Find Luxury in the Luberon at Domaine de Fontenille
Imagine staying in a glorious 19th century Provencal country estate surrounded by mighty cedars, olive trees and resplendent vineyards framed by the rolling Luberon hills of the Durance Valley. Transformed in 2013 by architect Alexandre Lafourcade, Domaine de Fontenille is now a luxury spa hotel and exceptional wine domaine, with nineteen beautifully appointed bedrooms, two restaurants and a spa. The original architecture has been carefully restored subtly blending the old and new to create this delightful haven.
Location and Amenities
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. Built by the Savornin family in 1638, the bastide was fully restored in 2014.
Since 2018, the estate’s wine production is organic. Enologist and agricultural engineer Laurence Berlemont supervises the 35-hectares of vines. Sample the wine at Le Cave de Domaine de Fontenille on the property, or at the Lourmarin boutique (spring and summer only).
The property should boast about the Center for Contemporary Art located in a vaulted cellar that dates from the 17th-century.
There are activities to keep you busy for several days. Enjoy luxuriating in the hotel, swimming, having a spa day or walking in the gardens. Alternatively plan on visiting neighbouring villages and the landscapes that inspired painters like Cezanne and Van Gogh.
There are two excellent restaurants on site. Michelin 1* Le Champ des Lunes and the more relaxed La Cuisine d’Amélie. Chef Benjamin Pâtissier (yes that is really his name) runs both kitchens.
All that before I even mention the spa. Trust me, a little like “Hotel California” once you arrive at Domaine de Fontenille you might never want to leave.
Things to do Nearby
The village of Lauris appears tethered to a cliff edge overlooking the Durance River and the plains of the Luberon. The rather austere looking 18th-century Chateau de Lauris is privately owned. However, the terrace at the foot of the chateau is open to the public and adjacent to that a unique garden worth visiting. Operated by Couleur Garance the Jardin conservatoire de plante tinctoriales achieved the label of Jardin Remarkable in 2011 joining the ranks of many other gardens in France.
Located in the heart of the fertile Luberon Valley, the hamlet of Ansouis clings to a craggy outcrop. This valley, like much of Provence, is mainly agricultural land brimming with vineyards, endless olive groves and stone fruit orchards. Visitors and locals alike benefit from the Luberon’s protected parkland (Parc naturel régional du Luberon) with its fabulous hiking and mountain biking trails. Discover charming Ansouis.
Today, Mérindol is a thriving, quiet hamlet that pays tribute to a dark chapter in its history. There is a small private museum containing archival information on the Vaudois in the Luberon and beyond.
Go for a hike in les Gorges de Régalon, located between Cavaillon and Mérindol, in the Luberon. The circuit is only 9km and offers a bit of everything in a three (3) hour hike. The walk starts at the easily accessible parking, where it is free to park, and you may even find a spot in the shade. The first stretch is a walk along a creek bed past a small grove of olive trees. Immediately after the olives, the trail heads straight into the gorge.