Le Petit Bijou is in the Provencal town of Saint Rémy-de-Provence in southern France and is very much inspired by the spirit of Vicki Archer’s books and her popular blog ‘French Essence’. The house has undergone a two year restoration under the supervision of the talented architect Hugues Bosc and has been decorated by Vicki with many pieces sourced from local brocantes.
“Le Petit Bijou is up and running. The planning and restoration have taken some time, but finally, the doors have opened and we have welcomed some wonderful guests already,” Vicki comments.
“Collecting the furniture, the paintings and the decorative objects has been the exciting part of this project…and finally unpacking and arranging them. Well truthfully, I felt like an over-excited child unwrapping her Christmas presents!”
Le Petit Bijou is a village house right in the center of Saint Rémy-de-Provence in the historical precinct close to the Musée des Alpilles and the Hôtel de Sade. It is in a quiet street off the rue Carnot with its restaurants, a patisserie and a presse.
Saint Rémy’s Wednesday market is only a few hundred metres away. The spectacular Alpilles mountain range and the gorgeous village of Eygalieres are nearby.
Saint Rémy-de-Provence is a brilliant jumping off point for Avignon, Aîx-en-Provence, Arles, Maussane-les-Alpilles, Marseille, Nimes and the Camargue. The Luberon, Gordes and Sénanque Abbey with its lavender fields are about 50 minutes away.
The entrance to Le Petit Bijou is through an entry hall… a place to leave the bikes, the baskets and the shopping caddy. Opposite is the guest powder room.
Walking though a small passageway you arrive at the sitting and dining room.
To the left of the dining room table, large ‘orangerie’ style double doors open on to the pedestrian street that leads into the village. “The terracotta tiles, in the entry way and the living area are the same that we used in our farmhouse restoration. Fortunately, we had enough left over to finish the living room, kitchen, entry way and garage,” Vicki states. The painted bibliothque anchors the room and houses leather bound books and small paintings.
Le Petit Bijou is painted in shades of ‘greige’, a neutral palette that allows for the addition of some color on the walls and on the soft furnishings. The dining room chairs are covered in various vintage Toile du Jouy fabrics and the pair of armchairs are upholstered in an aubergine linen with a buttoned back.
The kitchen has paneled cupboards on one side, hiding the refrigerator, freezer and microwave, the pots and the pans and all the glassware. The kitchen is galley style with a dishwasher, oven and cook top, all housed in paneled cupboards to match the armoire style cupboards behind. Above the bench top are shelves that hold the china, jugs and serving bowls.
“The kitchen is small but efficient and well equipped, although with the choice of cafes and restaurants nearby I don’t know if I would ever cook,” Vicki states. “And then there is Christiane, who is managing Le Petit Bijou…the most wonderful Provencal cook and happy to help.” There is also plenty of space for food shopping… all those mouth watering delectables that French markets are so famous for. Le Petit Bijou is right in the centre of town. The Wednesday market is a minute away and all the boutiques, food shops, restaurants and cafes are close by. It’s easy to wander on foot, with shopping basket or a rolling caddy to buy whatever you need.
If you are brave enough to bicycle there are beautiful promenades all around.
Behind the tall armchair are the stairs that lead up to the first floor.
Upstairs, on the landing at Le Petit Bijou is an old commode; to the right is a smaller bedroom with a terrace overlooking the historical centre of Saint Rémy de Provence.
To the left is the main bedroom with the same pretty views overlooking the Musée des Alpilles and the Hotel de Sade. The main bedroom is generous in size and has a vaulted ceiling with white washed beams. The window treatments are similar to downstairs…soft voile curtains that dance in the breeze.
The outdoor shutters keep the heat at bay and guarantee a good night’s sleep.
The bathroom is at the end of the hall, with a separate shower and bath. “The commode-style basin was the last piece of this bathroom puzzle and I am so glad I persevered it in my search for an antique table that could be converted,” Vicki comments.
Le Petit Bijou Features…
Salon, Entrance hall, Kitchen with oven, microwave and dishwasher.
Two air-conditioned double bedrooms with views of the village, one with a terrace. One bathroom with free-standing bath and separate shower, Two WCs.
Reverse cycle air-conditioning, Wide screen television with Canal Plus satellite. Unlimited high-speed wireless Internet, Telephone for local calls.
Separate laundry with washing machine and dryer and consumables. Mid-week housekeeping for weekly rentals.
Cooking and extra cleaning by arrangement with the Manager.
Detailed written guide on Le Petit Bijou and the surrounding area.
The area is well served with transport links.
By train: It is 20kms and 25 minutes’ drive from the TGV fast train station outside Avignon. The TGV operates direct to Avignon from London in the summer months and from Paris year round.
By Air: 75kms and about 55 minutes’ drive from Marseille Provence airport. There are daily flights to Marseille from London by British Airways, EasyJet and Ryanair and by Air France from Paris. XL Airways operates a New York to Marseille service. The smaller Avignon airport (20kms and 20 minutes)is served by Flybe from Southampton.
To learn more about Saint Remy de Provence: www.saintremy-de-provence.com
“For me, this past year has been all about what would look pretty at Le Petit Bijou…what would make it feel like a home away from home, and what would make it feel welcoming and comfortable,”
Vicki comments. “We want our guests to feel as if Le Petit Bijou is their home in Provence for however long they stay.”
L E P E T I T B I J O U
6, rue du Parage, Saint Rémy-de-Provence, 13210, France
For rental Information, please contact Vicki Archer:
Learn more about Le Petit Bijou on Vicki’s blog, FRENCH ESSENCE: