Guestbook

Since buying our maison de village in March 2002, we have shared our home through Vacation Rentals by Owner more than 50 times, and dozens of times privately. When VRBO redesigned itself in the mold of AirBnB several years ago, it anonymized the dozens of marvelous reviews left by guests. We stopped advertising there, and have invited former guests who have stayed in touch with us to share memories here.


Reviews

Memories!

★★★★★
A place for making memories! The house was so spacious and comfortable. We had a wonderful family time celebrating my husband's 70th birthday. Rebecca Burnill
- Rebecca Burnill

Life on the Terrace

★★★★★
We love Ken and Betsy’s house in Carces, and have returned many times. Staying for a month in spring, we are able to invite and share with family and friends. Each time it feels like coming home, as the house greets us with its vibrant and warm colors, comfy furniture, lovely garden, and all the supplies and equipment you need to settle right in. We think of it as our town and country house, with the village a block from the front door, and the garden, river and countryside out back. From the front windows we’ve enjoyed watching such offerings of local life as bicycle races, World Cup victory celebrations, trucks loaded with grapes for the wine co-op down the street, and huge flocks of sheep heading to summer pasture. On an easy day, we’ll stop by one of the local bakeries for fresh pastry to have with our café crème at the local bar. Then off to a nearby village having a Farmers’ Market that day to explore, shop and have lunch on the square. Back home for naps, walks, exploring Carcès, or hanging out back by the pool. Supper – local Rosé, farmers’ market vegetables and cheeses, herbs from the garden - on the terrace overlooking the pool, is accompanied by the soothing sounds of the river waterfall and evening birdsong as the setting sun glows against the trees. Sharing hours of good food and conversation with family and friends on this terrace is what we miss most after we leave. We also miss the friendly and helpful people that we have met in town. In the evenings, local fètes, concerts and other musical events are often available in Carcès and surrounding towns and villages. Easy day trips will bring you to most anywhere in Provence. We highly encourage you to choose Ken and Betsy’s charming and cheerful home for your next vacation in Provence. Annette and John
- Annette Blanchard & John Hewitt

Authentic Provence

★★★★★
We were so fortunate to find Ken & Betsy’s house to start a year-long getaway in Jan/Feb.of 05. Granted, it was an off-beat time of year for such a location but we loved the oddity of Provence in winter, The house was a warm and cosy haven, even when we were surprised with a snowstorm, supposedly the first in 20 years, to spice up the unique ambiance. Otherwise, the weather was quite pleasant during our 5-week stay and we really appreciated the house’s central location. It was quite easy to use Carces as a base to explore the wonderful markets in neighboring villages and for day trips to visit cities and sites throughout this fascinating region. Un-touristy Carces offers visitors a true Provencal experience—- like the delightful small traveling circus that came to town one weekend. And townspeople were always so welcoming and helpful, which was especially valuable given our limited and fractured French. Maison Kobre provided all the amenities and comfort one could possibly want in a vacation home, including the all-important comfy mattresses. Filled with interesting art and authentic decor., the house is a real treasure. It’s a spot we happily recommend to friends and one we’d also love to revisit one day.
- Val Flesch & Larry Gibbs

Character & Comfort

★★★★★
Are you looking for a charming getaway? A place that has character, is unique and comfortable? A house that gives you a glimpse into an old world? I highly recommend a stay at this beautiful and well-appointed maison in historic Carcès. Located in the heart of Provence, this village is a secret gem, undiscovered by tourists yet close to all the highlights this gorgeous region has to offer. The 200-year-old house is a mix of classic and rustic architecture. The interior is quite large with three floors and thoughtful touches throughout. A mix of antique furniture, colorful walls, regional art pieces and a display of visiting artists‘ paintings of the area give this home a truly local touch. On your first day, I suggest you pick up a breakfast pastry at one of the bakeries, select a local wine from the town’s own cooperative and shop for fresh produce at one of the weekly farmers’ markets. In the afternoon, you might want to explore the town’s historic places and pay a visit to the local corner cafe. When the sun sets, enjoy a glass of local rosé on the lovely terrace overlooking the pool, garden and beautiful landscape. C’est la belle vie.
- Sibylla Herbrich

Most Memorable Winter Holiday in Carces

★★★★★
Our group of 4 families found this unique home a secure, comfortable and most accommodating anchor for our Winter Holiday Vacation! The small cozy kitchen was amply adequate to provide each families cooked meals, but we did not come to cook, we came to take in the sights and eat at as many of the local eateries as possible. The open dining room with adjoining living areas along with a warm glowing fireplace provided an abundantly spacious area to hold recaps of daily experiences. The 4 bedrooms provided ample spacing and privacy with beautiful views of the backyard gardens and hills beyond the property line. We thoroughly enjoyed the short morning walks to the town center to buy chocolate croissants, coffee while taking in the quaint markets, old buildings and of course, people watching!. This old unique stone house in Carces provided us with a true opportunity to experience one of our Most Memorable Vacations and Winter Holidays!
- Humphrey and Linda Hughes

Where to begin...?

★★★★★
Where do I begin... a four story house in an ancient village, with curving staircases, nooks and crannies and hig beamed ceilings and balcony and patios and grape arbors, a fountain, meandering down stone stairways to a river with a powerful waterfall (white noise for the whole house). We front on the village but in back it drops through a series of small, steep hills to the river. Floor to ceiling windows with shutters to let in the breeze, and the light, and the sound of the river. A pool. Even in November, the sun is warm... like mild summer, and there are palm trees, indicating it's not going to get too cold (the clothes we brought were for Wisconsin November. They worked in Paris, but here we need clothes for Wisconsin June). Good showers, and plenty of them. A family or a group of friends could stay here without stepping on each other's toes. It is really beautiful, and I recommend it to anybody coming to France. Within an hour's drive, in various directions, are the Riviera, Avignon, Roman ruins galore, the Verdun Canyon ("the Grand Canyon of Europe"), and Italy isn't much farther. But it's tempting just to stay in this house and on the property, or meander around the village. It's a great contrast to the noise and rush of Paris. I want to thank Betsy and Ken personally for having added to the quality of our lives and our memories by providing this beautiful place.
- Jim Jenkins

Je me souviens

★★★★★
I have twice had the gift of sharing this beautiful home in Carces with close friends. The town is easy to navigate, and its people were very welcoming and friendly. It’s an excellent base from which to explore Provence. We will be back!
- Mary Sawyer

Happy time

★★★★★
A group of us ladies rented this place twice; fall and spring, for a month each time. We took lovely side trips and took advantage of all the beautiful markets in the area. This house is charming and beautiful. We felt so comfortable that some days we opted to just stay home. I can heartily recommend this house to anyone interested in a pleasant experience.
- Liz Wenzl

Paradise in Provence

★★★★★
It was November of 2012 when we found paradise in the South of France. Nestled in the hills and vineyards about an hour north of the Cote d’Azure is the village of Carces. We weren’t the first to be impressed with this little hilltop though, the Romans were one of the first to settle here, thus the name “Carces” from the latin “carcerem” or prison. Carces is still a prison of sorts - at least for us. The longer we stayed, the harder it was to leave. Our first few “terms of in-Carces-eration” were two or three weeks in length. This had much to do with availability of our chosen accommodations on Ave Ferrandin. By the time 2015 rolled around, we were staying for 12-18 months at a time, sometimes longer. Again, this was made possible by circumstances of availability. The opportunity was presented and we did not need to be asked twice. Our hearts though, are serving a “life sentence” in this place. It was in the 17th Century that Louis XIV came to Carces. His mother and he were to visit a church in the neighboring village of Cotignac (still used today) and the Sun King had arranged a visit. Unfortunately, there were no suitable accommodations for a king in Cotignac, but there were in Carces -- and they are still here. The remnants of the castle are still lived in by common Carcois in the “Cite Medieval” on a hill over looking the village. Amazing to me that having visited Carces, the king decided to go north again! Carces is perfectly located, with the coast to the south, the Alps to the north, the Italian border to the east and to the west, the Languedoc region made famous by Peter Malye -- all within a drive of an hour or two. Here are found the towns of Orange, Aix-en-Provence, Nimes (where the Pont du Gard is to be found) and more. Artists such as Van Gough, Cezanne and Picasso were drawn to the light of Provence, it is easy to see why. But as wonderful as the village of Carces is, it is the people we fell in love with. These are genuine, hard working folks with a connection to the land and to the traditions of their families and culture. This is a true community in every sense of the word. We soon made friends that are today as close as family. The house, though, on Avenue Ferrandin is something out of a Provencal dream. Even the locals when visiting for an evening with us comment, “It’s so Provencal”! The owners have chosen colors and decor that bring a feeling of authenticity to their home. Originally built for a 19th Century wine merchant, it comes equipped with a “cave” (wine cellar), garage and two floors of living area. It may be old but it is very well maintained and comfortable. There is a “terrace” (patio) off of the living room and a small swimming pool in the back yard which is fully enclosed by walls for privacy. Through the back gate is Betsy’s garden -- beautifully designed, planted and maintained. A hundred meters or so beyond that is the river Caramy. We are so very grateful to have found the village of Carces and to have met Ken and Betsy, the owners of “Our Place in Provence.” This experience changed our lives. We will return to Carces as often as possible. Still, we feel it only fair to share our secret paradise and hope the experience has the same effect on others. The Silverwood's - San Diego, California http://www.ribbonoflightimages.com
- Silverwoods

Family Reunion

★★★★★
Our group was made up of our parents, sisters, brother in law and three teenaged boys. We had the very best time! The area is beautiful, the house is comfortable and welcoming. We took turns preparing meals and enjoyed shopping in the little shops within walking distance of the house. We also planned and enjoyed a number of day trips which were wonderful. I highly recommend this lovely home!
- Anne Zolnor

A Grand Adventure

★★★★★
After 56 years of nursing, I treated myself to a 200-year-old winemakers house, and it did not disappoint. I rented it for 1 month and had family and friends arrive in 1-week increments. 4 bedrooms and 3 baths accommodated all generously with room to spare. Trips to St Tropez, Monaco, Cannes, Avignon were just 90 minutes away on the A8. Carces is quintessentially French with shops right around the corner. The grocer, Pierre, spoke perfect English should you need it. Restaurants were all within walking distance. Jogging out the front door along vineyards with only a farmer on his tractor was a treat for my son. The back of the house had a beautiful terrace where we ate breakfast and had our cocktails. All appliances worked perfectly when instructions were followed. We had fun hanging the laundry on the clothesline or conveniently in the garage in inclement weather. All in all, a perfect home which was full of cheer and comfort and a cleaning crew weekly. A grand adventure for one and all.
- Carol Coates

Ideal

★★★★★
You couldn't ask for a better experience. The whole setup is a dream--an unspoiled, really charming village in Provence, 30 minutes from the Coast, a beautifully maintained house with a swimming pool and garden, with a river beyond. Oh, and two competing village bakeries!
- Pat Gleeson & Charmaine McClairie

Fall in love with Provence

★★★★★
We spent a wonderful 10 days in this well-appointed and extremely comfortable home! It has everything one would want or need. The beds are comfortable for a great night's sleep. The location is perfect for exploring the many villages and towns of Provence. Our visit was planned around the Easter (early Spring) period, and we found it to be a great time to experience many popular destinations-namely Aix en Provence and Arles, without the large crowds of Summer tourists. The property manager was welcoming and very helpful -She made sure to let us know she was readily available if needed We highly recommend
- Gerard & Barbara, NYC

Family reunion haven

★★★★★
For the first time ever, a Hobgood family reunion was held in Europe. Usually our scattered clan has gathered annually at beach houses in Florida, but on a recent summer we leaped at the chance to experience Ken and Betsy's bit of paradise in Provence. We loved their colorful and comfy decor, paddled in the pool, explored local markets, enjoyed using our French and had a ball!
- Lucy and Kevin Hobgood-Brown

Sweet Carcès

★★★★★
We enjoyed our stay in Carcès in December 2013. Betsy and Ken’s house is lovely, and Carcès is a sweet town. Although two of us arrived sick, and then the other two followed suit, the house was a good place to be sick — warm and comfortable, with everything necessary just steps away. We grew particularly fond of the pharmacist who gave us some very effective medicine at a small price. We also got well and enjoyed pleasant drives to Cotignac and Aix. Margaret actually finished writing her next MaddAddam novel at the table in the living room of your house, so you may want to put in a plaque. She is truly an indomitable person, and we had a great visit. We came back not wanting to come back, as usual.
- Valerie Martin

Perfect Winter Rental

★★★★★
We stayed at Betsy and Ken's home in December, January, and February 2017. We felt very much at home in their wonderfully warm house during the cold weather. Warmer weather arrived in early February, and we turned off every single radiator. February is often one of the worst months of the winter in the British Isles, so it was wonderful to be able to enjoy a coffee on the terrace, even though it was less sunny than in December/January. Indeed, we even enjoyed lunch in the garden on some days. The house coped wonderfully with visitors who came to see us, and we have had all four bedrooms on the top floor in use. We cannot believe our luck in finding a house that is so close to our own hearts. Wonderful that you bought a house en ville instead of a villa in the countryside, and that you kept the beautiful tomettes and so many original fittings and then chose lovely colours and pictures to complement them. Even better that you chose Carcès, a real working town, rather than Cotignac or Lorgues - lovely places to visit but where tourism wins out over the every day. Living here, opposite the "wisteria clad" architect's office and the ferronnerie, one can imagine oneself a part of the community, even though that idea is really illusory for us winter tourists. The illusion is reinforced, though, by an apparent absence of other foreigners or, I should say, non-francophones, since I have met so many French and Belgians from the North who have moved to Provence. It is not difficult to negotiate the lanes and byways with the IGN map and, especially, the wonderful walking apps with GPS you can download to your iPhone. It is remarkable to us that Carcès has a tourist office functioning throughout the year, complete with stagière. Our main reason for coming to Provence at this time of the year was to avoid the damp and greyness of a Belfast winter and the illnesses that tend to come with all that. During our 3-months in Carcès, we remained healthy, so our stay was a great success. We look forward to coming back!
- Richard Lee & Roisin McCauley

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