Ah… Provence, France – a wonderland of verdant vineyards, intoxicating lavender, and the gold-pinkish hues of a glass of Rosé glistening in the sun. As a sought-ought destination, you know a place here is special when it endears you to this beautiful area even more. I melt just remembering my first time there.
In this enchanting part of the world, the five-star Hotel Crillon le Brave indulges guests in an exquisite combination of the region’s natural beauty and superb luxury. From traditional, stone buildings adorned with wooden shutters and climbing ivy to lush rooms and fine dining with views, you’ll feel pampered and invigorated at this ideal getaway from which to enjoy the best of Provence.
The Vaucluse Area of Provence, France
From Marseille Airport, it took us less than two hours to arrive at the tiny village of Crillon le Brave, the namesake of the hotel, which sits at the highest point of a hill in a gorgeous valley.
This area of Provence, known as the Vaucluse, is characterized by traditional Medieval towns, rolling hills, impressive mountains, rich agriculture, and prestigious wineries. It’s an ideal destination for those who appreciate French and Provençal gastronomy and who are seeking a tranquil country getaway.
Other natural splendors are the Fontaine de Vaucluse, a deep, natural spring, and the Mount Ventoux. Known as the ‘Giant of Provence’, it is an epic part of the Tour de France.
Welcome Home to the Hotel Crillon le Brave
The Hotel Crillon le Brave is spread out among several beautifully restored buildings that originally were traditional Provençal-style residences. In the spring of 2017, the hotel joined the Maisons Pariente collection of luxury hotels and reopened May 1st after a full redevelopment.
On the outside, one encounters traditional elegance and charm among the light-grey colored stone accompanied by climbing ivy, fragrant jasmine flowers, and softly colored shutters. I felt like I had stepped back in time into a Medieval French village. Yet entering the serene facade welcomes one into an ambiance of modern-day beauty and decor. As part of the recent redevelopment of the hotel, interior designer Charles Zana and Elias Guenoun Architecture have tastefully given the common areas a fresh new look that beautifully accentuates the traditional architecture.
A memorable experience for me was being greeted by the kind and welcoming staff, and the picturesque view from the main lobby. The country-style door was open and seemed to say ‘welcome to your home in Provence’ as it looked out to a romantic terrace and an expansive view of the valley below. I could not help but wander through that door and down the stone path to explore the grounds.
Along with two restaurants and a spa, there are enticing terraces, the Pétanque game area, and the refreshing swimming pool. From every turn, I enjoyed the local herbs and roses growing along the path and the heavenly views of neighboring Mount Ventoux. Add the sound of a cascading fountain and the Swallows flying through the air, and the magic of this place begins to sink in.
Accommodations That Exemplify Provence
Situated cozily among the traditional buildings are 18 suites and 15 guest rooms that invite you to unwind and relax. Each room has a distinct, spacious layout decorated in creamy shades, soft tones, and windows looking out at splendid views.
My spacious suite was a beautiful blend of Provençal luxury and comfort. I especially loved the plush and comfortable interior and the large outdoor terrace that brought the stunning views right to my doorstep.
The Gastronomy of Hotel Crillon le Brave
With two in-house restaurants, led by the impressively young and talented Chef Anissa Boulesteix, guests are able to tastefully immerse themselves in the gastronomy of Provence.
La Table Du Ventoux is the main restaurant where one can enjoy any meal of the day in a gorgeous setting. All the senses are delighted when eating here, intermingling the warm sensation of the sun on your skin, a delectable bite of local cuisine in your mouth, and the epic vista of the surrounding landscape.
I’ll never forget the traditional lemon soufflé that felt so soft and airy yet full of amazing flavor. Sitting on the restaurant’s ivy-covered terrace, it was the best feeling to sip on amazing local wine and watch the sunset color the valley in pastel colors.
Restaurant La Madeleine
Then there is the sister restaurant of La Madeleine, a truly gastronomical experience crafted by Chef Anissa. It features a picturesque terrace outdoors and an intimate interior dining room of modern decor. Each dish is innovative in design and taste, delighting your tastebuds and highlighting the nature of the area, its local produce and markets.
The connections created between the visual appeal and the delicious flavors and textures was sensational. While I adored every course of the Chef’s Menu, I especially enjoyed the ‘Bird’s Nest’. Made of angel’s hair, creamy spinach, and egg yolk, it delighted my senses on all levels.
Idyllic Activities for Enjoying Provence
One could feel content to stay on the grounds of Hotel Crillon le Brave their entire trip, relaxing at the pool and treating oneself to the various treatments at the spa. Tucked away in what was previously 18th-century stables, the Spa de Ecuries is where you can really lose all sense of time when getting a message under the vaulted stone interior lit by candlelight.
But once your body is pampered, the area beckons to be explored from such a perfect home base. And the concierge will see to your every need for arranging the area’s best activities to your heart’s delight.
Cycling Tours of Provence
What better way is there to indulge in the stunning Provence landscape, than by bicycle (e-bicycle that is). I highly recommend having the hotel arrange a delightful electric bike ride to a winery with local tour company Ride & More. Co-Founder Cristophe Pierard guided us through the valley’s villages of Bedouin and Mormoiron to the most elegant picnic I’ve ever experienced.
Learn more about Ride & More at www.rideandmore.com.
Picnic and Wine Tasting
Arriving at the family-owned winery of Chateau Pesquié, was like riding our bikes into a dream. The long drive is lined with iconic Plane trees towering tall and leafy as it leads straight to the magnificent chateau where the family still lives. All around are fields of grapevines and next door is the wine tasting room and bottling facilities that are wonderful to tour.
Greeted with quaint picnic baskets on the lawn of the chateau, we feasted on the mouthwatering spread of local treats. There were cured meats, French cheeses, vegetable pâtés, freshly baked French baguettes, and, of course, bottles of their best rosé and white wines. Everything was locally sourced, including the incredible dessert of nougat made by the local Silvain family, another visit-worthy destination to add to your list.
A tour of the vineyards with one of the family members followed. He walked us through the fields, teaching us about their methods, the traditions of winemaking, and the nuisances of their special area. To end it all, we enjoyed tastings in the barrel room and could not help but shop in the tantalizing wine store.
To learn more about the Chateau Pesquié, visit www.chateaupesquie.com.
Falling in Love with Provence at the Hotel Crillon le Brave
The Hotel Crillon le Brave continues to be a luxurious getaway from which visitors have fallen in love with Provence. I can now count myself as one of them. As my first experience in Provence, I felt welcomed and indulged at every turn. It truly won my heart over.
Whether you’re new to Provence and its Vaucluse area or a returning admirer, staying at the Hotel Crillon le Brave is an enriching experience that will earn a special place in your heart.
Nightly rates at Hotel Crillon Le Brave start from 350 Euros on a bed & breakfast basis.
For reservations and information visit www.crillonlebrave.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call + 33 4 90 65 61 61.