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France's Coquillade Provence Is One Of The World's Dreamiest Destinations

France's Coquillade Provence Is One Of The World's Dreamiest Destinations


Lifestyle,

France's Coquillade Provence Is One Of The World's Dreamiest Destinations

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Lifestyle,

France's Coquillade Provence Is One Of The World's Dreamiest Destinations

France's Coquillade Provence Is One Of The World's Dreamiest Destinations

Lifestyle,

France's Coquillade Provence Is One Of The World's Dreamiest Destinations

Published By:   •   March 13, 2024

France's Coquillade Provence Is One Of The World's Dreamiest Destinations

Published By:

March 13, 2024

Lifestyle,


Luxurious accommodations, intuitive service and an enchanting hillside setting make Coquillade Provence one of the world’s dreamiest destinations.

The hotel’s two heated pools are surrounded by the Luberon hills and
vineyards PHOTO COURTESY OF COQUILLADE PROVENCE

The hotel’s two heated pools are surrounded by the Luberon hills and vineyards.

Growing up, Disney’s 1991 film Beauty and the Beast played on repeat. My sister and I sang each song with abandon, and to this day, I still know every word. Beyond the music and the story, what stood out the most was the film’s gorgeous French setting. If you told me back then I’d step foot in a genuine version of Belle’s “quiet village,” I would barely believe you. But a visit to Coquillade Provence brings those childhood dreams to life in the best possible way.

THE HOTEL

Located 45 minutes east of Avignon by car, the five-star Relais & Châteaux property resides in a repurposed 11th century hamlet founded by Cistercian monks of the Sénanque Abbey. Swiss entrepreneur Andreas Rihs purchased the village in 2006, creating a sublime resort ideally situated for wine and cycling tourism. Over the years, the Rihs family has expanded and enhanced the property, which boasts 63 rooms and suites, a six-bedroom villa, three restaurants, two bars, a luxury spa and a top-of-the-line cycling center. This year, the resort will unveil five new luxury pool suites with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking private gardens, vineyards and the Luberon landscapes.

the spa relaxation room. PHOTO COURTESY OF COQUILLADE PROVENCE
The spa relaxation room

GETTING THERE

There are a few ways to get to Coquillade. The closest airport is Marseille (about one hour and 15 minutes), but you’ll need to transfer from Paris or another European hub. My friend and I fly directly into Paris Charles de Gaulle, then take a high-speed TGV train to Avignon (about three hours). The hotel arranges for a car to drive us from the station to the hotel, which takes about 45 minutes.

THE ACCOMMODATIONS

While the property’s exteriors are straight from the past, the rooms and suites are designed for today’s discerning travelers. Clean, crisp and spacious, our sunny suite and decked-out balcony looks out toward rolling hills, vineyards and sunsets. A comfortable bed, several convenient sitting areas and a huge walk-in closet can work for a several months-long stay, and make the room seem like home. The enormous bathroom houses a hammam and a large spa tub, perfect for unwinding after a long day. Larger parties will love the roomier suite options, some with adjoining rooms. The vibrant public spaces throughout are dotted with important art and furniture pieces from the owner’s collection, including numbered Picassos at the bar.

Spacious new pool suites debut this year PHOTO BY THOMAS EUGSTER
Spacious new pool suites debut this year

THE DINING

For breakfast and lunch, we enjoy Les Vignes, which serves farm-to-table Provençal cuisine. The well-stocked breakfast bu et is particularly delicious—think fresh pastries and bread, to-order coffees and eggs, waffles, fruits, charcuterie and more—while lunch is coursed. Avelan, the formal dinner restaurant by chef Pierre Marty, is a gastronomic revelation housed in a historic bastide, with dishes as beautiful as they are delicious. We are wowed by every item on the tasting menu, from the marinated sea bass with pomegranate to the dessert, a green apple tart with pepper and marigold. There’s also a poolside restaurant, Cipressa, that dishes out Sicilian specialties in the warmer months, and the buzzy bar, with Asian-inspired dishes (pho, curries, fried rice and more), wine and craft cocktails.

yoga by one of the central fountains PHOTO COURTESY OF COQUILLADE PROVENCE
Yoga by one of the central fountains

THE AMENITIES

The pool area alone is enough of a reason to make the trip. Surrounded by olive trees and perfumed with lavender, the serene and peaceful pools perfectly complement the landscape. Although it is difficult to leave this little slice of heaven, we pry ourselves away to experience the spa, a Moroccan-inspired escape offering a la carte services and packages. A deeply relaxing massage, time in the sauna and a dip in the indoor pool seem to dissipate any remaining jet lag. A new terroir-driven wellness program launches this year, with treatments that incorporate local ingredients and unique water-based classes.

fine dining restaurant Avelan serves inventive cuisine by chef Pierre Marty PHOTO COURTESY OF COQUILLADE PROVENCE
Fine dining restaurant Avelan serves inventive cuisine by chef Pierre Marty.

THE ACTIVITIES

The area is well-known as a haven for cyclists, so my friend and I decide to partake. This is where my Disney fantasy really takes o , as we spend the day e-biking from the hotel to a few of the area’s most charming hilltop villages. As someone who typically shies away from cycling due to a bike accident years ago, I am hesitant to participate, but I am so glad that I do—this is my favorite part of the trip. With a guide, we ride into Roussillon, known best for its striking red cliffs, and pop into the local shops, stopping to take tons of photos. We then head over to Gordes for lunch and exploration. I am struck by the history, the architecture, the colors. It’s impossible not to feel inspired, especially after whooshing down a hill and taking in this special place’s intoxicating sights and smells. We also enjoy an afternoon at the on-site Aureto winery, where we learn about their sustainable cultivation and use of biodynamic viticultural techniques.

poolside restaurant Cipressa serves Italian dishes in the warmer months. PHOTO COURTESY OF COQUILLADE PROVENCE
Poolside restaurant Cipressa serves Italian dishes in the warmer months.

THE TAKEAWAY

It isn’t often that you visit a place transformative enough to conjure childhood dreams and fantasies. Coquillade Provence did just that. The picture-perfect setting, the thoughtful accommodations and amenities, the delicious farm-to-table cuisine and the thrilling activities all added up to a trip to remember—and one to return to.

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