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“Exceeded Expectations!”

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Memoires de Provence
Ranked #1 of 2 Coustellet B&B and Inns
Reviewed November 28, 2012

Perhaps because it snowed in Philadelphia yesterday, I began reminiscing about our wonderful experience at Memoires de Provence back in September! Neil, our host, not only set us up on a series of beautiful self-guided (GPS-assisted) bike rides through many of the local villages, but he also served a gourmet dinner every other night. We loved eating family style with our friends and discussing the days events with Neil and Natalene. Their B&B in Coustellet is centrally located in the Luberon surrounded by relatively flat terrain, which made cycling very accessible. Neil has mapped out more than 60 GPS-directed routes that provide as much challenge (in terms of hills and distance) as you want. It was great to be able to stop anywhere along the route (e.g. for lunch at one of the magnificent villages) and then start up again at our own pace. We did not get to everything we wanted to see in Provence, so I expect that we will return again, perhaps even next year.

Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
Thank Michael C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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60 - 66 of 138 reviews

Reviewed October 13, 2012

Memoires de Provence, a four suite B&B just outside of Coustellet, serves as home base for Provence Cycling Tours. It is located in the Luberon region just outside of the small village of Coustellet. It is also the home of Neil and Nathalin Cowell, who graciously welcomed us into their home, and their two young children. The family made us feel more like old friends than paying guests. Provence Cycling Tours provides its guests with excellent hybrid bikes and an extensive list of GPS-guided bike tours for all levels of cyclists. It was perfect for our group of six, who had different skill levels and different vacation objectives. Every other evening, Neil would prepare a delicious dinner for us, which ranked among our best meals during our eleven day stay in France (and that includes some pricey Paris restaurants as well). Coustellet's business district, which is home for the Lavender Museum and several good restaurants, is just a short walk from the B&B. It is an ideal home base for touring Provence by bicycle or by car.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Hagar33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2012

Our stay at Memoires de Provence was wonderful. Neil and Natalene's hard work and attention to detail made for a perfect vacation. Their knowledge of the area was so helpful in choosing our rides and the experience was exactly what we had hoped for. The bikes and GPS equipment and routes were excellent. Having traditional French dinners prepared by Neil and served in that lovely setting was a special treat. Neil picked fresh figs for me every morning for breakfast which was a great way to start each day. I highly recommend this B & B for any level of biker. The location is an easy ride to many wonderful places. If you want really challenging rides, that is available too.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank sjoyce0129
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2012

Let me start by saying that I hesitated to book this because a) it didn't have a view b) Coustellet is not one of the charming provencal towns and c) it is pricey compared to B&Bs.

That said, I am SO glad that I did it. The host family is so warm, patient and helpful. Like many reviewers have said, its like visiting friends. The food was wonderful. The extra price you pay for the bikes, the helpful advice and the meals is completely worth it. The luberon is best experienced by bicycle and the GPS and the pre-scouted rides make it so easy.

Memoires de Provence is the B&B name for Provence Cycling Holidays.
http://www.provence-cycling-holidays.com
It is more of a bike touring experience than a B&B. When comparing pricing, compare it to Backroads or Butterfield and Robinson, rather than to surrounding B&Bs.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank MOWSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2012

My wife and I recently stayed at Provence Cycling Holidays for 8 days on a self-guided bicycle adventure. We were extremely happy with the accommodations, cycling, and the excellent breakfasts and dinners every other night. The stay was an outstanding experience. Neil is a cyclist himself and knows the area in detail. He works hard to fit you with bikes and GPS routes appropriate for your abilities; whether beginner or seasoned cyclist. He provides pocket guides on recommended sights and restaurants along the route. Neil created a couple of special routes for us, and we never once felt lost or uncomfortable with the surroundings. It's also very comforting to know that a friend with a car is just a phone call away should you need help. It's an ideal way of bicycle touring because you can ride at your own pace and schedule, or just take a day off to be a regular tourist.

Staying with Neil and Natalene is like visiting family in Coustellet, France. Neil is a Brit, and Natalene is French so both excellent English and French are spoken at the B&B. They are warm and outgoing, and the accommodations are clean and functional. We were blessed with wonderful warm weather during our stay, and enjoyed relaxing by the pool after a long bike ride. Neil cooks an excellent dinner every second evening. His cooking is comparable with the best we experienced during our extended vacation in Provence, and he's always happy to recommend fine local restaurants and make reservations for you on the alternate nights. He was also extremely gracious and accommodating of our special dietary needs. (Vegetarian and gluten sensitive.)

Staying with Neil and Natalene was everything we hoped our Provence bicycle trip would be, and we we'd give them six stars if that were an option. If you like bicycling in Provence, you won't be disappointed with Provence Cycling Holidays!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Courtney K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2012

A few years ago I was in France on business and met up with an expat friend who had arranged a bicycle ride for us. Even on the rickety old Schwinn Varsity the 100 mile ride was fabulous and so it was I dreamed of someday returning to France with my tandem team-mate and francophile wife. After a year of retirement we decided the time was now and began to research bicycle tours of Provence. There are well known tour companies that will shuttle your bags while you ride from town to town, but this wasn't really what I had in mind. Better it seems would be a "hub and spoke" tour staying at B&B's but the problem with this is knowing the best routes for bicycling. Let's face it, some of France's roads are totally unfit for cycling unless you like the idea of dying under the wheels of a semi-truck. In fact, anybody who does much cycling knows that when cyclists get together the first topic of interest is often preferred routes for cycling from point A to B.
This is where Neil comes in with pre-programmed GPS tools that mount to your bar and guide you through the back roads to all the must-see points of interest in Provence. Riding in French Urban traffic is not completely avoided (you will need these skills) but it is greatly minimized. And some points of interest are not to be reached by bike (such as Avignon) because there is no suitable backroad route (if there were Niel would know about it).
To prepare for our dream vacation we bought a Bike Friday tandem, a reasonably light machine that disassembles and packs into two check-able suitcases. The bike sat in it's cases for years before we finally got it together, coming out only once to ride the 2006 El Tour de Tucson.
Having our own bike saved a bit on the bill and Neil was eager to help us get it together and onto the road. The GPS units he provided were older Garmin tools that served us well, although they were a bit slow which led to a few U-turns as we missed a turn or roundabout exit, but hey, we got to see more and it doesn't take long to figure out that the dirt road you're on wasn't part of the route.
Our hosts were bright and personable, and their young family a delight. The old "Mas" or farmhouse was well appointed with decorations indigenous to the region. Petit dejeuner was typically served family syle under the grapevine pergola during our mid-May visit, and dinner, served every other evening, was gourmet Provencal, with Neil the master chef.
In conclusion, our stay at Memories de Provence was our dream-come-true.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Paul S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2012

My wife and I did the 6 day cycling holiday with accomodations and meals (breakfast every day and 3 dinners). This is very highly rated on TA which is why we picked it. I won't repeat all the details since the other reviews here give you a lot of information. I did want to add a few comments:
- I spent weeks looking for a cycling operation that let you pick your level of difficulty each day and this was the only one I could find. The GPS system worked great (we did have a few minor difficulties but we were never lost) and gave us the independance we were looking for. It was raining the first day we were there so we took our time, got oriented - the rain stopped and we had a good intro ride to get use to the bikes and GPS. If we had been on the standard shuttle tour we would have either gotten wet or been riding hard. Neil has a very smart system set-up here.
- what will make the trip so memorable (as if the great scenery, food and wine won't) is the hospitality. We've stayed in B&B's before, but never have we felt like we were visiting friends. Neil, Natalie and their children invite you into their home and lives. I enjoyed chatting with Neil about the business of running the B&B and his former corporate life. Lucy captured our hearts.
- the only minor criticism is the bed could have been more comfortable. However we were so tired from all the fresh air and exercise it never impacted our sleep.

Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
4  Thank DashingCalgary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Memoires de Provence

Address: 536 Chemin du Sarret, 84220 Coustellet, France
Location: France > Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur > Vaucluse > Luberon > Coustellet
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Coustellet
Price Range: $71 - $106 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Provence Cycling Holidays operates out of Memoires de Provence, a biking focused B&B. Our self-guided cycling breaks are designed to be flexible - you choose the rides, distances and amount of sightseeing to suit you, along with your tour duration. Use our quality hybrid touring bikes & our easy to use Garmin GPS systems, preprogrammed with 60+ rides for all levels. And you'll stay in our top rated 17th Century Farmhouse B&B (along with pool and gardens) in the Luberon Park, a great base from which to explore the beauty of Provence (Roussillon, Gordes, Fontaine de Vaucluse, L'Isle sur la Sorgue, Bonnieux, Menerbes, Oppede le Vieux etc). We also profide breakfasts, every other dinner (with drinks) and bike back up, in the unlikely event that you should you need it. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Memoires De Provence Coustellet, Provence-Alpes-Cote D'Azur, France

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