Category Archives: Villas & Vacation Rentals

Provence villa rental review

8413France Bound client villa rental review: On behalf of my family, I want to express my deepest appreciation for organizing such a spectacular trip for is to Provence. I would highly recommend France Bound to any of our friends planning a trip to France.

Everything was seamless, and we thoroughly enjoyed Villa Goult, We found the central location ideal for what we wanted to see and to do.
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The recommended restaurants were spectacular, and one of the best meals we had was prepared at the villa by a local recommended chef. It was a great way to celebrate my wife’s birthday.

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We also appreciated your day trip recommendations, including a day at Cassis. Although we were unable to charter a boat with a skipper, we took the 65 minute tour boat along the shore and inlets and found it perfectly enjoyable. We also took you up on your suggestion to visit Sault to discover the wonder of the lavender fields.

Thank you for making our trip so special.
With best regards,
Dan
July 2015

Aix en Provence apartment rental review

France Bound client review: “We are back home after our French adventure and wanted to say thank you for your help in ensuring that we had a great holiday. Coming from Australia we find that some organisations are more geared towards the US and Canadian market. We really appreciated the effort you made, not only to ensure that everything went smoothly for us, but also to ensure that we were confident and secure about all of the arrangements that you had made. The France Bound information pack on Provence was also very helpful in helping to plan our stay.

Our stay at France Bound’s “Aix en Provence Apartment Elegance” was one of the highlights of our trip. We really appreciated your detailed directions on how to get to the apartment, after our taxi had to drop us off short of our destination due to road closures. We could not have asked for a more welcoming or helpful hostess in Holly. She was there to greet us, and gave us great advice about the area, as well as restaurants and shopping. The apartment was even better than the photos on the web. It was not only stylish, but more importantly very comfortable and well appointed, stocked with everything that we could possibly need during our stay. It was in a great location, but it was the light bright rooms, high ceilings and big windows that really made it a pleasure to stay in. There is nothing like sitting back with the windows open, enjoying the Aix sunshine with a glass of wine in the late afternoon after a day of sightseeing.

We are back in cold Tasmania now, missing the warm Aix sun, and dreaming of our next holiday. We will be recommending France Bound to our friends.”

Helen Bennett and Ray Smithurst. June 2015

Beautiful villa with pool just minutes from Aix en Provence available July 18 – August 8, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPerfect for a family holiday in Provence, this stunning 4 bedroom villa with pool is ideally situated just minutes from Aix en Provence with easy access to all the surrounding places of interest in Provence. Currently available July 18 – August 08. Rental price 4700 euros per week.

Contact http://www.francebound.net for reservations.

Click on this link to view the full description and photos: http://francebound.net/property.php?id=598

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Paris Vacation Apartment Rental

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We arrived at our Paris apartment, and were immediately drawn to the spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower from every room in the apartment. Our beautifully decorated apartment features a comfortable living room where you can relax after a busy day of sightseeing, and enjoy stunning views of the hourly light show as thousands of lights twinkle on the Eiffel Tower.

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pp0784cThe charming bedroom has a queen bed lots of storage and two large windows with enchanting views of the Eiffel Tower.

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The romantic dining room has an oak dining table and chairs set in front of an antique fireplace mantle and picture perfect framed views of the Eiffel Tower – an elegant setting for dinner at home.

An island separates the dining room from the kitchen, which has been beautifully remodeled with all the modern conveniences and appliances, including a Nespresso coffee machine. The renovated bathroom has a walk in shower with glass doors, toilet, and an antique marble sink.

 

The apartment is conveniently equipped with elevator access and air conditioning.

Contact France Bound for reservations at this Paris Luxury One Bedroom Apartment.

 

The apartment is located in the 7th arrondissement – one of the best neighbourhoods in Paris. Once we settled into the apartment, we were eager to get out for a walk along charming Rue St. Dominique, which is filled with enticing shops, cafés, boutiques and restaurants. After a stroll, we made our way to Café Constant – a favourite bistro style restaurant. Although it was busy, we were able to get a table upstairs and enjoyed a fabulous meal, as always. Highlights were the artichoke salad, and the crab and avocado salad starters; the roast chicken and grilled prawn main courses; and a shared crème brulée for desert. It was a great start to our week in Paris.

Roussillon

326Roussillon is an incredibly picturesque Luberon village and classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France.

As you walk through the village you will see the clock tower and its campanile, the vestiges of the ramparts, the remains of the 10th century castle, narrow cobblestone streets, squares and vaulted passageways, and lovely 17th & 18th century homes with ochre washed facades & tiled roofs.

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333Roussillon was long specialised in the mining of the natural pigments contained in the ochre lands – and only stopped in 1945 with the advent of synthetic products.

Next to the village there is an ochre path through the heart of the old ochre quarries, where you can appreciate the great beauty and many shades of the ochre colours contrasted against the green pine trees and intense blue skies.

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You can also explore the history of the ochre mines by visiting the “Conservatoire des Ocres et des Couleurs” set up in a former ochre factory just outside the village, where you can learn all about the use of ochres, and take part in classes.

 

Roussillon has many restaurants from simple cafes to high end fine dining with views of the ochre cliffs. Most restaurants are clustered around the square near the top of the village and the picturesque mairie and clock tower. There is also a great ice cream and sandwich shop “Côté Sucré Salé”, just as you start walking up the hill towards the ochre quarry and cemetery. You can sit on the wall overlooking the ochre cliffs with your ice cream, or take your sandwich into the quarry, where there are a few small picnic areas.

8465-terraceWhere to stay in Roussillon:  In the heart of the village, Maison Jolie is an exceptional and very well appointed vacation rental house with 3 bedrooms & bathrooms, wonderful views, a heated pool, surrounded by terraces, luxury amenities, and lots of charm. The house is characterized by large rooms with typical, warm Provencal decoration, including a vaulted ceiling kitchen with an antique oak table. The house is elevated and the terrace is up one floor from the street level, so it is a private and calm space with magnificent views of the Mont Ventoux, the vineyards of the Luberon valley, and the ochre cliffs of Roussillon.

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Contact http://www.francebound.net for reservations.

Gordes

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Gordes is a very beautiful village, perched on the southern edge of the Vaucluse plateau. The stone buildings and houses cling to the cliffs and spill down the southern hillside. The view of the village on approach is stunning, and from within the village the view is a southern panorama out across the fields and forests and small perched villages to the Luberon hills.

gordes-squareCrowned by a Renaissance castle, the narrow cobblestone streets wind around a small square with a fountain and terrace cafes. The stone paths and steps meander through the village past lovely stone houses built on several levels and spectacular views of the Luberon valley. The village has many restaurants, cafes, art galleries, and several other shops plus a market on Tuesday mornings.  Gordes offers exceptional charm, and is one of the most beautiful villages of France.gordes-bories

Just outside Gordes , you can visit the Village de Bories, an ancient hamlet of all dry-stone buildings that are found in this area, including a fascinating collection of houses, walls, barns and a variety of other enclosures, including a period silk-making shop. gordes-senanque

 

 

Nearby, just to the north of Gordes a small roads leads to the picturesque Abbaye de Sénanque only 4 km away. The Abbaye de Sénanque is particularly beautiful in June when the fields of lavender are in bloom.

 

Where to stay: Domaine Gordes is an exceptional villa for up to 12 guests with 6 bedrooms & bathrooms, heated pool, incredible views, sumptuous furnishings & decor, and a tennis court. Contact http://www.francebound.net for reservations.

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Villa Luberon

8423bbVilla Luberon is an ideal retreat for a holiday in the Luberon. With breathtaking views and exceptional comfort and privacy, this luxury villa is one of our favourite villas in the Luberon. Featuring an open floor plan with spectacular views of the mountains, nearby villages, and surrounding vineyards through multiple French doors and large windows, this large private property includes a main house with 3 ensuite bedrooms, a guest house with 2 ensuite bedrooms, several outdoor terraces, a heated horizon pool, and beautiful gardens.

114The villa is beautifully designed and very well appointed. In the main house, the spacious open plan living and dining rooms have cathedral ceilings, rustic wood beams, plus a wall of French doors opening out to the terraces, pool, and panoramic views.  The Provençal-style chef’s kitchen is at the heart of the home, and is equipped with top-of-the-line appliances, and a large country style table that is perfect for informal meals and kitchen gatherings.

8423kitchenThree large bedrooms in the main house, all have king-size beds, en-suite bathrooms, and air conditioning. One is on the main floor and the other two are upstairs. All the bedrooms enjoy gorgeous views of the countryside, and open to terraces. The smaller adjacent guesthouse is perfect for teenagers or a  nanny and younger children: 1 room with queensize bed, plus a children’s room with twin beds. Both rooms also have ensuite bathrooms and air conditioning.This beautifully appointed villa accommodate up to 10 guests.

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Nearby Goult is a charming and relatively quiet Luberon village with pretty golden stone houses, several shops, cafes & restaurants, and a Monday morning market. At the top of the village is a picturesque windmill with panoramic views.

Contact http://www.francebound.net for reservations. There is still good availability for 2015.

Cucuron

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Just up the road from Ansouis is the delightful walled Medieval village of Cucuron. This picturesque village is pretty enough to have been used as the setting for the movies ‘A Good Year’ and  ‘The Horseman on the Roof’.

 

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Cucuron is best known for its bassin – a lovely rectangular pool of water in the main square shaded by 200 year old plane trees and a line of cafes and restaurant terraces on one side. The Cucuron bassin began as a small lake fed by water sources from the Luberon hills, and the water was used to power the flour mills. It was converted into the rectangular walled bassin at the beginning of the 19th century. On Tuesday mornings, there is a great little market around the bassin.

411The village is constructed in the usual style of the Middle Ages, with streets and houses winding up to a castle at the highest point, although in Cucuron, only the castle’s dungeon remains.

413You can walk around the village exploring the charming streets up toward the medieval rampart walls and the donjon (dungeon) St Michel. You can also visit the village church: Notre Dame de Beaulieu, which has a rare stone campanile and is quite beautiful inside with a wood mural from the 16th century, an original Romanesque nave, and a magnificent restored organ from 1616. In the summer, there are often concerts held in the church.

From the high points of the village, you can enjoy spectacular views over the tile rooftops to the valley below filled with orchards, vineyards, and olive groves, and the southern slope of the Luberon mountains. On a clear day, you might even see Mont St. Victoire and the Alpilles in the distance to the south.

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During our stay in the Luberon, Cucuron was our home. We stayed at a lovely one bedroom apartment with a sunny terrace on the edge of the village.    

 

 

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Ansouis

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Our visit to the Luberon begins in Ansouis, an exceptionally well preserved village that retains its original beauty. Ansouis is ideally located just 30 minutes north of Aix en Provence and 1 hour from Avignon.

 

 

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The village of Ansouis is crowned by one of the most beautiful castles/châteaux in the Luberon. Originally, built as a fortress in the 10th century, the castle has some beautiful furnishings and tapestries dating to the 17th and 18th centuries, plus a lovely kitchen and beautiful terraces and garden, which make the castle well worth a visit. Both the castle and the village are beautifully preserved, and many of the houses date back to the 15th century.

346Where to stay:  Ideally located in the heart of Ansouis, this beautifully restored historic village house is very well appointed and well equipped. This Luberon Village house cleverly combines original charm and character with modern conveniences, and features 5 luxurious bedrooms, 5 recently renovated bathrooms, a new chef’s kitchen, a gorgeous sunny rooftop terrace with fabulous views, a pretty interior courtyard with a fountain, and air conditioning.  The house can be rented in a 3 or 5 bedroom configuration.

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Where to eat:  Ansouis also has one of the best restaurants in the region. La Closerie is a tiny restaurant with excellent food and service. The restaurant now has a Michelin star, yet it retains a relaxed charm and reasonable prices. Make sure you book well in advance as this tiny restaurant is very popular with both locals and visitors.

 

 

 

Aix en Provence

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We love Aix en Provence, and coming back is like returning to our French home. We lived here several years ago with our sons, and we return regularly to visit our favourite city, our friends and neighbours, and to check out places for clients.

Whenever we return, the first thing we do is go to the Place de Mairie to touch the golden stones of the arch under the beautiful horloge clock tower, which we used to pass through every morning on our way to French classes at the Universite.

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We love the markets, and the sunny squares filled with outdoor cafes, and the tree lined main boulevard Cours Mirabeau, where you can sit back and enjoy the sunshine while watching all the activity of daily life in France. There is a market every day in Aix en Provence.

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On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday there is a large market with crafts, collectibles and food at the Place Verdun and Place Precheurs in front of the Palais Justice, and a flower market at the Place Hotel de Ville. A daily farmer’s market with food and fresh produce is held in the Place Richelme between the post office and the old grain market.

There is also a clothing and textile market on the Cours Mirabeau on Tuesday and Thursday, and at the Palais Justice on Saturday. On Sundays, there is a brocante/antique market on the Cours Mirabeau.

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Aix has a wonderful climate and is usually bathed in sunshine illuminating and warming the honey coloured stone buildings. The elegance of Aix-en-Provence can be seen everywhere in its lively streets and squares, historic architecture, and ancient fountains.

 

 

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The Cours Mirabeau is the beautiful tree lined avenue leading from the grand La Rotunde fountain to the statue of Roi Rene, and it is flanked with wide promenades, noble 17 & 18th century  buildings, and lively cafes.  The old town of Aix is filled with beautiful architecture, shops, markets, museums, and fountains. Aix has the third-largest collection of Baroque architecture in France, after Paris and Versailles. Everywhere, throughout the town, you will find fountains that gave this city its original Roman name of Aquae Sextiae.

 

086On this visit to Aix en Provence, we are staying at a spacious & stylish one bedroom apartment in the centre of town. The apartment features tasteful furnishings and decor, and a south facing balcony overlooking a private garden below and over the tile rooftops. The apartment is quiet and tranquil, even though it is situated in the centre of town.

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The Cours Mirabeau and all the shops, cafes and restaurants in the historic centre are just a short stroll from the apartment. Access to/from the autoroute is easy, and there is a convenient public parking garage just across the street. Our apartment hostess is very friendly and helpful, and the apartment is equipped with all amenities, good quality linens & towels, and thoughtful touches such as lovely Provencal soaps.

Aix is filled with restaurants, and although they change often, we are always delighted to return to some of our favourites, and to discover some new ones. Mitch restaurant has been a favourite of ours for several years, and we returned with anticipation on our first night in Aix. Once again, we enjoyed an excellent meal and service at Mitch restaurant, which is located on the Rue des Tanneurs in the old town. A highlight was the pan seared halibut served with a lobster emulsion and cepes mushrooms – excellente! 

IMG_20141026_142517Not far from town, is the hilltop village of Ventabren, which features the tiny Michelin starred restaurant La Table de Ventabren restaurant with a sunny south-facing terrace. This was our choice for Sunday lunch with friends and former neighbours. The setting on a warm and sunny October afternoon was stunning and the meal was superb. Highlights were the scallops with cod mousselline, and the duck plate, which were both beautifully presented and delicious.  The only downside was that lunch took 3 hours – although it was a very pleasant 3 hours with good friends, good food and good wine!

IMG_20141027_200925In the old town, just a few steps from the Place Mairie and the beautiful horloge, is the Place des Cardeurs and the restaurant Bistrot des Philosophes.  We had a fabulous meal and great service. Our favourite dishes were the starter plate with buratta cheese with pesto, beefsteak tomatoes, duck pancetta, and parmesan crisp. The duck main course was delicious served with a fig sauce, potatoes dauphinoise with cepes mushrooms, and a vegetable tian.

IMG_20141028_204534 Another favourite and very popular restaurant In Aix en Provence is the Poivre d’Ane on the Place Forum des Cardeurs. We chose the discovery menu with selections made by the chef. We sampled a foie gras and lobster terrine starter, a fabulous scallop with cepes mushroom sauce starter, partridge with prune sauce, and an incredible tiramisu with pistachio mascarpone, and raspberries – exceptional and highly recommended.

The weather was outstanding throughout our stay – beautiful, warm and sunny every day – a real treat at the end of November. As always, we left Aix en Provence with sadness, but look forward to returning soon.