Hôtel Crillon le Brave: A Chic Retreat Steeped in Provençal Soul
July 2, 2019 by Allison Reiber DiLiegro
Sometimes, a destination turns out to be exactly the way you want it to be. Provence is such a place, with sun-drenched farmhouses, narrow country roads and lively marchés selling fresh goat cheese and olives. If Provence is a place for living out a rural fantasy, Hôtel Crillon le Brave sets the perfect stage.
Hôtel Crillon le Brave is owned by Maisons Pariente, a family-run collection of unique properties throughout France. Here, the 18 suites and 15 rooms are spread across nine 17th- and 18th-century buildings. Each maison has a story, breathing life and soul into every space. One home belonged to the village priest; another housed the local lawyer. Maison Soudain was home to an artist who painted the view from his terrace.
Yes, the view is worth painting. Hôtel Crillon le Brave commands this stretch of the Vaucluse as if it were its kingdom. And in a sense, it is: dukes and duchesses once lived here as well. The pedigree is grand, but the design is more Provençal village than gilded palace (though a very chic village, to be sure). The guest rooms are light and airy, with breezy linens, antique furniture and iconic red Genoise floor tiles. Some rooms private terraces where you can relax, sip rosé and overlook the countryside. Or, you can get out and explore it.
There are tree-lined streets to cycle, trails to hike and long lunches to be had. The chef can pack a picnic for lunch underneath the olive groves. There’s tennis, pétanque and a spectacular swimming pool with views of Mont Ventoux. When the sun gets hot, Spa des Écuries is a cool oasis. Set under the arches of the original 18th-century stables, the spa offers facials, massages, scrubs, Yoga, meditation and more.
But first, there’s breakfast. With an expansive terrace, La Table du Ventoux offers sweeping views of Mont Ventoux. Expect a buffet of croissants, pains au chocolat, fruits, cheese, eggs and charcuterie. The spread is even more abundant on Sundays, when there’s seafood, grilled meats and desserts. For lunch and dinner, the restaurant serves Provençal-style dishes with live music on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Dinner is also served at Restaurant La Madeleine, a gastronomic choice serving five- to seven-course tours of Mediterranean cuisine.
While days are well spent on property, Crillon le Brave is an ideal base for visiting the towns, markets and ateliers of Provence. Rent a car – the hotel can arrange a vintage car for extra panache – and let the fantasy live on. The best of Provence is a short drive away.
- Côtes-du-Rhône vineyards (8 – 20 miles): Drive along the Rhône to taste some of the most celebrated wines in France. (Or hire a driver, so you, too, can celebrate the wines). Don’t miss Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where the vines were first planted in the 14th century by the popes of Avignon.
- L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue (18 miles): Called the “Venice of Provence,” L’Isle-sur-la-Sorge is an ancient town surrounded by a flowing moat. With hundreds of shops selling fine antiques to bric-a-brac, the town is a must for treasure hunters. Sunday is the most popular market day and Thursday is a bit smaller.
- Avignon (24 miles): A short drive from Crillon le Brave is Avignon, a lively town with rich history. Tour the Palais des Papes, which housed the Roman popes during the 14th century, and visit La Musée Angladon to see works by Van Gogh, Picasso and Cezanne. Each July, the city bursts to life with the Festival d’Avignon, a theater and arts celebration that draws culture hounds from around the world.
- Saint-Tropez (75 miles): The perfect end to a countryside retreat is a few days by the sea. Luckily, the Côte d’Azur is a short drive away. Head to Saint-Tropez and settle into Hôtel Lou Pinet, a vintage-inspired seaside gem. Also owned by the Pariente family, they’re sure to keep the fantasy going.
Hôtel Crillon le Brave
Place de l’Eglise
84410 Crillon le Brave
Telephone: +33 (0) 4 90 65 61 61