When I started searching for somewhere to stay in Provence, I had a very clear picture of what I was after. A classically Provencal house built from honey-coloured stone, with pastel-painted shutters and a flower-filled garden. Proximity to lavender fields would be a bonus, as would easy access to lots of pretty towns and villages.
You’d think having such a precise idea in mind would make it hard to find somewhere, but surprisingly I found about a dozen B&Bs that fit the bill. In the end, La Badelle won out for two main reasons. 1) The price. We had a whole apartment to ourselves for around £600 a week – elsewhere, we’d been looking at the same price for just a bedroom and bathroom, and (crucially) having a kitchen meant we didn’t have to eat out all the time. 2) The location. La Badelle put us in prime position for seeing some of the best parts of the Luberon, so we were able to explore every day without spending hours in the car.
La Badelle is run by a lovely couple, Mylene and Remy. There are a handful of B&B rooms set next to the pool, but we opted for the apartment, set in the Provencal house of my dreams…
It was up on the first floor, with a little balcony out front overlooking a courtyard and a leafy, 100-year-old plane tree. Most days we’d have a late lunch out here, with plates of cheese, fresh bread and salad and glasses of local rosé.
Inside, there was an open-plan lounge and kitchen, a pretty bedroom, and a bathroom with one of the best showers ever. If you’re big on self-catering, you’d love the kitchen here. There was a full-sized fridge (stocked with a couple of bottles of the estate’s own wine), a proper oven (you could do a full-on roast dinner if you were that way inclined), as well as a cupboard full of herbs, spices, oils and condiments (basically all the things I usually forget when I do my first holiday supermarket shop).
Across the courtyard was the pool and garden, with lovely lawns and terraces for sunbathing and a hammock strung up beneath a shady olive tree.
Finally, there was the location. A 15-minute walk (or two-minute drive) away was the teeny village of Saint Pantaleon. There was one lovely-looking restaurant here, which is ideal if you want a meal out and a few glasses of wine without having to worry about driving back. Just make sure you book well in advance – we tried twice to get a table and they were fully booked both times we called.
Ten minutes’ drive took you to Gordes and Goult, while in 15 you could be at Senanque Abbey (famous for its picturesque lavender field), Lacoste, Roussillon, Bonnieux and Menerbes. L’Isle sur la Sorgue was 20 minutes away, and although we didn’t visit this time, Avignon was 40 minutes away.
The nearest supermarket was in the town of Coustellet, 15 minutes’ drive away (there’s a petrol station there, too). Don’t attempt to go on a Sunday, though – the weekly market is on and the parking and traffic is a nightmare.
We stayed at La Badelle for a week in early July and paid €800.