Why Friday-to-Friday and why only weekly rentals?
This is the south of France. Our friends who will greet you at Le Bijou are busy on the weekends, not working. If you can only visit for a week, you will wish you had a second week by Thursday. If you are coming directly from the US, you'll be tired by the time you arrive, which will be later in the day. We have enjoyed spending Saturday exploring the village a bit, relaxing, napping perhaps, and eating well. Sunday's market is not to be missed. Stroll around and pick up provisions for your week, particularly if cooking in a night or two or planning picnics. As you while away the morning, reserve a table for lunch at a local restaurant for they fill up on Sundays when the market winds down. Relax and live like the Provençal. Monday you'll be ready to hit the road. Pick any direction for your day trip. Your only disappointment will be that you'll only have four days remaining on your weeklong stay.
We have done this trip many times and still have not seen it all. Rushing around will wear you out and you'll miss the experience of being a guest in Le Bijou and living in the south of France, even if only for a week or two.
Why is the transaction in euro?
All of our bills and staff are paid in euro from our French account. We can direct you to a system for transfering funds that is easy to use and has a minimal fee.
When is the best time to visit Provence?
We have come in winter, spring and fall and have always enjoyed delightful weather.
When should I book?
The recently renovated and well-appointed properties located in the old part of the city are fully booked for the summer months, sometimes a year in advance. Smaller properties such as Le Bijou are popular and you will find availability limited if you wait to book 90 days out. Spring and fall are popular seasons, when the crowds thin out and the weather is generally beautiful. Again, don't wait till the last minute if you want to stay in the center of town. If you choose to visit between mid-October and the beginning of April, you do not have to plan so far in advance.
Is it difficult to get to Le Bijou from the US?
It is not at all difficult once you find your way to France. The TGV, the fast train, leaves for Avignon directly from Charles de Gaulle airport. You walk to the station from the baggage claim and in 3 hours you are in Avignon. The car rentals are a short walk out the front door of the station. L'Isle sur la Sorgue is about 30 minutes depending on the time of day. There is a bus that leaves from the TGV station to L'Isle that is approximately a 45-minute trip. You can also take the train from the Avignon central station to L'Isle, a 25 minute ride.
You can fly to Marseilles via any number of European cities. The autoroute can be found just outside the airport. As long as you head in the direction of Salon de Provence and Lyon, you'll be there in a bit less than an hour. The route is well marked. Once in town, there are a few landmarks we will share with you to guide you to a carpark. There is also train service from Marseilles to the village. There is a short bus ride from the airport to the train station. The bus stop is located just outside the arrival hall.
Will we need a car?
This depends on your travel plans. One can get to the city via bus or train. There are multiple restaurants and cafés in which to hang out. You can rent a bicycle and tool around. If you want to stay in the village while you idle away a week or two at cafés and the bars and restaurants, or hole up and work on your novel you would not need a vehicle. Car rentals are available at the local grocery, Super-U.
There is much to see in the region and Le Bijou is situated such that you can make short day trips in any direction, if you have a vehicle.
If we have a car where do we park?
There is a car park a five minute walk from the apartment. This is what we use. It is well lit, safe and we have never had, nor heard of a problem. There is also parking on the street throughout the town, except on market days.
How about the stairs?
The apartment is on the third floor, or the deuxieme etage in France. There is no lift. There are two flights up, and they are not steep.
We are traveling with others, is there room for more than two guests?
Le Bijou is comfortable for two people. There is room for a few dinner guests, or a gathering on the patio for apéritifs so you can share the apartment over dinner or drinks. There are several hotels located a short walk from Le Bijou. We have stayed in or visited other apartments in the village that are close by which would be perfect for your travel companions. We know the other owners and will be happy to assist by directing you to accommodations for your friends and family who would also like to experience apartment life in L'Isle sur la Sorgue. Renting multiple properties in peak season requires advance planning.
When are the markets?
There is a large market, food and other goods, every Sunday and a smaller market on Thursdays. On Sunday the city is a haven for those in search of antiques. The quality ranges from items your grandmother may have discarded to items Louis XVI left behind.
The surrounding towns and villages have markets as well. There is a list in Le Bijou and you can look on-line at http://www.frenchentree.com/france-provence-living/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=41079.