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“Pop art palace”
Review of La Maison du Frene

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La Maison du Frene
Ranked #1 of 15 Vence B&B and Inns
San Francisco, California
Level 5 Contributor
86 reviews
77 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Pop art palace”
Reviewed June 26, 2012

"Unique" doesn't really express the character and charm of Guy and Thierry's property in Vence. Fitting for a town with so much art history, the collection of furniture and art is unlike any you've seen. It ranges from from high fashion to pop art – all with a sense of wit and style. Contrasting the frenzy of color and imagery in some parts of the house, our room was quiet, spacious and elegant. It felt like an apartment, and we were immediately at home.

Thierry held court at breakfast, guiding guests to an array of adventures and restaurants. He was always ready with an insightful suggestion or a fresh cup of coffee.

The location couldn't be more perfect, one block off the main square, and just across the street from the art museum and the old-town entrance. The bus to St. Paul-de-Vence is about 4-5 blocks away. We found Vence to be a breath of fresh air after the touristy character of Grasse. One night (to the disgust of Thierry), we drove the 40 minutes to Monte Carlo – for a complete change of pace.

This was another gem from Mr. & Mrs. Smith, our new go-to resource for finding unique hotels.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank David S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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154 reviews from our community

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New York
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed June 25, 2012

If you are going to the Côte D'Azur to see amazing light and art -- to find the magic that attracted Matisse, Chagall, Picasso etc ... STAY HERE! We were lucky enough to find this fabulous 'B&B' by browsing the internet .. and really - wow. We were 4 people, including my 14 year old godson with whom we wanted to share our love of France. Thierry and Guy go out of their way to help you plan your day, make sure your time is well spent and most certainly protect you from any tourist traps.!! Top that off with freshly baked croissants each morning ... we were in heaven.
Vence was a perfect location to get to Cannes one day and Nice the next ... and all the art and perfume in between.
Yes, all the reviews are fabulous. I loved reading them before I went. So i wanted to assure all that the reviews are true. And i'll post a couple of photos that might help someone make the right choice.
The Maison du Frene is truly the definition of magic.

Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank bonjourjed212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 15, 2012

We try to find great B and B's in petite villes in France in order to experience local life and see this wonderful country from the inside out. Guy and Thierry made our stay seem as if we had returned home for a visit. Their home is a veritable museum with one of the finest art collections we have seen. Each room is a personal suite, larger than many homes. Convenient location 20 min from Nice Cote d'Azur airport, but away from the hectic big city. We want to return.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Dellieclark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Britain, Connecticut
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed May 17, 2012

Imagine being locked in for the night at a museum of modern art! From the red walls in the foyer and stairwell, to the Greek bust strung with beads, this tiny but luxurious boutique hotel, located just across from the ancient fig tree and one of the gates of the Old Town, makes for a fantastic visit to Vence! All four rooms are suites, all decorated in a different style. Ours had a view of the mountains to the north and one of the oldest buildings in Vence. In addition to comfy beds, TV, wifi with speaker, there was a tiny fridge, large daybed (with dachsund-shaped pillows), and tons of lovely coffee-table books about Provence to browse through. Every time we came in or out, we would discover another wonderful piece of art or trompe l'oeil. Our hosts were gracious and breakfast was in their suite, with the brilliant decor, paintings and sculpture making a feast for the eyes while one breakfasts on fresh fruits, juice and yogurt. Defintely a unique experience!

Room Tip: Close to Old Town, parking one block away, superb ambiance!
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank cd_in_CT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
66 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 284 helpful votes
Reviewed April 2, 2012

We loved every minute of our 2 night stay and wish we could have stayed longer. Every positive review of this B&B is accurate. From the divine room (we stayed in the Vallauris suite) to the delicious fresh breakfast, and especially the gorgeous hosts, we could not have been happier. We particularly enjoyed the freshly squeezed orange juice at breakfast, and being Australian, happily applied our vegemite to the superb crusty baguette (although the jams offered were also delicious)!

The location is perfect - right in the heart of beautiful Vence - although it was impossible to stop our hire car & unload our suitcases in the narrow street! We had to continue along to the public carpark nearby & then wheeled our luggage the short distance back to our home from home.

We loved the funky decore and the ambience. Our room had everything we desired and more - large comfortable bed (although we would have preferred covered quilts to the exposed blankets), TV, free WIFI, fridge, tea & coffee facilities and a safe. It was also excellent value for money. The view from our room was breathtaking!

If you're planning a trip to this very special part of the world, don't hesitate and just book La Maison du Frene immediately! We can't wait to return.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank lovetojourney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geneva, Switzerland
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed December 28, 2011

La Maison du Frene is a gorgeous boutique hotel with gracious hosts who have left no detail unattended. Immaculately clean, beautifully styled, and spacious and comfortable rooms and beds. The hotel is well located and only metres from good bakeries and restaurants. Highly recommended for couples looking for a luxurious, romantic and peaceful stay in a pretty French town.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank TheZanzibarChest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, Minnesota
Level 6 Contributor
119 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 155 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2011

First of all, given all of the positive reviews of La Maison du Frene, why write another one? Because such a wonderful guesthouse and its lovely hosts really and truly do exist! Based upon the many positive reviews, we went to La Maison du Frene this past November with very high expectations. Even then, our 3-day stay easily exceeded all such expectations!!! From the very beginning, our e-mail correspondences were always prompt, warm, and cordial. We arrived to find an impeccably preserved stone townhouse, richly and tastefully decorated with a spectacular collection of art, and, except for the lack of an elevator, completely equipped with all of the modern conveniences otherwise . Our very, very spacious Pop Art Suite comes with a comfortable sitting area, a large bedroom with plenty of room to move about, and a large bathroom cleanly decorated with bright azur tile surrounds, white ceramics, and dark wood accents! Everything is meticulously and spotlessly clean. Some of the nice and thoughtful extra touches: Fragonard bath amenities; a tea & coffe-making corner in our own room; electrical adaptor; free wifi that worked like a charm; iPod docking station, etc.. (And do open the door in the bathroom for a view of the mountains in the distance.) While we have seen attempts of art displays at hotels and guesthouses elsewhere that unfortunately sometimes ended up looking amateurish or pretentious, we were quite impressed by how the bright color schema and décor of the Pop Art Suite and of the entire guesthouse managed to be whimsical while at the same time being so pleasing and inviting! During our stay, Guy gave us a tour of the other Suites, which are decorated in more classical but equally inspired and stylish manners. The living room & library, where breakfast is served (on Limoges china), are equally richly and elegantly furnished --it was like visiting the home of a wealthy and classy relative who has eclectic tastes in art AND who can also afford it! La Maison du Frene is also very well-located: just outside of the town's medieval wall, the house is so close to the many excellent restaurants and shops in Vence; about 15-20 minutes of a leisurely walk take one to the Matisse Chapel or to the bus stop for buses to St. Paul, Nice, Antibes, Tourrettes sur Loup, etc.. And don't miss the little church in Vence, where one can see one of Chagall's mosaics. We didn't have a car, but Guy mentioned that there is a free car park near the police station just 5-10 minutes away.

So how does one top such comfortable and pampered accommodations? By having amazing hosts who are hands-on and who treat their guests so well. Our hosts are absolutely the warmest and most gracious: From Thierry's hearty welcome upon our arrival, to Guy's and Thierry's warm conversations and recommendations about the area during our stay, to Thierry's sweet accommodation of our request to meet their adorable terrier Billy, to Guy's insightful and practical suggestions about Paris, etc., we really felt like we were visiting dear friends! Do follow their restaurant recommendations and have dinner at La Cassolette just around the corner, where we had an outstanding dinner for a fraction of what we would have had to pay in Paris. BTW, Thierry is an amazing resource when it comes to art in the area; it was Thierry who pointed us to the Braque chapel at the Fondation Maeght, where we found a very moving installation in memory of one of the Maeghts' sons who had died from cancer. And yet, while one is looked after so well at La Maison du Frene, one also can easily lose oneself while browsing at Thierry's and Guy's extensive private art collection, their many, many books about art and Provence, etc. The pictures on the website are absolutely accurate with respect to the physical space; they almost capture that luxurious feeling of contentment; they just don't convey that fabulous aroma of freshly baked croissants in the early morning …!

We wanted to stay in Vence as our base for some relaxation in the Cote d'Azur before our work-related meetintg in Paris. La Maison du Frene gave us so much more: comfort, sophistication, and a thrilling insight into what it is like to live surrounded by eclectic art!. Our hosts genuinely and generously do share with their guests their hospitality, their affection for the region, and their treasures of innovative art.

Room Tip: You can't go wrong with any of the Suites, but the Pop Art Suite combines fun with sophisticatio...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
5 Thank pln1961
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about La Maison du Frene

Property: La Maison du Frene
Address: 1 Place du Frene, 06140 Vence, France
Location: France > Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur > French Riviera - Cote d'Azur > Vence
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Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 15 B&Bs / Inns in Vence
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 4
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Also Known As:
La Maison Du Frene Hotel Vence

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