Orgon is not the most attractive town in Provence. Lying in the Durance Valley between the hills of the Luberon and the Alpilles, it has the old N7 main road running through the middle of it and the new A7 autoroute whizzing past it. There is no pleasant cafe to sit in, no greengrocer's, no butcher's. The old centre is gradually being done up and the old church has a striking position in the main square. There is a circular walk from the centre up to the local landmark of Notre Dame du Beauregard, which is fairly steep in both directions and stony in parts, but affords a terrific panoramic view over the limestone cliffs, the Durance plain and the Luberon hills. And it also has the Bergerie St Madeleine.
Mike and Maggie are two of the nicest owners we have ever come across in our many years of renting properties. This is their main home when there are no guests and the phrase "a home from home" hardly begins to do it justice. Mike did a lot of the conversion, I'm guessing that Maggie is responsible for most of the interior design, and their attention to detail is phenomenal. The kitchen is better equipped than ours at home. Mike popped in several times during our visit to check that everything was OK and sorted a couple of small problems instantly. My only quibbles (and believe me, these were not important) were the lack of shutters in the downstairs bedrooms, so the morning light streamed in, and the steepness of the stairs to the upstairs bedroom (but a rope handrail is provided). Despite its nearness to the main road, the property is perfectly quiet throughout and has enough land not to feel overlooked. The terrace gets the full morning sun so that even in March we were able to have some breakfasts and lunches outside. The resident cat, Anisette, is adorable, such that most visitors want to take her away with them.
We were able to walk to the baker's in the morning (10 minutes along the main road, less once we discovered a shortcut) and the brand new Intermarche supermarket is only 5 minutes drive away, at the northern entrance to the town, and can supply everything else you might need, including a good selection of local produce.
Orgon's location gives it excellent access in all directions. Restricting ourselves to an hour's drive we managed to see most of the Alpilles, including Les Baux (unmissable, as is the Carrieres de Lumieres light and sound show in the nearby quarries); Fontvieille with Daudet's windmill and remarkable remains of the Roman aqueduct and mill site; St Remy with the hospital where Van Gogh stayed and another extensive Roman site next door; the nearest village to Orgon of Eygalieres, most attractive and with some nice food shops; Mouries golf course (easy walk between limestone ridges). On one of the days the mistral blew, so we headed east to the hilltop town of Gordes in the Luberon; although the castle was not yet open, along with many of the restaurants and cafes, we were amazed at the Village des Bories, all constructed with drystone walls, and loved the quietness and seclusion of the Abbey of Senanque. Finally, a slightly longer trip to Camargue allowed us to see thousands of flamingos in the Ornithological Park at Pont de Gau and to have lunch in Stes Maries de la Mer sitting outside in the sunshine.
The booking was handled by agents Joie de Vivre, very efficient and friendly. The whole process was problem-free. …