|Space||4,000 sq. ft.|
|Minimum Stay||7 nights|
Ideal for multi-generational vacations. The house has plenty of space to be together or to spread out for individual pass-times. Two of the six bedrooms are in the wing, emphasizing space and options. Furthermore, the living room, library, study, two terraces by the house, and another by the pool provide lots of room. There is both indoor dining in the dining room and outdoor dining in the courtyard behind the house with barbecue.
The setting is peaceful and protected. The hamlet beyond the courtyard feels like the Provence we knew before 'A Year in Provence' attracted all the attention. Even in high season (the Luberon valley is popular in summer), while close and accessible, the property is a getaway. It is frequently praised for 'feeling classically Provençale.' The house faces the Luberon and looks out over orchards, vineyards and fields. The pool sits beyond and below so it has privacy and doesn't interfere with activities around the house.
For fifteen years, in the fall and spring, Sarah Brown has run 'A Week In Provence,' a cultural and gastronomic program from the house. For this the house has a fully equipped kitchen, and guest amenities like wireless internet, cable TV, hair dryers, soaps, etc. Sarah lives in the hamlet and usually greets new guests with a glass of wine and a quick-start to the house and the region. She is a tremendous source of advice and tips. With her experience, she can point guests towards where they want to go and what they want to see in accordance with their interests. See more about Sarah and the house.
The property is also an ideal place to do nothing more than admire the view, an activity which never seems to get old. Visiting the nearby hill villages, Gordes, Roussillon, Bonnieux, Lacoste, Menerbes, Oppède is a lovely, easy activity. They tare less than fifteen minutes from the house. On foot, terrific walks or hikes go North, East, South and West from the house and provide tremendous panoramas along their routes. Nearly every day during the summer there are markets up and down the valley including a great farmers' market just three miles from the house, twice a week, in Coustellet which also has an exceptionally good bakery and a very very good (and recent) super market.
Sarah Brown and Sheppard Ferguson, sister and brother, have known Les Martins since their parents bought the property and converted the farm into a family second home with swimming pool.
Until high school, Sarah attended French schools. She has a PhD in medieval architecture from Columbia University and has been often described as the English speaking person who knows the most about Provence. She has lived in Les Martins for 25 years and is writing the definitive book about the history and culture of the Luberon valley. As well as A Week in Provence she has owned a gallery in the region.
Sheppard has alternately been a bookseller and photographer, co-founding the rare art book company Ars Libri, Ltd in Boston and subsequently running Schoenhof's Foreign Books in Cambridge, MA, a subsidiary Editions Gallimard, the French publisher. His photographic documentation of the stone quarries in the region (the biggest one visible directly across the valley form the house) has been exhibited widely throughout Provence, in an Avignon museum and in New York. He currently lives in Watertown, MA.
Both Sarah and Sheppard love introducing friends and guests to the valley and wider region.
Sheppard Ferguson, Sarah Brown. purchased this house in 1960
There is a kind of magic to the location for us, a second generation to own the property, succeeding many prior generations since the vaulted living room was built in the late 1400s followed by additions built two hundred years later and then in the 19th century. The view hasn't really changed since 1500. In 1963, at night, we could see seven lights; now we see fourteen.
The house and property are expansive enough so that in 2016 we hosted a retreat for a Scandinavian law firm, a wedding arrival party for 35, a birthday for 50. Sarah Brown is acknowledged as one of the best cooks in the region and for years has been catering small meals for tenants or larger meals for events and parties.
Long overdue review as our family has rented this house for the last six years and will do so again in August 2016.
Why do we keep coming back?
The house is lovely and perfectly set up for two or even 3 families with 4 bedrooms in the main house (a former bakery) and 2 bedrooms in the wing (the former stables). Plenty of room to be social indoors or out, even a wonderful library.
Great location, situated in a very pretty part of the Luberon on the north side of the valley with wonderful light. Below the house are ten acres of apple trees, grapes and fields, traffic and people are at a distance.
The kitchen is nicely furnished as the house was used for many years as a cooking school. Excellent knives, pans, etc. -- easy to imagine you are "roughing it" like Julia Child in the early 1970s.
The pool is lovely, a social center for kinds and adults during hot days. The ruins of a Roman tannery are just visible through the bean plants that provide shade by the chairs near the shallow end.
For folks not experts in the region, Sarah is a wealth of information on everything from different markets, to regional history (she is a trained historian), to how to cook an entire suckling pig. For those with less than perfect French, Sarah's English is prefect.
Some idiosyncratic suggestions:
(1) At the little table with two chairs outside the library, be sure to have coffee while the sun is coming up (say "bonjour" to the tourterelles that live right there) or a glass or two of wine to accompany gorgeous sunsets. (Keep an eye peeled for the Perseid meteor shower in August).
(2) Drive an hour to Sault for market day. One of the most beautiful drives in Provence (be sure to take D115 through Croagnes to D943). Once we heard "Quel temps fait-il à Paris" from Mr. Hulot's Holiday on the radio during the drive: the two seemed made for each other.
(3) Go ten minutes away the the Abbey de Sénaque at 10:30 (thirty minutes before self-guided tours end), linger without crowds in different rooms. Whisper across the room to each other in the one room where talk was permitted to those who had taken a vow of silence.
(4) Cook lamb over an open fire in front of the house while boiling a pot of fresh coco beans on the fire directly under the grilling lamb with herbs from the garden.
(5) If socially minded, invite the neighbors!
Learn more about this vacation rental at the owner's website:
We had a truly delightful stay at Shep and Sarah's family home. Every morning we enjoyed our coffee and croissants on the veranda taking in the view of the Luberon Mountains, the namesake of the valley where the village of Les Martins sits.
The accommodations are simple yet elegant and comfortable. It is real authentic country Provence, a house filled with vintage treasures and eclectic artwork. We had ample space, large clean bathrooms and light filled bedrooms with panoramic views to the mountains.
In the warm afternoons we made our way down to swim in the pool or we headed out by car to roam the narrow streets of the neighboring villages. The house is within close proximity to several lovely markets and wineries. In the evenings we could prepare a meal with Sarah's expert advice, a culinary institution in her own right. The rustic old kitchen performs well and the large farm table straddling the huge fireplace is a lovely place to dine.
Staying here was an absolute highlight of our trip to France. We hope to make this a regular stop in the years to come as our hearts yearn for such a classic and authentic experience.
Long overdue review as our family has rented this house during August for the last 6 years and will do so again in August 2016.
Why do we keep coming back? The house is lovely and perfectly set up for two or even three families with 4 bedrooms in the main house (a former Bakery) and 2 bedrooms in the wing (the former Stables). Plenty of room to be social indoors or out even a wonderful Library.
Great location situated in a very pretty part of the Luberon on the north side of the valley with wonderful light. Below the house are 10 acres of apple trees, vineyards & fields. Traffic and people are at a distance.
The kitchen is nicely furnished as the house was used for many years as a cooking school. Excellent knives, pans, etc., easy to imagine you were roughing it like Julia Child in the early 1970s!
The pool is a social center for kids and adults during hot days. The ruins of a Roman tannery are just visible through the bean plants that provide shade by the chairs near the shallow end.
For folks not experts in the region, Sarah (who lives next door) is a wealth of information on everything from different markets, to regional history (she is a trained historian), to how to cook an entire suckling pig. And for those with less-than-perfect French, Sarah's English is perfect.
San Francisco Family
We have rented this house for two consecutive years and cannot say enough good things about our stay in this historic structure. The home is well maintained and perfect for large groups. It boasts the perfect amenities and location for introducing friends and family to Provence. After touring famed hilltop villages (minutes away) or the large attractions of Avignon, Arles, Aix-en-Provence, and Cassis (an hour or less drive), our typical day would include a stop at the local markets and well-appointed grocery store in nearby Coustellet followed by relaxation at the spacious swimming pool. The kitchen provides all you need to make authentic Provencal meals and he views of the Luberon range from the house and terrace provided a perfect setting for long dinners on the terrace. Sarah Brown provided us with expert advice on touring the countryside and historical context of the region that made these trips much more meaningful. We will return to this special place again and again.
We have had a wonderful time in the house. We spent two weeks with six adults and three kids. The house is very spacious but also very cosy and very unique in style. From the garden and the pool you get a great view on the Luberon. The property is close to Gordes and Goult.
|Rate Period||Nightly||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly *||Event|
My Standard Rate
7 night minimum stay
|Refundable damage deposit||$272|
Rates for longer stays should be discussed with owners. Two week rental high season is 5,300 euros.
All guests should note that this is a country property on the edge of fields, streams, and lands which may contain hazards for children. Parents or guardians must monitor their children.
30% to hold booking and the remainder seven business days before occupancy. Payment arrangements are usually made during discussion with owners. (Commonly, direct transfer of Euros to French bank account.)
* Approximate monthly rate. Actual rate will depend on the days of the month you stay.
The Luberon Valley has a history going back to the Romans and a half-dozen Provençale hill towns worth visiting. From 30 minutes to and hour away are Avignon, St. Remy, Arles, Aix-en-Provence. Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso all thought the area terrific.