Provence in the summer lures us seductively like bees to a flower. Its allure at this time of year is irresistible: sun-kissed days by the pool, an early evening poodle around the lavender-scented paysage followed by sundowners on the terrace (anyone for rosé?) and dinner en plein air to a soporific soundtrack of cicadas.
It’s a dream destination in so many ways, from its climate to laid-back ambience, fabulous market produce to great wines. The only choice to make: where to stay? The region has an abundance of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets: cute chambres d’hôtes in bastide villages, town centre hotels with all mod cons and gîte rentals for market shoppers who love a BBQ.
But for those looking to really treat themselves with a deluxe glimpse of the south of France, there are some fine country escapes to be found. Among them is the chic and serene Villa Baulieu, located just a few minutes from the timelessly gorgeous ‘city of fountains’, Aix-en-Provence. Nestling in the only volcanic crater in Provence (no, we didn’t know that, either), it looks more it should be tucked away on a Tuscan hillside.
Situated within a 300-hectare estate and in the middle of a 22-hectare historical park, it’s a family-owned manor house dating from the 17th century. Inside, the fine balance between period detail and modernity is immaculately observed with a choice of six Prestige rooms, two Junior Suites and three Suites, all of which boast exceptional views over the Alpilles and the estate, park and vineyards.
Breakfast, afternoon tea, table d’hôte meals upon reservation, and finally dinner are served in the dining room or orangery. Paradise found? We think so.
Villa Baulieu, Rognes, Bouches-du-Rhône. Tel: +33 (0) 4 42 60 39 40. The hotel has an annual closure in the winter, reopening in April.
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From France Today magazine