Les Olivettes is a pleasant five minute walk from the centre of Lourmarin, one of France's prettiest villages. It offers panoramic views of the village, its Renaissance château and the Luberon mountains. The house, recently refurbished by a professional interior designer, has a spacious common-room and five separate apartments, each with distinctive character and colours. Each apartment has a queen-size bed, separate sitting and dining areas, furnished terrace, and a well-equipped kitchen with hand-made Provençal wall-tiles. All apartments have a stereo and satellite TV. Some have DVD players.
The antiques and contemporary furnishings in the 590 square foot (55 square metre) living room combine with the cathedral ceiling to create an elegant and welcoming atmosphere which is carried over into the apartments. The walls throughout the house are painted with the ochre washes and traditional colours of Provence. All floors are tiled with hand-made terracotta parefeuilles from the renowned Vernin tileworks in nearby Apt. The house also has a 21st century heating system providing plenty of hot water at all times. It can also heat the swimming pool.
The pool (50 x 20 feet / 6 x 15 metres), is set in a typical Provençal olive-grove with stone fountains, and gardens filled with Mediterranean flowers and aromatic herbs. Footpaths wind through the olive trees past benches and garden chairs - good for reading, relaxing and gazing at the scenery. There is also a ping-pong table, and a terrain de boules, a pitch for playing the classic Provençal game of pétanque, or 'bocci'.
Lourmarin, officially recognised by the French Tourist Board as "one of the most beautiful villages in France", is located in the heart of the Luberon Natural park, where all building and development is strictly regulated. So, while it is a lively attraction for visitors from all over Europe, it nevertheless retains the beauty and charm of a small Provençal village. It is a peaceful and sophisticated country retreat. Many writers and artists have chosen to live here, including the famous philosopher Albert Camus, who is buried in the village cemetery.
Altogether this village of 1200 residents has fifteen fine restaurants, including Edouard Loubet's "Le Moulin" and "La Fenière" where Reine Sammut won the title of "Best Woman Chef in France". "L'Antiquaire" also is the third Michelin recommended establishment. There are also several tea-rooms, art galleries and several chic decoration and clothes shops, all of which go to make the village a lively year-round destination. And of course the Luberon hills are great for hiking, mountain-biking, and horseback riding.
Situated in the heart of the Luberon Natural Regional Park, Lourmarin has long been famous for its scenic beauty and unusual history. The village lies on the southern side of the mountain, at the entrance of the pass separating the 'Petit' Luberon from the 'Grand' Luberon. It is an ideal base from which to explore Provence - in particular the hidden valleys and hilltop villages of the Luberon. Day trip destinations include the 13th century Cistercian Abbey of Sénanque, the celebrated medieval villages of Gordes and Bonnieux, and the ochre quarries and ochre-coloured houses of Roussillon.
The major tourist attractions are all within easy reach: the walled city of Avignon with its Papal Palace; sophisticated Aix-en-Provence with its tree-lined boulevards, sidewalk cafés and designer boutiques and Arles, with its Roman amphitheatre and medieval cathedral. For those with a special interest in interior decorating, nearby Isle-sur-la-Sorgue with its world-famous antiques market also makes a pleasant excursion. Wine-lovers will appreciate visiting the famous Côtes-du-Rhône vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and Vacqueyras. There is also the Camargue, a National Park and Wildlife Reserve, where you'll find horses and Provençal cattle ranches as well as spectacular bird-watching (pink flamingoes!). The Camargue also boasts some of the best beaches in Provence.
“This was our fourth visit to Les Olivettes and everything is as wonderful as ever. We had a very relaxed time. Thank you Joe and Elizabeth. We’re looking forward to our fifth visit.”
Dave and Diane N. - Slough, England
“This was our 5th stay at Les Olivettes, so expectations were already high, and still they were exceeded! We are eager to come back and enjoy it again and again.”
John W. and Carol M. - San Rafael, California, USA
“We have loved our time at Les Olivettes. The view of the castle and the town from Le Genêt and the picture window in the living-room are both unforgettable This is an excellent base to explore the Luberon area. We have been to France many times and this is our favourite region.”
John and Shirley C. - Vancouver, Canada
“We had been looking forward to this vacation for months. We have spent a week here now and are really impressed. We have enjoyed every second at this beautiful place. The apartments and the garden are lovely and inspirational.”
Elisabeth and Olaf S. - Trondheim, Norway
“Cette année nous avions envie de repos et sérénité et nous l’avons trouvé dans votre maison. Mais 15 jours passent trop vie ! Nous avons hâte de revenir au plus vite et savourer ce coin de paradis ou nous avons toujours le plaisir de rencontrer ou de retrouver des personnes intéressantes et sympathiques.”
Natalie and Nicolas D. - Chatillon, 92, France