After a scenic drive into the heart of Provence away from the millionaires’ playgrounds of the south of France, we encountered the Alain Ducasse-owned gastro-hotel of Michelin star fame, the Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle.
The Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle occupies a beautiful manor house set on a cinematic plot, surrounded by lush, landscaped gardens and the vineyards of the Coteaux Varois wines.
Sophisticated yet relaxed, it’s a property steeped in history, attached as it is to a majestic 12th-century Benedictine abbey still in use for private events. As an atmospheric backdrop for storytelling (and perhaps even a wedding), we loved it. Back in the day, it seems, the nuns – drunk perhaps from the same fine wine they have produced on the site for centuries – caused a scandal when they were caught organising clandestine trysts.
Today, the main event here is the food, delicately prepared with seasonal Provençal produce by (at time of press) chef Nicolas Pierantoni. Far from stuffy or pretentious in any way, the service is second to none, extending from the team in the three sun-filled dining rooms to those who work in the hotel above.
When we were done feasting, a short trip upstairs at the Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle took us to the 10 signature suites by interior designer Tonia Peyrot, each quite different, reflecting the whimsical nature of the house.
In those moments we weren’t eating or fending off a food coma, we took walks through the verdant garden, stopping at the remains of an old Roman villa, where the swimming pool is tucked away. We spent a lot of time there, whiling away our summer sojourn with a book, a glass of cold rosé and the breathtaking view over the vineyards to the Candelon mountains beyond.
|Perfect for||Fly into||Right on time|
|The Insider||TLN / MRS||GMT +1|
|While you’re Out There|
|Take some of the Hostellarie’s own Coteaux Varois wine back with you, it’ll be rude not to. You can buy a bottle (or crate) of the winery’s delicious bounty home with you from the village wine shop across the road. For Alain Ducasse branded gifts and souvenirs, there’s a little boutique located in the old chapel of the Abbey.|
Photography courtesy of Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle