There's something very appealing about Provence Paradise, a hillside hamlet of six vacation villas on the outskirts of St. Remy. William Moore, an American from suburban Chicago, bought the property in 2005 and spent five years bringing its crumbling buildings back to life. (For 350 years, the Tourtet family had been making roof tiles and bricks on the property but the business fell apart when the men in the family went off to fight in WWI...and either died or came home disabled. How's that for sad?)
The oldest home on the property is La Tuilerie, started in 1621 and added to, piece by piece, over the next 150 years. Today it's a lovely four-bedroom house (sleeps 12) that's loaded with mod cons (washer, dryer, dishwasher, etc.) but still has its evocative 17th-century walls, stones, beams and more.
Among the many charms of Provence Paradise are the fully cooked meal you'll find waiting for you when you arrive (starter, main, dessert, bread and wine), the Tuesday night poolside cocktail party for all guests, the lovely landscaping, the pool and jacuzzi heated by hidden solar panels and the eclectic antiques and objets--gathered from all over France--that decorate every home. I like how guests are welcome to help themselves from the stash of local wine in every house...and are trusted to replace what they drink.
Above all, I like William's obvious willingness to go the extra mile for his guests, whether that means moving furniture around to make a play space for the kids or picking you up in town after dinner.
Virtually all of the guests here speak English (they tend to come from the US, the UK, Ireland, Australia and the Netherlands, to name a few), and a handful of families who met here now try to return at the same time each year. Provence Paradise gives you the amenities and privacy of your own house...but the community feeling of a resort. If you're trying to pick a place to stay in Provence, this is a unique and reasonably priced option. And the large number of return visitors--50% of the clients are repeats--is a strong recommendation indeed.
011-33/4 06 07 82 66 63