Peter Mayle's home land, all perched villages and sweeping views. The most popular and expensive villages include: Gordes, Goult, Roussillon, Bonnieux, Menerbes, Lacoste, and Lourmarin.
To get slightly more for your budget look in and around, Apt, Saignon, St Saturnin Les Apt, Cucuron, Ansouis, La Tour D'Aigues, Grambois.
Lovers of history may want to concentrate on the northern side of the Luberon which is better for access to Avignon and the Palais des Papes. Lovers of cafe society and shopping may want to look to the southern Luberon for their rental villa for ease of access to Aix en Provence.
The hotels we have selected in the southern Luberon are Domaine de Fontenille, the Pavillon de Gallon, and Maison Collongue. Domaine de Fontenille
is one of the larger hotels in our collection of secret places to stay. It's a stunning recent renovation of an old mas just outside the village of Lauris, 5 minutes drive from Lourmarin. The Maison Collongue
is a small bed and breakfasts which frequently garners praise in the French press but is relatively unknown to Anglophones. It's set in the countryside just outside Lourmarin and offers a truly relaxing and luxurious Provencal experience. The Pavillon de Gallon
is a standard bearer for small boutique hotels. It's gardens have won awards, it's rooms are beautifully furnished and any guest staying here cannot help but feel cossetted. It's a short five minute walk from Cucuron and the delights of the Michelin starred Petit Maison. In the north Luberon we love the Parfum des Collines
, just outside Apt. This small boutique hotel really lives up to its name - Perfume of the hills. To lie by the pool is to smell the sweet scent of Provence.
Offers a stunning, almost lunar landscape. Luxurious properties are hidden away in total privacy between the jagged peaks. Favoured by some for their Provencal vacation for ease of access to Saint Remy de Provence.
The most popular and expensive villages for vacation rentals include: Saint Remy de Provence, Eygalieres, Les Baux de Provence and Maussane Les Alpilles
Look for slightly better value in Graveson, Fontvieille, and Mouries.
For hotels we have selected a couple of town houses right in the middle of Saint Remy de Provence. The Hotel Tourrel
is the latest edition to the numerous luxury hotels that dot the town and surrounding countryside. It's in the centre of Saint Remy de Provence and is the most sympathetic conversion of an old town house imaginable. It's small and intimate, with a rooftop pool. The nearby Maison de Village
has been a welcome stop over for travellers for years now, it's Saint Remy's original boutique hotel. Nearby Eygalieres is the quintessential Provencal village, and the Maison de Tim
, is the ideal place to stay and enjoy its charms. As with all the hotels in our collection the Maison de Tim combines luxury with the personal service that only comes with a small establishment.
In and around Aix en Provence
Mont Saint Victoire, beloved of Cezanne and fellow painters is the backdrop to a holiday rental in this area.
The price hot spot is Le Tholonet and around which not only offers spectacular views on Mont Saint Victoire but also easy access into Aix. For cheaper options close to Aix consider Rognes, St Cannat, and Eguilles. For hotels Aix's offers plenty of luxury options.
We've opted to highlight the Relais de Saint Ser
, just outside the centre of the city, with stunning views of Mont Sainte Victoire, and a wonderful restaurant with sunset views to die for.
In and around Avignon and Arles
To the north the land is ideal for wine lovers. The countryside of the southern Rhone is full of sweeping panoramas of fields of vines.
In and around Chateauneuf du Pape makes an excellent base, but consider also on the other side of the Rhone, the village of Tavel. To the south of Arles and Avignon is the Camargue, a marshland brimming with wild life.
In both Avignon and Arles we have selected centrally located boutique hotels. Neither are budget busters, both have roof top terraces from which you can overlook the city. They are comfortable luxurious places to return to after a day exploring the streets. In Arles we have selected the Hotel du Cloitre
as our boutique hotel and in Avignon the Limas townhouse
There is no shortage of places to stay for a great holiday in Provence. A room can be found to fit every budget and every person, from luxury 5 star spa and golf course hotels, to charming rooms in old farmhouses and campsites. A touring itinerary moving from hotel to hotel is also to be recommended. This is a particularly common way of seeing Provence when on a cycling or walking tour.
Half board, known as demi-pension, is still relatively common and some hotels in the tourist season will insist on guests eating one main meal a day in the hotel.
To economise it is usually better where possible to eat breakfast outside hotels. Croissants can be bought in local bakeries and eaten on the terraces of cafes.
Most hotels in Provence will have a pool, although they are not always heated. Out of season good deals are available on room rates and it pays to watch the forecast and book late.
Here's a brief run down of the different accommodation options:
to basic, the choice is yours. At the upper end of the scale Provence is home to some of the most famous hotels in the world. Expect sensational views, Michelin starred food, spas, and your every whim to be catered for. All at a price! The middle end of the market is particularly competitive with numerous small hotels offering idyllic locations, swimming pools and food prepared with love. At the Guru these are the hotels we concentrate on, places where you can feel at home, be pampered, and not break the bank.
Essentially a French Bed and Breakfast
. Although often an evening meal will be available. You'll be on much more intimate terms with the other guests and often eat around a shared table. Rather than a restaurant and hotel experience expect more to feel like you are a guest in someone else's home. Prices will be lower than hotels, but the quality of rooms and the overall setting can still be extremely high. Here at the Guru we try to feature the very best Chambre D Hote
More and more small apartments
are coming on to the holiday rental market. Available either by the week in season or for a minimum of 3/4 days out of season these apartments tend to be located in the major tourist cities and villages. An excellent choice for travellers looking for a little more space and independence than offered by the average hotel.
Villa vacation rentals
Luxury Villa Rentals
in Provence are the ideal way for families and large groups of friends to experience first hand the joys of living in Provence, shopping in the markets for essentials, and relaxing over long leisurely lunches around the pool. Prices peak in the summer, but out of season it's possible to rent some stunning houses at jaw dropping prices.
Two very different holiday experiences are on offer in Provence. Opt for the coast in tourist season and you'll experience, bright lights, fast cars, over-sized shades, excess, decadence, and one hell of a good time. The sea shimmers, the cocktails flow and the beach clubs rock. On the downside there are a few traffic jams.
Inland things are more sedate, but only just. In the summer season the villages of Provence have learnt how to celebrate. Music festivals, fireworks, bull runs, there's always something going on. There will be fewer Ferraris than by the seaside, and the lights will go out just that bit earlier at night.
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If you opt to holiday in inland Provence, the next big decision is whether to stay in a village or in the countryside. The holy grail for most holidaymakers is a place within walking distance of a Provencal village, but also benefiting from the Provencal countryside. These places are hard to find, and often a choice has to be made.
Staying in a village offers the advantages of having bars and restaurants on your doorstep. Step out of where you are staying and the street life of Provence will be all around you. It's perfect for those who love spending lazy mornings drinking coffee and then following all the exertion with a long and satisfying lunch. The sacrifice is space. It will be much harder to find a hotel or holiday rental with a swimming pool and grounds. Prices may also be higher.
Renting a villa
or staying in a hotel in the countryside offers one of the great pleasures of life, sitting by a pool, listening to the throbbing beat of the cicadas, inhaling the perfumed air of Provence. It's a recipe for relaxation and well-being. This being Provence the perfect village is only ever a hop away in the car, and the countryside offers the perfect refuge from the hustle and bustle and tourists hordes.