Another "hot topic" about our Provence trip was where we stayed. There are thousands of hotels, apartments, cabanons, villas, houses, etc. available throughout the Luberon Valley. While a hotel certainly has its own perks, we would rather have our own kitchen and washer/dryer for longer stays. Booking a small house has served us well over the years. For us, we truly want to be in the French Countryside so with each visit, we have also opted for more centrally located lodging. Most the time, hotels are few and far in between in rural France :) If you look on a map, there are several small towns which serve as great host locations.
On our first trip to Provence, we spent a few days at Le Couvent des Minimes in Mane, France for our wedding and then rented a house for the remainder of our stay. We've never used a travel agent and thus far we haven't had any trouble booking our flights (via Expedia) and reserving lodging.
TIP: Check airline prices and view lodging availability before you book your flights. You can't always change lodging dates, but flights are generally flexible.
Luberon Vacation Rentals is a great site to search lodging options based on the number in your party as well as requested travel dates. Most rentals are from Saturday - Saturday.
We usually plan to be gone 10 days when we visit Provence. That allows us two travel days (we live in rural Southern Illinois so we usually have to change planes at least once and again in Spain or France to get a connecting flight to Marseille), a full week stay and an extra day. If you book your reservation in advance, most hosts are accommodating and will let you add-on a Friday/Monday. We always try to fly into Marseille on a Friday (flights are generally cheaper too) and start our lodging in the afternoon and do the Saturday-Saturday rental. Depending on your budget, theluberon.com will help sort out location options.
This trip, we stayed in beautiful Bonnieux.
Bonnieux is stunning to look at on approaching, perched above the vineyards of the Luberon valley, but also a perfect Provencal village on the inside, with architecture and winding streets dating to the middle ages. Bonnieux has fantastic views to Lacoste to the west, Mont Ventoux to the north, and the Luberon mountain to the south.
Close by are other beautiful, perched, hilltop villages: Gordes, Roussillon, Lacoste, Oppede le vieux, Ménerbes, Goult, etc. all within 15 minutes.
The cabanon where we stayed is on the country road from Lacoste to Bonnieux, and you can walk into the centre of Bonnieux in 10 minutes.
We loved that there was an option of gated parking by the house. The bi-lingual owner lived on neighboring land and she made herself easily available for any problems or advice. Honestly, getting to know our host, Anna, was one of the highlights of our trip. She had traveled the world and had much wisdom to share. She was a designer and business owner and I connected with her instantly.
When traveling abroad, I encourage you to get to know those around you. By the end of our trip, we had also made friends with the local boulangerie as well as the local restaurant owners. Even on vacation we tend to be creators of habit and once we find places we love, we keep going back :) In the last post of this series, I'll share more of our favorite eats.
Overall, you can't go wrong staying anywhere in the Luberon Valley. It is truly France at its finest!
Spectacular countryside of vineyards and orchards, fascinating "perched" hill-top villages, outstanding natural produce and the light of Van Gogh and Cezanne.
-The Luberon in Provence
We've found traveling by car to be VERY easy and I'm dedicating the next blog post in this series to just that... how we traveled.
As always, thanks for stopping by the blog and following along on our journey to Provence!