**Please note we only rent Saturday to Saturday, other day requests upon review by owner.
La Petite Colline de Roussillon – The very sound of its name invokes an image of clean, pristine lines and jewel-like perfection – is a strikingly lovely two-bedroom house of great charm in one of the most dramatically beautiful regions of Provence. With its aura of freshness and breezy charm emanating from its luminous and uncluttered spaces, buoyant colors and fine country antiques, – and in some ways refreshing - change from the centuries-old stone homes and venerable mas that typify larger properties in the Lubéron.
Despite the fact it was constructed within the last two decades and thus cannot trace its lineage to an ancient sheep barn or olive oil mill, the house takes on an unmistakably Provencal character from its dull-red terra cotta tile roof, rose-ochre stucco exterior (the trademark of its neighboring village, Roussillon), pale-green shutters and antiqued interior wood finishes. As a vacation home it is ideal for those whose image of Provence includes utter privacy with hardly another structure in immediate sight, modern amenities, and a decorative scheme that emphasizes cheerful colors and sun-filled spaces. For good measure, one can throw in the stunning long-range view of the vineyards and orchards of the verdant Lubéron Valley.
Those who love the more rugged, semi-arid areas of Provence will find the setting of La Petite Colline de Roussillon especially pleasing. The one-hectare (2.5-acre) property is set high on a garrigue, or limestone plain, that looks south and west toward the ochre cliffs of Roussillon and the mountains of the Lubéron range. The vegetation is characterized by low pine and hardwood trees, olive groves, and a rocky, sun-parched soil reminiscent of New Mexico and other parts of the American Southwest. With the gentle breeze that is almost always astir on the higher ridges of the Lubéron, the rustling of the leaves and the gentle sway of the branches, coupled with the brilliant sunshine that creates speckled patches on the floor of the terrace, lends an indescribable air of peacefulness to this already tranquil setting.
La Petite Colline de Roussillon's single floor includes about 215m2 (2,300 sq. ft.), the space being imaginatively distributed between a living room, dining area, guest toilet, kitchen and two charmingly decorated bedrooms, each with a beautiful ensuite bath in taupe-colored tile. The floors throughout the house are square blocks of off-white stone with occasional area rugs, the ceilings are traversed by thick dark beams, and the walls are painted a creamy white.
The living room, dining room and kitchen, separated into distinct rooms by partial walls, are linked by tall, rounded archways that create the impression of a continuous flow of light and space. Even with its many broad windows and French doors that bring in cool breezes in the summer and abundant light in all months, La Petite Colline de Roussillon's sophisticated central air system ensures year-round comfort.
The dominant feature of the living room is its impressive wide chimney of white stone, before which are ranged a comfortable sofa and armchairs and a coffee table. Concealed in an elegant armoire are a television with satellite reception (CNN and BBC among the channels), and a small stereo system with CD player.
In the adjacent dining room is a walnut farm table with matching chairs for up to eight and a striking antique sidepiece. As in all the rooms at La Petite Colline de Roussillon, the decorative scheme emphasizes simplicity, space and cleanness of line.
The fully equipped kitchen, its wide counters, double soapstone sink and many cabinets finished in an antique gray, has a full-array of modern appliances, cookware and all the necessaries for a formal dinner in the dining room or a casual lunch or dinner on the terrace. Appliances include a large Liebherr French-door refrigerator-freezer with built-in wine storage and ice-maker, Miele dishwasher, a Burgundy Red LaCanche range and an indoor fire pit. Countertop appliances include a microwave oven, Nespresso machine and toaster. There is a wrought-iron table with marble top for breakfast or extra workspace. Just off the kitchen is a laundry room with an American-style washing machine and separate dryer.
The two bedrooms are reached through wide doors that open from the living room or foyer. The spacious master bedroom, which faces southwest and thus opens directly onto the terrace and pool area, has a queen-sized bed with and in-wall closet. The commodious ensuite bath has a tub with hand-held shower, full glass shower and WC. Waking up in this bedroom with a soft breeze and brilliant sunshine coming in through the French doors is an experience long to be remembered.
To reach the second bedroom one passes through a smaller room that can function as a sitting room, or an office. This room has an antique wood desk with a lamp, printer and telephone, and a wide picture window looking north toward groves of trees. It would be hard to imagine a more perfect spot for laptop users, or a more inspirational environment for serious writers.
The second bedroom with two twin beds is equally charming but slightly smaller than the master bedroom. The ensuite bath has a wide stall shower with glass door, WC and – as is common throughout the house – recessed halogen overhead lighting.
One of most agreeable features of La Petite Colline de Roussillon is its flagstone terrace. The terrace, long and wide, runs the length of the southwest-oriented façade of the house, and may be reached by double French doors from all rooms in the house except the second bedroom and office. With a wrought-iron table for six and a iron trellis covered in wisteria for shade, the terrace is a place to relax or enjoy a meal at any time of day and enjoy the view of the garden of lavender bushes and roses that brim with color during the summer.
Flagstone steps lead past rose gardens to the 4m X 9m (13' X 30') rectangular pool, a swatch of turquoise in the otherwise green and chalky landscape. The wide flagstone pool deck, shady in places and sunny in others, has an ample number of lounge chairs.
Roussillon, a pretty little village famed for its ochre-red cliffs, is a drive of 3.7 km. Roussillon is filled with interesting shops and small galleries featuring the work of local artists. Because of those attractions it is one of the most visited villages in Provence, and during the tourist season is often overcrowded and difficult to navigate. But the other nearby villages in the Lubéron constellation – Ménerbes, Lacoste, Saint-Saturnin-d'Apt, and peaceful little Bonnieux, all of them with their local restaurants – are all fascinating and worthy of a visit, especially for lunch or on the days of their open-air markets. For shopping there is Apt, 11 km to the east, which has a supermarket, a variety of stores and – on Saturday morning – one of the most bountiful and animated markets in all of Provence.
What could be more pleasant? A morning attending an open air market in Bonnieux, followed by lunch there at Le Fournil, a drive through the Lubéron Valley to L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to browse the antique shops, home for a dip in the pool, cocktails on the terrace, and don't forget to take a light sweater, perhaps with a red or chilled rosé from a local Côtes-du-Lubéron or Côtes-du-Ventoux vineyard. And tomorrow? More soft breezes, sunshine and blue skies.