Plan your personalized
itinerary with our concierge
To give you inspiration, Relais & Châteaux presents the Routes du Bonheur: suggestions for travel itineraries that you can fully personalise according to your wishes and the experiences you would like to discover. Our consultants are available to help customise your route and assist you in making reservations at our properties. It is up to you to reserve any recommended activities on-site or nearby that might interest you.
*Total price provided for information only, based on accommodation for two people in a double room for the number of nights per property as indicated on this page, exclusive of recommended activities, properties that cannot be reserved online and restaurants.
Restaurant and hotel in the country. Back in 1954 the Dépée family turned this former post house into one of the first Relais & Châteaux properties. Charming and tranquil, this top culinary destination is surrounded by Loire châteaux and the vineyards of Sancerre and Pouilly. Experience the rare pleasure of sleeping under a thatched roof, and allow yourself to be seduced by the cuisine of Chef Yoshi Miura in the restaurant, looking out on century-old oak trees. On the menu is a magical ravioli of wild mushrooms and velouté with a truffle jus, and John Dory in a La Ratte potato crust and sweet red onion sauce. This delicious food is complemented by wine from the highly acclaimed cellar. ... Learn moreless
It is described as ’’an Eiffel Tower of the navigable paths.’’ For over a century, the metallic Briare aqueduct was the longest one in the world. Built between 1890 and 1896, today the construction rises over the Loire River and the old lateral canal dug out during the reign of Henri IV. Gustave Eiffel himself contributed to the project. At the time, Briare was an important site of the river traffic. Today, it’s the leisure boats that take advantage of this stunning scenery. Looking at the boats from high above, you feel like you’re flying…
In Joigny, on the banks of the Yonne River, in the north of Burgundy, Jean-Michel Lorain attends to what his father created. The Grand Chef of La Côte Saint Jacques & Spa offers a re-invented Burgundy, between escargots and spices from half a world away. The country of Chablis leads toward the impressive Saint-Marie-Madeleine basilica in Vézelay, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Saulieu, Patrick Bertron watches over the Relais Bernard Loiseau with a keen and precise eye. The Grand Chef has preserved the ’’classics’’ spirit of the former owner introducing some subtle renovations. Not far from Beaune, it’s Éric Pras who now presides over the illustrious Maison Lameloise, passionately pursuing the work of his predecessors boostingthe ’’niveau d’excellence’’ (level of excellence). Just a few kilometres away, the Burgundy climate offers its best vines in the shade of low walls. Puligny-Montrachet, Vosne-Romanée, Vougeot and Gevrey-Chambertin are within hand’s reach…or that of a glass.
’’The cellar has always been one of the Auberge’s most important places,’’ says Philippe Dépée. ’’I like the vineyard work. Perhaps because like mine, it’s done with love of the place, of the land, and the insistence on excellence.’’ On both banks of the Loire River, the Sancerre and Pouilly vineyards offer their most beautiful colours. Some of the finest Sauvignons blancs and Pinots noirs in the country are produced here. The finest wine varieties are to be found on the restaurant menu of the Auberge, run by Grand Chef Martin Simonart.
Restaurant and hotel in the country. Troisgros is located in the heart of the countryside, at the foot of a vineyard. It is made up of a farmhouse where guests are received, a kitchen workshop where products are transformed, a restaurant, Le Bois sans Feuilles, were sharing is experienced, and a large Italian-style house where relaxation may be had. All of these spaces have a modern soul and are surrounded by fields, woods, a lake, garden, and orchard. The taste of Marie-Pierre, and that of Michel and César, all guided by the simplicity in cooking, was without a doubt inspired by this new setting. ... Learn moreless
Shared by fifty independent wine growers, this vineyard has enjoyed an AOC appellation since 1994. My father worked for a long time with Robert Sérol in Renaison. Today, I share “Les Blondins”, a two-hectare property on the Gamay Estate, with his son, Stéphane Sérol. It’s a fruity and expressive wine that you’ll find on the menu of all of our restaurants – as far away as Tokyo.
Hervé Mons is one of the best maîtres affineurs (experts in cheese ripening). A Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman in France), he knows inside and out all the country’s farms, traditions, and expertise. Over the years, he has become a reference in the profession. Over a hundred producers from all around France and elsewhere entrust the ripening and marketing of their cheeses to him. The smallest herd he oversees counts only four cows, producing only several dozen cheeses a year. A few years ago, he had the idea of transforming a railway tunnel into a cellar, and there he prepares his Beaufort, Salers, Cantals, Lavorts, Gruyères, and various Tommes.
When I was a child, my father took me here regularly. From Roanne, you crisscross Charolais hills. It’s a beautiful trip through wooded countryside interrupted here and there by several villages proud of their Romanesque churches. Every Wednesday, at noon, the market gathers a number of Charolais breeders who present their livestock for sale. More than 70,000 animals are sold here annually. Since 2009, an auction market has rounded out this traditional market, which was created at the end of the fifteenth century. Along the way, you should also stop, of course, at the Colline du Colombier, our magnificent inn lost in the country, in Iguerande - a village where the Leblanc family produces an excellent walnut oil.
Passionate about the artistic creation, I never miss the Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale. The first art biennale was held in the early 90s in the Halle Tony Garnier. In this singular world, I discovered artists like Christian Boltanski, Philippe Favier, Annette Messager, Buren, Viallat and Traquandi. It’s also at the Biennale that I encountered the work of architect Patrick Bouchain, with whom we are working on the future Maison Troisgros. In 2015, American curator Ralph Rugoff will undertake the Biennale’s leadership.
Guy Lassausaie transformed an old coaching inn built by his great-grandfather into an elegant house with contemporary lines. Sea bass fillet cooked skin-side down, lobster rolls, pigeon cooked in hay - here, the quality of ingredients is central. We’re at the gates of Lyon, probably the very heart of French gastronomy. In the Ville des Lumières (the City of the Lumières brothers), three other Grands Chefs continue the culinary heritage. At the Villa Florentine, David Delsart opens the doors onto the city from the hill terraces of Fourvière. In an Italian-inspired décor, the chef designs his menu in the image of the city, ’’a crossroads between the sea and the mountain.’’ Close to the Parc de la Tête d’Or, Pierre Orsi interprets classic dishes based on ’’noble’’ products, with the greatest finesse. Finally, located a bit off to the side, on the banks of the Saône, L’Auberge de L’Île Barbe by Jean-Christophe Ansanay-Alex offers a journey toward new flavours, where foie gras is paired with quince ketchup, for example…
Restaurant and hotel in a village. In Vonnas, Georges Blanc, emblematic Chef and visionary businessman, has developed a veritable Gourmet Village on the river bank, around a reconstruction of the inn of his great grandparents. Together with his family, Blanc constantly reinvents Bresse specialties through creations such as the “crêpe vonnassienne” with salmon and caviar or the legendary Bresse chicken with foie gras. Visits are available upon request to one of the five most exceptional cellars in the world, with more than 135,000 bottles. In just under five hectares of grounds, discover a heavenly spa, an aquatic space next to a pond and a large, landscaped park that is illuminated at night. ... Learn moreless
Grey-crowned Cranes, Dalmatian Pelicans, Scarlet Ibises, Rainbow Lorikeets, Cockatoos, and Marabou Storks…There are so many bird species to observe in this 35-hectare park set in the heart of a bird sanctuary. There’s a very beautiful show of birds born and raised here that allows you to admire the birds in flight.
Set in a magnificent 18th-century farm extended by a contemporary-style building, this museum dedicated entirely to Bressan heritage presents rich collections including costumes, jewellery, and local food specialities. Devoted to the region, Georges Blanc helped set up a real on-site Bresse poultry farm. A vegetable garden was also re-created. In 2014, a large exhibition was dedicated to the Bresse enamels that adorned the jewels of 19th century aristocratic women.
From the vine-growing process to the wine-making process, you can explore the whole world of wine in this hamlet created by Georges Duboeuf in the heart of the Beaujolais. In fifty years, this passionate man has gone from simple bottler to one of the biggest Beaujolais wine merchants. The story of the vineyards and of the wine unfolds throughout almost 30,000 m2 of park and exhibition sites. Two thousand years of history and expertise that often ends with the tasting of a glass of wine…
Vienne-la-Romaine is home to one of the greatest culinary stops along the route. Long managed by Chef Fernard Point, La Pyramide today benefits from the talent of Patrick Henriroux. Art Deco, regional food products, and delicate and spiced flavours are on the menu. Further to the south, in the restaurant hotel that bears their name, Régis et Jacques Marcon turn cooking into étoiles. Nature-oriented, with an ’’eco-label’’ certification, the restaurant is really part of the scenery. Their green Puy lentils, lamb or river-fish is worth the trip alone to the Haute-Loire. But how can you stop while a sign comes up for the Maison Pic, run for several years now by Anne-Sophie. World-known André Pic’s granddaughter and Jacques Pic’s daughter continues to place Valence at the heart of the French culinary scene. Her flavour combinations, as refined as unexpected, aim always to deliver the true essence of vegetables, fish, and meat.
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. Baumanière 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
It’s at Moulin Castelas where Jean-Benoît Hugues produces perhaps the best olive oil of the Baux-de-Provence Valley. On the 45 hectares extending along the sun-kissed slopes of the Alpilles are four varieties of olive: l’Aglandau, la Grossane, la Salonenque, and la Verdale - each unique, bursting with a singular flavour. Jean-Benoît works his oil like wine, with the same passion and precision. Here, at the Moulin Castelas, the fruit transforms into an elixir.
It’s on the Lauzières Estate, in an isolated little valley in the south of the Alpilles, where Jean-André Charial produces a rosé or red wine named ’’L’Affectif’’. This AOC wine from Les Baux de Provence offers - according to its vintage - prune, blackberry, or red berry notes.
And what if the biggest screen in the world was actually in Provence? On this exceptional site of the old Baux quarries, the works of the most prestigious artists are presented. Filmed in 1959 in Cocteau’s The Testament of Orpheus, the quarries make an extraordinary setting today. There’s more than 6,000m2 of space where shows are projected, often featuring the paintings of Gauguin, Monet or Van Gogh. Each year, a new work lights up the white limestone. In 2014, Klimt and Vienna will have the place of honour.
Just a few kilometres from Nîmes, ’’Southerner’’ Michel Kayser presents a palette of Provence in his Restaurant Alexandre - from turbot confit in olive oil to a Provençale-truffle floating island. The Route du Bonheur continue to Les Baux in Provence and to the Luberon flavours which explode in your mouth at Bonnieux-en-Provence. In his Bastide de Capelongue overlooking the lavender fields, Édouard Loubet presents dishes inspired by the nature. Once you arrive in Marseille, go to Gérald Passédat’s Le Petit Nice, a real hymn to the sea, where little fish caught in the rocky inlet are served up as the world’s most precious dishes. You can taste the Mediterranean in Christophe Bacquié’s Provençale cuisine at l’Hôtel du Castellet flavoured entirely by the sun. Raised in Corsica and in love with its vegetation, he always has an eye toward the South…
Hotel and restaurant in a village. This château, built on the steep slopes of the French Riviera, offers breath-taking vistas of the Mediterranean and has plenty of relaxing activities in store: swimming in the pool, fragrant gardens or Indian massages. The charming rooms are all different. The great classics of French gastronomy as well as Mediterranean specialties can be savoured in one of the four restaurants of the Chèvre d’Or, where the pleasure derived from the fine cuisine is enhanced by the stunning views. After the meal, you can stroll through the cobblestone streets of the medieval cliff-side village overlooking the grandiose panorama of the sea. ... Learn moreless
They say that the famous philosopher who once lived nearby has conceived the third part of his monumental Thus Spoke Zarathustra along this path that now bears his name. Following the steps of Friedrich Nietzsche, you can walk between the low, dry stone walls, and the cypress and bougainvillea trees, all mixed with the fragrance of myrtle and rosemary. The Mediterranean gives itself freely to a perfect postcard setting. It takes approximately forty-five minutes to descend, and/or one-and-a-half hour to climb back up the 400m path.
Transformed into a museum by 1938, this magnificent Renaissance-style palace is one of the most impressive monuments of all the French Riviera. A great collector of art, its owner Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild was known for her refined tastes. Inside the villa, one can still explore the baroness’s living rooms and apartments, that house an exceptional collection of French porcelain. Be especially mesmerized by one of the nine "remarkable" gardens (labelled by the Ministry of Culture in 2005), which cover almost seven hectares.
Modern and contemporary art find its most beautiful ambassadors here. With this incredible building, Aimé and Marguerite Maeght provided an exceptional setting for the works of artists like Giacometti, Chagall, Miro, Léger, and Braque. The building continues with superb gardens that are accessorized with monumental works of art. Since its establishment in 1964, several monograph exhibitions have been dedicated to those who were often friends of the Maeght family. The Foundation will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in spring this year with an exhibit dedicated to Catalan architect Josep Lluís Sert, while in summer, it will revisit the masterpieces that marked its history….
Located at La Napoule, L’Oasis emerges on the Mediterranean seaside. Cannes, its Festival Palace and above all its Florville Market attract film-lovers and gourmets, including Stéphane, François and Antoine Raimbault. Some kilometres inland, on the heights of Grasse, the silver-coloured olive leaves welcome you to the Bastide Saint-Antoine. With its world reputation for flavours, this town offers chef Jacques Chibois unsuspected flavours and a beautiful environment for organic vegetables. Running along Antibes and Nice, then heading to the rock village of Eze, the Nationale 7 ends at Menton, on Italy’s doorsteps. In the shade of the magnificent lemon trees, with one last look toward the Mediterranean from Mirazur, the restaurant of the talented Italian-Argentinian chef Mauro Colagreco reminds us that the Route du Bonheur is also the route to all flavours…