Think more than Nice and the beaches. This administrative region includes: Alpes-de-Haute Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Base-du-Rhône, Var and Vaucluse.
Located just outside of Gordes. L. Burnham notes that the pictures in the guidebooks make it look a bit drab, but don't let that turn you off. The places is exceedingly charming, the family who run the farm are wonderful. The food is fabulous. The farm is quieter and lovelier that anything nearer Gordes. It is a surprise find!
We really hit the jackpot finding Villa Mas St Jean. After searching hundreds of web sites we were lucky enough to come across a villa with a "wow" factor that is almost unimaginable!! Our expectations were high and they were more than exceeded upon seeing this breathtaking property.
The villa is set amidst acres of manicured lawns, a beautiful array of towering trees and potted plants providing what would become a week in paradise enjoyed by four couples. The pictures on the web site were a fair representation of what we could expect but even as good as they were we were still taken back by the beauty of the place.
The well equipped kitchen and huge BBQ facilitated daily gourmet breakfasts and dinners. Both outdoor dining areas provided hours of pleasure eating delicious food and drinking copious amounts of rose. What we didn't buy at the markets we found at the grocery store in Noves that had good fresh produce and meat. A couple of good patisseries in the area were a source of delicious croissants and desserts.
Hours were spent around a very inviting pool and there was enough chaise longues for the eight of us. The size of the property allowed for lots of personal space. There were good sound systems, with iPod docks, both in the house and the pool area. We could not have asked for more during this dream vacation!!
The location of the villa was perfect for visiting Provence, the Luberon and towns in the Northern part of the Languedoc. We went to wonderful morning markets in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and St Remy-de-Provence. Go early as parking is at a premium at these very lively markets. We have been to many markets and were impressed by the high quality of the goods. St Remy's market was a favourite!!
The owners of the property, Christine and Rudd were very welcoming and gave thorough instructions for everything before handing over their lovely home to us. When not renting out the entire villa they operate it as a B&B. You can be assured of a very special vacation at the Villa Mas St Jean and we hope to return to enjoy this little bit of paradise again!!
528 route de la Colle
06570 Saint-Paul de Vence
Tel: +33 (0) 4 93 32 80 24 | web site
It is 2009 and we returned to the hotel Le Hameau in St Paul de Vence for the sixth time and it is still one of our favourite hotels and locations in the south of France.
Le Hameau is a collection of whitewashed stone buildings on the hills just outside of the small charming village of Saint-Paul de Vence. Just walking up the grapevine covered pathway from the parking lot you know that you will be in for something special. Each of the rooms offer its own characteristics, and over the years we have had the chance to stay in the majority of buildings. The hotel has 17 different rooms/apartments. The terrace and swimming pool are delightful and nothing can be nicer than enjoying a cold bottle of rose wine while relaxing in the hot sun.
The hotel is located just north of Nice, about 20 minutes. It is just a short 1 km from St. Paul de Vence. St. Paul de Vence is a pretty little town with plenty of good quality shops and galleries. They have done a wonderful job in keeping the town aesthetically pleasing, with nice store signs and no tacky tourist stuff. It is a photographer’s dream. The best time to visit is in the early morning or late afternoon after the tourists have left and the locals come out for a drink at the bar just outside of the town. The square is dappled with shade from the Plane trees and it is fun to watch what is always a serious game of boules.
I am an early riser, and our visits usually involve me getting up early in the morning, camera in hand, and walking into Saint Paul-de-Vence for a coffee and a photo shoot. As in many hotels in France, the petit dejeunier i(breakfast) is expensive but we can’t resist. You will enjoy your breakfast in the garden before heading out for the day. Le Hameau has a nice buffet and they have delicious marmalade made from their own orange grove.
There is no restaurant in the hotel, however, you can walk on a flat surface, mostly on a sidewalk, into St. Paul de Vence. The town is pedestrian only and their parking lot is half way between the hotel and the town. It is a bit of a hike and is an uphill climb so you may be wise to leave your car at Le Hameau.
A couple of other alternatives is to zip down into Nice where there are endless restaurants to select or go to the old village of Haut Cagnes where you will find the Grimaldi Castle. The Renoir museum is in Cagnes-Sur-Mer.
The hotel offers secure parking which is always a benefit.
Hostellerie le Beffroi
Tel: 04.90.36.04.71 e-mail contact
We stayed here in 2004 and this one another of our great finds. Getting to the hotel takea a little nerve. Drive over the old stone bridge, and head up through the gates along the narrow twisting road and the hotel, located just past the bell tower, sits there on your right.
That is easy if there is just you in the town, but of course there are the endless groups of people also walking along the narrow streets that a car can just barely make it down. Don't worry as once you are at the hotel there is even a number of slots of parking. You will need your car to tour the area.
The hotel is in two old "hotels" that date from the XVI and XVII centuries and joined together to form this great hotel with 22 rooms. The rooms are well decorated rooms, the restaurant serves superb food.
In the summer the dinners are served in an outdoor courtyard and it is oh so pleasant. There is a small but ample sized and greatly appreciated swimming pool to come back to every afternoon to conclude a day of touring the area.
Vaison la Romaine is quite scenic, we includes shots of this town in our Marcus Moments Cards.
© Glenn & Karen Marcus
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