Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 644: At Home in France, Les Vignes
3bed/2bath sleeps 7, Provence
July 12. 2003, 2 weeks
The house is located within a working vineyard at the end of its own private gravel drive. The house is perched on a hill overlooking vineyards and cherry orchards. The setting is very peacful and quiet without feeling isolated. The private pool is located across the driveway and at an elevation above the house. The best views are from the patio surronding the pool. The location of the property puts it nearly equidistant from the towns of Mormoiron and Flassan - approximately 5km. This area is known as the Mt. Ventoux area and although the Tour de France did not pass through here this year it remains a common tour route. The elevation of the property is approximately 300 meters (1,000 ft) which made a quite a difference during the heat wave of the 2003 summer.
A car is a must. Though we did not rent or bring bicycles they would have be greatly enjoyed. This area at times seems to teem with cyclists. Groceries and basic needs including weekly markets are available at the two closest towns, Mormoiron and Flassan. Banks or greater services are available a little further away at both Bedoin and Mazan. Bedoin has a large weekly market, Mondays, and many resturants. The rental agent provided a list of recommended resturants in the area beyond the typical in town variety that proved to be fantastic with idylic settings. There are countless vineyards and wine cooperatives in the area and we ended up buying more than we could drink.
The property is about a 40-minute drive from Avignon (Airport and TGV station). We toured the bulk of the major Provence sites, Pont du Gard, Bonnieux, Gordes, Menerbes, Le Baux, etc., and we were never more than a one-hour drive from any site.
The building is an old stone farm house (mas) that has been recently fully restored and mechanically modernized and winterized (the guestbook revealed winter stays). There is a portion of the building that has not been restored that is attached to the main house but there is no access. The house has all of the charm expected on the interior with tile floors throughout, plaster and stone walls, exposed beams in the ceiling, etc. Everything is clean and new.
There is a walled garden/patio attched to the house. It is not exceptionally large but it is shaded and outdoor seating is provided. The garden looks out onto the beginnings of an olive and fruit orchard. As the property is well secluded, a more open garden would have been appreciated.
The pool area is seperate from the house and includes its own shaded eating area and plenty of lounge chairs and an umbrella. The pool is not large enough for real swimming and has an overall depth of about 4 -1/2 feet. The pool is not heated and pleasantly did not become overheated during our stay. The walk from the pool to the house is over the gravel drive so shoes were pretty much required.
Everything in the house is new and quite comfortable. There are two dining type tables and plenty of seating for the intended occupancy. There is a working fireplace in the living room.
The beds are new and quite comfortable. Plenty of pillows and linens were provided. The house has two bathrooms, one with a shower and one with a large tub. The bathroom with the shower is somewhat small but adequate all the same. The house has an oil-fired boiler for both heat and hot water. There was plenty of hot water during our stay.
The kitchen is a galley layout with one of the dining tables adjacent to provide additional work area. The kitchen is all new with dishwasher, microwave, cooktop and convection oven. The kitchen is somewhat compact but being from New York we were quite used to the layout. One of our party had recently graduated from culinary school and she was able to create full meals without any problems. Some cooking utensils were limited (a decent knife seems always to be lacking) but generally there was plenty of pots, pans, glasses and dishes to go around and everything of good quality.
Problems or Bonuses
The barbeque was a disappointment. It was really just a stone enclosure with a handheld rack provided from which to cook your food. After visiting one of the large hyper marches I have come to realize that this is probably what a barbeque is in France.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency was very good. They called me directly and insisted on speaking with me to make sure that I understood exactally what I was renting and that the house would meet our needs.
The onsite representative is an English couple who represent the French owners of the property - so there were no language problems.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I don't know if I would stay here again because now with our first trip to Provence under our belts I feel that we could probably find a similar property for less money or chose a location within walking distance to services.
I would recommend this place without hesitation to anyone else. If you are looking for the ultimate in peace and quiet, wonderful countryside views, millions of stars at night, and all the culinary treats of Provence then you will not go wrong by staying here.
Things to do in this area
There are many wonderful resturants including the Resturant de Mt Ventoux in Flassan for traditional Provence fare and our favorite was Le Mas de Les Vignes outside of Bedoin on the road to Mt. Ventoux. Le Mas is a bit upscale but has a very reasonable 30 euro prix fix menu. The resturant has the most beautiful terrace perched on the mountainside offering a gorgeous view of the valley below and the Dentelles de Montmirail.
We did not drive up to the top of Mt Ventoux but one drive in particular not to be missed is the Route Touristique along the Gorges de la Nesque. There are numerous hiking trails in the Gorges though we did not explore them. The road through the Gorges takes you to the lavender town of Sault. There are many of the famous spectacular lavender fields to view along the road to Sault.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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