1. Double bedroom with super king size bed, bathroom, sitting room and kitchenette
Best for adult couple, shared terrace with bedroom 11
2. Double bedroom with super king size bed with shared shower room
Coolest room in summer
3. 2 double bedrooms (sleeps 2/4) with shared bathroom, sitting room, kitchenette and terrace
4. 2 bedrooms (sleeps 2/3): Double with king size bed and single bedroom with shared bathroom, sitting room and kitchenette/dining room and terrace
Best for couple and child as shared bathroom same floor, and shared terrace with bedroom 5
5. 2 bedrooms (sleeps 2/3): Double and single bedrooms, shared bathroom, sitting room, kitchenette and terrace
Best for a couple and child or use as a twin as shared bathroom, and shared terrace with bedroom 4
6. Double bedroom with bathroom and sitting room
Best as single or small double, next door to dormitory
7. Children’s room with 5 single beds (sleeps 5), bathroom and shower room
full size beds but 3-4 may be a more comfortable number
8. Studio twin bedroom with shower room
Terrace shared with bedroom’s 9 and 10
9. Studio double bedroom with king size bed and shower room
Terrace shared with bedroom’s 8 and 10
10. Studio double bedroom with king size bed and shower room
Terrace shared with bedroom’s 8 and 9, shared with bedroom 9
11. Double bedroom with king size bed on mezzanine, bathroom, sitting room and terrace
Open plan and communal sitting room, shared terrace with bedroom 1
12. Main house, ground/1st floor (sleeps 2): super king size bed on the mezzanine level, with bathroom, shower room, sitting room, kitchen/dining room and terrace
Pool house/games room/yoga studio, with TV, table tennis and table football
Swimming pool (12×5.5m) saltwater with pool alarm. Can be heated for an additional cost.
10 sun loungers and 6 deck chairs
Soft shaded seating area for 10 by the pool
Large summer kitchen
Large outdoor summer dining area with dining for 28
BBQ – wood and gas
Childrens’ theatre and TV
Library with books and games (including backgammon and chess)
On request, payable locally; e-bikes
Live in couple who maintain the property and prepare 3 meals per day (groceries payable locally)
Daily maid service (2 hours per day)
Pool guy (6 days per week)
On request, payable locally;
The villa is in Luberon, within the boundaries of the Vaucluse, a ‘département’ of Provence.
Le Gorges d’Opedette is the nearest village, 5 minutes drive – a great place for exploring
Aix en Provence is 60 minutes drive – a wonderful day trip
Marseille airport, the villa is 1 hour 45 minutes drive
Nice airport is 3 hours drive
Avignon airport is 1 hour 30 minutes
Arrive by train;
Avignon train station is 1 hour 30 minutes drive
Aix-en-Provence TGV is 1 hour 20 minutes drive, with trains from London’s St Pancras
Car hire is essential.
The Luberon lies 40 kms north of Aix-en-Provence, and a similar distance east of Arles and Avignon and falls in to two departments, the Vaucluse to the west and the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence to the east. Le Grand Banc sits with feet in both departments, an area defined by the Durance River in the south and the range of mountains known as the Petit Luberon in the west. Up in the hills are fields of true lavender that can only grown at higher altitudes.
The location provides privacy and solitude, with no neighbours nearby, however there are restaurants, bars and banks, a post office, supermarket, doctor, chemist, hardware shop, butcher, baker and petrol station all within 20 minutes drive. The local markets have so much to offer that most guests will spend every morning in one – there are literally hundreds and every village and town has at least one a week.
Even in high summer the Luberon is quiet of people and traffic. The same road need never be ridden twice and the Luberon provides for fantastic cycling for intermediate and above cyclists, the road surfaces are top rate and Mount Ventoux is only 25 kms away. Electric bikes have become very popular and are available to rent locally.
Walk through fields of poppy, lavender and sunflower. Explore the glacial limestone Gorge de Oppedette. Discover ‘bories’ that dot the landscape, the drystone huts built by the 19th century fieldworkers as shelter. Visit the medieval hilltop villages of Viens, Vacheres and Simiane-la-Rotonde. The french word ‘balade’ typifies the lyrical joy to be shared from a stroll or ramble through the untamed landscape of the Luberon. Stop for picnic lunches, fresh water fountains and a well earned panache.
Palais des Papes – The skyline of Avignon is a magnificent urban landscape. Overlooking the city and the Rhône river, the Rocher des Doms presents an exceptional set of monuments including the Saint Bénezet Bridge, the Ramparts, the Petit Palais, the Cathedral and the impressive walls of the Popes’ Palace flanked by four mighty towers. This architectural group has been ranked by UNESCO.
For sheer, jaw-dropping drama, few sights in France can match the epic Gorges du Verdon. The ‘Grand Canyon of Europe’ slices a 25km swath through Haute-Provence’s limestone plateau all the way to the foothills of the Alps. Etched out over millions of years by the Verdon River, the gorges have formed the centrepiece of the Parc Naturel Régional du Verdon since 1997. With their sheer, plunging cliffs – in some places 700m high, twice the height of the Eiffel Tower – the gorges are a haven for birds, including a colony of reintroduced vautours fauves (griffon vultures). Gorges du Verdon is a great day trip (1 hour 40 minutes) where you can also canoe, kaiak, or sail.
Vieux Nice – Getting lost among the dark, narrow, winding alleyways of Nice’s old town is a highlight. The layout has barely changed since the 1700s, and it’s now packed with delis, restaurants, boutiques and bars, but the centrepiece remains cours Saleya: a massive market square that’s permanently thronging in summer. The food market is perfect for fresh produce and foodie souvenirs, while the flower market is worth visiting just for the colours and fragrances. A flea market is held on Monday.
Gordes has become a haven for writers, artists and other creative luminaries. The town perches on the edge of the plateau that rises to the mountains of the Vaucluse in the northwestern part of the valley. At the very top is the castle which contains the city hall and a museum that houses the work of Pol Para, a Flemish contemporary painter. The area has always been a favourite for artists. Cezanne made Aix his city, and the surrounding countryside inspired some of his greatest impressionist masterpieces.
Just north of Gordes, deep in a gorge, is the Abbeye de Senanque, a 12th century cistercian monastery. The monks still live there producing honey, lavender essence, and liqueurs. The Luberon is a fantastic place for bicycling and walking and the views are breathtaking. The antique capital of the south of France is at Isle Sur la Sorgue, Avignon and Aix en Provence will offer more history and art. For costal chic, spend the day in St Tropez or Cannes.
This is quite stunning and certainly no ordinary holiday destination. For a memorable trip, a big celebration or just for fun, look no further than Le Grand Banc. This secluded hamlet has its own private cobbled street and gorgeous little stone houses side by side which make up the two sides of the street.
The quirkiness of this much-loved home is the result of many years of loving restoration. The family have collected together a fabulous array of modern art and eclectic furniture – some of which hold secrets of the beautiful and famous who have inhabited the rooms.
The hamlet has been comfortably brought up to date with well-equipped kitchens and a great games room, which will keep any number of children or adults happy day and night. This is a truely unique place, with rock and roll chic in every corner, although don’t expect power showers.
The possibilities of accommodation at Le Grand Banc are endless. Comfortably sleeping 24 in 10 individual houses each sleeping between 2 and 5. Each is unique and has its own character. Some houses have their own kitchens, some their own sitting rooms and some private terraces with spectacular views. One has a library, another is a fabulously funky children’s bunk room with lights in the walls.
In addition to the houses there are 2 large separate kitchens (one for the huge marble outside table which seats 28, ideal for lunch and dinner, and another in the heart of the hamlet where breakfast is always served). There is a live in couple, a fully stocked games room, a library bursting with literature and spacious pool area.
Le Grand Banc is 3000ft above sea level, so even in high summer the days are hot but not humid and evenings are cooler. Lazy days can be spent by the pool admiring the lavender-filled valley below and nights eating al fresco before tottering back home under twinkling fairy lights. This hamlet has served as inspiration for many of todays’ most creative minds. It is a wonderful place to take a large group of family or friends, to explore the valleys on foot or bicycle or just to sit by the pool with a cocktail – you will not be disappointed by the “funk” value of this extraordinary place.