Les Colonnes

Saint Romain en Viennois


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to questions people have asked about the house, the village and the area.


Village Shops








Paying the Rent


Car Hire

Finding the House


Minimum Stay

The Bells



Where can we swim?

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As you can tell from pictures and descriptions, the house itself does not have a pool. The following paragraphs provide information on swimming in the area as well as information on several other places in the commune (outside the medieval village) which offer pools.

Vaison-la-Romaine (2 miles) has a large public swimming pool easily accessible at the edge of the Roman ruins. Nyons (15 km to the north) has a new swimming and water park on the edge of the Eygues river, again, easily accessible by car.

In Nyons (15km) is Soleiado, an aquatic complex with 1200m² of swimming area including lagoons, rivers, wave pool, waterfall, wading pools and slides… plus evening concerts and decks.There are also several attractive places in nearby rivers designated for bathing. For river walking, flipflops or waterproof sandals are recommended. The river beds are stony and gravelly - hard on the feet. The water, in various pools and cascades, is cool and refreshing. Sometimes after rain it can be slightly silty but overall it is usually clear.

If a pool is essential and Saint Romain is the desired location, then there are several other gites for rent which have shared pool facilities: Opposite our house on the outer edge of the village is Le Mas de la Guite with several 2 and 3 bedroom gites opening to an attractive shared salt pool (non-chlorine). There are also 2 maisonnettes and a house for rent on the opposite hillside with a shared pool at Les Residences du Claux . There are 2 campgrounds nearby with pools and cabins or trailer homes for rent. Camping du Soleil de Provence **** Saint Romain en Viennois Tél. : 04 90 46 46 00 and Camping de l' Ayguette *** Faucon Tél. : 04 90 46 40 35.

A note about swimming costumes: for obscure reasons, shorts-type swimming trunks for men are not allowed in Nyons and Vaison. While the signs give us the impression that the only choice is nude swimming for men, we know that's not the case. What is allowed is 'slips', the small trunks that professional swimmers use. Don't ask us what it's all about!

You can enjoy lovely cool water by paddling down the Gardon River under the Pont du Gard - quite a thrill. The water is calm and the Pont is so spectacular that it is wonderful to float under and around it. Another fun option is to go horseback riding at 'Trois Rivieres' near Entrechaux and galop up the rivers - wonderful splashing.

Does the village have shops and/or a restaurant?

"Le Saint Romanais" is our local bar/restaurant.It's recently been renovated by the proprietors, Philippe and Natasha. They serve pizza and other simple cafe fare throughout the year. On Fridays during the summer they offer moules frites in the open air terrace across the road from the bar. You need to book in advance for moules frites as they're very popular.

In addition, we have a caterer close by the house who can provide you with a meal on your arrival. Ask for details when making your booking. Renée, the caterer, can cater for any dietary restriction. There are also lots of good restaurants within a few minutes drive of the house. Ask Phil for details.

There is a big Intermarché supermarket about 1 mile up the road to Vaison. It's open 7 days a week. It sells bread from 7.30 a.m.You can get everything you need here and, if not, Vaison town centre, another 1-2 km down the road, has plenty of shops.

What about the laundry?

The house has a newly renovated (winter 2011) laundry/utility room fitted out with a washing machine. Phil has put up some clotheslines in a sheltered part of the courtyard and there are some clothes drying racks inside also. In the summer at 30 degrees, clothes dry fast. There is also an iron and ironing board.

If your prefer, there'a a commercial laundry in Vaison on Cours Taulignan. You can take everything there, have it washed and ironed and can collect it a few days later. That's my favourite way of dealing with laundry. All you have to do is deliver, collect and put away. Who wants to do laundry while on holiday?

My next favourite is the laundromat. There you meet lots of interesting people. We have met a lot of tourists and anglophones who have second homes nearby. I also met a local shepherd who has a flock of 500 sheep and was about to take part in the transhumance north of us going up into the Vercors mountains, and a wonderful dynamic tiny French lady of a certain age from nearby Malaucene who was thrilled and excited about using the laundromat for the first time (cheap way to wash duvets [7euros as opposed to the laundry doing it for 25 euros]). She was too short to reach the top of the machines and kept jumping up and down, recruiting the help of everyone and just sharing the thrill all around. Another time an agricultural worker was in to do wash. She had a clothes catalogue with her and we all advised her on what to buy to wear at a wedding in Normandy. When she left she distributed fresh giant zucchinis to everyone. But if there is no excitement like this, I also get a lot of embroidery done. If you don't want a quiet read and you don't do needle work, you can go around the corner to the cafe for coffee, croissants and people-watching.

The Intermarché also has a "open-air" laundramat, useful if you want to do a load of laundry while shopping.

Do we need sunscreen?

Our local pharmacist recommends factor 50 during the summer - especially for Northerners. During the rest of the year, Factor 30 is advised. If you are not able to buy these before you arrive, you can get them locally. Children should also always have sun protection. The sun is very strong in the area. Factor 15 is not adequate.

Where do we park our car? Is the parking free?

Opposite the entrance to our (pedestrian) street is a space big enough for a couple of of cars. It is something of a competition to find a space, but this is what we try for most often. There are also two large village car parks that are only a 2-3 minute walk from the house. There is no charge for this. All the village parking is free. After unpacking your luggage, the village car park is often the best place to leave the car.

Should you bring the car inside the village? There are some models that will fit. We have taken our Citroen C5 in, but it's a real squeeze in some places where there is space for a piece of paper between the wing mirrors and the walls. We don't recommend trying it unless you have a Smart car or a very trendy small sports car. In any case, there's nowhere to part a car on the interior roads near the house.

Can the house be heated?

The house now has electric radiators in each room. They can be set at a variety of settings and temperatures. It is possible to make the house very comfortable, as we confirmed during the Christmas 2006 holiday season and as our tenants also found during December 2007/January 2008. There is also a wood-burning fire in the salon that you can use. It heats the room very nicely. There are other fireplaces in the house but they are not functional and are closed off.

During the winter and autumn seasons, electricity is charged to you at the rate we are charged by EDF. A reading is taken at the start of your stay and at the end of it. Payment is in cash. In the winter, the cost can be in the vicinity of 90 euros per week, depending on how warm you make the house. There will also be a charge for firewood. Firewood is about 65 euros per cubic metre. Unless you stay for a long period, you are unlikely to use as much as 1 cubic metre.We had the fire on everyday for almost 3 weeks and barely used 1/2 a cubic meter.

On the other hand, we do not have airconditioning but we do have some room fans if there is no breeze coming through your room. You can also sleep on the terraces if you want to move a sunlounge chair or an air mattress outside at night.

Is there wifi and telephone service?

Wifi is available and works throughout most of the house. This is not connected to the telephone. If you need the telephone, this is by separate arrangement. It is a good idea to either buy a local portable phone or a French sim card for your own phone. Alternatively, there is a phone box next to the school which takes phone cards. This is often a good way to make occasional calls, even overseas.

In Place Montfort, Vaison, there are several cafes offering wifi. Festival Cafe now has a free wifi hotspot if you have your own laptop with a wireless card. Next door at the Cybercafe you can buy time on their own computers. It's about 1 euro for 15 minutes. Beware the keyboards: French keyboards reverse several letters and you need the shift key to access numbers. This makes your letters very interesting and slows your typing speed! The new Salon de The at the east end of Place Montfort also has free wifi access.

Can I get money from ATM machines?

The nearest ATM is a free-standing one at the Intermarché, two minutes up the road. It takes most cards.It is hidden near the Brasserie and the corridor to the toilets. In Vaison there are ATMs at the Post Office and at several banks along Ave General de Gaulle and towards the Roman Bridge.

How do I pay for my visit with you?

We prefer payment by bank transfer and supply details on our Terms and Conditions. We hope in the near future to be able to accept credit cards or Paypal payments, but we haven't quite achieved that yet. Normally you would pay a 20% deposit to guarantee your booking and the rest 8 weeks before you arrive. However, if you book quite late, then full payment is required.

Do you have a refund policy?

Refunds are available as follows:

In the case of cancellation, any payments, including initial deposit, will be refunded as follows:

Up to 8 weeks in advance of arrival: full refund, apart from a small cancellation charge.

4-8 weeks, 50% of payment " 2-4 weeks, 25% of payment "

Less than 2 weeks - 0%

Note: in any case, if the property is re-let for the booked period, there will be a full refund, apart from a small cancellation charge.

Do I really need a car?

Unfortunately, yes. Although the transport by rail and air is excellent to the major cities, our village is in a rural area and there is no effective local transport. Taxi Clerand has a spot now in the village carpark and you can book the taxi by phone. André will help you.

How do I find the house?

Travel to Vaison (we get off the motorway at Orange Sud and follow signs to Vaison). Take the D938 direction Gap and Nyons. At the Intermarché supermarket roundabout, turn right onto the D71 signposted for Saint Romain en Viennois. When you arrive at the village, our bar "Le Saint Romanais" will be on your right There is a little traffic light here. Pass the bar and bear up to the right, circling the village (it will be on your right).

After about 100 metres, you will see an old tower on your right and, immediately after it, a pedestrian entrance into the village. Find a space to put the car and then walk into the opening turning first to the left, then right. In front of you will be the house. On the way you will pass our caretaker André's house, just inside the pedestrian opening on the right on Rue de la Tour which you will be following. Our house is just below the apse of the church on the east side, facing onto rue Belles Fleurs, the 'inner circle' village road.The house has two columns on the top and blue shutters. Our name is on the door. When you confirm your booking, we will send you a map of the village. We are happy to send directions from any point in France. GPS coordinates are on this website's location page.

Can I use the piano?

We have added a Casio Privia 700 digital piano to the salon. This is a good quality instrument with sampled grand piano sounds. It also does other tricks. You are welcome to use it if you play piano already. I hope that professional or accomplished amateur musicians will also find it attractive if they want to spend some time rehearsing in a pleasant environment. There is some music available to borrow, including some for adult beginners. Because of the climate variations from winter to summer, we decided not to buy a 'real' piano and have it suffer from the changes.

Is there a minimum period for rentals?

No minimum period, but there is a minimum rental fee based on the weekly rental fee. Short rentals are negotiable on an individual basis.

The Bells

And the tintinabulation of the bells, bells, bells,...... Oh dear. You will notice that the house is sited just below the church on the east side. Yes, the bells ring every hour and half hour. Not only that, but they chime the time twice in a row. Day and night. Is this a problem? The bell is not very loud. Some people enjoy hearing it. We do. We miss it when we are away or in the winter when the windows are shut.

Some people get so used to it they no longer hear it. Others are light sleepers and may struggle with it. If this is the case for you, we can supply ear plugs. Just ask.

I grew up in a house with a Westminster chiming grandmother clock (every 15 minutes), a cuckoo clock (every 30 minutes) and central heating in the floor going through copper pipes (cracking sounds when heating up). I managed to sleep through it all !! Phil had a sleepless night when he first visited us.

Why does it ring twice? This was a big mystery to us during a year we spent in Grenoble when we thought there were two sets of bells ringing in the distance -- it turned out to be one church! The purpose is to ensure, when you are out in the fields working, that you can correctly count the chimes. The first time you hear it, you probably did not start counting. Count the second time the bells ring about 2 seconds later. It can still be useful if you are out walking in the neighbourhood.

May we bring our pet?
  Regrettably, we have to say 'no' to this one. The house is furnished with some antiques, some family heirlooms, white covers on the sofas and some nice Provencale 'boutis' or quilts. It would not be an appropriate place to bring a dog or cat for a holiday.  

Last update: 27 January, 2012