About the property
- House2690 sq. ft.
- Half Baths2
- Minimum Stay4 nights
2 bedrooms (optional 3rd), 2 baths, 2 WC, 2 terraces, view of Luberon Mountain
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.
Lisa D Simeoni
- Response rate:
- Response time:
- within a few hours
- english, french, italian
- Calendar last updated:
- Apr 06, 2018
About Lisa D Simeoni
We are Fritz, Lisa, Marvin and Barbara, two couples from Portland, Oregon USA. Barbara and Fritz are siblings who grew up in the New York area. Lisa grew up in Portland and is married to Fritz. Marvin grew up in Missouri and is married to Barbara. We have children ranging in age from 14 to 52. The last time we were all together in the same place was in the summer of 2010, when we all spent a week at the Chateau-de-Goult, in the Luberon village of Goult. That was a wonderfully positive experience and cemented our love of the Luberon and its villages. Our first encounter with Provence was in 2002 when we visited several villages on the advice of a travel book called “Villages de Charm en France.” The book led us to explore Eygaliéres near Saint-Remy, Vaison-la-Romain near Orange, and the Luberon villages of Lacoste, Roussillon, and Gordes. The whole region appealed to us tremendously. Our travel plans allowed only five full days in southern France, but instantly we knew that we would return for further exploration. And we did return many times. Then in the spring of 2013 we made the leap and purchased a house in Saignon.
Lisa D Simeoni purchased this House in 2013
Why Lisa D Simeoni chose Saignon
When we bought Belle Lumière, we were looking for a place that was French and friendly, stylish and stimulating, interesting and inspiring, beautiful and simple. We wanted a place to read, walk, talk and think. We wanted a place to learn more French and a place where we could share something we love with our friends. From our previous visits, we knew that we could find such a place in the villages of the Luberon. No doubt it was our previous visits that made us want such a place. But be that as it may, we do now have it, and we are glad.
What makes this House unique
Saignon is not spoiled by excessive tourism. There are no tour buses, and parking is plentiful. However, all the attractions that bring visitors to the Luberon are just as accessible from Saignon as from any other location. Because of its proximity to the larger town of Apt, Saignon offers easier access to commercial services than any other Luberon village. The open air market on Saturday morning is a powerful magnet for local people and tourists from throughout the region. Our house benefits from being in the heart of a village. The architecture is traditional, exotic and stimulating. You can walk to the café for your morning coffee and to a restaurant at dinner time. In the café you are likely to make a new friend or encounter an old one who you met just yesterday. It may be a local resident who has lived in Saignon for years, or it may be a visitor from afar. Either way it’s interesting to talk with someone from another background and culture. You may be able to participate in a local event like a concert in the church or a community celebration. An exhibition by a local organization or artist is likely to be on display in the community hall (Salle des Fêtes). Last summer we went to the village celebration of the French National Holiday on 14-July. Tables were set up on the boules court just outside the Salle des Fêtes. We bought dinner for seven euros each. Lots of the food was home cooked. There were fancy lights and a disk jockey. Everyone danced, including us. We almost never go dancing when we’re at home in Oregon, but we loved dancing in Saignon. We sat and talked with our new friends from Sydney, Australia. We chatted with another neighbor, an American woman who now lives permanently in Saignon with her French husband. We had more fun than we can remember ever having had at such an event, and for this we thank the friendly attitude of the people of Saignon.
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Spacious house with beautiful views.
Our family enjoyed our stay at the Belle Lumière immensely. The house is incredibly spacious, has a well equipped kitchen, and the most wonderful views that afforded us spectacular sunsets every evening. My almost 3 year old loved all the stairs and all the rooms to explore and had no trouble feeling at home within moments of our arrival.
The communication was excellent and Marvin was extremely accommodating and prompt in responding to emails. Joanna, the caretaker who greeted us on arrival, was very pleasant and full of helpful information. The binder with information about what to see and do in the area was spot on, even more so than the Michelin Green Guide.
Saignon is very well situated for exploring the Luberon although just staying at the house and eating on the terrace is a enough of an experience that you don't feel as if you are missing out if you don't manage to jam pack your days with sightseeing every single day. Saignon is not touristy yet still has a few restaurants and a bakery that has really excellent pastries, which is quite unlike some of the other untouristy perched villages we visited in which there appeared to be no commerce to speak of at all. And then there's its proximity to Apt which makes grocery shopping very convenient.
All in all we had a fantastic stay and will definitely be back.
Best of everything!
The house is absolutely perfect for two couples. Lots of private areas. Great kitchen for home prepared meals. One of our group was over 6 ft. Tall and the twin bed was too short for her. The pull out sofa solved the problem and it was very comfortable. The village is wonderfully located for visiting other hillside villages. Aix en Provence 1 hr and Avignon 1 hour.
We stayed 16 days and have more to see!
Absolutely gorgeous. Stunning views and much larger than the impression one gets from the photos.
Very cosy well equipped mini chateau. Great little village.
We (a family of 6) stayed in Belle Lumiere over Christmas. Not only was Marvin very helpful with information about what would be open over this time, we also received emails with information about places to visit, walks to go on and places to shop (markets and food). Communication was excellent. The house is spacious, comfortable (with at least two living areas), a huge and well stocked kitchen and outside BBQ which we used for cooking a Christmas lunch of local chicken and fish. There is a bathroom per bedroom and the place was cosy even in the cold weather. We would love to return at another time of year just to see Provence in the spring or Autumn. Thanks so much, Marvin!
Charming Provence home
Belle Lumiere is a wonderfully welcoming Home - fabulous renovation with all the modern comforts whilst retaining the charming character of a medieval perched village dwelling. Plenty of room, well equipped kitchen, comfortable beds, & a fabulous view! Great location - we based ourselves in Saignon & visited neighbouring villages & towns. This property exceeded our expectations.
We have been renting houses in Provence for some years now and Belle Lumiere stands out as the best we have stayed in. It is superb in every way and the website information understates what a wonderful place it is. We happily give Belle Lumiere top rating which is going to make it even more in demand so even we may struggle to be able to stay there! If in doubt go ahead and book. You will not regret it
As well as being so well appointed it also has the benefit of a car parking which is at a premium in Saignon.
There are tons of things to see and explore within tolerable driving distance of Saignon. ♦VILLAGES: You will want to explore several of the Luberon villages. These are all within a half hour drive of Saignon. Their narrow alleys and stairways are pathways of discovery. You will find a little nook or cranny, a flower bedecked house, a weather beaten door or an ancient archway. You will become familiar with the architectural elements of villages: public squares, churches, clock towers, lavoirs, fountains, boules courts, and town halls with their French flag and the words “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” chiseled into the lintel. You will never be far from a café where you can sip pastis in the shade a large plane tree. ♦ART: Art lovers will want to cruise the galleries in Gordes, Roussillon, and Lourmarin. There are two interesting art museums in Aix-en-Provence (The Museé Granet and the Vasarley Foundation). Also in Aix you can visit the home and studio of Paul Cezanne. In Saint-Remy-de-Provence you can stroll the grounds of Saint-Paul-de-Maussole, which is the hospital where van Gogh lived and worked in 1889/90. At various points on the grounds markers have been placed showing where Van Gough placed his easle when he painted several of his most famous works. Also, you can visit Van Gogh's room in the hospital. ♦HISTORY: Apt is built on top of a Roman settlement the remains of which are now buried several meters below street level. Artifacts excavated from the roman site can be seen at the Museum of Archeology in Apt. The Pont Julien is a 2000 year old roman bridge which spans the Calavon River about 8 km west of Apt (11 km from Saignon). Its fun to visit the bridge on a bicycle. You start at the bike rental store in Apt and pedal along Calavon bikeway. Farther afield is the spectacular Pont du Gard, which is a very large Roman bridge and acquaduct spanning the Gardon River. There is an excellent museum explaining the construction of the bridge and the concomitant Roman civilization. An added benefit at the Pont du Gard is the opportunity to swim in the beautiful clear water that flows under the bridge. We also recommend the roman theater in Orange and the excavated Gaulic-Greek-Roman town of Glanum, near Saint-Remy. In Avignon the medieval city wall still stands. Its massive gates, crenulated parapets and archery slots are a reminder of medieval times as well as an impediment to modern traffic. The huge Palais du Pape in Avignon, which is one of the largest gothic structures in Europe, dates from the 14th century. ♦MARKETS: Open air markets occur one morning each week in nearly all the villages and towns. These are a must-see. On the morning of market day, cars are banished from the village center to be replaced by umbrellas, canopies, and swarms of shoppers crowding around vendors’ stalls. One of the oldest, largest and most lively markets is in Apt on Saturday mornings. Besides food items of excellent quality, you can buy flowers, kitchen gadgets, clothes, leather goods, tires, mattresses, toys, African wood carvings, and bright colored table linens that would cost three times as much in the USA. The Friday market in Lourmarin has a reputation for being upscale and “classy”. For antiques and “broccante”, go to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorge on Sunday. ♦WALKING AND HIKING: The Luberon is a paradise for walkers and hikers. The well marked French trail system takes you all over the region. You can walk from village to village through woods and farms. With less than 20 minutes of driving, you can get on a path that leads to the summit of the Grand Luberon (a strenuous hike), takes you on a tour of Fort Buoux (a medieval ruin), traverses along the lip of the falaise de Lioux (a scenic hike over a high cliff), or explores the mulitcolored ochre cliffs of the Colorado Provençal (a geological curiosity). Beautiful hikes to the Calanques (inlets in the Mediterranean, resembling fjords) start in Cassis. The beach in Cassis is good place for a swim in the ambiance of the French Riveria. ♦ENTERTAINMENT: For an unusual kind of public performance that you can see only in the south of France, we recommend “course camarguaise”. This is a style of bull-fighting practiced only in the region of the Rhone River Delta. Unlike Spanish bullfighting, course camarguaise does not harm the bull. In Arles and Nimes the bullfights take place in ancient Roman arenas, which adds an exotic flavor to the whole experience. For more information and a calendar of events, google “Federation Francaise de la Course Camarguaise”. ♦ PERFORMING ARTS: Festivals and performing arts events abound. These run the gamut from village festivals celebrating things like truffles and lavender to high powered performing arts festivals in Aix and Avignon. We suggest you consult the websites to find events during your visit.
Additional information about rental rates
Rates may change prior to booking and do not include booking fees. The rates quoted are for two bedrooms at a nightly rate with a four day minimum stay. A seven day stay is discounted by 15% over the nightly rate. Rentals of over one week will receive a discount of 10% for for the additional days. However, there is no discount for extended stays during the low season due to the high cost of electric heat during the winter. Consult with owners about stays longer than 28 days. With owners consent a third bedroom with ensuite bathroom can be added for an extra charge of 10%. The third bedroom is sometimes not available, due to limitations of housekeeping staff. The damage deposit is returned, less damages and bank costs, within 14 days of departure. Cancellation policy: There is a full refund if the reservation is cancelled at least 60 days prior to the scheduled arrival. For cancellations less than 60 days prior to arrival, refunds are limited to the amount that is recovered by re-rental. Occupancy is normally limited to two persons per bedroom, excluding infants. By prior arrangement with owner, occupancy can be increased to a maximum of 10. There is an extra charge for occupants beyond six. All taxes are included in the rent.