From a cycle ride past picturesque vineyards with the backdrop of Mont Ventoux to cheese, wine and truffle tasting in Hotel Crillon le Brave’s wine cellar, there’s plenty to see and do in Provence, France, finds Lorraine Crighton-Smith
Chic is a word synonymous with the French so it’s little wonder that it’s the word I choose to describe Hotel Crillon le Brave. This gem atop a hilly village in Provence oozes Provençal style and looks down on a stunning panorama of fields, country lanes and vineyards. The interior architects at Hotel Crillon le Brave have thought of everything to ensure you get the most from its privileged position, vast windows, balconies and, in the room I was allocated, a peephole window so you can even enjoy the view in the double shower.
Floral fabrics and white-washed wooden furniture add to the Provençal look. It’s traditional, but fresh. A wooden screen breaks up the open-plan nature of my room, behind it a spectacular roll-top free-standing bath.
Be sure to head out amongst the vineyards, for a walk or a cycle. The Tour de France passes through Crillon le Brave once every three years, en route to Mont Ventoux (also in the picture-postcard view), so we thought we ought to get on the saddle too. An ‘easy’10km ride with the occasional steep hill thrown in for good measure took us to nearby town Bédoin and back, and justified the cheese we were soon to consume.
A cheese tasting hosted by endearing local cheese producer Madame Claudine Vigier in the atmospheric setting of the hotel’s cavernous wine cellar was the appetizer to a decadent supper at Restaurant Jerome Blanchet, which is hoping to achieve Michelin status soon. The culinary offering throughout the hotel is exemplary, and there’s an emphasis on local produce (its 40K restaurant is so named as the ingredients come from with a 40km radius of the hotel).
The following night we returned to the wine cellar for wine tasting with Crillon le Brave’s wine sommelier Benoit Leitbus (who is an excellent translator, too), a local wine supplier from Domaine du Tix (domaine-du-tix.com/en) and a fascinating lesson in truffle farming from local truffle expert Eric Jaumard from La Truffe du Ventoux (truffes-ventoux.com). Provence is famous for its wine offerings, particularly rosé wine, which we enjoyed during our stay.
When not eating cheese or sipping wine, take a dip in the heated pool or treat yourself to full body massage with talented therapist Kerry in the hotel’s mini spa (perfect after a hilly cycle ride).
On Sunday morning we visited L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, which is less than an hour from Crillon le Brave, to browse its popular market (we picked up a pair of espadrilles and some nougat, but there’s a vast amount more to see). It’s the antique markets that L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is famous for, a must if you want to take home a piece of true Provençal life.
Nightly rates at Crillon le Brave are available from €290/£240 per room per night for two people sharing including breakfast. To book, call +33 (04) 90 65 61 61; crillonlebrave.com