Seeking Pure Pleasure at These 5 Country Retreats in Provence

Seeking Pure Pleasure at These 5 Country Retreats in Provence

In need of a little southern French repose and pampering in sublime surroundings? Discover Provence’s newest destinations, as well as some classic locations for the discerning traveller in France.

Provence never goes out of style. This many-splendoured patchwork of French countryside is hardly a secret, and its neat rows of plane trees, bustling markets, tiny perched hamlets, and lazy afternoons spent sipping rosé in a leafy village square are timeless pleasures to be savoured at least once in your life.
One of the many enduring charms of this southern French paradise is its appeal in all seasons, especially spring, which arrives early here. By March, the almond and cherry trees are in blossom and in April and May, the air is balmy and scarlet poppies ripple in the breeze. In autumn, after the summer’s heat and crowds, the days are languid, the vineyards turn to gold and all the pleasures of summer are still yours for the taking. In winter, you can shake off the chill by a roaring fire in a welcoming country bastide. At these five new retreats, each with its own character and irresistible allure, you’ll savour all of these pleasures and more in authentic Provençal style.


As if under a spell, the first thing we did after climbing the ancient stone stairs to our magazine-worthy room was fall fast asleep. For two people way too busy for naps this was a rare and unexpected luxury. Waking at apéro hour to a crisp glass of rosé on a rose-decked courtyard overlooking a dancing fountain and towering cypress, with a sheep meadow in the distance, we were ready to stay for ever.

Loosely translated as ‘the preachers’ farmhouse’, this rambling 18th-century stone building was once the country dwelling of a farming order of Dominican monks. Now it’s a gracious lodging, where guests help themselves to a country-style dinner prepared by the on-site cook in a rustic-chic kitchen and dining area dominated by a giant walk-in stone hearth. Round, perfectly baked courgettes stuffed with tender vegetables and fresh herbs – all sourced from local farmers were exactly what we craved. In the morning, a serve-yourself breakfast of fresh orange juice, croissants, homemade jams, fruit, cheeses, eggs and much more was appreciatively devoured. Relaxing by the pool before exploring the many trails meandering through the rugged Alpilles foothills capped a perfect stay.

© Mas des Prêcheurs


Dining at a three-star restaurant is a rare moment to savour in France. Rarer still is dining at a three-star chef’s own farmhouse table attentively overseen by the chef himself and his charming wife. That’s precisely the allure of this welcoming chambres d’hôtes, set in the loveliest part of the Luberon amid rolling vineyards and electric blue lavender fields, where Christophe Bacquié, former chef at the renowned Hôtel du Castellet, is as likely to serve you your starter as whisk away your plate, then ask you what you thought.

First, there’s a visit with Alexandra to the wine cellar to choose your bottle before feasting on regional cuisine at its very finest made with all-local ingredients, like trout from the nearby Sorgue River, herbs and vegetables from the kitchen garden, Alpilles lamb and other delights. Guests take their breakfast of warm-from-the-oven homemade croissants and pastries, fresh berries and fruit, and all manner of delights on the outdoor terrace. A sparkling pool, shady gardens and rustic-chic rooms offering every amenity and perfect tranquillity top off a deeply Provençal experience.


It would be a challenge to find a more breathtaking spot than this one, set amidst steep, rolling vineyards with Provence’s dramatic Dentelles de Montmirail mountain range as a backdrop. At this sun-drenched wine estate at the epicentre of Provence’s legendary wine country between Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Beaumes-de-Venise, and a 30-minute drive from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, luxury meets total privacy and tranquillity in five spacious, light-drenched suites sporting creamy white furnishings punctuated by jewel-toned accents, original artworks, and state-of-the-art amenities.

But the real showstopper, captured from your suite’s generous windows and private terrace, are the endless vistas over the rolling hills of this 300-acre Beaumes-de-Venise vineyard. There’s a giant pool and spacious areas for lounging and sunning, a sauna and steam room, and trails for scenic walks in the mountains or gardens. At the gastronomic bistro you’ll dine in style on local specialities and sample the domaine’s fine wines. And for nightlife? The infinite starry sky.

Dentelles de Montmiral as seen from the cellar of the Domaine de Coyeux © Morgan Palun


On one side, a designated Plus Beau Village, on the other, an island of pastoral repose. To say this 100% sustainable hotel is one of a kind would be an understatement: we know of no other lodging in Provence where you can spend the night in a luxury cave with a bathroom hewn out of rock or shelter in a cylindrical three-storey dovecote. For those who long for a classic 200-year-old Provençal bastide, that can be arranged, complete with a wood-burning stove or fireplace, chic contemporary decor and your own private terrace with views of the verdant grounds or the red-stone villas of charming Cotignac beyond.

This seven-acre eco-resort offers guests total repose among flower beds and fruit and vegetable gardens (to stock the Michelin green-star restaurant Jardin Secret), ancient trees, lavender fields (for the honeybees), a spacious pool, vineyard and panoramas wherever you look. Grab an apéro at Didier’s wine bar or the craft beer garden. The discoveries here never end.


The sea is at your doorstep, literally, at this trendy new hotel tucked away in the rocky cove of Les Goudes, a minuscule fishing village on a sun-baked seaside inlet between Marseille and the Calanques National Park. Eight streamlined rooms, modelled on Le Corbusier’s famous Cap Martin Cabanon on the Riviera coast, need nothing more than the rocky beach, gorgeous views of the Mediterranean, and the soothing sound of waves, all front and centre.

But if you’re feeling adrift, the chic seafood restaurant and lively beachfront Bikini bar will set you right back on earth. Private beachfront terraces are the perfect spot to soak up the rays and catch up with summer reading. That is if you can resist the endless summer beach party happening all around you.

From France Today magazine

© FlorianTouzet

Lead photo credit : Aerial view of the Mas des Prêcheurs © Mas des Prêcheurs

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American journalist Jennifer Ladonne, a Paris resident since 2004, writes regular features on French heritage, culture, travel, food & wine for France Today magazine, and is the restaurants and hotels reviewer for Fodor's Paris, France and Provence travel guides. Her articles have appeared in CNN Travel, AFAR, The Huffington Post, MSN and Business Insider.

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  •  Suzette
    2024-01-17 05:59:31
    All very nice but how about giving some direction and costs to all these lovely places in Provence?


    • Sophie Gardner-Roberts
      2024-01-18 09:31:09
      Sophie Gardner-Roberts
      Bonjour Suzette! We're glad you enjoyed the article. You'll find a direct link for each property's own website just below the description where you can find up-to-date prices as well as the address and directions.