Provence Travel

Our Favorite Beaches of Provence

April 21, 2019
calanque morigou

We are often asked of our favorite swimming escapes and beach recommendations, so we’re sharing our top spots and hidden gems for a glorious day spent at the the finest beaches of Provence. We’ve also included our favorite off the beaten path spots for a seaside lunch to make your daytrip escape complete… cherry on top.

Newly updated with our most recent discoveries, now is the ideal time to head to the beach and enjoy the gorgeous turquoise waters of the Calanques by boat or well-deserved swim following a hike-in. If easier access is required, the breathtaking beauty of the Lac Sainte-Croix awaits along with it’s famous Gorge du Verdon with several access points to discover. Or just simply dive right in and enjoy. With all of our selections, you can expect heavenly turquoise waters and swimmable bliss.

Île Verte, La Ciotat

For the more adventurous, this tiny island is accessible only by boat. This gem features a handful of calanques and amazing swimming away from the crowds.  Located just 1.5 kilometers, or a 15-minute ride by navette, from La Ciotat’s Vieux Port. The navette leaves every hour in the summer months, but be sure to arrive early to secure your place. To make the escape complete, reserve a table (a few days in advance) at the island’s chilled restaurant for a perfect day trip escape for a simple but delicious grilled seafood lunch with friendly service and only the sound of the cicadas, rosé glasses clanking and waves at your feet.

Pros: Due to the limited accessibility you can truly escape the crowds and spend the day relaxing. The island is a nature sanctuary for birds and offers excellent diving, fishing and snorkelling, along with bird watching.

Cons: Don’t forget your (french) checkbook or cash, there are no credit cards accepted here, nor for the navette over.  And also no public toilets which contributes to making this island slightly less accessible. Due to the island’s status as a protected nature reserve all water is brought over and there are no toilets on the island.

Plage Sauvage de Morgiou, (Feature Image)

Not for the faint of heart, but plan to be rewarded sweetly after a vertical climb up and 30-40 minute hike in via the entrance parking lot of Luminy to the Plage Sauvage of Morgiou. This tiny crescent turquoise gem of a beach is situated between the Calanques of Morgiou and Surgiton. Be sure to bring plenty of water and a picnic and enjoy the dramatic, stunning scenery.

calanque en vau

Calanque en Vau (pictured above), Between Cassis / Marseille

Arrive in style by yacht, or take the more rigorous, yet rewarding, 2-hour hike via Port Pin to one of the most breathtaking places we’ve ever seen. This calanque features some of the highest cliffs in the area and dazzling waters, situated between La Ciotat and Marseille. The Calanque En Vau is stunning when reached by foot, which is a relatively steep hike in. The views from the hike and vantage points above are spectacular. If you depart from Cassis near Port Miou, you will arrive at the Calanque Port Pin first, a gorgeous destination itself. However, if you want to be royally treated for your efforts, continue 45 minutes further to En Vau. Try to arrive on the off-season in June or September, or in the early morning hours before the larger masses of tourists arrive during the busy summer months.calanque la ciotat mugel provence beach

Mugel & Petit Mugel Calanques and Botanic Park, La Ciotat

Warm, clear waters with little waves, ideal for an early morning snorkel or reserve a table in advance at Le Mugel Restaurant for a spectacular end of day sunset reflected on the Ile Verte (Green Island – listed above) under the sweetly scented fig trees. The quaint, no-frills beachside restaurant offers simple plates such as delicious grilled fish and seafood kebabs, or the “Salad Mugel” always a favorite, with a changing daily menu.  Mugel and it’s Petit Mugel are real local treasures, lesser-known than the other calanques in the region, and neatly tucked away in the recently re-birthed yachting town of La Ciotat, complete with its own protected natural tropical gardens. The park, twelve hectares in size and is at the foot of a massive rock, Le Bec d’Aigle (Eng: The Eagle’s Beak), 155 meters high, which shelters the site from the wind, while the Mediterranean warms it in the winter, and keeps the temperature down in the summer. The tropical gardens contain thirty different species of palm trees, as well as mimosa, bougainvillia, bamboo, banana, and other tropical plants. It also features a garden of aromatic plants. A garden of lavender is planted just below the main house.

Porquerolles – Plage Notre Dame

Escape to the Island of Porquerolles and discover one of the finest beaches of Europe. One of our all-time favorite places, you can discover our complete guide to this area here.

lake saint croix provence

Saint Croix du Verdon

A must-see destination on any tourist’s list and incredible place to spend the day in Provence. The Lac de Saint Croix and it’s Gorge du Verdon is a river canyon that is often considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful. It is about 25 kilometres long and up to 700 meters deep. Rent either small electric boats or kayaks from the ville of Saint Croix and cruise slowly around the man-made lake. The lake color is almost unbelievable and was created by damming off the Verdon and sinking the original village of St Croix de Verdon. You may also choose to rent kayaks at the mouth of the Gorge du Verdon itself or Quinson to experience the beauty of the gorge. Prepare for a splendid natural journey through tall white limestone cliffs and turquoise waters. You may be treated with views of visiting goats along the way. Be sure to visit one of the area’s charming villages of either Saint-Croix (a personal favorite) for a relaxed visit with views over the lake or nearby Moustier-Saint-Marie for it’s dramatic cliff setting on the western entrance to the Gorges du Verdon. For the art-lovers, the village of Moustier has been a center of the pottery trade, especially faïence, for centuries and a must-stop for ceramic-lovers. A spring flows out of the cliff and creates a waterfall in town, providing water power. At twilight when the sun on a clear day strikes the south-facing cliff, a diffuse pink light glows across the village.

sormiou calanque travel guide provence

Calanque de Sormiou (Marseille)

A hike-in is required, however, we learned the local’s secret to drive in (thank you Laura) if you arrive to gate before 8am you may have simpler access even in the bustling summer months.  Access is restricted in summer due to the risk of fire, so check ahead to be sure access is available. It’s definitely worth an early start to arrive before the masses regardless and enjoy a peaceful moment in such an authentic setting just minutes from the bustling streets of Marseille. Be sure to hike in bit further to the left of the beach, to discover its tiny inlets with bobbing small fishing boats surrounded by pine trees.


Les Lecques in Saint Cyr sur Mer

A great family-friendly beach, Les Lecques offers a wider span than most of the narrow beaches in the region and is ideal for small children. The large sandy open beach offers public parking lots and simple, little snack shops and basic, beach front restaurants. Spots fill up early.

travel guide to provence

Blog Author and Photography by: Founder/Creative Director, Tarik Koivisto


Slow Fashion

Our Spring Collection – An Artist’s Life

April 17, 2019

Why hello!? Spring is just around the corner here in Provence, and well, haven’t we been off hibernating for quite some time? As a few of you may have caught via my social media posts, I have been battling some pretty serious health issues, which have hit me hard over the past few months and slowed me considerably… so I thank you for your patience. The good news is, I am breaking through the hardest moments and coming back from hibernation along with the blooms of spring, ready to celebrate my favorite season. I am very excited to present our new collection, An Artist’s Life, featuring limited edition pieces for both the creator… and muse in you.

Inspired by Cézanne’s city of Aix-en-Provence, its muses and artists, I bring you a beautiful, classical collection of chic spring pieces. Discover fresh linen dresses, versatile tuniques and pinstriped linen jumpsuits, along with a new silk classic, the Lou Dress (featured below) to take you from relaxed daydreaming, to nighttime musings…





Shop the limited edition collection here, while it lasts, with new Provence inspired style added each month.


Be sure to follow us on Instagram, or subscribe to our mailing list for upcoming limited edition releases. We will be posting lots of new fresh content, including: Provence travel and wine guides featuring our favorite secret places and insider’s guide to the finest rosés and vineyards, so stay tuned!


bisous bisous,

Tarik Koivisto
Founder & Creative Director



Photography & Styling by: Tarik Koivisto
Couture: Laure Paihlon
Model: Axelle Gendre
Hair & Natural Styling Products by: Végétalement Provence / Vanessa Lamperin
Make-up Artist: Elodie Sellito
Venue: La Maison d’Aix, Boutique Hotel & Spa, Voted most romantic hotel in the world 2019

Artists of Provence

Introducing our Artisanal Candle Line

March 6, 2019

For those in the know (a.k.a. our subscribers), you have already discovered our newly launched Luxe Provence Artisanal Candle collection. We are working with the finest Artisans of Provence each season, from perfumer to ceramicist, to design heirloom quality porcelain candles featuring the finest fragrances available from Grasse, the perfume capital of the world. Our Artisanal Candle Subscribers are the first to discover our fragrances and new candle designs each season featuring handmade porcelain vessels created exclusively by one of our favorite ceramicists, Valérie Casado of Isle sur la Sorgue.

For our first fragrance collaboration, we teamed up with Grasse perfumer, Stéphanie Bakouche of Sensaba. Stéphanie, an active member of Versaille’s Osmothèque and Accords & Parfums, is the talented young nose behind luxury niche fragrances: Rose Privée by L’Artisan Parfumeur; Jul et Mad’s Fugit Amor and Mon Seul Desir; and Cloon Keen Atelier’s Bataille de Fleurs.

Stéphanie spent seven years in fragrance development for brand, l’Artisan Parfumer, and as a student and colleague of nose, Bertrand Duchaufour. She is an independent member of Accords & Parfums, the acclaimed perfume center located on the historic Domaine Sainte Blanche, with direct access to the highest quality fragrance ingredients and latest technology innovations in the world of perfumery. The prestigious center was founded by Olivier Maure, well-known for passionately protecting Grasse’s perfume heritage for decades, alongside Edmond Roudnitska at Art & Parfum, the first independent nose and French Master Perfumer. Roudnitska is behind many of today’s bestselling fragrances of all-time which were created on the property, such as, as Dior’s Eau Sauvage, Diorissimo, and Rochas’s Femme.

We are thrilled to collaborate on our first Luxe Provence fragrances with such a rising talent who perfectly embodies our brand values working as a passionate artisan while also protecting and advancing the high quality perfume heritage here in Grasse. Our premiere Luxe Provence fragrance release is Mediterranean Fig, inspired by Luxe Provence founder’s fond memories of her family’s first summer spent in Provence’s magical calanques.

We will be releasing new Provence inspired fragrances this year for individual purchase on the site later this year. Be sure to discover our first release, Mediterranean Fig available as a single luxury candle, or subscribe to be the first to discover each new fragrance with 6 seasonal deliveries from Provence to your doorstep throughout the year.

Learn more…


Slow Fashion

Jamie Beck for Luxe Provence AW18

October 26, 2018
luxeprovence jamie beck linen skirt silk

The Jamie Chemise has Arrived… Pre-Sales are ON NOW for our second design collaboration piece with Jamie Beck for Luxe Provence.

Designed to float effortlessly through the olive orchards of Provence… to the streets of Paris or New York. The Jamie Chemise is made of voluminous, Italian silk/cotton voile, available in feather. 

UPDATE: Our first release has just shipped, so be sure to place your Pre-order now for our next delivery shipping on December 5th…in time for the holidays. It’s the perfect gift idea, but only while limited supplies last!

UPDATE: The linen skirt is a sneak peek and will be featured as part of Jamie Beck for Luxe Provence SS19 collection coming this spring. Collect each piece to have a complete capsule wardrobe, proudly designed and ethically Made in Provence.

Artists of Provence

Jamie Beck for Luxe Provence – Coming Up Next

October 26, 2018

We are thrilled to show you a sneak peek on our upcoming second release from our highly anticipated collaboration with Artisan of Provence, Jamie Beck, set to arrive this autumn.

Last season, we collaborated with photographer, Beck of Ann Street Studio, to realize her ultimate Provence dress, the Marianne (pictured below and available here in stone or pure white), which sold-out within a few short hours of its online release this past June.

This season, we are collaborating on a silk piece designed for both city and country wear… from New York, Paris to Provence. Designed by Beck, the Jamie Chemise, will be released in a gorgeous feather white silk / cotton voile with pre-sales starting Friday, October 26th at 7pm Paris time available in limited edition at Her second release is designed to be flattering to a wide variety of body shapes, and is ideal for injecting a bit of french, chic style into your autumn and holiday attire. This versatile piece is certain to be a much-coveted holiday gift, so be sure you’re on our mailing list, or following us on Instagram, as we announce the pre-sale countdown in the coming weeks.

About the Luxe Provence Lifestyle Collection

The Luxe Provence Lifestyle Collection celebrates the region’s effortlessly, chic style with a range  OEKO-TEX® certified linen, European silks and high quality french cotton in timeless, classic cuts. We strive to create long-lasting classic pieces using sustainable materials which are proudly made locally in our Provence ateliers. “Each of our Luxe Provence Lifestyle pieces is designed to be worn barefoot in the Provence countryside by day, and then out with a pair of heels to an elegant bastide, or seaside dinner, by night” says, Founder & Creative Director, Tarik Koivisto.

luxe provence jamie beck dress linen

About Jamie Beck

Jamie Beck, is the high-profile photographer and artistic talent, behind Ann Street Studio who has shot campaigns with iconic brands including: Chanel, CartierOscar de la Renta, Tiffany, Donna Karan, Armani, and Saks Fifth Avenue.  She’s often spotted sitting front row during New York Fashion Week with camera in hand, and has a beloved 170,000 followers of her #ProvenceSelfPortait series on Instagram. Jamie and her videographer partner and husband, Kevin Burg, invented the Cinemagraph, a patented process to combine Jamie’s breathtaking, timeless images with social media-ready video targeted to one part of the image. Despite the duo’s immense, creative success in New York, Jamie longed for a slower, more meaningful life to delve deeper into her artistic talents.

jamie beck for luxe provence

Since moving to her 18th century apartment in Provence’s charming Apt, from their Tribeca loft in New York, Jamie has grown a cult-like following of Americans who look to her daily Instagram feed for a brief escape into the good life and artistic wonderment she creates.

Learn more about our featured Artisan, Jamie Beck with our earlier feature here, or follow along in Instagram Stories for more sneak peeks from the atelier and behind-the-design coverage at (luxeprovence).

All photos are self-portraits by Jamie Beck in our Marianne Linen Dress.




Artists of Provence

Aurélie Alvarez and The French Muses of Provence

October 26, 2018

This season, we’re excited to collaborate with a guest curator for a special, limited edition French Curiosities Holiday Gift Curation, the perfect gift for the French antique and art-lover on your list. We’ve asked Ruth Ribeaucourt, founder of The French Muse who offers amazing travel and events here in Provence, to guest curate this magical, bespoke collection featuring her favorite antique treasures, combined with unique limited edition pieces from local Provence Artisans.


ruth Ribeaucourt French muse provence holiday box

Ruth Ribeaucourt is Irish born, but definitely French at heart and is passionate about antiques, vintage textiles and artisanal creations. As a jewellery designerantique textile dealer, European contributor to Where Women Create and travel guide (whew!), Ruth finds beauty at the French flea markets and shares her treasures with admirers across the globe. Ruth also serves as communications director for her family company, Julien Faure, a celebrated haute couture ribbon maker in St. Etienne, which creates ribbons today for Chanel, Hermes, Dior, Valentino, Gucci, Rochas and Dolce & Gabbana. We met with Ruth this past summer in Aix-en-Provence to discover her family’s ribbons and in search for French antique lace and vintage detailing inspiration for our lifestyle line creations. We are thrilled to have her share some of her luxury silk collectibles, antique expertise and favorite artisans in this special edition curation arriving this holiday season, designed just for you.


Aurélie Alvarez is a visual artist from the celebrated French town of Isle sur la Sorgue in Provence.  I discovered the work of Aurélie a few years ago, in the concept store, La Caravane des Créateurs, in Saint Rémy de Provence. Her beautiful artwork was presented alongside one of my favorite local textile artisans, Aurore Pelisson, and turns out,  of course they are also friends. From her atelier in the rafters of a 16th Century hotel particulier, Aurélie, a graduate of fine arts, paints decorative and contemporary works. We’ve had our eye on Aurelie’s work for some time now and are pleased to learn that she is also one of Ruth’s selections for this special curation. We are thrilled to share that she is creating a special limited edition painting featuring original gold foil bird for this curation (valued at over $150 USD alone). Her decorative work focuses on lightness, simplicity and the poetic, and includes a colourful universe of plants and animals. All of her work explores the duality between science and spirituality, her personal journey to the heart of matter and colour.

Ruth is also working closely with Severine Chauvet of Inecha Design, on a special surprise piece that is handcrafted in her 17th century house-turned-atelier in the ancient Provençal city of Avignon. Severine is a French artist with a bohemian soul who creates one-of-a-kind fashion and home accessories. Her work is inspired by nature and the beautiful antique fabrics she finds at the brocante. Each box will feature a uniquely created piece for this curation, handmade by the

We cannot wait to share this special curation with you. Please be sure to reserve yours today, these are available only in limited quantities… while supplies last and feature original work and unique, antique silk and vintage finds by Ruth. Each curation will contain a handwritten gift note, by request (please include your note upon check-out), and will be shipped from Provence by DHL International Priority prior to December 15th, 2018.


Photo credits for all these beautiful artisan and atelier images by © Ruth Ribeaucourt. Merci, Ruth!


Artists of Provence

Ghislaine Garcin: Artisan of Provence

September 23, 2018

I had the pleasure of meeting this season’s featured Artisan of Provence in her welcoming oasis of an atelier space in Marseille recently. As the evenings begin to take on a distinct chill, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about texture and warmth for your interiors.

Discover the delicate and intricate creations of Ghislaine Garcin featured inside our Autumn V13: Cocooning Curation (on pre-sale now). Ghislaine’s “slow textile” approach is achieved by using only natural methods and results in the creation of a stunning range of wool felt objects in a sophisticated color palette. We chose a Mediterranean and neutral landscape inspired palette to be featured inside our Luxe Provence Blush curation this season.

Ghislaine creates each piece by hand in her atelier in Marseille using artisanal production methods in limited editions. The eco-responsible materials meet the requirements of respect for the environment and of animals: yarns and fibers 100% wool (renewable, biodegradable) and are of French origin (Creuse) and European (Tyrol) origins.

Ghislaine’s Maille & Feutre collection features a range of: carpets, cushions, organic shaped pots, and hanging baskets which serve functionally as the ideal ally for creating a space of intimacy and relaxation. The wool felt objects are not only beautiful but also offer many natural benefits for your indoor space, as they are: insulating, antistatic, hypoallergenic, a humidity regulator and a pollutant absorber. Her pieces brings a refined touch of cozy and organic natural beauty to any space. Her rugs are simply divine!

Discover Ghislaine’s beautiful, functional art (a two-piece set valued at $170) for your home inside our V13:  Autumn Cocooning Curation featuring a curation of handmade objects and home fragrance Made in Provence on pre-sale now, while supplies last.  Shipping begins September 28, 2018.












Learn more about Ghislaine Garcin (pictured above) on her website here or visit her atelier by appointment. Curated and written by: Tarik Koivisto, Founder/Creative Director, Luxe Provence.


French Beauty & Fragrance

Discover Nucca… New Corsican Beauty Brand

September 21, 2018

We are so excited to have recently discovered a new, organic Corsican beauty brand called, Nucca, started by two French sisters, Hélène and Lise Canarelli.

The sisters founded and created this gorgeous line of products with ingredients from the maquis, with help from an expert Provence aromatherapist. They launched their products first at the spa in the gorgeous 5-star Grand Hotel de Cala Rossa in Porto Vecchio to great success… and are now ready to share the beauty of Corsica with the rest of the world.

Nucca is actually the name of a Corsican hellebore that grows wild in the machja, or maquis, between rockroses, strawberry trees, thyme, myrtle, lavender, phillyrea, mint and helichrysum. The brand’s product line is derived of natural plants and fragrances from the machja and the fragrances are amazing. When the first products arrived to our offices, I felt instantly transported to their spa.

The Corsican landscape contains a richly aromatic, powerful, bitter and mysterious tangle of vegetation. This infinite tapestry of flowers, shrubs, stems, berries and branches all grow under the fierce sun alongside arid, forgotten byways with unobstructed views of the beautiful turquoise Mediterranean Sea. This season, our V6: Mediterranean Gold Cruise curation is designed to transport you here, among the machja and turquoise waters, for a French insider’s getaway to the island of Corsica.

Corsica, is a tiny French Mediterranean island with extremely diverse landscapes, contrasts and wild natural beauty and one of the top destinations for escape for many locals here in Provence. You can arrive here via the mainland by yacht, a short flight or overnight ferry to deserted beaches, kilometres of hiking trails and genuine undiscovered rugged beauty. It’s still relatively unknown outside of Europe, and thus a wonderful secret place to explore.. especially in the months of September and October, when the water temperatures are still pleasantly swimmable and the school holiday summering tourists have long departed.

Each of our Mediterranean Gold Subscribers will get to discover this new Corsican brand with a surprise 2-piece full-size set of beauty products from Nucca (valued from $169 and up) tucked inside their V6: Cruise Collection, along with one of our tailored Luxe Provence Resort wear pieces (quite a value!) specifically designed for this curation.

Be sure to hurry and reserve yours today, and prepare to depart for your voyage in style this October. While supplies last… and learn more about Nucca, this upcoming French brand here.


Artists of Provence, Behind The Design, Slow Fashion

Meet Marianne… Jamie Beck for Luxe Provence

June 1, 2018

Meet Marianne… the first-piece in our long awaited collaboration with Jamie Beck for Luxe Provence Lifestyle.

What’s in a name?…

Jamie named the dress “Marianne” after the French national icon who is a champion of freedom and democracy against all forms of oppression, a freedom she discovered for myself as a woman and a creator in Provence. You see her profile in all forms in France from official government documents to artistic masterpieces like Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, and many of the statues around Provence and all of France, for that matter. She could think of nothing more fitting for this moment than to name the dress after the goddess of liberty leading the way through…

We hope that you enjoy this first piece of our collaboration, proudly designed and made in Provence.



UPDATE – THIS LINEN PROVENCE DRESS WAS SOLD OUT IMMEDIATELY, upon its launch on June 1st!  We will be releasing a second round of limited quantity pre-orders on Monday, June 18th here for shipping scheduled for August 28, 2019.

Please stay tuned for more on our upcoming collaboration pieces and new releases by popular demand… 

#jamiebeck for #luxeprovence #soldout #artisansofprovence #collaboration #whatsnext

Video by Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg of Ann Street Studio.

Gastronomy & Wine, Provence Travel

Baumanière, Iconic Gastronomy Retreat

May 18, 2018

It at all started in 1945, when Raymond Thuilier purchased an abandoned and relatively, isolated provençal mas tucked into the protected hillside called the Baumanière. At the time, this area of Provence was considered “Le Val d’Enfer” or the valley of hell, due to the rugged shape of the surrounding limestone rocks and difficult to access location.

Raymond was taken with the majestic property setting at the foot of the fortified hilltop village of Les Baux de Provence (read more about the region in our wine travel guide here) years prior, and set out with the mission to carve out a gastronomic inn and haven of peace in this dramatic setting.

As it turns out, it was a visionary idea. The L’Oustau de Baumanière became the first Relais & Chateaux property achieving a coveted 5-star status with its luxury hotel and 3-star Michelin cuisine. Raymond’s grandson, Jean-André Charial, a young 24-year old rising Michelin starred chef in his own right, decided to join in the family business. The two worked together hand-in-hand to perfect their legendary gastronomic cuisine for over 15 years. Today, Jean-André and his wife Geneviève, continue the family tradition of running the property and are constantly refining the gastronomy of their two restaurants, the hotel design, activities and spa experience bringing over 75 years of heritage and passion for the site. The original mas has since expanded to include five traditional Provence-style buildings with 54 bedrooms, and prestige luxury suites.

You can still feel a sense of history and air of secret refuge as your gently pull into the valley and first discover the property’s magnificent surroundings. This mythical place is where many French and international royalty have retreated to and celebrated their milestone events for over 70 years.

Its first rooms were inaugurated by Georges Pompidou in 1945 at a moment when France was ready to embrace and celebrate a new era after years of upheaval and trauma from World War II. This hideaway resort quickly became a preferred stop for famous writers, royals such as Queen Elizabeth, gifted painters as Picasso, and international politicians and celebrities of every kind. Jean Cocteau spent three months here in 1958; while more recently, your could bump into the likes of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis.

I was delighted to discover that the property also boasts France’s second largest wine cellar, or cave. The selection of French fine wines is extremely impressive, including priceless bottles dating back to 1883 from Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Sommelier, Gilles Ozzello, gave us a private cellar tour of their fine wine collection started in 1945 featuring over 60,000 bottles, which are stored in perfect temperature by the surrounding natural stone hillside in two locations.  Their selection is therefore, quite incredible and the Baumanière offers its own wine-tasting courses, or Cours d’Oenologie by reservation.

It’s worth noting, that not only is Jean-André (pictured above) a highly accomplished chef who currently presides over not one, but two, Michelin starred restaurants (L’Oustau de Baumanière and Baumanière 1850 at the Hotel le Strato Courchevel during the winter months), but was also the original winemaker at Chateau Romanin. He was an early pioneer adopting biodynamic farming methods in winemaking back in 1987.

After the death of Chateau Romanin partner, Jean-Pierre Peyraud, in 2001, Jean André suffered a disappointing loss with the change of ownership of the domaine. He went on to create his very own wine with another Les Baux de Provence AOP, Domaine de Lauzieres. He emotionally and aptly, called it l’Affectif, a truly delicious local wine available in rosé or red on-site, in which he employed the same sustainable growing methods he pioneered early on. This story of its name was inspired by conversations with his close friend and frequent hotel visitor, Georges Wolinski (the French cartoonist and Charlie Hebdo comics writer tragically killed on 7 January 2015) in which he referred to Jean-Pierre Raffarin as a “carburait a l’affectif”. Eleven years later, the ex-Prime Minister entitled his latest memoir “Je marcherai toujours a l’affectif…” and mentioned in the preface that he found that title on the terrace of the Baumanière.

The hotel, restaurants and rooms have recently gone through numerous design upgrades, led by Geneviève (pictured below) and her interior designer daughter in-law, integrating a mix of modern amenities and high design lighting fixtures with local artisanal pieces, historic touches, and carefully selected art. I particularly appreciate the integration of local and artisanal products in their restaurant’s own ceramics and beautifully curated boutique.

Geneviève’s role is to be the guardian of the spirit and Baumanière heritage of the hotel and property. For instance, I was delighted to discover a cookbook dedicated to Jean-André from Oliver Baussan, passionate Provence resident and founder of L’Occitane, in my suite, which was a lovely touch.

Their spacious suites have been beautifully renovated and feature thoughtful private terraces overlooking the property’s beautifully manicured gardens and swimming basins.

luxe provence hotel les baux

During my stay, I awoke gently to the birds chirping and magnificent, dramatic views of the beautifully landscaped gardens and village of Les Baux…truly heaven, an authentic, secret luxury Provence. It is a pleasure to wander and get lost on the property. There’s also direct access to several trails leading including up directly to the breathtaking village of Les Baux de Provence. And there are many intentional quaint corners, tables and poolside areas to relax in throughout the property to enjoy the dramatic setting… you may not want to leave.

hotel luxe provence cabro d'or restaurant

Being a bit of a foodie, I was thrilled to experience a fantastic culinary class taught by Cabro d’Or Chef, Michel Hulin.  Each spring and summer, Jean-André and Michel Hulin, offer private cooking classes in small groups up to 12 people (from 145 euros per person with lunch included) in each of the restaurants. The Cabro d’Or, Michel’s restaurant, draws its inspiration from the property’s organic vegetable garden, market fresh fish and lighter dishes, which I adored.

Michel’s passion and precision for perfecting each vegetable and ingredient in our spring lunch was truly impressive to witness. His fish dishes were truly divine and combines special techniques to maintain the integrity and flavor to his vegetables, which can sometimes be lost in traditional, heavier French cuisine.

The Cabro d’Or offers a new La Table d’hote relaxed summer lunch experience, featuring a market fresh menu that changes each week (from 33 euros per person) enjoyed in the gardens and fountain of the restaurant.  It’s a great way to get a taste of the property and cuisine on a sunny afternoon, if you’re visiting for the day. You may even get a peek at their adorable baby goats.

Along with a spring cooking course, the hotel has recently launched a new spa retreat concept with zen thursday and weekend events, which include guided meditation and rejuvenating 3-hour spa packages, complete with an on-site meditation expert and relaxing massage options.

What I find rare, is to experience this sense that you are staying as part of their extended family, rather than at a hotel. They truly care about each painstaking detail of your stay and noticed there’s a special, quaintness and family ambiance within the staff as well. If you’re looking for an authentic, gastronomic luxury retreat in Provence… look no further.

To discover more about the region, check out our 36 Hours of Wine Tasting in Les Alpilles or our Les Alpilles Travel Guide including travel tips for Les Baux de Provence and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.


Article and Photography by: Tarik Koivisto, Founder, Luxe Provence

Learn More:
Hôtel 5* Relais & Châteaux – restaurant 2 étoiles Michelin – Spa
Address: D27, Mas de Baumanière, 13520 Les Baux-de-Provence
Phone: 04 90 54 33 07