Thursday, 20 December 2012

Friday, 14 December 2012

The Most Beautiful Places in Provence and Lorgues

The small Provencal town of  Lorgues is situated about 13 kms from Draguignon, about an hour’s drive from Cannes or a little less from StTropez.  It is situated in the Var, a wine producing region of Provence and is a pretty town with lots of history, ranging back to medieval times and with some earlier Roman influences.

Basically it is an old fortified town, with a great number of old buildings, with vaulted tiny streets and arch ways all joined together but often painted different colours, most with the typical Provencal shutters painted in pastel colors. The Church of St Martin dominates the central part of the town and is one of the largest in the war. Lorgues has over 20 historical moments, most of which can be seen if you take the well marked walking tour set up by the tourist office.

The walk takes you through leafy squares and streets, mostly sun dappled and protected by the huge Plane trees that predominate.  Many of the buildings date from as far back as the 12th century,  with the clock tower and bell of the 12th century being well worth a look.  There is the Fountain of  nuts with its distinctive dolphin statues and plaques commemorating events in Lorgues history going back to the 13th century and also showing the Lorgues coat of arms, a dog and a lion denoting strength and fidelity.

There are a couple of notable sundials in the town, one of which is opposite the huge St Martin church so is subsequently in shade for much of the time, a slight design fault there then!. There is also some history of the nights Templars being active in the town for those interested in such events.

The Tour De France came through Lorgues in 2009 and cycling and walking remain very popular pastimes for the local and tourists.  The surrounding countryside which is typical Provence, is stunning and from the mountains behind the town it is possible to see down to the sea. There is also tennis and a swimming pool for those that do not have access to Private Villa facilities.
Apart from the famous rose wines of the area, olive trees make up a good part of the landscape and olive oil has been produced in the area since Roman times, so a great many old olive trees can be seen.  Some of these are thousands of years old, and you can sometimes see them for sale in garden centres, but the cost is staggering, you can pay over 3000 euros for a specimen of over 1000 years old.

St Tropez is easily reachable as a day trip, as is Cannes, but beware traffic at peak times.  It is probably best to have access to a car whilst staying in the area as public transport is not very well developed in this comparatively sparsely populated area.  It is also advisable to look to rent a villa in the area, as the hotels are not always up to the international standards wanted by the modern tourists.  Although many can be charming, the ability to sink into ones private swimming pool after a long day exploring or at the beach is something worth paying for.  There are a number of companies locally that specialise in rentals, best to find an English speaking agency otherwise, unless your french is really good you can run into trouble with the rental contract.

Getting to Lorgues is reasonably simple, it is signposted from the A8motorway which runs along the coast.  The nearest airport is Nice International airport which serves a number of UK airports including all 4 in London, Liverpool, East Midlands, Bristol and Manchester can also be reached daily, and there are also regular flights to New York, Montreal, even Moscow and Dubai.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

New Villa - Mas de la Treille - Maubec, Luberon

We have a new charming property situated in the small village of Maubec in the Luberon, close to the many delightful hill villages and activities which this area offers. There is a small food shop in Maubec, and more in nearby Coustellet. The villages of Oppède-le-Vieux, Gordes, Ménerbes and Bonnieux are all within a 15 minute drive.

Although a village house, it is hidden from view behind a stone wall, and accessed by electric security gates. Within the walled garden is a swimming pool (9 x 5m, heated on request) with pool house, and beyond this a lovely covered terrace from where the views to the Luberon mountain range can be enjoyed.

The building is divided into two parts the main part comprising the living area, tastefully decorated with antique furniture, and equipped with satellite television, and two bedrooms. The second part houses the other three bedrooms and a typical provençal living room, opening to a covered terrace. There is air conditioning in the bedrooms, and the property also has internet access. 

For more information click here or have a look on our website -

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Bourbon and Provence in the South of France...

In the Bouches de Rhone (the mouth of the Rhone) is the medieval Provencal village of Bourbon. It is a typically pretty and ancient village for which Provence in the south of France is noted. The architecture ranges back to Roman times with many medieval additions making the tiny streets, arch ways and various nooks and crannies a very attractive prospect for the exploring tourist.Like many villages in the area, it has fortifications from long ago. Bourbon  has a fortified castle which dominates the village, with a very interesting guards hut called Le Gardette, beside the Porte Loriol as you enter the village.

There is a 14th century statue of St Christopher, the patron saint of travellers. Further along on Rue Barri, there is the remains of an 11th century with its keep and defence towers, but sadly that is all that remains. The church of St Anne dates from 1626 and the chapel of St Marcellin has Roman antecedents and is the place where the annual bottle procession starts each June 1st.

This is a really nice traditional festival which happens each June 1st in the village. All the locals bring a bottle of their best wine and meet at 7pm then follow the priest to the chapel for it to be blessed by the priest, then they all open the bottles and drink some of the wine. I say some, because it is expected that you re-cork it when you have finished, with the idea that you save the rest for the next procession next year, but I don't think this degree of denial would suit the normal British tourist!  It is supposed to ward off stomach ache, fevers and other illnesses and it is said that the congregation then return to the village and are uplifted and jolly, but I suspect that means they may be drinking more of the wine than the priest would condone! It is a nice tradition though.

There is walking, horse riding and a number of summer events, the festival of St Eloi being the most significant, which takes place on the 4th Sunday in August each year.There is also a market each Monday where you can buy locally made ceramics, olive oil products and the local rose, for which Provence is justly renowned. then in the last weekend of September there is a bullfighting festival.This is not a spectacle that is revered by most Brits, but it is a long-held tradition of the area, and the locals enjoy it, so who are we to interfere with an age old pastime.

Getting to the area is tricky unless you have access to a car. Public transport hardly exists and taxis are scare.The nearest airport is Marseilles which has flights to a number of destinations including the UK and much of Europe, but if you want an intercontinental flight you would need to travel to Nice International Airport some 2 hours away.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

History Of Isle De La Sourge

Twenty five miles east of Avignon, between Carpentras and Cavillion in deepest Provence is the must see town of Isle De La Sorgue.  Provenc al  villages are almost without exception pretty places steeped in history going as far back as Roman times and sometimes further and Isle De la Sorgue is no exception.  The locals call it an island city, but island town is nearer  the mark, nestling in the plains of Comtat Venaissin at the foot of the plains of Vaucluse, It is quite a large entity by Provencal standards and is busy all year around. 

The several canals that run through the village are what really define its island character. There are a number of quiet and small streets running  through the village, many with small rivers or streams running through them, it is a delightful  place to walk around with almost every where that soothing sound of running water to calm the senses. There are a number of moss covered wheels which hark back to an earlier time when the power of the river was used in the local industries which were the creating of silk and the manufacture of paper from the verdant forests of the area. This is now no longer the case.

Isle De La Sourge was once a famous cray fishing centre, with a reputed 35,000 crayfish caught each day at its height, but now adays the tourist is king and the shops tend to have local produce, especially olive oil and the local rose wine in abundance, although some crayfish can be found for sale.
Art galleries now abound in the village including the famous Maison  Hotel Donadel de Campredon built in the 18th century, now converted into a museum showing such great artists as Miro, Mauguinand Dufy and a display area dedicated to René Char. Isle De La Sorgue is also a renowned centre for antiques with a reputed 300 shops or dealers located in the town.  

The highlight of the antiques season is both the Easter break and 15th August when antiques fairs are held with up to 500 dealers descending on the town.But back to the history, the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame des Angeshas an exceptionally fine Baroque interior and the old pharmacy has an interesting  collection of Moustier faience, whatever that is, I asked some locals but none could explain it, but as it is displayed in a pharmacy it must have some medical application.

Many other pretty village abound in the area, Cavillion is worth a visit as is Carpentras, in fact there are dozens of relatively unknown places to explore in the area.

Getting to the area requires a car.  Public transport is not very well developed and it would otherwise be very difficult to visit the other villages in the area.  The nearest airport is Marseilles which has some international flights and is about 70 kms distant. A little further away is Nice International Airport, which has flights to many UK airports including all 4 London airports, and offers flights daily to New York and Montreal, plus you can fly direct to Moscow and Dubai as well as most provincial French towns and Paris.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Lovely villa in Maussane, Provence, confirmed for rentals for Summer 2012

This recently converted mas is located in the centre of the very pretty village of Maussane, which lies in the heart of Les Alpilles and a close drive to both St Remy-de-Provence and Arles. This very attractive property, is just a few short steps from the wonderful sun drenched village square with shops, bars, a wonderful weekly market and some very fine restaurants, all very close at hand. The house lies behind a quiet and secluded courtyard and has a pretty, partly lawned garden, an enclosed 8 x 3m alarmed step pool with decking surround and independent studio.

The house has been decorated and furnished in a fresh modern style, mixing traditional stone walls and original stone tiles with contemporary furniture. It has a very fresh, spacious and welcoming feel throughout.
For more photos & information go to our website - 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Cote d'Azur Villa Rentals: Villa Riveloup, Le Bar-sur-Loup

Villa Riveloup, Le Bar-sur-Loup

Villa Riveloup   11/2011 & 08/2012

We had an excellent holiday and would be keen to book the same villa, Riveloup, again next year.
It was ideal for our large extended family, and safe and secure even for young children.
Thanks for your helpful advice whenever we’ve phoned. The efficient way any minor problems at the villa were dealt with was much appreciated.
Best wishes,
Keith Dodd

November 2011 & August 2012