The land between the Camargue and the Vaucluse is greener, more luxuriant, more welcoming and comforting. Here the big country houses are châteaux and posh cars zip along the roads. It’s a different Provence, dotted with evocatively-named villages and bearing the marks of history from the Romans through all the Kings of France to the celebrities of today, for everyone wants to possess this promised land.
This remarkable 20ha site below Les Baux features a 16th-century farmhouse, an 18th-century manor house, a Provençal mas and a villa. It also boasts one of the five best private wine cellars in France (50,000 bottles) and a Sisley spa. Unexpected. Baumanière has been famed for its gastronomy for 75 years; people come from all around the globe. Three men perpetuate the tradition: Glenn Viel at the three-Michelin-starred L’Oustau, Michel Hulin at La Cabro d’Or and Jean-André Charial in the organic kitchen garden.
24 chambres, 30 suites, un spa, 3 piscines
D27, Les Baux-de-Provence. Tél. 04 90 54 33 07
VALLON DE VALRUGUES
This place has everything. An ideal location, two minutes by electric car from the centre of Saint-Rémy, luxury services, amenities close to hand, and simply unbelievable facilities. You can charge up your Tesla; there’s billiards and pétanque for him and a 500m2 Codage spa for her before they join up for a delicious meal cooked by Thibaut Serin Moulin. Unexpected. The 200m2 Van Gogh Suite is more than 5-star luxury. It’s a pure gem, its spaciousness, facilities and decor the finest in all Provence.
48 chambres, suites et villas, un spa, 4 piscines.
9 chemin Canto Cigalo, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Tél. 04 90 92 04 40
The former cinema in the centre of Saint-Rémy, founded by Jean-Luc Godard, is now a hotel boasting a 2ha park with a huge square pool. Children can play hide and seek in the maze. At the cocktail hour you can enjoy the kitchen garden’s many scents as you sip your drink and wriggle bare toes in the grass of the lawn. Unexpected. Two of the suites are special. The Horizon Terrasse is a family duplex overlooking the park and the Robinson Crusoe features a real tree house. Unique!
16 chambres, 16 suites, une piscine.
36 boulevard Victor Hugo, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Tél. 04 90 92 51 50
HÔTEL DE TOUREL
The owners pay scrupulous attention to every detail. There are just seven suites, each with a personality of its own. You’ll love the food cooked by Jérémy Scalia, who has recently won a Michelin star. The very modern wine store is stocked with outstanding wines, lovingly selected by the owners. Unexpected. Rooftop terrace in the heart of Saint-Rémy, with pool, splendid view and, new this year, a tasting menu for 14 diners.
7 suites, une piscine, un bar à vin.
5 rue Carnot, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Tél. 04 84 35 07 20
DOMAINE DE MANVILLE
The intimacy of the beautifully refurbished interior contrasts with the impressive scale of the exterior. The hotel offers everything you could wish for: an 18-hole eco-friendly golf course, a magical conservatory for breakfasts, 5-star services in the villas and a Kid’s Club that sets the grown-ups free. Unexpected. Drive to your villa in a golf buggy. There’s a real cinema in the grounds, for private hire.
10 chambres, 20 suites, 9 maisons, un spa, 2 piscines, golf
Les Baux-de-Provence. Tél. 04 90 54 40 20
"I’ve removed everything I’d call superfluous to get back to what is genuinely Provençal". After nine years at the legendary Hôtel Crillon, the chef serves unpretentious fare with the focus on the ingredient.
30 rue de la République, Eygalières. Tél. 04 90 95 00 04
A new venture for a city boy who has been chef at some of Marseille’s hottest eateries. This former plant nursery, decked out in Southern style, features generous fare – and a remarkable pond .
17 avenue Albert Schweitzer. Tél. 04 90 20 94 21
LE DOMAINE DE LAUZIÈRES
The estate forms an 80ha natural amphitheatre. With such a blessed setting, Christophe Pillon decided to keep things natural; his wines are certified biodynamic under the Demeter trademark. Visit the winery where the grapes are pressed simply by their own weight.
Le Destet, Mouriès. Tél. 04 90 47 62 88
LE CHÂTEAU D'ALMERAN
Ever since artist Marc Nucera carved some dead trees, the château has been promoting the arts with exhibitions, jazz concerts and film shows. In addition to producing some delicious wines.
45 avenue Notre-Dame-Du-Château, Saint-Etienne-du-Grès. Tél. 04 90 49 04 04
LE CHÂTEAU D’ESTOUBLON
This is where they filmed Des Gens de Mogador. You can hire 1500m2 of this luxurious, recently renovated château and so, for a while, be lord of the manor, its handsomely-bottled olive oil and its elegant, powerful wines.
Route de Maussane, Fontvieille. Tél. 04 90 54 64 00
LE LAC DU PEIROOU
A real hidden gem, created by the Romans a few hundred yards from Saint-Rémy. The perfect place for fishing or picnicking in cool surroundings far from the madding crowd.
LE SILO DE SAINT-ETIENNE-DU-GRÈS
The grey facades of the cooperative’s grain silo are covered in paintings and patterns by artists from all over the world.
LES CARRIÈRES DE LUMIÈRE
The old quarries are well known now, but each year’s exhibitions are a fresh delight. This year, projected images from Salvador Dali and the architect Gaudi flood the quarry walls and floor.