Maison Felisa

St Laurent des Arbres, Provence, France Book from Book from £112 per night

An easy-going spirit infuses this old stone house, with restful contemporary interiors and a pretty pool in its walled garden
Everything here is a treat. The 12th century village has narrow lanes, mellow stone soaks up the sun, the odd dog barks. There’s a bar and boules in the tiny square, a sleepy bistro you can shuffle off to, and you’re close to all the things you’d want to be close to: Uzès, Avignon, the Cèze valley and the vineyards of Chateauneuf du Pape.

All of which you risk missing if you check into the ever-so-pretty Felisa. This is an easy-going, young-at-heart, super-comfy place that encourages you to chill, with a 12-metre pool in the shady walled garden, a wood-burner in the airy open-plan sitting/dining room and essential oils burning on the staircase. Contemporary-style rooms are great value for money; splash out on the big rooms for huge balconies that overlook the garden, and help yourself to drinks from the fridge (very reasonably priced). It's an exceptional little place that gives more than most for less than most.

Highs

  • The walled garden and shimmering pool
  • Excellent massages and facials in the wellness corner
  • An unspoilt corner of Provence yet a great base for exploring its highlights
  • Avignon TGV station is close by; from London in summer it’s quicker to take the train than to fly
  • Good value all round

Lows

  • The cool interiors and Zen-like ambiance may be too contemporary for some
  • Few mod cons in the bedrooms (no TV, A/C or phone) - a bonus for some
  • On-site dining is limited to breakfast and occasional Saturday night suppers
  • There's only one restaurant in the village, so you'll have to drive further afield if you want variety

Best time to go

July and August can get extremely hot and there is no A/C. November can be extremely wet.

Our top tips

Book one of the larger garden-facing bedrooms with a Jacuzzi and underwater lights that can be set to different colours depending on your mood. You'll find a concoction of aromatic essential oils to relax or revive you - we loved the mix of lavender, bergamot and ylang ylang.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Eco
  • Boutique B&B
  • 5
  • Breakfast only (+ restaurant nearby)
  • All ages accepted
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Three rooms overlook the garden and pool, two have views of fields and village buildings, all are on the first floor. The same contemporary feel runs throughout: colour-mixed concrete floors, off-white walls, Swiss Flex beds (very comfortable and can be made up as doubles or twins), crisp white sheets, mohair blankets and colourful raw silk eiderdowns. Also: terracotta pots, black-and-white pictures, simple coir mats and 19th-century radiators.

On our first visit we slept in the Fleur d'Oranger room at the back of the house and were delighted with it (Buddha in the fireplace, scented candles, beige curtains, orange silk eiderdown and original tiles in the excellent bathroom), though on our second visit we jumped at the chance of a garden-facing room. These are well worth chasing. They are bigger, lighter and come with Jacuzzi baths in the corner of the room (and elegant white drapes to protect the modest). Two of the three garden rooms, Parfum de Jasmin and Eau de Rose, have French windows opening onto large balustraded balconies, where you find deckchairs and parasols; you get a lot for your money. You can laze by the pool, pick up a drink, read on the balcony, retire for a snooze. There are newly-painted old armoires, exposed stone alcoves and the odd silk wall-hanging.

Located between these two rooms is Bois de Santal, which shares the same pretty view of the walled garden and also has a Jacuzzi bath. It's decked out in calming shades of green, white and beige but it doesn't have a balcony.

Those with a child should opt for Lait d'amande at the side of the house which has a built in sofa that can be used as an extra bed.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • WiFi

Eating

In summer you eat outside on a sail-shaded terrace. In winter you move inside and eat in front of a flaming wood-burner. A buffet breakfast from 9-11am offers home-made jams by the dozen, baguette and croissants, muesli, fruit and orange juice; there’s coffee and tea, too.

On Saturday nights there's the chance to enjoy great communal dinners, that are eaten in the lantern-lit garden. As long as at least 6 guests wish to participate, you might get a risotto or gazpacho, then red snapper or fillet of beef, a chocolate fondant with fresh fruit and ice cream and, finally, cheese. The kitchen and living area are open plan so you can watch the cooking and help yourself to drinks from the honesty fridge, including bottles of wine.

The village has one local restaurant, Le Papet, where we ate hearty French cooking and were treated extremely kindly by Madame. For other options, drive to Tavel and its ubiquitous auberge, Avignon (10-15 minutes) for more cosmopolitan fare, or to Uzes (30 minutes) for countless eateries.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner on Fri/Sat
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Most guests use Maison Felisa as a base for exploring further afield, returning later in the day for a refreshing dip in the pool and a soothing massage. The small historic village of St Laurent des Arbes takes about 5 minutes to walk to

  • A list of all the local markets are on hand downstairs (as are maps and some interesting flyers). Most days you’ll have a choice of more than 5 in the area. Friday is market day in the village. Cooking lessons are on offer by arrangement

  • There are a couple of bikes at the property for guests to use. Off-road mountain biking can also be arranged. Horse riding in the village will take you through the local vineyards

  • Visit the 15th-century Papal Palace in Avignon, a 15-minute drive away. It’s impressively severe and worth the tour. You can walk down to see the bridge too, still unfinished after all these years. On Saturdays the market is held on the ramparts of the old town

  • Don’t miss Uzès (30-minute drive), one of the best-preserved medieval towns in France. You can do a neat little tour. Drop south from Uzès into the Gorges du Gardon (for hiking, swimming, mountain biking and horse riding), then spin back north and take in the spectacular Pont du Gard, a 1st-century Roman aqueduct built over three levels, 40 metres high

  • Take the wine road, visit the vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône, Châteauneuf du Pape, Tavel, and Lirac cellars. A sensory tour of the wine cellars in Cairanne, near Orange, is highly recommended

  • Follow the Rhône down to Arles, a really cute provincial town, Roman to its core, with an exceptional amphitheatre and some incredible 12th-century stone carvings at St Trophine in Place de la République. Don’t stop at the front door; the cloisters are worth the time and money

  • You're close to the motorway and can be down in Nimes in half an hour door to door, or less. You’ll find an even bigger amphitheatre and the only fully-preserved Roman temple in the world

  • Head north away from the crowds and check out the fabulous Cèze valley. Stop off at La Roque-sur-Cèze, where you can swim in water holes at the foot of an impressive hill-top village, or Goudargues (known jokingly, but not without cause, as the Venice of Provence), where you can kayak down the river

  • Active pursuits like fishing, tennis, kayaking, golf, climbing are all within 30 minutes drive of the guest house

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Well being
  • Yoga

Kids

Children are accepted but the house and rooms aren't really suited to kids. One of the cheaper rooms Lait d'Amande has a built-in sofa which can be used as an extra bed.

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 11 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Rooms
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Excellent hosts, very helpful, would recommend to friends.

9/10, , September 2016

We had a lovely stay! The house is very charming with a lovely garden and good pool. The location is also very good, a charming little village but close by bigger villages and Avignon. <br>Bruno and Pascale are excellent hosts, who made us feel very welcome. They had great tips regarding restaurants, and things to do. We highly recommend a stay in this peaceful B&B.

9/10, , August 2016

I loved it and it was wonderful.

9/10, , July 2016

A wonderful place, gorgeous decor, a welcoming relaxed feel, a haven in beautiful southern France. I would love to return one day....

10/10, , September 2015

Pascal, Bruno and their niece Virginie are super hosts! Its a very cosy B&B, with a beautiful garden and the swimmingpool is toppie. Pascal her table d hotes is the best "restaurant" of the region.

9/10, , September 2015

Just come back from a fabulous week at Maison Felisa. Bruno and Pascale are wonderful hosts and you just feel part of their lovely house. The rooms are all individually decorated, clean and spaceous and the house itself is full of a mix of old and new with a great open plan living room/kitchen surrounded by Pascale's wonderful paintings. The garden is very pretty where you have breakfast and the pool is also great. Don't miss the chance to have the meal on Saturday cooked by Pascale it is very, very good. There are lots of nice little touches with all the jams home made and a great selection of teas. The situation of Maison Felisa is great for access to go and discover Avignon and the beautiful area but the Maison itself is a great place to just relax. A big thank-you to Bruno and Pascale for a great holiday. A Beintot.

10/10, , July 2015

Alles passte perfekt: Das Ambiente, die Atmosphäre im Hotel, das bauliche Umfeld in und vor dem Haus, die persönlichen Bemühungen der Betreiber.......kurz, der perfekte Urlaub. <br>R. Schmidt

10/10, , June 2015

We cannot fault this place - a great little hotel with fantastic hosts. We will come again!

10/10, , May 2015

Maison Felisa was truly unique, a wonderful mix of old and new. The owners Pascale and Bruno were charming and made us so welcome. They had plenty of great recommendations for places to eat and to visit. There is so much to see in the area and the beautiful town of Avingnon is only an easy 15 minutes drive away. Our room (Parfum de Jasmin) was very spacious and had a lovely sunny balcony overlooking the pretty garden and pool. Breakfasts were delicious, all served in carefully chosen pottery dishes from the local area. We stayed 4 days and were very sad to leave!

10/10, , March 2015

Beautiful place in a little village. Only two restaurants within walking distance, one closed two of the days we were there, and both very elaborate and not "bistro" like. However we were welcome to make a simple meal ourselves in the evening which was more fun, with fridges for your own food and wine. The owners were away and a very nice niece, Virginie, was in charge.

10/10, , September 2014

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Rates for Maison Felisa