We had never heard of Joucas. It's very near lofty Gordes but without the masses. This house is perched at the foot of this beautiful little village, which is full of artists, several of whom we met and socialised with during our stay. We were worried about the house being next to a car park. We need not have worried: it is peace personified, with the best view I have ever enjoyed from a French holiday rental.
The house is not de grande luxe but is charming, clean, pretty and well appointed, with elegant furniture and excellent modern bathroom fittings. The kitchen is small and a little tired but excellently well equipped with every tool, bowl, pan and electrical device a cook could hope for. There is a dishwasher (which does not show up on the listing) and a washing machine. The beds are wonderful; the French bed linens, some vintage, are a treat. All rooms have ample places to stash clothes. Towels are fluffy and garden furniture is good quality. The pool is the perfect size to do lengths and stays sunny most of the day. There is shade all day long under trees plus two parasols, which we never used. There are shady corners outside with tables and chairs for those who like a little quiet. The outside dining table is very handsome, although the canopy wasn't quite up to the mid-day sun. There is a wonderful version of a barbeque - a plancha - a cast iron slab which allowed us to cook anything and everything to perfection, only using the oven in the kitchen to skin some peppers.
There is no aircon but the thick walls, plus tradtional and electric shutters on windows, doors and skylights, keep the house cool during the day. At night, mosquito grilles on the windows and opening skylights mean you can sleep with windows open.
The garden has flowers and a fig tree (alas already harvested), some welcome herbs and a mass of lavender - and that view, which is extraordinary, rolling down across vines towards the Luberon and red cliffs of Roussillon.
The village has one great little shop five minutes away where you can get all your daily needs (order your baguettes if you are in the high season as they run out) and one lunch cafe with a great view - we didn't eat there but enjoyed the Sunday night cocktail hour sax player who specialised in bossa nova. The area is full of terrific villages with wonderful places to eat, several of which I have reviewed.
The lady owner is charming, helpful and responsive if things go wrong (which in our case was a faulty shower pump which was fixed at the earliest opportunity).
Downsides: the master bedroom has no ensuite toilet and the sensitive might not welcome having to use the communal one in the kitchen. The white kitchen flooring is pretty but not practical and needs swabbing every day. Some of the paintwork was scuffed and tired. and there is a bit of damp downstairs. There were no kitchen basics like salt and pepper, sugar etc although welcome wine and water were provided.
We got to experience the notorious Mistral, which blew for a few days following a terrific thunderstorm - quite something!
But these things did not detract from the wonderful atmosphere of the place, which gave six friends some lovely times together. All in all, we had a great time and miss that view every day.
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