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THE ETERNAL ENCHANTMENT OF THE SOUTH
In Marseille, a few hours on the Old Port or in the narrow streets of the Panier district, the original town center with its medieval feel, are all it takes for the city to cast its spell. The magic continues along La Canebière, the historic main thoroughfare, named in reference to the hemp merchants and ropemakers who used to ply their trades here, and in the rocky landscape of the calanques, cooling coastal inlets where sheer walls of limestone plunge down to the turquoise sea. They lie at the gates of the city, under the watchful eye of Notre Dame de la Garde, the basilica personified as the “kindly mother” of Marseille. Just 30 kilometers (18 miles) away, Aix en Provence exudes a different kind of charm with its refined architecture, an exuberant blend of the Italian and French classical styles. A stroll under the plane trees on Cours Mirabeau, the main street of this “city of a thousand fountains,” lined with sidewalk cafés, museums and stately townhouses, brings to mind the era, starting in the late 12th century, when Aix was the capital of the Counts of Provence.
To the east of the city, Mont Sainte Victoire, a paradise for hikers and nature lovers immortalized on canvas by Paul Cézanne, draws the gaze toward the Provençal hills. Gardanne, Aubagne, Sainte Baume… This is the land of Pagnol, “born in the town of Aubagne, beneath Mont Garlaban with its crown of goats.” A region of valleys and limestone peaks, caves and cliffs. The sight transports the viewer into the world of the author of The Well-digger’s Daughter: “A vast Provençal landscape. In the background, a chain of blue and white hills. On the plain, an orchard of gray olive and green almond trees arrayed on a field turned gold by a sea of dried grass.”
Restaurant and hotel in the country. As a result of the merger of La Cabro d’Or and L’Oustau de Baumanière, Baumanière has become the epitome of Mediterranean art of living in a magical place. Appreciated by personalities from the political and the media world, this domain was founded by Raymond Thuillier, the "historical monument" of French gastronomy according to Gault et Millau. In 1969, Jean-André Charial took over from his grandfather as the head Chef, a position he held with maestria until today. This respected Chef is now no longer in the kitchens but managing the domaine. Beaumanière remains a unique place, nestled in the Baux-de-Provence rocky outcrops. It encompasses five buildings: L’Oustau, the historical centre, La Guigou, a Provencal mas, the Manor of the 18th century and finally Carita and Flora, in a rural setting. It also includes two gourmet restaurants, L’Oustau de Baumanière – an institution to enjoy the refined, subtle, simple cuisine of the chef – and La Cabro d’Or. A table d’hôte for lunch, a bar and numerous terraces supplement them. Moreover, the estate boasts a spa, three outdoor pools and a tennis court. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a vineyard. Cypress trees pick out Château de Berne at the end of a road that wends its way through 1,300 acres of preserved nature. For three hundred years, characterful Provence and fresh rosé wines have been aged in its cellar. Renovated in “country chic” style, the delightful rooms boast stunning views over the garden, vineyards, and forest. At the restaurant Le Jardin de Benjamin, the cuisine abounds in the scents and flavours of Provence. This is a heavenly spot where heirloom varieties, flowers and garden herbs all grow together under the olive trees. The spa is located in a contemporary environment, which is marked by a zen atmosphere and focuses on products around the vineyard. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a park. The Château de Rochegude, a 12th century fortress, is located in the heart of the Provencal Drôme region and majestically overlooks the Côtes-du-Rhône vineyards, with vistas of the Mont Ventoux. The cellars of the château boast some of the best wines and are a starting point for wine tastings in the surrounding vineyards. Other activites on offer include a visit to the Ardèche caves or to some of the many Roman remains, such as the Pont du Gard and the antique theatre in Orange. On your return to the château enjoy a snack of warm local truffles, thinly-sliced, seasoned and lightly steamed with butter, accompanied by eggs and slices of toast. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a vineyard. Located on a hill overlooking a winery estate, the Domaine de La Coquillade boasts exceptional views of the Luberon and Mont Ventoux. This charming hamlet includes six residences, the oldest dating back to the 11th century. Experience a blend of authenticity and ecology in the heart of the vineyards. Savour either gourmet modern or traditional cuisine, and delight the palate with vintages from the Aureto vineyard. Cycling enthusiasts can discover the countryside at their own pace. Lovers of Provence and fans of wine or wide-open spaces will be truly enchanted with the serenity and well-being to be found in this idyllic setting. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in a park. On the edge of a forest of pine trees overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the Hôtel du Castellet is one of the region’s most charming properties. Guest rooms are painted in hues of honey, lavender and grape and there are plenty of sun-drenched terraces. Two-star Chef and MOF (Best Craftsman of France) Christophe Bacquié has stamped his style on the Restaurant Christophe Bacquié, the prestigious gourmet restaurant of the hotel. The cuisine is based on seasonal and Mediterranean produce enlivened by a hint of flavours from further afield. For absolute relaxation there is the pool, golf course and spa. When night falls, the gazebos are illuminated, to highlight the beauty of the grounds. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a village. At the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail and Mont Ventoux is a charming and historic place in a location close to the heart of Paul Cézanne. Former meeting places – a presbytery, stables and a school – have been renovated, restored and converted into beautiful lodgings with wonderful views of “the Giant of Provence”, Mont Ventoux. This is an ideal Provencal base from which to explore the local markets, medieval villages, antique shops, lavender fields and artists’ studios. Other attractions: the abundant and fragrant cuisine of our restaurant Jérôme Blanchet as well as unforgettable Rhône wine tastings, featuring Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in the country. In the heart of the Luberon golden triangle, why not try the fragrant gourmet cuisine of two-star Chef Édouard Loubet at this elegant, sophisticated Provençal bastide. Serenity and art de vivre are the hallmarks of this prestigious hotel which offers its guests a simple and magical experience: to appreciate the décor of the elegant rooms, to breakfast by the side of a fountain, to sip iced herbal tea next to a pool surrounded by lavender, to go and pick food in the morning and then take a cooking class with the chef, or simply to enjoy the setting of the sun and the magnificent views over the village of Bonnieux. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a village. Countless generations of the Gleize family have looked after this 17th century post house. The balconies, the mosaiced walkways and the almond-green shutters are the work of Jany, the latest in the line. In the kitchen he reinvents the Provencal recipes of grandmother Gabrielle, with traditional flavours. Sweets are a tribute to Jany’s father, Pierre, a confectioner. Sample the delicious lavender honey ice cream served in it’s bee hive. A vegetable and a landscaped garden blend flowers, fruit and vegetables. Much more than simply a stopover, this is a voyage for the senses and a stepping stone to reaching perfect happiness. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a village. This three-hundred-year-old house, tucked away down an alley in the majestic city of Uzès, once the Chambon de La Tour family home and a historic monument, has recovered all its former glory. Behind its imposing façade, a monumental 17th-century staircase and a back stair lead to guest rooms featuring contemporary decor. They offer delightful views over the roofs of the old town. The spa nestles under Romanseque arches and draws its inspiration from ancient traditions of health and well-being. The chef at La Table d’Uzès serves Provençal market cuisine, which, in summer, can be enjoyed on the patio with a local Languedoc wine. Spa temporarily closed from October 31th to November 21th, 2016. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a park. Nestled on the hillside near the idyllic village of Mane and drenched in Provencal sunshine, this convent was home to nuns before it was converted into an upscale hotel. Protected from the Mistral wind by the statuesque Volx Rock, the building, which dates back to 1613, is a blend of medieval architecture and contemporary design. You will be delighted by the period facades, 100 year-old terraced gardens, and the station of the cross overlooking the environs. The rooms have been decorated with great attention to detail and have a gentle Mediterranean style, as does Le Couvent des Minimes Hôtel & Spa, a temple to wellness and a promise of renewed well-being. ... Learn moreless