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This place is special.
Driving up to the house is always a delight. It is a beautiful old building that sits all by itself commanding its immediate environs. It has a sense of calm and timelessness. No noisy neighbors, nobody looking down on you.
This house begs you to enjoy the moment. Go ahead, open another bottle of rose. Play petanque out front. In the mornings open the shutters and look at the green hills. Sit on the terrace and soak in the sun. Have a cocktail and watch another beautiful sunset.
The many meals we prepared in the big kitchen and then slowly devoured in the courtyard were all special. The family reunion we hosted, with a giant paella, lots of wine, music and dancing couldn’t have been more memorable.
So why only 4 stars?
The house is finished in a casual way. The big renovation work was done well, but some details leave a lot to be desired. If you are renting it for a week as a summer house, one where laughing kids will be jumping in and out of the pool, running around with wet feet and wet bottoms on the couch, all very casual, its perfect.
We rented the place for 6 weeks. And this is where “casual” to the point of borderline neglect came to be, day by day, less than wonderful.
- The ceiling in the bedroom downstairs is not fully finished, and almost every night tiny little bits of plaster fall on you.
- For the love of god, do not turn on the jets in the bathtub. The horror that came out…
- 40F degree nights and the heating didn’t work. It took a week to get it repaired. We used the fireplaces. A lot.
- The igniters for the burners on the stove don’t work. Told repairman coming. Six weeks and 4 boxes of matches later, still didn’t work.
- The trundle bed in the loft was so infested with dust-mites that the person who slept in it just one night needed urgent medical attention the next day. Seriously, it was very, very bad.
- We counted over a dozen scorpions in the house.
- The wasps love the fig tree, the pool, and most of all the downstairs bedroom.
- The pool is not heated. We used it 1 week out of six due to cold September nights cooling it way down.
- The landscaping is neglected with dead vines and trees.
- The laundry lines are dilapidated and unusable.
Now you might read all this and think we had a terrible time. We didn’t.
Yes, it needs some real TLC, but despite all the issues it still holds a lot of magic. It is a casual, slightly worn, slightly unfinished slice of Provencal paradise.
The house exceeded our expectations which were based on photographs that turned out to be out of date (the wooden deck surrounding the swimming pool and the tiling installed underneath the courtyard seating arrangement were much appreciated improvements). The photographs on the VRBO website have since been updated, but still don't quite do the house and the surrounding property justice.
The house worked very well for our group of eight adults, especially with each bedroom having its own bathroom, all the beds being comfortable and the kitchen being well-equipped and spacious with French doors opening onto a covered patio. We enjoyed most of our meals at the big table on that patio. It quickly became one of our favourite gathering spots and whoever was cooking did not feel cut off from the rest of us. The house and its outdoor spaces offered quite a few options for gathering as a group or finding a more isolated spot for a nap, some reading or just peace and quiet. We appreciated the neutral, calm décor and the use of natural materials. The swimmers and sunbathers among us enjoyed the swimming pool and its deck. The gardeners among us appreciated the plantings of lavender, roses, olive trees, oleander, campsis, wisteria, hydrangeas, etc. The house was ideally located for exploring the charming villages of the Luberon and beyond and Avignon's TGV train station was within easy reach when one in our party needed to leave early.
The owner is friendly and responsive. Housekeeper Myriam and her team are wonderful: helpful, courteous and hardworking yet unobtrusive. The same can be said of the individuals handling the gardening and pool maintenance chores.
We have rented many houses in Provence and Brittany over the years for our family vacations. This one is our favourite to date and the rental arrangements were very straightforward without any fuss. While we have never rented the same house twice (wanting to explore different areas), this house may well become the exception.