hotel living room with four poster bed
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Villa La Coste

A modern art wonderland in a blissfuly remote corner of Provence, Villa La Coste has sophisticated rooms, an on-property vineyard and an open-air museum.

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Bedroom at 28 à Aix, Provence, France

28 à Aix

Visitors to Aix-en-Provence have long marveled at its lovely stone fountains and ornately sculpted, arched doorways. Savvy travelers, however, can experience one of the stunning private mansions up close. This exclusive bed-and-breakfast occupies a majestic 17th-century building, located in the quiet residential Mazarin neighborhood. The three-story maison sits just minutes away from Aix’s buzzing Cours Mirabeau and the Granet Museum. Interiors were conceived by the same design trio (Gil Dez, Charles Montemarco and Daniel Jouve) who masterminded the sumptuous Villa Gallici nearby. The owner has also refurbished the ground-floor reception area, as well as the first floor, which includes a comfortable salon and a breakfast room.

Ring the discreet doorbell, and you’ll be graciously ushered into what feels like someone’s dream home, complete with antiques, gilded mirrors and Murano chandeliers. A monumental staircase leads to the spacious rooms, each individually designed. Suite 1 is decked out with a canopy bed and sculptural light fixtures. Suite 2 is less grand but the two rooms can connect, so it’s great for families traveling with children. One floor up, Suite 3 boasts a private terrace, and Suite 4 has a Philippe Starck-designed bathtub. All are outfitted with fluffy duvets, flat-screen TVs, Bang & Olufsen speakers and velvety armchairs and sofas.

The owner is on hand to arrange special services--from private chefs and drivers to baby-sitters and guides--but chances are you’ll just want to relax in the jewel-box luxury between boutique and museum hopping.

Airelles Gordes, La Bastide

Located at the top of a winding mountain road in lavender country is the chic and storybook-perfect Provencal village of Gordes. The houses of the village cling onto the side of the Vaucluse plateau with spectacular views of the Luberon mountains. Nestled among the rest is La Bastide de Gordes, built into the village’s fortifications, originally laid in the 12th century.

Whereas many properties in the region favor the country inn aesthetic, the 33 rooms and 6 suites of La Bastide de Gordes are decorated in the style of an 18th-century chateau. With grand staircases, lush fabrics and imposing portraits, the hotel exudes old-world charm that is only surpassed by the views of the mountains and pastures below. (Guests should be sure to request a valley view room.) The town, conveniently located just steps down cobblestone streets from the hotel, is charming with a Renaissance castle and church. The market, open on Tuesday mornings, is filled with local produce, soaps and lavender, and is a lovely way to spend the morning. While in town, be sure to make a visit to the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque, still inhabited by Cisterian monks who produce lavender essence, honey and liqueurs.

When not wandering through the village, spend a languorous day relaxing by the 80-foot pool set in the garden or enjoying a long lunch out on the terrace. The three-floor Sisley spa has a beautifully lit indoor pool and views of the olive groves.

For families, La Maison de Constance is a charming five-bedroom villa accessible to the property via terraced gardens of lime, almond and fig trees. The home features a private pool and a large fireplace, vaulted ceilings and a full kitchen. With the recent addition of a kids’ club, the hotel is no longer in the couples-only domain, and welcomes families.

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Auberge La Coste

In Provence, the new boutique sister property to Villa La Coste encourages you to unwind and connect with the surrounding beauty.

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Exteriors at Auberge la Fenière, Provence, France

Auberge la Fenière

Set behind plane trees, on the road leading to the village of Lourmarin, La Fenière is run by one of France’s top Michelin-starred chefs: Reine Sammut. The place started as a simple patio restaurant that Sammut launched twelve years ago in a refurbished 19th-century farmhouse. Little did Sammut know that her self-taught cuisine—a creative mix of family recipes from Malta, Tunisia, Sicily and Provence—would catapult her into the limelight. Today La Fenière has evolved into a charming eighteen-room country inn, a gastronomic restaurant and a neo-rustic bistro, La Cour de Ferme, in an enormous barn. There’s also a boutique that specializes in local gourmet products.

The original seven rooms, located in the main house right above the Baroque-meets-Zen dining room, are done in traditional Provencal style. There are eleven more in different sites across the property. The farm’s revamped stables comprises six contemporary Bellevue suites, featuring a flashy color scheme of reds and violets, Pop art and private terraces with a view of the lush hillside vineyards and the Durance river valley. Friends or families seeking privacy, meanwhile, may prefer to book the owners' former private home, a 19th-century, gray-stone granary, tucked behind the olive and fruit tree grove, that has been converted into a comfy four-bedroom annex. It's outfitted with hand-stitched quilts, a plum leather sofa, pistachio walls and a cavernous red-tiled bathroom. The property has a stone pool for swimming.

Among the Auberge’s international clientele, you’ll meet members of the Parisian beau monde such as French fashion and soccer stars, but the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, thanks to Sammut, whose personality is as radiant as her cuisine. Highlights of the latter include a John Dory carpaccio with local olive oil, roast lamb with spices and pineapple confit with dark chocolate mousse and an exotic raspberry-hibiscus sorbet.

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Château de Berne

Château de Berne is a charming retreat in the heart of a large vineyard, replete with plenty of activities, a spa for sybarites, and a gourmet restaurant.

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Domaine de Bournissac

In the fourteenth century, when the Popes of Avignon journeyed to the sprawling Domaine De Bournissac estate, they were so enchanted with the tranquil surroundings that they turned the château into their official summer retreat. These days, this airy thirteen-room hotel and restaurant, housed in a beautifully restored stone manor, still has an unspoiled panorama of the countryside. There are plenty of private spots to contemplate the horizon, including outdoor garden tables where breakfast is served next to a spectacular 300-year-old oak tree.

The rustic vibe kicks in as soon as you step into the white-on-white parlor (with a top-notch boutique of local products on display) and the vast open-beam dining room. Upstairs, the comfortable rooms and spacious duplex suites are all designed in contrasting shades of chocolate, licorice, honey and almond green linens, with stripped-down, pale-wood furniture and farm antiques.

The inventive fixed-price menus include a delicious homemade bouillabaisse on Fridays and a copious lobster-themed brunch on Sundays. Other highlights: a mix of cold and hot appetizers like shrimp tartare and pan-fried foie gras with caramel, followed by scallops with truffles and artichokes.

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Domaine de Fontenille

A new boutique hotel option in the Luberon, Domaine de Fontenille is a design lover's dream.

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Aerial View - Hôtel de Crillon le Brave, Provence, France

Hôtel de Crillon le Brave

Up the fragrant winding roads of lavender country, perched atop a hill 25 miles northeast of Avignon, stands Crillon le Brave. Once home to a long line of dukes and to Brave Crillon, the favorite general of Henri IV, it is a sleepy hamlet today. Next to the tiny village’s church sits the hotel that bears its name, a rambling property of nine, small 16th- and 17th-century country houses connected by a maze of “secret” paths.

The 34 rooms and suites, each a different shape and size, are all done in pretty florals and soft beiges—the floors paved with terra-cotta tiles—and furnished with comfy armchairs and sofas. A favorite accommodation is a vast, split-level suite located in a 12th-century tower, which boasts a pair of claw-foot tubs facing a bay window and superb views from the private terrace.

Have breakfast on the restaurant terrace, then lounge by the stunning heated pool, both with incredible views of Mont Ventoux and the countryside below. If you wish to indulge in a massage or facial, there’s a small Tata Harper spa located in the former stables of the village. Come sunset, after a game of pétanque, head for the leafy terrace to sip a glass of Côtes-du-Rhône while looking over the vine-covered plains and white-gray limestone peaks of Mont Ventoux.

You can enjoy the same view, under a starry sky, at the outdoor restaurant, which serves refined regional cuisine by Chef Adrien Brunet. The impressive wine list features a wide choice of excellent affordable bottles from the Rhône valley that guests select before dinner. The more casual bistro, La Table du Ventoux, serves an ever-changing menu, featuring the freshest ingredients sourced from towns within a 25-mile radius—everything from asparagus and pork to olive oil and farmer's goat cheese.

The atmosphere is friendly, laid-back and unpretentious, and the hotel draws an international clientele of young couples with children (who are most welcome), cyclists, hikers and the inevitable honeymooners. It’s the kind of place that will make you want to return off-season.

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Pool Lounge at  Hôtel Les Lodges de la Sainte Victoire, Provence, France

Hôtel Les Lodges de la Sainte Victoire

Formerly an 18th-century, rural bastide, this sprawling property surrounded by pines has undergone a complete metamorphosis. When you enter the modern lobby and bar lounge give out on a sweeping view of the landscapes, at the foot of Cézanne's landmark Sainte Victoire mountain.

The sober uncluttered design of the rooms may be the least thing you'd expect in a Provencal country inn. The ones to get are the three, loft-like lodges. Ideal for families who like to be independent, each has a fully equipped modern kitchen (private chefs are available on request) and a private garden and pool. Views from enormous bay windows are stupendous as well.

Decidedly, the biggest draw, aside from the untamed natural setting, is the superb restaurant. Headed by talented chef Mathias Dandine (who pocketed Michelin stars at his former establishments Les Roches in Le Lavandou), the Le Saint Estève, in a separate small white annex just adjacent to the hotel, features a refined Mediterranean-style menu with varying fixed price offerings. Book a table on the dining terrace, and watch the famed majestic granite peak, painted over and over again by Cézanne, change from glowing gold to red, then to soft pink, mauve and grey, as the sun sets in an inky blue sky.

The spacious Cinq Monde spa, which has a small indoor pool, sauna and hammam, offers a variety of signature treatments, from energizing Californian and Swedish massages to a soothing Indian Ayurvedic treatment with hot oil.

Hôtel-Restaurant des 2 Rocs

The pretty flower-lined village of Seillans, built on a rocky cliff, was once frequented by the likes of Queen Victoria and French photographer Robert Doisneau. Guests holed up at the only hideaway in town, the Hotel des 2 Rocs. Today, this artfully revamped country mansion is run by hotelier couple Julie and Nicolas Malzac, whose flair for interior design and attentive service adds to the unpretentious charm of this small hotel.

Each of the 13 spacious rooms, named after flowers, is individually designed, but all are decked out in warm Pierre Frey fabrics, handpicked antiques, traditional Provencal bedspreads, and bathrooms with black-and-white tile floors and claw foot tubs. Rooms on the upper floors (like the sunlit Mimosa, with high, open-beam ceilings) have sweeping vistas of the countryside.

In the warmer months, a copious buffet breakfast is laid out on a lovely stone square lined with plane trees, replete with a gurgling stone fountain. You'll also want to have tea in the cozy downstairs parlor, filled with an eye-catching jumble of family attic treasures, vintage photos and drawings. The hotel's restaurant dishes up reliably tasty local dishes with the best regional products, like homemade foie gras with figs, rack of lamb with garden vegetables and divine soft chocolate cake filled with warm runny caramel.

L'Hôtel Particulier

On a quiet residential street in Arles, the L’Hotel Particulier was once an early-19th-century townhouse built for the mayor of Arles. And it still has the feel of a private home. Owner Brigitte Pagès de Oliviera, who opened this peaceful Provençal-style hotel in 2002, has gradually added new rooms and suites, including a spacious duplex suite in the main house to accommodate families.

Design aficionados will enjoy the exquisite eye for detail from the handpicked antique furnishings to the stunning country-style kitchen and dining room where breakfast is served.

The main house is a medley of white-on-white furniture, high open-beam ceilings and uncluttered simplicity, with large four posters and deep armchairs. There's also a choice of six ultramodern suites (built in a revamped 18th-century home next door). Each of these Zen-inspired, black-and-white rooms is a mix of refurbished Baroque furnishings and pure clean lines with a Moorish twist. Expect gilded mirrors, stained white Louis XIV dressers, low-slung white leather and chrome chairs, shimmering crystal quartz floors and Moroccan rugs and bathtubs.

There is no restaurant, but guests can order light snacks while lounging by the pool, or have a drink in the newly refurbished bar. It is a haven of peace, even during the féria, when the town turns into a festive paella and sangria street party focused on bullfights, held in Arles’ splendid Roman arena every April.

Suite at  L’Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle, Provence, France

L’Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle

This 10-room country inn, built alongside a 12th-century Benedictine abbey, is a short drive from the main road but feels a world away. Alain Ducasse, the multi-Michelin starred master chef, took over the property in 1999 and oversaw its full renovation in 2011. Like all Maisons Alain Ducasse, Monsieur has a hand in all aspects of the hotel’s decor and operations, resulting in a very intimate and thoughtful hotel.

As to be expected, the heart of property lies in its cuisine. At once highly sophisticated and inviting, the state-of-the-art kitchen is a chef’s dream workspace. The incredibly talented, Ducasse-trained chef, Benoit Wetz, uses all local products—grown on the grounds whenever possible—and teaches cooking classes. Just off the kitchen, the dining terrace was made for long, lingering lunches, with its big canvas umbrellas and views overlooking the sculpture garden and surrounding vineyards.

Each room is different, but all are comfortable, airy and tasteful. The suites are particularly lovely with high ceilings, large windows and antique furniture. Families and couples alike enjoy the secluded pool, built into the abbey with views to the vineyards.

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Aerial View -  La Bastide de Marie, Provence, France

La Bastide de Marie

Peter Mayle readers might think twice about living like locals in Ménerbes, with all the daunting responsibilities that entails, especially when they can stay in a stylish hotel that feels like a private home minus the hassles of ownership. La Bastide de Marie is an 18th-century stone farmhouse, located on a quiet country road and surrounded by vineyards. Its views extend past a century-old cypress grove and towards the lush Lubéron National Park.

Embodying a laid­back country lifestyle, this chic Provençal farmhouse is exquisitely decorated with objects sourced from the nearby antique markets of L’Isle­ Sur ­La­ Sorgue (think exposed cobblestone bathrooms, wrought iron beds and clawfoot bath tubs). Stylishly restored by the celebrated hotelier Jocelyne Sibuet — who also owns Les Fermes de Marie, in the resort town of Megève, and Villa Marie in St.-Tropez — the farmhouse has 14 rooms and suites, each of which is unique. (Contact your Indagare Trip Designer for assistance picking the best layout for you.)

Another attraction is the ultra-fresh, simple and flavorful regional cuisine, prepared in an open kitchen in a tiny stone house that doubles as a cozy dining room. Guests may also take their meals on the vast linden-shaded terrace, which offers a sweeping view of the countryside. The chef excels in country fare. Try the chilled tomato soup sprinkled with pistachios and drizzled with local olive oil, the delicious rack of lamb with garden vegetables and, for dessert, a lavender crème brûlée. Sample one of the bastide's own wines, or choose from the wide selection of top vintages from the Lubéron. Before dinner, aperitifs are served in the main house, where guests mingle as if they were attending a cocktail reception at a stylish friend's home.

When you’ve had your fill of lazing by one of two small heated stone pools (there’s also an indoor pool), you can enjoy a range of activities, from mountain biking, horseback riding, golf and hot-air ballooning to shopping for antiques or the perfect goat cheese and vine-ripened peaches. You’ll also want to take advantage of the bastide’s small spa, which has two treatment rooms and is stocked with the Sibuet hotels’ trademark Pure Altitude beauty line, made with edelweiss that grows wild in the French Alps. Treatments include a range of massages with pungent essential mountain oils, honey and brown sugar scrubs, pink clay and mineral wraps, plus anti-aging facials with an Alpine mix of arctic raspberries, cloudberries, bilberries, musk rose and fern extracts.

For the ultimate gentleman-farmer experience, rent one of the neighboring villas: the five-bedroom, five-bath Grenache or the two-bedroom Syrah. Both boast private heated outdoor lap pools and country-style kitchens and dining rooms and are furnished in a sober but easy elegant style with antiques from the local markets, organdy-curtained wrought-iron beds with hand stitched quilts and embroidered linens in a harmonious mix of dove-gray, sunflower-yellow, olive-green, plum and pale lavender. The hotel will arrange private meals, gourmet picnics or massages. If too much serenity makes you restless, visit the neighboring village of Gordes, only a short drive away (pretty St. Rémy de Provence is about a 45-minute drive away).

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Suite at La Bastide de Moustiers, Provence, France - Courtesy P. Monetta

La Bastide de Moustiers

This charming country inn sits in a peaceful valley minutes away from the Gorges de Verdon—a miniature version of the Grand Canyon, with emerald rivers and cascading waterfalls. The 13-room property was opened in 1995 by the multi-Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse. The 17th-century Provencal house, which once belonged to a master potter, has become a classic study in rural chic—an intimate backcountry retreat with reliably remarkable cuisine, surrounded by ten acres of fruit groves and carefully tended vegetable gardens in a wild corner of Haute Provence that has escaped over-development.

The cheerful, comfortable rooms and two suites of the red-tile-roofed stone bastide are filled with the celebrated white earthenware of Moustiers, which is just up the road, as well as with antiques selected by Ducasse himself. Each is decorated in keeping with its name—-Poppies, Pumpkin, Raspberry, Almond, Bee—with flowered quilts, four-poster beds and spacious bathrooms that have both tubs and showers.

The chef (Ducasse-trained, bien sur) presents two ever-changing menus of dishes made from the finest and freshest local products. Serious foodies, political bigwigs and celebrities often drop in for lunch (hence, the helipad) on the lovely shaded dining terrace lined with lavender and providing a panorama of the lush countryside and distant ridges. Advance booking is a must.

Follow your meal with a stroll through Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. The quaint village, built above a towering rock face and divided by a deep crevasse crossed by little bridges, is chockablock with shops carrying its famed white faïence, made from the exceptionally fine local clay and decorated with delicate arabesques of birds and flowers. If rafting, kayaking, canoeing, canyoning, trout fishing, hang gliding, parasailing, bungee jumping or hiking the Verdon Gorges isn’t your cup of tea, you can simply relax beside the bastide’s pool and listen to nature’s symphony.

For the warmer months, La Bastide de Moustiers is offering gourmet picnic escapades for two to six people. The concept: guests are driven to a secluded spot by the river (in a vintage 1950’s Chevrolet) and left to enjoy Christophe Martin’s moveable feast until they call to be collected. On Fridays and Saturdays, there are also convivial barbecues in the potager vegetable garden, under the olive trees.

Aerial View -  La Coquillade, Provence, France

La Coquillade

Acquired in 2007 by a Swiss entrepreneur and financier, the beautiful Provencal village that sits on one of the hills of the Monts de Vaucluse, facing the Luberon, was restored with careful attention and opened about a year later.

Today the village is made up of six stone bastides, or farmhouses, with 63 rooms and suites, three restaurants, two swimming pools, tennis courts, a vineyard, a cycling center and a spa and fitness center. Despite its modern amenities – all rooms have contemporary interiors decorated in calming white and earthy hues – Domaine de La Coquillade’s oldest building dates back to the 11th century. All rooms have contemporary interiors decorated in calming white and earthy hues. The construction of another few buildings was completed mid-2015, and added another 35 rooms and suites.

In the hopes that guests fully experience the region, La Coquillade offers a couple of typically Provençal activities, including an on-property specialized bike center that offers guided bike tours and bike rentals, a great way to explore the surrounding towns. In addition, they can arrange wine tasting at their off-site winery Aureto.

The gorgeous 16,000-square-foot spa has soaring ceilings, modern design, state-of-the-art facilities and a vineyard view. Some of the treatment rooms come complete with private Jacuzzi, sauna and Turkish bath and there is one treatment room with a private garden.

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La Divine Comédie

This stylish guest house located in the heart of Avignon in Provence is a romantic oasis and a haven for design lovers.
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Terrace Dining at La Mirande, Provence, France

La Mirande

Located just beside the historic Palais des Papes, the Mirande was once the private residence of a wealthy family and has been beautifully restored maintaining original details throughout, while managing to stay crisp and hip. The rooms are sumptuously decorated in 18th-century Provencal fabrics that feel undeniably classic, yet bright and fresh. While each room is completely unique in color and décor, be sure to request first-floor rooms with higher ceilings.

Dinner in the Michelin-starred restaurant on the terrace is a truly memorable experience flanked by the papal walls. In the cellar, a charming kitchen with hanging copper pots, a wood burning stove and large communal table are where cooking and pastry classes with world-renowned chefs are offered. From spring through fall, there are special cooking classes available for children as well. Another option is an evening with chef Jean-Claude Almayer's Tuesday or Wednesday private "table d'hôte" dinners for small groups, where you observe the behind-the-scenes preparation of the menu you will be served.

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Bedroom at Le Couvent des Minimes, Provence, France

Le Couvent des Minimes

At the end of a country road, in the tiny village of Mane, the Couvent des Minimes is a honey-colored stone convent and chapel surrounded by lavender, terraced gardens and olive groves. Since June 2008, this meticulously restored landmark has been a stylish, 40-room retreat, complete with France’s first hotel spa run by L’Occitane. The herbal body-care line, which was founded in nearby Manosque, has stocked its small but lovely space, with exclusive products, including fragrant creams made with goodies grown on the neighboring hillsides, from almonds and Provencal honey to apples and olives. It offers such signature treatments as the hot and cold lemon verbena scrub and massage.

Minimalist chic prevails throughout: the rooms are deeply comfortable, with parquet floors, stained-oak armoires, fluffy white duvets and chocolate-brown ceramic-tiled bathrooms, most with double sinks, tubs and showers. Le Couvent has an unpretentious vibe that draws guests of all ages, who are happy to chill by the pool far from the over gentrified villages of southern Provence.

For meals, guests can choose between the informal Bancaou, with its whitewashed walls and vaulted ceilings, and Le Cloître, whose chef perfectly executes such dishes as Sisteron lamb with rosemary and luscious lemon tart topped with limoncello sorbet. This is a destination for all seasons: July is the height of postcard-perfect lavender season (the famed Valensole plateau fields are a ten-minute drive away), and in December the heated indoor pool and spa treatments are a reenergizing winter treat.

Pool Side Restaurant at Le Mas de l’Amarine, Provence, France

Le Mas de l'Amarine

Off a narrow leafy road, this artfully restored, stone farmhouse (once the home of French painter Roger Bezombes) is both a small hotel and restaurant. It's owned and run by the artistic and ever-gracious maîtresse de maison, Alice Monnier, and her husband, the talented chef Bertrand Coloma. The eye-catching 1950s retro living room—think colorful mosaic floors and a suspended coral-like sculpture—is just the introduction to the whimsical décor. Each of the 3 rooms and 2 suites (with outdoor terraces) are decorated in a contemporary mix of vibrant hues and contrasting textures.

Alice, whose artistic touches range from designing the curvy tables on the dining terrace to the choice of the unusual Belgian porcelain, oversees every detail. There's a lovely pool and pétanque court, and you'll want to linger in the sculpture-lined courtyard for a drink before dinner.

The restaurant features a daily changing menu with exquisitely prepared fresh market-driven dishes by Bertrand (formerly the chef at Domaine de Murtoli in Corsica) that evolve with seasonal produce at hand. One typical summer menu included stuffed sardines with a red pepper capponata, followed by pork chops served with white asparagus and gnocchi, and divine roast figs topped with almonds and homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Bedroom at Le Mas de Peint, Provence, France - Photo Courtsey : Chateaux et Hotels Collection

Le Mas de Peint

The Bon family has lived and worked on this cattle farm in the South of France for generations. The late owner Jacques and his wife, architect Lucille, decided to turn the property into a guesthouse so they could share the Camarguaise lifestyle and landscape that they so love with others. The 1,300-acre estate includes a main house with a restaurant that serves some of the best food in the region, the farm buildings and the roaming herds of black bulls and white horses tended to by working cowboys. There are eight guestrooms and three suites, all of which have been tastefully decorated as a stylish hostess would have done for beloved friends and family. Antiques mix with family heirlooms and modern comforts.

The restaurant's tables are set up inside the massive country kitchen where the chef cooks and creates an instantly homey atmosphere. Among the rural distractions are a lovely pool, walks with wildlife experts and horseback or jeep rides into the surrounding bird sanctuary and marshland, where, if you're lucky, you will spot a flamingo. Adventurous types can learn how to lasso a bull with the cowboys while indulgent souls may opt for a massage.

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Pool Lounge at Terre Blanche Hotel Spa & Golf Resort, Provence, France

Terre Blanche Hotel Spa & Golf Resort

Situated in the rolling hills of eastern Provence, half an hour from Cannes, the Terre Blanche Hotel Spa & Golf Resort is a former Four Seasons (management changed in 2012). It now has 115 suites spread amongst a series of freestanding villas that span the property. The villas have traditional terra-cotta roofs, tiled floors, Provencal rugs and exposed brick walls. Although some of the furnishings have a slightly corporate feel, the overall impression is more authentic than you’d expect. And the sense of space – a separate living room and bedroom plus terrace, walk-in closet and expansive bathroom – is a true luxury, especially for families. The villas’ weathered stone walls are the real thing, and the fragrant Fragonard products in the bathroom remind of the wild lavender fields a only a stone’s throw away. Each suite is 645 square feet and has a sofa bed in the living room.

Beyond the villas, the property has true resort amenities – again, a draw for busy families. The 34,000-square-foot spa complex includes fourteen treatment rooms, indoor and outdoor pools and a fitness center furnished with the latest equipment. For children, the kids’ club offers separate spaces and activities for kids of all ages plus a dedicated children’s pool. In the main building, there are two additional pools with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and excellent restaurants. At the gastronomic restaurant, La Favientia, the chef excels in refined Provencal specialties; the more casual option, the vast bar lounge Gaudina, features a lighter menu with a creative Asian twist on Mediterranean dishes.

Of particular note is the golf program, which is so extensive that you could almost describe the hotel as a golf school with rooms rather than a resort with golf. In addition to the two championship courses, there is a golf academy and a one-of-a-kind training center complete with video-equipped facilities for perfecting your swing and a full staff of pros who have worked with major names in the sport.

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Villa Baulieu

Set back behind a lush vineyard, just northwest of Aix-en-Provence, Villa Baulieu is a majestic, 17th-century property that could easily be mistaken for a private retreat (it once belonged to the Counts of Provence). This is not far from the truth, since the current owners, the Guénant family, envisioned the Italianate Provencal villa as a home to entertain friends and guests. After a seven-year restoration, the 745-acre vineyard estate, is now a jewel box of a place, filled with the family's private collection of museum-quality antiques and art from all over the world.

The eleven rooms are spread across three floors, connected by a monumental staircase, and in a refurbished annex that was once a stable. Each is spacious and unique. The styles include English, Venetian, and Portuguese-style decor, with Louis XIV-style canopy beds, Murano glass chandeliers and huge marble bathrooms, with antique tubs and a sweeping view of the park.

Bérengère Guénant, a passionate art-lover and car enthusiast, is both the gracious maîtresse de maison and oversees the adjacent winery. Copious breakfasts are served in the glass and wrought-iron Orangerie or in the pretty stone courtyard. The two multi-talented "butlers", Christophe and David (former grand sommelier and maître fromager at La Mirande, Avignon) will prepare delicious Provencal dinners at their table d'hôte on request, as well as host wine-tasting sessions and oenology classes. There's a lovely stone pool in the garden, a rooftop Jacuzzi for cool evening, and if you tire of lazing about, bikes are available for a spin through the vines and truffle oak-lined paths.

Pool Lounge at Villa Gallici, Provence, France

Villa Gallici

This 22-room Italianate hideaway has a country feel but is conveniently located near Aix's rich historic and cultural scene.

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