Fabrice's apartment as in the photos is exactly what you will find upon arrival. It is beautifully remodelled, a wonderful kitchen for cooking meals and eating dinners, a lovely sitting room with tv and couch (and fold out bed), little desk, and a great bedroom and bathroom to top it off. After long days hiking, I will say the bed and shower/baths were most welcome! Fabrice has a beautiful way of decorating that makes the apartment modern and rustic at the same time, giving it a lovely charm that's hard to resist.
Note: This was my first trip to France---and for those not used to UK/EU door locks, make a note to ask how to unlock and lock the front door--not quite the same as in the US.
The apartment is about a 10min walk to the grocery store, where you can purchase liquors, beers, wines, food, clothing etc., as well as a fuel station and small pastry shop. It's about a 45 minute easy walk into Briancon center, where you will find several bars, restaurants, pastry and charcuterie shops.
Another 10 minutes uphill from the town center is a wonderful 'avenue of the arts' within a chateau. Take a day to walk up the avenue and explore the shops, food stands, and enjoy a wine or beer to people watch.
Villard Saint-Pancrace has several beautiful hiking trails just steps from the home, and Fabrice can recommend some lovely hikes. I took his suggestion to hike to Lac de l'Orceyrette (which, if you have a decent 4x4 or sedan that can travel uphill gravel roads, it's drivable). it's a good 12 mile roundtrip hike, with a spectacular lake at the top where several fly fisherman were spending the day. if you continue for another 6 miles up, you'd hit the top of one of the peaks (two are accessible from there).
If you are looking for a quiet place with charm and affordability to stay, this is it. It's in walking distance to Briancon, busses run through town on a schedule if you don't want to walk, it's close to hiking, and Fabrice is an amazing host--very communicative, open, and accommodating.
I hope to be back next year!!! Thank you Fabrice!!