartment on the ground floor with access in the back of the house. We enjoyed meeting the travelers who stayed there for two weeks. We shared some of the facilities with them, since they had no TV and were concerned about the train strike, or hanging their laundry in the sun. We originally rented the apartment, but the owner moved us upstairs to larger facilities when we rented for three weeks, and had other renters also interested in the apartment for two weeks during that same time period.
There is a nice terrace with a beautiful table that would seat eight. Unfortunately I had to trim back the oleanders growing up our stairway entrance on the side of the house because it was overgrown. The plants in the pots were dead and neglected and the "rustic" smell of sewage (the roofer's description) was overpowering some evenings.
The furniture was outdated but comfortable, and the bedding had been washed. As one of the neighbors commented, the house had not been changed for a number of years and the magazines in the living room were probably at least five years old.
The beds were comfortable. There is one bathroom with a sink, a shower/tub and a bidet. A small water closet was adjacent in the center hall.
The kitchen was usable, with plenty of pots and pans. We did cook many evenings.
Problems or Bonuses
When we arrived we noticed the mildew and damp smells were overpowering. We opened the house hoping to solve the problem. The first night, we experienced the mistral, with heavy downpours and lightening. We awoke to find the house flooded in the front hallway and the living room area. We cleaned it up and experienced it again the second night. By Wednesday our electricity in the kitchen did not work and we couldn't cook or use the refrigerator we'd stocked with food. Our agent tried her best to solve all of the problems, the leaking roof, the flooded laundry, accessing the hot water heater, which had shorted out due to the flooding, but we had a steady stream of plumbers, electricians, roofers, and we'd meet with them to explain what had happened in the house. Unfortunately the owner is unconcerned and let her agent deal with everything. We could not even find the hot water heater for the plumbers. This problem continued until our agent went on vacation. She left the key to the garage with us, in case WE needed to order a hot water heater. Along the front of the house there is a visible problem with the foundation that is probably causing other flooding in the cellar.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The local agent was wonderful, but she decided to move on to other interests. The owner did not e-mail us or write any apologies and seems to be unconcerned about the problems in the house. We had to deal with this for five days. (A flood is unusual in a home, but we met another French property owner who moved his clients out of his apartments that flooded in a lower area of Provence, near the Durance river.)
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would not stay in the home again. The house is lovely, but has been neglected and needs some TLC. There are many beautiful homes, apartments, gites, etc. available that we toured, that have updated kitchens, lovely baths, and beautiful surroundings for less money than the downstairs apartment. We have been to France before, and it was recommended by friends who stayed there several years ago. It's too difficult to manage a property from a long distance.
Things to do in this area
We are returning to the area next May. Since I was there to work, we didn't have the opportunity to explore as much as we had wished. The landscape is beautiful, and there were many wonderful restaurants. Ask any local for advice, or watch where the locals go to eat. There are hidden gems and many of the hotels have top notch restaurants.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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