Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 679: Owner, Le Mas des Romarins
4bed/2bath near Fontvielle, Provence
Sept 13-20, 2003, 1 week
The house was a rather new/modern farmhouse on the D33 road between Fontvielle and Tarascon. It was surrounded by orchards and olive groves. The location made day trips to Arles, St. Remy, Fontvielle, Gordes, Tarascon, Orange and other Provencal locations quite easy. The driveway is gated and the house felt secure.
Fontvielle is a small town just a few minutes drive from the house where we went for basic groceries and restaurants. Larger stores were found south of Avignon (about 20-30 minutes driving) when needed. Walking anywhere from this location would not be a good idea given the traffic and lack of safe walking space on the side of the D33.
The house was built fairly recently and looked (to me) like a house from Tuscany. The owners live just a few hundred yards away on the same property, which is good if anything went wrong, but at the same time, the orchards increased the privacy in the house. The house has a wonderful, clean pool that is surrounded by shrubs and trees. There is no A/C in the house and the screens on the windows had holes in them so opening the windows meant letting in mosquitoes and flies. It was in the high 80s during the week so the house got pretty warm, even at night.
There is a covered eating area with metal table and chairs for eating outside the house. The pool is near the house and has plenty of comfortable lounge chairs with pads. The pool was not heated, but this didn’t stop us from swimming.
The house was very clean. The living room/dining room area was quite large and included a couch and futon for relaxing out of the sun. The pictures on the web site accurately describe the inside of the house.
The beds were mostly twin or single sized and were relatively comfortable but got a little “sticky” in the heat. The master bathroom (upstairs) was very nicely sized and had a large “soaking tub” as well as a shower stall. Downstairs was a smaller bathroom with a shower stall/toilet/sink. Both showers were hand-held and both shower heads were plugged up with minerals when we arrived, so we cleaned the heads on the first day. (When renting houses, we’ve found it’s good to have a small amount of plumbing fix-it experience.)
The kitchen had a refrigerator/freezer, gas stove, dishwasher, microwave and electric oven and was very well stocked with dishes, glassware, pots/pans and cooking utensils. We had an ongoing battle with small “sugar ants” on the kitchen countertops. (It helped to keep all foods in the refrigerator during the day.)
Problems or Bonuses
Florence and Frederic, the owners, greeted us warmly when we first arrived at the house. They said we could come by their house any time if we had any questions or problems. Florence spoke a moderate amount of English, Frederic spoke no English.
Orphee (aka “chat noir”) the cat showed up on our first day in the house. We got the impression that she either used to live in the house or just got smart about the people who could give her attention and bits of food. Orphee enjoyed sleeping in the sun on the dining room chair which was really nice.
For some reason, we found a lot of critters in the house: BIG spiders living between the window and the (broken) screens. We found a tree frog on one of the shower curtains and silverfish-like bugs in other areas. This may be common for such a warm area, but it also may indicate a need for some professional bug killer help.
During September, we discovered that hunting rabbits is a popular event (insert Elmer Fudd audio here) around the area. During most mornings, you’d hear gunshots beginning at daybreak until late AM as the hunters did their thing.
Noise from the nearby road was constant and loud if the windows were open. Sleeping downstairs seemed to help.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We dealt directly with Florence via email in French, saving a rather large amount of rental cost compared to going through an agency. We had the rental contract translated into English by a translator in Oregon to make sure we understood all the terms. I would definitely take this route again since it allowed Florence to get to know us before we arrived and for me to practice my French many months before the rental period. The only downside to doing this was that we had to accumulate a rather large amount of cash (~1000 euros) before showing up at the house.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would recommend this house, especially for a large group of adults who wish to have a nice base for exploration of Provence for very little money once the rental fee is divided amongst everyone.
Things to do in this area
We visited many towns in this area of Provence: L'Isle sur Sourgue (antique markets), Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, Fontvielle, St. Remy de Provence, Arles, Tarascon, Les Baux, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Orange, the Camargue, Ste Marie des Mers, etc.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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