BELLE LUMIÈRE is a large fully modernized stone house in the village of Saignon. We named the house "Belle Lumière" because it is bathed in the "beautiful light" of the southwestern sky. Notable features are its view of the nearby mountains, its large size and its lovely dining terrace which connects directly with the indoor dining area and the fully equipped kitchen. There three bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, two half-baths, a living room, a library, and a TV room. There is ample space for three couples or two couples with children, 250 square meters in all. There is no swimming pool nor is there a garden. Belle Lumiére can be rented with two bedrooms for up to four guests, or with three bedrooms for up to six guests. With the owner's permission, up to 10 can be accommodated. There is an additional charge for parties of more than six, since extra staff time is required.
There are three levels. The main entry and utility room are on the lower level. The three bedrooms and a second terrace are on the upper level. The other rooms and the main terrace are on the second level arranged in an open floor plan. The utility room has a washing machine, dryer, sink, iron, ironing board, vacuum cleaner and general cleaning supplies. The house will be prepared and cleaned prior to arrival. No additional housekeeping services are included in the quoted rent. Additional housekeeping services can be arranged.
The kitchen is directly connected to both the terrace and the indoor dining area. Both the terrace and dining area have a table adequate for eight. The kitchen itself is large enough for several people to work in simultaneously. There is a large counter, refrigerator/freezer, sink, dishwasher, four ring gas cooktop, oven, microwave, coffee maker, towel dryer, cookware and service for 10. There is a gas barbeque on the terrace. The kitchen and dining areas, especially the terrace, offer lovely views of the cherry orchards and lavender fields below as well as the Luberon range in the intermediate distance. It's fun to prepare a meal using local produce purchased at a nearby outdoor market and then enjoy your culinary creation on the terrace.
The living area has a fireplace, coffee table, three couches and a piano. It is also the location of the free wifi, internet access, and an internet phone (at no additional charge). The phone provides free service to all French phones and to fixed lines (not mobiles) in more than 100 countries. The TV room is a stone vault with a couch, overstuffed chair and WC. The high definition TV has over 100 channels, some in English. The study has a fireplace, desk, strong wi-fi signal, WC, and an exterior door leading to the terrace. There is a sofa-bed which can be used at extra charge with consent of the owners.
A stairway in the library leads to the Luberon View bedroom, which is a bright room with a good view of the farms and mountains. It has two adjoining single beds. The en-suite bathroom has a shower (no tub), towel dryer, and hair dryer. A dramatic stairway in the living room leads to the upper terrace, the Master Bedroom and the Loft Bedroom. The Master Bedroom has a queen bed, chaise lounge, large en-suite bathroom, and a glass door leading to the upper terrace. The bathroom is in a dramatic stone vault and has a tub, shower, towel dryer and hair dryer. The Loft Bedroom has two adjoining single beds, an en-suite bathroom with shower (no tub), towel dryer and hair dryer. There is also a sleeping loft with two single beds. A portable baby crib is available upon request.
Saignon is one of the perched villages for which the Luberon is famous. The front door of Belle Lumière opens directly onto Saignon's main street. It would be hard to exaggerate the contrast between Saignon and a modern city. The narrow streets and stone passageways are downright hostile to motorized traffic. Many of the visitors to Saignon are riding bicycles or walking along the French trail system which passes through the village. The little squares, the lavoirs and the imposing church that crowns the village embody the mindset of a former age. A spring near the church supplies the water that feeds the lavoirs and fountains. At the source, the water is potable and attracts hikers who stop to fill their canteens. The tea room, the cafe, the little stores and restaurants in the town today are the work of individual people who run their businesses out of a portion of their own homes. Corporations are nowhere in evidence. Saignon is unspoiled by commercialism.
One wonders why the original inhabitants built their dwellings so high up on the hill. What were they thinking? Didn't they find it discouraging to confront the steep climb up to their homes at the end of a day's work in the fields below? Archeologists and historians tell us that two thousand years ago Saignon was a military outpost guarding the main road from Rome to Spain. The road was called the Via Domitia. The people apparently congregated around the outpost for reasons of safety and security. Comfort and convenience were not their priorities.
Ruins of old fortifications can still be seen in Saignon. There is a path leading up from the main square, through the ruins, to the Rocher du Bellevue, which is a rock outcropping that rises above the village. A lookout tower and fortified dwellings once stood on top of the rock, but now they are gone. Today, the rock affords a 360 degree view of the surrounding territory. A modern highway (D900) follows the route of the Via Domitia. The road is seen receding from view toward the west, coursing through the town of Apt. Mont Ventoux (Windy Mountain), made famous by the Tour de France, is seen to the north. The Luberon range is on the south, and on a clear day the high Alps are visible in the east. One can easily appreciate the opinion of the Romans that Saignon was an important military asset. One wonders whether the original inhabitants could appreciate the possibilities for peace and beauty that their little village exemplifies today.