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Dream in French During a Stay at Le Domaine de Fontenille

“Even one night at this place is an unforgettable experience.” – Mary Kay Seales after her stay at this luxury property, in Provence, with her two sisters.

Evening View of the Courtyard at Domaine de Fontenille

Just a bit north of Aix-en-Provence near the tiny medieval village of Lauris is the stylish and architecturally perfect Domaine de Fontenille, on the list of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

It’s attention to detail in every guest room and throughout the hotel, its superb hospitality, and the lush grounds, all make you feel like you’ve discovered your dream home. Please don’t make me leave!

When I visited in mid-September of 2016 with my sister and niece, we found the hotel very quiet, with few guests to interrupt us at the still warm pool in the gardens. Following our swim we retreated to the modern and luxurious steam room where we found snowy white, plush towels and orange-scented shampoos. Returning to our guest room looking out over the gardens, we opened our complimentary bottle of 2016 Cuveé Fontenille Rosé.

We took time for a short rest before dinner and a stroll through the gardens at sunset.

Domaine de Fontenille Guest Room Overlooking the Fountains and Gardens

 La Cuisine

 We had made reservations for dinner at the hotel’s restaurant Le Champ des Lunes, whose menu is designed and prepared by Michelin Star chef Jerôme Faure. The dishes feature local products and their own wines from the nearby vineyards. It’s not really dinner per se, it’s a dining experience with courses chosen according to Chef Jerôme’s playful and passionate maxim:

“Doing things with the seriousness of a child playing”             

Of course, if you would rather have a simpler provençal meal of fresh tomatoes and burrata, you could hop in your car, and have dinner in charming St-Rémy or Lauris, both within driving distance.

Stay for a Day or the Rest of Your Life

 There are activities to keep you busy for several days here. Besides luxuriating in the hotel, swimming, having a spa day or walking in the gardens, you can plan on visiting neighboring villages and the natural landscapes that inspired painters like Cezanne and Van Gogh.

Though it’s not going to be a budget traveler’s first stop, I shared a room with two other women, making it quite affordable for a special treat to ourselves. Sometimes you just have to let go of the purse strings and get a taste of the heaven to come in your next life. You can definitely get that here at the lovely Domaine de Fontenille.  

Domaine de Fontenille Vineyards

 “The one who sees his dream becoming true doesn’t need to sleep anymore … Unless he has other dreams…”

Mary Kay Seales is a travel writer, copywriter and photographer from Seattle, Washington. She is the author of The Beginner’s Guide to the French Riviera: Stop Dreaming & Start Packing available on Amazon.

All photos by Mary Kay Seales

The two quotes above are from Chef Jerôme Faure’s menu at Domaine de Fontenille:

  1. Saint John Perse
  2. D. Wynot
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Mary Kay Seales

Mary Kay Seales

Mary Kay Seales was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest in Washington State, where she also teaches writing to international students at the University of Washington. As a lifelong traveler, photographer and writing teacher, her recent move into travel writing was a natural progression.

She has lived and worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Costa Rica, India, Azerbaijan and France, and her travels include Bora Bora, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Peru among other destinations.

She is the author of two guide books - The Beginner’s Guide to the French Riviera: Stop Dreaming & Start Packing, and The Beginner’s Guide to the Olympic Peninsula: Exploring the Wild Beauty of the Pacific Northwest - as well as a frequent contributor to other publications in France.

Her most recent blog is The Conscious Traveler.

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