“How am I going to convey all of this beauty to my dear readers“, I thought many times during our stay at Domaine de la Baume? So I took lots of photos, made notes, made videos, drew plans… So much that it would probably be an overkill to post them all here.
I’ll see if I can find a way of sharing these in an useful manner for you in the near future. Today I will just go with the flow and tell you all the reasons why you should go to Domaine de la Baume.
Your own beautiful domain in Provence
First the setting. A magnificent ochre house hidden in the curves and depths of the Provence hills near Tourtour in the Verdon canyon area. You catch a glimpse of her on the road leading to it but its true magnificence is only revealed once you walk around the estate.
The former house of famous French artist, Bernard Buffet, it retains an air of grandeur which is tempered by its relatively small scale : only 15 bedrooms. Three living rooms, a lovely dining room and a kind of “verrière”.
Windows and doors open onto the nature everywhere: a parterre of white roses in the front, amazing views to the hill on the terrace at diner, French gardens as you step down from breakfast to the pool, olive tree fields at the back of the house, woodland with waterfalls, grassy fields for the horses…
Jocelyne Sibuet, the owner, has done an impressive work redecorating it. The hotel manager told me that when they acquired the domain, it was all white marble, high ceiling and not very warm. She has added lots of colours, brought back antique furniture and decorative pieces (fireplaces, local typical “tomettes”, i.e. tiles) and her husband redesigned the gardens. When I looked on the site, I was a bit apprehensive that this would be too busy and colouful but it is actually utterly perfect for the place and the region and is so subtly done that you feel like it’s your home !
The food of your dreams being cooked for you every day
The half-board formula at Domaine de la Baume is really great value for money. In the room rate (not cheap, I grant you that but the place is so worth it) you have breakfast, “goûter” (handmade cakes, tarts, biscuits with tea or coffee), apéritif (a must in the Big household) and diner with wines, coffee and tea. If you consider the quality of the food and the wine, in particular their Rosé and their white Viognier, this is really a good investment.
Food is cooked by chef François Martin who trained at such grand names as Marc Veyrat or the Pourcel brothers. He puts all his talent in making the produce shine and each dish is an amazing piece of meat or fish perfectly cooked with its natural jus and accompanied by vegetables from the garden. It sounds simple but the dishes were oh so flavoursome.
Because there is no lengthy menu to read (the staff tells you the options at apéritif) and only two starters, two fish, two meat and two desserts to choose from, you don’t have to agonise. Decisions are made simple and you know that the result will be absolutely perfect. No hard thinking, no headache, a feast for your tastebuds, how relaxing is that !
Mademoiselle (who is a fussy eater) actually enjoyed every meal because the meat or the fish didn’t come fancy herbs or tastes that she would have found odd. They were also always very happy to accommodate a simplification of the desserts (as in “just give her the ice cream”) for her.
Delightful moments created by the staff
Most of the time is of course spent doing nothing at Domaine de la Baume. But you can also swim in the pool, where they bring you refreshments every day, go on long walks for which they will give you maps, explore the waterfalls, have a picnic in the olive tree fields, enjoy marvellous treatments in the spa, play a game of “boules” or a game of tennis…
All of this is topped off by a quality of service that is rarely found. All the staff is absolutely charming, kind, efficient, attentive, welcoming, friendly. I couldn’t compliment them enough. They really add the extra touch that makes a stay at Domaine de la Baume absolutely, unequivocally perfect.
My tips for your family holidays
- Rooms that are for families are Les Soleils, Jacinthe, Papillon vert and the suites Annabelle and Abeille. In those, children will sleep on a sofabed.
- Petit Hibou and Rita on the left wing and Tournesol and la Femme au chapeau rose on the right wing can be families area as they can close off the wings.
- We had Les Soleils, a room on the ground floor at the back of the hotel with a separate living room where Mademoiselle slept on a sofabed. Perfect space although not as nice views as other rooms in the buildings.
- Meals are good if your children are older than 6 years old I’d say.Although they were happy to do a light lunch of ham and cheese for Mademoiselle when we asked so could possibly be flexible with younger children.
- The hotel is generally for older children in any case. The activities are more geared towards them and we didn’t see any family with babies or toddlers. However they told me that when there are several kids of the same age, they can arrange activities such as painting, treasure hunt for them.
- Tennis, games of boules, swimming pool, hiking, board games in the lounges : all activities you can do without leaving the domain.
- Do have a treatment, especially a facial, which was the best I ever had. Stay in the spa building rather than going to the caban by the waterfall. It sounds romantic but has no eletricity or water so you don’t get any of the extra stuff they do for you in the spa (hot towels, specific oils, creams, etc…)
- You can go horse riding in Tourtour by calling the association Le Cheval Rit (firstname.lastname@example.org). We did a one hour ride around the hills, which was a nice way to hear about the region.
- Les Gorges du Verdon will be your most obvious destination. Before you get there, stop at Lac Sainte Croix and hire a “pedalo”. Not a boat as they don’t go very fast and can’t get into the canyon. The pedalos are basically cycling boats with a slider and steps that allow you to dive in the water anywhere around the lake. Lots of fun ! [/themify_box]
- 15 bedrooms
- From 430 € (half board)