When a touch of Provence at home is no longer enough, the fashion set decamp southward — for pleasure and profit.
Known for the diversity of its landscapes that go from rolling verdant hills and ageless olive groves to pine forests perched on rocky terrains and endless lavender fields, this region of Southern France stretches from the Alps to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Here are three hotels to stay in while sampling the myriad pleasures of Provence.
Crillon le Brave
Less a hotel than an idealized Provencal locale, Crillon le Brave is away from the tourist track around Southern France. Complete with charming houses and grandiose vistas over the sweeping countryside, this five-star retreat was acquired in 2017 by the Pariente family, led by French entrepreneur Rodolphe, founder of high-street label Naf Naf.
They turned what was a charming 12th-century village into a glamorous destination decorated by Charles Zana, with an outdoor pool and the restaurant’s seasonal treats highlighting the mouth-watering produce of Southern France reworked by chef Adrien Brunet. As a final lure: its spa, nestled under the stone arches of the former stables, offers treatments developed with fashion-favorite natural skin care brand Tata Harper.
Hôtel Crillon le Brave
Place de l’Eglise, 84410 Crillon-le-Brave
Domaine de Fontenille
What is the perfect second act for a former fashion chief executive officer and a Parisian art dealer? A vineyard was what Frédéric Biousse, who led high-street brand Comptoir des Cotonniers and accessible luxury group SMCP, and Guillaume Foucher were looking for. And they had settled on Tuscany. But after visiting Fontenille, located just 25 minutes outside the Southern French city of Aix-en-Provence, they were sold on the 85-acre property with its Bastide house.
Instead of keeping it to themselves, they turned it into the four-star Domaine de Fontenille hotel. Imagine a 19-room chic-beyond-belief late 17th-century country house with claw-foot bathtubs and rooms filled with artwork — the pair previously owned the Galerie Particulière art gallery in Paris — set in the middle of a park the size of seven soccer pitches lined with cypress, olive trees and lavender everywhere.
For those who can’t just practice Meridional farniente (from Italian far niente, or “doing nothing”) all day long, Fontenille also has an art center with a summer programming of concerts, open-air cinema nights and contemporary art exhibitions.
The proprietors are \working to up the property’s winemaking credentials by going organic. The rosé, with its apricot and dried fruit notes, is said to be an immediate shortcut to summer.
Domaine de Fontenille
Route de Roquefraiche, 84360 Lauris
Grand Hôtel Cannes
If you want to feel like a star beyond the two weeks of the Cannes Film Festival, look no further than the Grand Hôtel Cannes. Built in 1863, at the same time as the Croisette, this 75-room grande dame reopened after a six-month renovation under the Mondrian hospitality label. The interiors imagined by architectural practice Humbert & Poyet have a subtle Art Deco flair, its 50,000-square-foot garden is an ideal place to kick back, but the hotel’s crowning jewel is without a doubt its private beach.
With a restaurant and pontoon that stretches directly into the bay, “Hyde Beach” is perfect for diving into the water or the on-deck menu imagined by Michelin-starred chef Stéphanie Le Quellec.
Le Grand Hôtel Cannes
45 Bd de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes