More about Les Carmes
Well Worth the Time
While there are many beautiful B&B's and hotels in Provence, none compare to the charm, beauty and hospitality we received at Les Carmes. Our hosts Michael, Ann, James and Simon served as tour guides, chef and French historians. James, a two-star chef is a delight. With his love of cooking he served delicacies we found unmatched anywhere else in Provence, especially the scallops and fennel soup. I also took a cookery class from James. His patience and knowledge of fine cuisine allowed me to make a chocolate souffle--fantastic.
Ann helped us map routes of Provencal; recommended fine restaurants and. along with Michael, served as warm and friendly hosts during our stay. The location of Les Carmes, the relaxing atmosphere of Les Carmes and the gracious hosts of Les Carmes make it first rate. Book early.
Highlight of 5 weeks in Europe
Wonderful hospitality from Ann, Mike, James and Simon meant a great holiday for kids and adults alike. The location is great, the rooms were large and comfortable, the food was the best we ate in France. James is an excellent chef and puts a huge amount of work into preparing dinner. After eating his Tomato Tartin, our 10 year old said in admiration "And to think that used to be a tomato!". Our kids (aged 10,13 and 15) could stretch out and relax or read or watch english language cartoons on the cable TV. There is a pool, but we were there in the middle of winter. The lounge room is big with comfy chairs and a lovely open fire. The kids loved chatting to James and Simon, two cool 25 year olds. Mike and Ann have lots of suggestions about where to go and what to do. They are very relaxed hosts and easy to get on with. They are happy to chat, or to give you privacy.
The closest town L'Isle sur la Sorgue is very picturesque with an incredible number of antique stores. We were close to the beautiful hill towns of Fontaine de Vaucluse, Gordes and Rousillon - all different and all worth seeing. St Remy was just to the south, with the fabulous Greek/Roman ruins of Glanum and you can follow the Vincent van Gogh path around the town. Avignon is 20 minutes to the west.
After 5 weeks away everyone agreed that the highlights were Les Carmes and New Year's Eve celebrations in San Marco's Square in Venice.
Fantastic vacation spot
We had a perfect stay at Les Carmes and would recommend to everyone as your homebase in Provence. Ann and her guys were fantastic. The accomdations and food, please reserve your supper there- you won't be sorry, were top notch! Felt the whole time you were staying with friends. You can't go wrong with selecting this little bit of heaven in the paradise od Provence.
highlight of our trip
Staying at Les Carmes was the highlight of our trip travelling through France and Italy. Ann and Mike Parkes (hosts) along with their sons James and Simon made us feel like friends rather than guests.
Their friendliness and hospitality were outstanding.
We staying in the Vine room overlooking the courtyard. The room was very spacious and tastefully decorated . It also had a large bathroom and dressing room.
The breakfasts were wonderful with homemade muesli and great yohurt from a nearby farm.
We had James cook a wonderful meal for us whch was the best meal we ate on our trip.
Simon showed us around the property and it is facinating how Les Carmes has evolved into this piece of paradise.
If you are looking for a place to stay in Provence this is perfect. It is easily accessible to Avignon and the nearby towns.
A Wonderful Experience, Not to be Missed!!
My wife, my daughter, and I spend 3 wonderful nights at LesCarmes at the end of our recent 2-week trip to France and Spain. We all agreed that our stay here was the pinnacle of our vacation---the delightful food and wine, the splendid accomodations, and the fabulous hospitality left us with wonderful memories of Les Carmes. The hosts (Mike and Ann and their sons Simon and James) were friendly, helpful, and hospitable. They made us feel at home to moment we stepped through the door.
Les Carmes is situated in the lovely countryside side of the Luberon region of Provence among apple orchards and vineyards. We stayed in the spacious Terrace Suite with a separate sitting room and en-suite bath with a beautiful Italian tile walk-in shower. The breakfast each day was delightful and featured locally-produced artisanal yogurt and fresh apple juice, along with meusli, croissants, homemade jams, and wonderful coffee. Best of all was the wonderful evening meal in the dining room--prepared by James with fresh local produce of the day and paired with lovely local wines. The meals at Les Carmes were, undoubtedly, the best meals we ate in France.
Our stay at Les Carmes was wonderful in every way and can't wait to visit again.
Do not rely on mapquest. The street they are on is largely on the far opposite side of L"ile sur le Sorge with an very small portion being where Les Carmes is. Mapquest has it all wrong. Get directions (in English!) from Mike or Anne.
Delightful Broken Record
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I must continue in the vein of the previous writers and say that staying with Ann and Michael and their sons was one of the most pleasant experiences of our travels in France. When someone loves what they do, they inevitably do it well. This family is like a well oiled machine,each having his part to make LesCarmes run well, They have put their hearts and souls into this wonderfully restored monastery. Their enthusiasm is outdone only by their success. Each one has his function and as a team they are tops. They made each guest feel immediately at home. Getting totally lost, Ann drove to Thor to direct us to LesCarmes. Michael met us and without a second of hesitation picked up our bags and proceeded to our room. I understand ours was the smaller room, it was huge, had two single beds that were tastefully made up and a bathroom to die for.
Having read about James cooking, we of course reserved dinner. It started at 8:00 with Champagne and escargot and ended at 11:30 with espresso. The three hours plus was one unforgettable culinary experience. So good that we immediately reserved for the second night.
the grounds are lovely and we felt very secure being on the gated estate.
Breakfast with fresh from Jame's oven croissants and jams and yogurt and granola was wonderful.
This family will cut no corners to make sure you have the best of times. Ann also assured me that they love children, so it is a place for all. I am already having friends go their after my positive experience.
Wonderful place, Loving family.
My husband and I recently returned from a 3 day stay at Les Carmes. We were so lucky to stay at such a beautiful house, Ann, Mike, Simon and James are very friendly and made us feel very comfortable, like "old friends" from the moment we arrived. James cooked a delicious dinner for the guests. We all sat outside and greatly enjoyed good conversation with the family and the others Our bedroom was very nice, the shower was perfect and the breakfast...croissants galore! We miss Les Carmes very much already and we'll definetly go back for more!
Maria and Andrew
We had a wonderful time at Les Carmes, and were so glad we booked 3 nights in the Vine Suite, which is clean and huge and has a wonderful bathroom. One note about the Vine Suite is that it is right above the lovely outdoor terrace, so if you are an early-to-bed person, you may want to reserve another room as sometimes guests sit outside and talk. For us it was wonderful, as we were enjoying the lovely outdoors and talking with Mike, Ann and the other guests.
Mike and Ann are outstanding hosts--always concerned that their guests are having a good time. Ann had great advice about sightseeing, and really saved us from a driving-intensive day, instead sending us to some lovely nearby towns (Font de Vaclouse, Gordes). She knew all about the local markets, where to park, where to go, and was always happy to print a map. Les Carmes is really like staying with friends--but friends with a really GREAT place!
I should also mention the food, because it is really worth mentioning! We ordered dinner the first night (exhausted from an ambitious driving trip across France) and enjoyed it so much that we stayed in the next night--James is really a talented chef.
One last note--Mike and Ann currently accept only cash, so factor that in your plans when you reserve. (There are ATMs in Isle Sur Le Sorgue, but ours only allowed a Euro 300 withdrawal). Les Carmes is a great place to stay, I would stay there again in a moment and highly recommend it.
A memorable stay
If you want a memorable stay in a wonderful part of the world, Les Carmes is for you. I had spent several hours reseaching B&B's in Provence and finally settled on Les Carmes. One never knows how accurate the Tripadvisor reviews are. I can now tell you firsthand that Les Carmes more than met our expectations.
The property is lovely, the bedrooms and bathrooms large, airy and charmingly decorated. Les Carmes is very central if you want to explore the Provence area and I recommend you stay 4 or more nights and use it as your base rather than constantly repacking and moving on.
Best of all the Parkes family are terrific hosts and go out of their way to help you enjoy your stay. Les Carmes offers a set menu dinner most evenings prepared by their son James, a two-star Michelin chef. We had some of the best meals in memory at Les Carmes and it was a lovely way to spend the evening after a day of exploring. Les Carmes will always stand out as a highlight of our Europe holiday.