Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 5312: Owner, La Maison des Pelerins
2bed/2.5bath house in Sablet, Provence
May-June 2012, 3 weeks
La Maison des Pelerins (the House of the Pilgrims) is located next to the 12th-century church at the top of the village of Sablet. Although the houses as you wind up the hill that constitutes the center of town are adjoining, noise was never a problem, perhaps because we are at the top of the village.
This is a wonderful place to base yourself for a visit to the Haut Vaucluse and the Drome, and other places of interest are within a reasonable drive. We went to Cassis for a day trip (about two hours away), Aix (under an hour), Arles (about 45 minutes), St. Remy (ditto),and Tarascon (about an hour), and we spent a day in the Luberon, about an hour and a quarter's drive. We also visited the Vercors, choosing to spend one night away (in Villard de Lans) so that we could take our time getting there and not have to worry about getting back.
Everything you could need in the way of services is walkable. There is a Vival in town, two hairdressers, two boulangeries (not, I must add, of the first quality), a pharmacy, and a few restaurants. There is also a medical practice if you need it. There is a Friday morning market, but it's tiny and not high quality. You won't care, with Vaison only 10 minutes away.
The house itself is 400 years old. It is spacious, comfortable, and furnished to a high level. On the first floor are the sejour, a formal dining room (which we never used), and a huge kitchen that is equipped with every gadget you'd ever want (and some I couldn't identify). There is a wall oven, a microwave, a four-burner stove, a dishwasher, a coffee maker, a slow cooker, a toaster, and stuff I'm forgetting, plus a coffee press and other small items. The kitchen has an island and also a table for four, which was more than adequate for all our meals. The kitchen also has drop-dead view of the Dentelles. The first floor also has a half-bath.
Upstairs, there are two good-size bedrooms, both with queen beds that were very comfortable and with high-quality sheets. One bedroom has a private sink and shower. There is a large full bathroom off the hall that contains a washer and a dryer. Both bathrooms were tiled and in fine condition.
The house has a private garden that is accessed through the kitchen or from the approach to the front door. We never used it, because frankly we're not big on sitting in gardens, and it could use some trimming, but other people might like to sit out there for breakfast or late in the day with a glass of wine.
As I have noted, the furniture throughout is comfortable, rather than elegant, and in excellent condition. There is a large TV in the living room, several shelves of books, a CD and DVD player, and WiFi. There is a wood-burning stove in the living room for the cold months and air conditioning in the two bedrooms, which came in handy a few nights.
Because we were there for three weeks, housekeeping was provided once a week.
Problems or Bonuses
The only disadvantage to this property that might create some problems for some people is accessibility. As I have noted, it's at the top of the village, which is basically inaccessible by car. You park at the bottom of the hill, in the commercial part of town, and walk up. It's a short walk, taking only two or three minutes, but it's steep, and the shortest way up involves 39 (I've counted) steps. This also means that if it's raining, you can't run out to the car.
I'd have appreciated written instructions for the dishwasher and the TV and its accessories. I wound up contacting the on-site person to help with the second problem and figured out the first by trial and error. There were instructions for the washer/dryer and some of the kitchen gadgets.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owner of the house lives in California and was easy to deal with and very responsive to my questions. Her on-site person is a British woman who lives in the village. She was unable to meet us on the day we arrived, but the owner supplied us with a detailed map of how to find the house and where to look for the keys. The local person checked in the next day and was cordial and accessible. When we couldn't figure out how to make the TV work, she came over and unraveled the mystery of the four remote control devices for us.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I recommend this rental very highly. It was as comfortable as you could want, quite spacious, very well equipped, and in a region so beautiful that I lack the vocabulary to describe it. If you can handle the ascent to the house, you couldn't do better.
Things to do in this area
We covered a wide area in our three weeks, from Cassis to the Vercors, but had plenty of time to spend at home. The area around Sablet is the heart of the Cotes du Rhone wine region, and the scenery is breathtaking. Two listed villages, Seguret and Gigondas, are within two miles but are both more museum pieces than real, living villages. The larger town of Vaison la Romaine is about 10 minutes away, offering a sprawling market on Tuesdays (it didn't take long to find our cheese guy, our veggie guy, and our poulet roti guy and the cafe to linger at when we couldn't figure out anything else to buy). There are innumerable vineyards for those who are looking for degustation of the wonderful wines made here and all kinds of villages, from the picture-book kind to larger, functioning towns where you can have a pleasant lunch and watch the world go by. For stunning beauty, there are Brantes, Le Crestet, and Le Barroux; for a pleasant stroll try Malaucene and Bedoin or go up to Nyons and buy olives or to Grignan to visit the chateau of Mme de Sevigne's daughter. There are spectacular drives through the Dentelles and near Mont Ventoux -- and more and more. You won't be bored.
There are lots of good restaurants; we particularly liked Les Florets, in Seguret; Le Girocedre, in Puymeras; Le Bistro Du'O in Vaison; and Le Bateleur also in Vaison. Le Tourne au Verre in Cairanne is a very pleasant wine bar that serves lunch.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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