Maison Felisa

St Laurent des Arbres, Provence, France Book from

Reviewed by Tom Bell
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 couple of good bistros 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.


  • 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


  • 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
  • There are a couple of local restaurants in the village, but you'll have to drive further afield for gourmet fare

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
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 5
  • Breakfast + dinner twice weekly
  • 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


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


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.

Two nights a week (Friday and Saturday) great dinners are on offer (for which you will pay extra), that are eaten in the lantern-lit garden. 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 offers a couple of local restaurants. We ate hearty French cooking at Le Papet and were treated extremely kindly by Madame, who knew her art well. La Louisia, also in the village, is good (if not better). Head to Tavel and its ubiquitous auberge for something a little fancier, Avignon (10-15 minutes) for more cosmopolitan fare, or to Uzes (30 minutes) and Les Trois Salon for a 6-course tasting menu.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Cooking classes
  • Dinner on Fri/Sat
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu


The small historic village of St Laurent des Arbes takes about 5 minutes to walk around - you'll find a couple of cafes, grocers, a pharmacy and a castle. 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.

  • 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


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:

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