Crillon le Brave: A Slice of Provençal Paradise

Travelling for a living can occasionally become a tiresome task – bundling things into a pint-sized suitcase, over-ferocious airport frisking and the unavoidable jet-lag that follows. However, none of these unpleasant familiarities come into question when travelling to Crillon le Brave. A tiny little hill village, tucked away 25 miles north-east of Avignon, this sun-dappled haven offers a bubble of tranquillity, where the only reminder of time is the mesmerising timbre of the resident church bell.

Smooth sailing from the word go, we touched down at Marseille Airport after a short flight, jumped into our nifty AVIS hire car and were seamlessly on our way. Surrounded by endless panoramas of neatly aligned vineyards, spindly poplar trees and sweet smelling jasmine wafting through the windows, London seemed more than a million miles away.

After arriving at the 36-bedroom boutique property, complete with botanical gardens and al fresco terraces for endless aperitifs, what proceeded was three and a half days of pure relaxation and just a smidgen (read: deluge) of cheese-stuffing gluttony and vineyard tours.

Here are just a few photographic highlights from our trip:

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Crillon le Brave, Provence

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One of the many sun-dapped terraces at Crillon le Brave

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Purple gnocchi with roasted mixed vegetables and shaved parmesan

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Vineyards at Domaine du Tix, Provence

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Cheese galore!

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Tiramasu with a molten coffee cream centre

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santé!

To enjoy your own little slice of Provencal paradise, visit http://www.crillonlebrave.com

Crillon Le Brave, C’est Chic

Driving up towards Crillon Le Brave, after we passed endless unfenced vineyards, their plump sun soaked fruit looking ready to spill over into the road, we felt we had stumbled upon something like the Cotswolds of Provence. A charming collection of shuttered honey coloured buildings make up the intimate and historic Provencal retreat that is Crillon Le Brave, and I couldn’t wait to explore what lay within the beautiful exterior.

Glimpse the amazing view through the front door…

An enticing entrance...

An enticing entrance…

On arrival, the welcoming reception team usher you in through the doors, and your car is parked and luggage swept to your room in the blink of an eye.

And what a room! We stayed in number 33, a split level Suite with gorgeous living area strewn with comfy chairs and sofas, and twin roll top baths overlooking the Provencal countryside and sun terrace, packed with plenty of dreamy L’Occitane products (made locally).  The bedroom sits on the level above, the huge bed facing a triple paned window overlooking the view beyond – you feel like King of the castle when you wake up here! Fresh figs and chilled local rosé were waiting for us on our arrival and the beautiful private terrace was the perfect place to enjoy them.

Our pretty terrace, looking out to the pool and the sun-drenched countryside of Provence

Our pretty terrace, looking out to the pool and the sun-drenched countryside of Provence

There’s even space for Champagne or a cold bottle of rosé between these twin tubs - heaven

There’s even space for Champagne or a cold bottle of rosé between these twin tubs – heaven

Tearing ourselves away from our sanctuary, (it was difficult) we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink on the terrace – accessed by a private staircase from our Suite – before a four course dinner at the hotel’s lovely restaurant. I forgot about the bikini I was wearing by the pool the next day and tucked in to naughty delights including perfectly cooked steak and an a-mazing cheeseboard, with some incredible local cheeses to choose from.

Fresh herbs in the garden are used by the chef

Fresh herbs in the garden are used by the chef

The next day we had to leave all too quickly, but not before enjoying a lazy morning by the pool, soaking up the sun and that view.

Time for a dip

Time for a dip

If I could I would have loved to hop on one of the bicycles available to guests, and take up the challenge of scaling nearby Mont Ventoux by bike. It takes about 3-4 hours usually, although I heard that someone had made it in an hour and a half. As memories of the dinner the night before came back to me, I vowed – next time! And there has to be a next time – one night just wasn’t long enough. There’s a gorgeous boutique spa for post cycling pampering and seemingly endless French countryside to be explored here.  À bientôt!

www.crillonlebrave.com