Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 963: France Bound, Maison Caromb
3bed/3bath house in Caromb (near Carpentras), Provence
May 2004, 1 week
The house is about 1/3 mile from the village of Caromb, which is about 8 miles northeast of Carpentras. It's in a beautiful location -- there are a couple of huge trees in front of the house, with the pool and cherry orchard beyond that, and in the back there is a vineyard and fields with views of the village of Bedoin and Mont Ventoux in the background. The house is down a long driveway from the road so it's very quiet and peaceful.
It's an easy walk into the village in the morning for croissants and pastries. There is a grocery and butcher in Caromb, in addition to the bakery, and several good restaurants. There is a large supermarket in Carpentras, and many good restaurants in the small surrounding towns.
The house is a 19th century restored mas in superb shape. The owner is an interior decorator in Canada, and her professional touches are apparent everywhere you look. The caretaker's residence is at one end of the house, but it's blocked off by a hedge so that privacy is complete.
There is a dining table and chairs right outside the house, under the trees. There is a private pool and pool house, complete with dining table, built-in barbeque and sink, and half-bath, and there are plenty of comfortable lounge chairs around the pool.
The house is a delight, extremely comfortable and spotlessly clean. The living room has 2 sofas and 2 reading chairs, and the dining room has a table with 6 chairs, plus a table and chairs in the kitchen. We've rented houses in a lot of different places in Europe, especially France and Italy, and this is without question the nicest house we've ever rented. It is a perfect combination of being beautifully decorated and "homey" without being cluttered with the owners' possessions.
The master bedroom has a bath with a combo bath/shower, and the other 2 bedrooms have showers -- all are modern and functional. There is even a magnifying makeup mirror in the master bath, typical of the owner's touches throughout the house. And there are excellent reading lights in all the bedrooms, which isn't always the case in rentals (or hotels, for that matter).
The kitchen is a delight to cook in, with top-notch dishes and pots and pans, and plenty of them (several sets of dishes, for example). It has a chopping block/table in the middle, and three of us could work in the kitchen without bumping into each other. There is also a dining table with chairs at the end of the kitchen.
Problems or Bonuses
I think the real surprise was the size of the house and how spacious it felt. plus of course the quality of the furnishings and accessories. There were six of us (3 couples), and there was lots of room to spread out. I talked to a travel agent in LA before I made the decision to rent it, and she said she has stayed there several times and in fact has tried to buy the house. I can see why!!!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Kerry, the owner of France Bound, is great to work with, providing lots of info before we left and promptly returning our full deposit. I might add I found this house on another web site for quite a bit more. The onsite caretaker is a charming young man who speaks good English. The reality of Maison Caromb is even better than the pictures on the web site.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would go back tomorrow, and recommend the house without qualification to anyone -- even people who are more accustomed to good hotels than vacation rentals. I do think May is the perfect month to go. The roses that climb up the front of the house were in bloom, and the iris bordering the walkway to the pool were also in full bloom. And as a real bonus, the cherries in the orchard were ripe, there for the picking.
Things to do in this area
Caromb is a living, breathing, working village, not a piece of art, which I find more interesting than some of the "most beautiful villages" which feel like stage sets. Carpentras doesn't have much of historical significance, but it does have one of the best markets in Provence. Vaison-la-Romaine is famous for its Roman ruins, and the wine towns of Gigondas and Chateauneuf-du-Pape are close by, as well as other delightful small towns like Bedoin and Seguret. L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and its famous antiques market are less than an hour away. This northern part of Provence is less well-known and less touristy than the Luberon, and nicer for that, I think. Our favorite restaurant in Caromb was le Four à Chaux.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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