Luxury hotels in Provence -- a region of southeastern France on the Mediterranean Sea known for its Roman ruins, rivers, Alpine peaks and lavender fields -- boast invariably scenic surroundings that have inspired such artists as Van Gogh, Picasso and Monet. The most luxurious hotels in the region tend to be restored country mansions that host gourmet restaurants alongside elegant guest rooms.
La Bastide de Moustiers
La Bastide de Moustiers consists of a country inn and a gourmet restaurant surrounded by lavender fields and ancient olive groves in the heart of the Alpes de Haute Provence region. The inn hosts a dozen guest rooms, all with contemporary amenities like Internet access, iPod docks and satellite televisions. Each room is distinct in decor and furnishings. La Chambre Pigeonnier is an ancient pigeon house near the swimming pool that has been fully restored as a double bedroom with a balcony, private terrace and views over the park, gardens and village. La Chambre Blanche is adorned with white linen and features a four-poster bed. Within the four-acre property are five thematic gardens -- the herb garden, salad garden, root garden, wild garden and "the garden of the simple." The restaurant's menu changes according to the ripe produce of the gardens and the seasonal offerings of local markets.
Oustau de Baumaniere
Oustau de Baumaniere is a hotel and restaurant located in the Val d'Enfer, offering unspoiled and scenic surroundings within minutes from the Provencal towns of Arles, Avignon and Saint Remy. The hotel consists of three historic buildings: L'Oustau, which offers seven rooms and four suites including one with a tree planted within; La Guigou, a five-room country house that can be rented as a whole unit; and Le Manoir with its own formal French garden, pool and arbor. Some of the suites in Le Manoir open onto a private terrace or garden. Oustau de Baumaniere's gourmet restaurant, which counts the Queen of England among its past guests, has been awarded two Michelin stars.
Hotel La Villa Gallici
Hotel La Villa Gallici in historic Aix en Provence boasts numerous accolades including the title "Eighth Best Hotel in France" in 2006 by Conde Nast Traveler, which has also awarded it a place on the elite Gold List multiple times. The hotel's 11 guest rooms and eight suites are decorated in classic country style, mixing pastel ginghams and chintz with embroidered white linens and canopied beds with antique furnishings. The hotel offers a restaurant with a cozy dining room and a tree-shaded terrace, as well as a Florentine garden and an outdoor swimming pool.
La Maison du Paradou
La Maison du Paradou is a boutique hotel in a small town near St. Remy de Provence and Les Baux. Each of its five guest rooms is named after the color that inspired its decor. In addition to the stone hotel building, a three-bedroom house with its own pool within the hotel grounds is available for weekly rentals. Guests have access to a large outdoor pool, with sun loungers on a terrace to one side and a dining area shaded by a wisteria-draped awning to the other. La Maison du Paradou has been featured in Tatler Travel Guide as one of the Best 101 Hotels in the World and on Conde Nast Traveler's Hot List in 2008.
- couleurs de provence image by Marc CECCHETTI from Fotolia.com