I was thrilled a few months ago when Mr & Mrs Smith asked me to review for them – they are without doubt my first port of call when searching for accomodation, they really do handpick the best, so I was really honoured to be asked to go and test out the beautiful Domaine de Fontanille in Provence.
Here is our full review…
“We were so excited in the build up to our weekend mini-break in Provence. We usually travel fairly regularly, but it had been a few months since our last trip away.
We left a very cold and grey Heathrow Airport at 7am, snoozed through most of the short flight to Marseille, before bounding off the plane into the warm Mediterranean sunshine. The weekend had begun! We collected our hire car and set off towards the Luberon to begin our 48 hours of rest, relaxation and delicious French food.
En route to the hotel, we made a pit stop for lunch in the beautiful village of Eygalieres – you would do well to find a more charmingly French village – picture perfect with a lovely selection of cafés and restaurants to choose from for lunch. We sat in the warm sunshine outside a lovely bistro, surrounded by locals enjoying a leisurely Friday lunch. Mr Smith enjoyed steak tartare, whilst I opted for the dish of the day, a local meat and vegetable broth, it looked delicious and hearty, but was actually quite tasteless. Never mind, the setting and company made up for it!
We decided not to join the locals in their second or third carafe of wine tempting as it was; we were too desperate to reach our home for the next two nights, the beautiful Domaine de Fontanille just outside Lauris. After winding our way through stunning countryside, hilltop villages and vineyards aplenty, we arrived at our destination.
Set on a 17th Century Luberon estate complete with its very own vineyard, the main house is a breathtakingly beautiful chateau. It was lovingly restored a few years ago, taking care to maintain all the original features, whilst adding a feeling of contemporary, understated luxury throughout.
We dropped our bags in our beautiful bedroom – soft, calming colours combined with elegant and stylish décor – it was the relaxing haven that we had hoped for and to top it off, the views from the windows were out of this world. We threw open the shutters to find stunning views over the most delightful parkland all the way to Lauris in the distance. Closer to the building were beautiful mature trees, a fountain and a very French terrace; perfect for soaking up the last rays of sunshine with a glass of rosé (from their own vineyard no less).
After a potter around the gardens and said wine and sunshine on the terrace, we headed inside to get ready for supper. For our fist night we had booked the much acclaimed and Michelin-starred restaurant, one of two at the hotel, Le Champ des Lunes.
After a delicious aperitif, we selected the middle option from the variety of tasting menus on offer; three savoury and two sweet courses. The chef who oversees both restaurants in the hotel is Jérôme Faure, who won his first Michelin star when he was 30. Still only 38, he is renowned for combining unusual flavours that are ‘designed to wake up the taste buds’. Our supper didn’t disappoint and included creative combinations from langoustine, red pepper, raspberries, tarragon and goats cheese to wild deer gravlax, beetroot (from the garden), rose and black cardamom, blueberry and caviar.
All the courses were all delicious and the flavours really did contrast beautifully. We were however a little full and struggled to finish our final course! We slowly climbed the stairs to our beautiful bedroom and collapsed into the huge, comfy bed. Gorgeously soft pillows and bed linen enabled us to drift quickly into a deep, calm sleep.
Breakfast was an equally gourmet affair – there was a chef’s menu option (four creative courses), but we were still rather full from the night before, so opted for simple croissants and toast and local jams. Our plan for the day was to explore more of the Luberon in the morning and then head back in the afternoon to enjoy the gardens and pool at the hotel and make the most of the gorgeous sunshine, possibly the last we would see of it this year!
After a wonderful day visiting Gordes and other beautiful towns, we returned for our afternoon of sunshine. I had also booked a facial (I find it hard to visit a with a spa and not try it out!), I’m a bit of a beauty addict I’m afraid.
The treatment rooms are up in the eves of the Château. I was met by one of the most glamorous women I have ever seen! Dressed in a beautiful pearl encrusted black sweater with immaculate make up, she was the personification of French elegance. The facial itself did not disappoint; it was one of the most relaxing and indulgent I have every experienced. She alternated warm flannels with beautifully cool creams and potions and gentle massage techniques. It was quite mesmerising and combined with the scent of the gorgeous Nuxe products, it sent me into a beautifully calm, meditatve state.
That evening we opted to eat in the more casual bistro style restaurant. In the summer it is set out on the terrace next to the fountain, but as we were there in autumn, we ate in the cosy library overlooking the terrace. The menu was a selection of gourmet small plates, designed to share. The highlight was the artichoke salad with lemon, poutargue and rocket, washed down with a delicious Cuvée Fonatinille white wine.
Our departure morning had definitely come around too soon! We were very sad to be leaving our beautiful room and views – waking up to the sun streaming through the parkland trees really was very special. But the time away had definitely done the trick – we headed back to the airport feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, as well as a little bit full!”
Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden
This post was in collaboration with Mr & Mrs Smith, but as always all thoughts and opinions are my own.