Bed & Breakfasts in ProvenceStay: Accommodation & Rentals in ProvenceSue Aran

A Magical Stay at Le Prieuré La Madelène B&B in Provence

Imagine living in a beautifully restored 12th-century priory set amidst fields of bright orange poppies while enjoying a delicious breakfast or an evening aperitif on a shaded terrace under a starlit sky. Or relax by a tranquil pool, take leisurely day trips to nearby villages, and be guided to restaurants by your hosts, each suggested to fit your epicurean desires. Sound appealing? That’s the magic you’ll discover at Le Prieuré La Madelène (Bed and Breakfast) in the charming Provençal village of Malaucène.

Poppies in Provence Springtime

Wonderful Stay

I discovered this gem of a Bed and Breakfast (Chambres d’hôte) after I’d initially booked a hotel for myself and my clients. The hotel I had booked made an error in our reservation just before the profusion of French holidays in May. Hurriedly calling over a dozen accommodations in the area, I was referred to Le Prieuré. After speaking with a kind, English-speaking gentleman who informed me he would have enough space for my small group tour, I crossed my fingers, booked our stay, and hoped for the best.

Le Prieuré La Madelène B&B in Provence

Historical Location

Known initially as Sainte-Marie-Magdeleine-de-Capella, Le Prieuré La Madelène (unofficially) dates to the 9th century when it was built by Benedictine monks who lived, worked and prayed in the community. It remained a priory until the end of the 18th century, before its religious buildings were sold to the state to help finance the French Revolution.

After the Revolution, Le Prieuré became a working farm, La Ferme La Madeleine, for almost two hundred years. Gradually falling into ruin, the buildings were purchased in 1984 by the renowned French-Algerian novelist Marie Cardinal (1929-2001), and its surrounding 14 hectares of orchards were acquired by neighbouring farmers. Following her death, her heirs sold Le Prieuré in 2007. Its new owners, in turn, sold it in 2020 to Olivier and Bruno Pastoret-Stefanuto, two of the most affable, charming men I have ever met.

Owners Le Prieuré La Madelène B&B

New Owners

For 13 years, Bruno ran Appart’Ambiance, a company he and Olivier created in 2006 in Lyon, while Olivier was a purser for Air France. Intended primarily for business customers, Appart’Ambiance were short and medium-term rentals of furnished apartments with concierge services. In 2016 they expanded their offerings to include long-term rentals, but in doing so, Bruno lost direct contact with his customers and no longer enjoyed his role. Since both he and Olivier had spent more than 20 years in the service industry, they decided to combine their skills and create something extraordinary together.

They searched for a property they could turn into a boutique bed and breakfast, moving from Lyon to Beaujolais, a region they loved. However, it didn’t take them long to discover it was not the ideal choice. The tourist season was abridged, and they preferred to work throughout the year. In addition, Beaujolais is not a holiday destination; most importantly, they wanted a place offering more sunshine. Heading south, nothing clicked until they visited Le Prieuré La Madelène in Malaucène, a medieval village at the foot of Mont Ventoux in the Vaucluse, located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. Here Bruno and Olivier experienced le coup de foudre, love at first sight!

Magical B&B in Provence

B&B in Provence

They purchased Le Prieuré in February 2020, envisioning an Easter opening, but shortly after that, the Coronavirus pandemic plunged France into its first lockdown. This would have been devastating for many entrepreneurs opening a new business, but they persevered. When the lockdown was lifted, they happily welcomed their first guests. Now almost four years later, Le Prieuré La Madelène receives visitors from every corner of the globe.

Le Prieuré La Madelène B&B in Provence Terrace

As Olivier expressed to me, “…Whether it’s our favourite addresses such as restaurants, local shops or winegrowers that we appreciate, as well as hiking, cycling, motorcycling routes, and all the region’s curiosities, we love our corner of Provence and like to share it. We are often overwhelmed by the emotions some of our guests express upon leaving. Then, unexpectedly months later, a jar of cactus jelly from Arizona crosses the ocean to our mailbox, maple syrup arrives from Canada, and a bottle of wine from another country. Bonds are woven more intensely, and memories are created. La vie est belle, life is beautiful!”

And I can only agree…

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Breakfast at Magical B&B in Provence


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Sue Aran

Sue Aran is an American who followed her dream of living in France. Since 2006, she has lived in a tiny village in the Gers department of southwest France. She owns French Country Adventures, which provides private, personally-guided, small-group, slow travel tours into Gascony, the Pays Basque, Occitanie and Provence. Fully bilingual, Sue is also a writer and photographer. In addition, she posts a quarterly newsletter about her life in France and contributes to several online and print magazines.

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