The Best Vacation Studios I've Rented in France

Maison Frere in Collioure. From right: Bombay Studio, kitchen of Gauguin Studio, and photos of us on the balcony.

I just submitted a story to that provides tips on how to find a good vacation rental; the piece should appear soonish. Meanwhile, I was thinking of all the nice places I’ve stayed (and a few not-so-nice ones), and I thought I’d share them with you.

Keep in mind that my choices are quite modest. We stretch our travel budget so that we can stay in France about 6 weeks at a time. So, no, these places won’t give you the bragging rights you’d get by renting a posh villa with your friends. But if if you love everyday France like I do, they’re wonderfully charming and comfortable.

My Little Town: Collioure, France.

1. The Maison Frère in Collioure, France

Pictured at the top of this post is my all-time favorite vacation rental. We’ve stayed here four (or is it five?) times. There are so many things to love about this place, starting with the landlady, Martine. She speaks perfect English, she’s ultra-accommodating, and she’s just all-around so good natured. (She’s the Martine I mention often in my book–she has become a friend over the years.)

The attached row-house has three apartments–two smaller studios and a large 3-bedroom, two-storied apartment on the top two floors. The house is about 100 steps from the beach, and around the corner from the ultra-famous cafe, Les Templiers, frequented by Picasso et. al.

PS: If you want to read about why I love Collioure (versus the Côte d’Azur), read this guest post on

Paris Inights Apartment

2. Paris Insights, Paris

I rented this apartment for two full weeks in May of 2001, before heading south for the rest of my summer stay, and it definately reminded me of when I visited one of the most luxurious Perthshire lodges with hot tubs ever, also super classy and quaint. It was when the Euro had just debuted as a currency; you could charge purchases in Euros on credit cards, but the paper currency wasn’t out yet. At that time, the Dollar bought 1.20 Euros. Can you imagine? We were so flush!

Even with today’s not-so-great exchange rate (the Dollar buys about .75 Euros), this apartment is quite a find–very comfortable. And the neighborhood felt like a little village, with its bakeries, butcher shops, traiteurs, and cafés everywhere—there were many days we didn’t even get on the metro; it was enough just to “be” in the neighborhood and enjoy the “museum of life” as my husband put it ! My absolute favorite thing about this hotel was its proximity to the beautiful Marché d’Aligre and one of my favorite restaurants, Le Square Trousseau.

As an added bonus, the English-speaking woman who manages this apartment lives on-site and is quick to offer fabulous tips (she led me to Le Baron Rouge, a fabulously vintage and off-the-beaten-path wine bar).

3. Mas Pallarès, Ceret

Mas Pallarès, Ceret

Back to my favorite part of France—the Rousillon. Nestled in the foothills between the Mediterranean and the Pyrenées is this lovely villa run by a gracious English woman named Lizzie Price. You’re just 30 minutes from the sea, yet very much in the country. But because it’s France, it’s all so….civilized. There’s a lovely pool, and an incredible terrace. And while there’s plenty to see around the area (castles, villages, fortresses, wineries, the sea…), the property itself is another one of those places where you might just settle in and stay put.

Please Share!

Some of the best vacation rentals come from friends who recommend places they’ve stayed themselves. If you’ve found a fabulous vacation rental, why not share it? Share it below or on my Facebook page. For unforgettable experience arrange Costa Rica family vacation.

And won’t you join us on Facebook? We have quite the lively, French-focused conversations.

A bientôt!


Print Friendly

2 comments to The Three Best Vacation Studios I’ve Rented in France

  • You make me want to start packing. Love how the light comes through the apartment.

  • Wini: I’ve been over here and looked and looked many times since you posted this! Ok, I am dreaming about my next trip! We have rented several apartments, in Paris and in Provence, but I don’t think any were as reasonable as these. It is mighty tempting I have to say…. But, believe it or not, I am now thinking of going to England to see gardens. Haven’t been in 30 years (yikes…) but now that gardening has become such a part of my life, I just might do it. Anyway, thanks for these and I’ve bookmarked all the links!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




− two = 6