“La Maison d’Artistes” – by Debbie Ambrous

IMG_9501-1The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain
The weather forecast of 100% rain for today prompted me to follow Mr. Twain’s sage advice to get started with writing my first post for Provence. My maiden voyage to France was in the year 1990 which doesn’t appear on any historic plaques, or Wikipedia, but it was a momentous occasion for me. Yet, why has it taken me so long to see Provence considering all of the praise and prose from wise writers and painters? Surely they must know what they are talking about!

Farms with stone houses and chickens, cows, sheep in the pastures set in rolling hills with surrounding forests filled my eyes and heart with satisfaction. Markets with fresh vegetables, antiques, colorful trinkets and friendly faces caused me to part first with francs and then with euros to fill my basket, again and again. Chateaus hidden in deep woods and dominating hills were exciting discoveries along with tiny villages where every home had flowers in window boxes and roses trailing on fences. I was happy to continue this pace in the regions of Burgundy, Normandy, Dordogne, Lot, the Loire valley and other areas since they had all of the above in abundance. I had everything I wanted, and I did not want to spoil it with a trip to a place with less than my high expectations and desires.

Now, speaking in my whining and ignorant voice, I will say that the Provence seemed to be dry, rocky and without the lush vegetation compared to my favorites. Please don’t throw rotten melons at me! I have thoroughly enjoyed Peter Mayle’s books, and many more books on Provence; and who wouldn’t love the movie “A Good Year” with Russel Crowe? I did my homework, and I had a bit of knowledge packed away in my French files. Now that I have finally joined the masses in the land of wine and lavender, I will say in simple terms after only a few days of inspection: “It is beautiful! I love it, love it! Get over here if you can!”

Where are we exactly? Find a map of France and locate Roussillon. Then, follow a narrow road down the hill about 4 kilometers and turn right to follow an even narrower road uphill to our rental house. You will find us secreted away like movie stars behind the iron gate, almost hidden by the cascades of orange trumpet vine. The door creaks open to a courtyard with a small pool to splash in the sunshine and a tree with flaming red leaves forming a canopy better than any umbrella. Tall green cedar trees point upward to the blue sky, proudly proclaiming another beautiful day. You may find Jim leaning back and snoozing in one of the wooden Adirondack chairs, or would you call them Provence chairs in France? Or, you may be just in time for the lunch Chef Jim prepares for us to enjoy at the blue table and chairs just outside the large, French kitchen.IMG_8966-1

IMG_9540IMG_9927I will stop here and say that the lovely Maison d’Artistes is probably not for you if you are looking for a sleek modern house with all of the newest electronic gadgets, or the minimalistic new décor. No, just turn around and head elsewhere.

Yes, a ROMANTIC roof terrace!

Yes, a ROMANTIC roof terrace!

IMG_9554However, if you want a two-bedroom house with art, antiques, books, fireplaces, wooden beams and nice touches that thrill the eye wherever you look then this house will delight you. Stop here and stay for an enjoyable visit in Provence in an ordinary French village.IMG_9931IMG_9937 No tourists are likely to be at your front door. An artisan’s shop is across our quiet street where beautiful women’s handbags are created! How is that for a setting, my ladies?!

I hope you click over to see the professional pictures of Maison d’Artistes  since I don’t have the professional lighting for my photography, not enough to do it justice.  You will also find the list of amenities for the house with wi-fi and other modern features included.

Since I’m anxious to enjoy lunch by the warm fireplace at the wooden farmhouse table in the kitchen, I will say au revoir! Ya’ll come again! Bon journee!