Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 4877: L'Oustaou de Rose, La Gardiole
2bed/1bath apartment outside Bonnieux, Provence
December 2010, 11 nights
Our family of three returned to Bonnieux for 11 nights over the Christmas holidays of 2010. We wanted an inexpensive but cozy place and a friend introduced us to Veronique, who owns this gite. We had a chance to see the gite back in June and instantly knew it was the perfect place for us. The photos on the little website are limited and very small and don't reflect how comfortable this place is or the beautiful view of the village from the front of the gite. (If anyone wants to see more photos, I would be happy to share a few I took.)
Veronique and Claud live on the property in a large stone house that you pass driving in and out, but the gite is extremely private, in a separate building that also includes large garage. I think the gite was built just in the last 20-25 years, and it was built as a rental. Claud is a mason and did a lot of work on the property. Veronique and Claud are very friendly and helpful, though I don't think they speak any English.
My husband estimated that there's about 800 square feet of living space. Most of the space is a large great room (living/dining room with an open kitchen) with high peaked ceilings and a fireplace. Dominating the room is a big wooden table that can seat six people on four chairs and a bench. Dishes and glasses are kept in a big antique cupboard and there's also an interesting wooden bread cupboard. For additional seating there's a futon and a wicker chair. The television has great reception, all French channels. In warmer weather you can open several windows and the French doors to the terrace to let in light and air or can close the shutter to keep out the sun and heat.
The U-shaped kitchen has everything needed to prepare decent meals: a medium size refrigerator, four burner stove, microwave, portable oven, toaster. There was a good assortment of pots, pans, utensils, plates, wine glasses etc. We wish there had been a French press and a better sharp knife, but we made do. (The coffee maker worked but wasn't ideal.)
The larger bedroom is off the great room to the left, with a queen size bed, a big clothes cupboard, bed tables with decent reading lamps, and a wicker chair. The bed was comfortable with plenty of covering in winter. Double doors lead from this bedroom to the outside.
The smaller bedroom is off the great room to the right, a double bed and clothes cupboard, bed table and lamp. There are French doors to the terrace. This room was perfect for our teenage daughter. I think it would work for two children but not two adults.
The bathroom is really nice ... a sink, walk in tiled shower with very good water pressure, toilet, and another big cupboard for clothes. Off the bathroom is a utility area with a clothes washing machine, drying rack, iron and ironing board, laundry basket, vacuum cleaner etc. Bring your own European hairdryer.
For the warmer months, there's a terrace with a summer kitchen (barbecue and sink), a table under cover for dining, and two sun lounge chairs in a small garden area. From the terrace and little garden there are vineyards and a fabulous view of Bonnieux. Just so there are realistic expectations ... this is a simple place on a small working farm, so there are some building materials nearby and the landscaping is limited. I did notice lots of rosemary plants though.
Also in the summer months, the guests in the gite have access to Veronique and Claud's swimming pool, which looked really nice. Veronique told me she has many repeat guests who come every year.
We were extremely happy and comfortable here and we will definitely stay at La Gardiole again. There was good heat for our winter stay, and we had a fire going much of the time. Claud provided us with plenty of firewood for our stay. We had everything we needed and the price was very reasonable. The winter rate is €400 a week, and we got a discount because we did not stay the full second week. (Normally this is a Saturday-Saturday rental only.) We paid an additional €120 for the utilities. This would be an excellent rental for a couple or family looking for an authentic and economical stay in the Luberon.
Bonnieux is a great village with a decent amount of activity in the off-season. There's a butcher shop, small grocery store, two boulangeries, presse, and a couple of restaurants/cafes open year-round. The Friday morning market is very small in the winter, but you'll find larger markets in bigger towns like Apt, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, and even Gordes. We do our "big" grocery shopping at the E. Leclerc in Apt and there's also a Super U in Coustellet.
Veronique showed me another gite they were just completing adjacent to their house, which will be a studio rental for two people ... a long room with a really nice kitchen and bathroom. She also has two rooms for rent up in the village and another gite on the plateau above the village (now rented for a full year), which are also described on her website.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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