Jigsaw Travel’s Managing Director, Rachelle Matheson has just returned from an enviable exploration of France, where she was one of only three Australian travel professionals invited to attend the luxury boutique travel summit, DUCO France, connecting with representatives from the country’s most elite hotels and experiences. Naturally, Rachelle took the opportunity to extend her trip, visiting a number of Relais & Chateaux properties and soaking up the sun along the French Riviera.
The beauty of a Relais & Chateaux itinerary is that each property is boutique and with a truly unique character that celebrates French art de vivre, culture and local heritage for an unforgettable holiday experience.
Read on for a peek into the exceptional hotels Rachelle visited, and stay tuned for more news and inspiration from DUCO France. We look forward to utilising our new knowledge and connections when preparing your next luxury journey through France.
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EXPLORE THE FRENCH RIVIERA WITH RELAIS & CHATEAUX
- Monte-Carlo Beach
This glamorous and modern seaside hotel, designed and renovated by architect India Mahdavi, exudes elegance. The Green Globe certified hotel is an ode to the Mediterranean with its private beach, Olympic-sized pool and Elsa, a 100 % organic food & wild caught fish gastronomic restaurant Ecocert certified. Originally built in the 1930s, the chic and timeless Monte Carlo Beach sits on the sea and features an original terracotta façade and frescoes inspired by Matisse and Cocteau. It has always been the epitome of glamour and is the perfect setting for a relaxing and luxurious escape. Located in an exceptional natural setting and sheltered by a pine forest, Monte-Carlo Beach offers a Cabanas service at the water’s edge, an Olympic size swimming pool and the Monte-Carlo Beach spa.
- Château de la Chèvre d’Or
This chateau, built on the steep slopes of the French Riviera, offers breathtaking vistas of the Mediterranean, charming rooms each in their own unique design, and plenty of relaxing leisure activities on offer: swimming in the pool, wandering fragrant gardens, or indulging in an Indian massage. The great classics of French gastronomy as well as Mediterranean specialties can be savoured across the Chevre d’Or’s four restaurants, where the pleasure derived from the fine cuisine is enhanced by the stunning views. After the meal, you can stroll through the cobblestone streets of the medieval cliff-side village overlooking the grandiose panorama of the sea.
- Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel
Halfway between Nice and Cannes, in a setting where the Mediterranean takes centre stage, the Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel is a contemporary architectural jewel. Its minimalist lines are in perfect harmony with the lush Mediterranean vegetation, with the charm and freshness of a garden by the sea, a fine private sandy beach facing the Lérins Islands, and a delightful infinity pool. The original décor of the rooms and suites transports guests on a sensory voyage. The enchantment continues in the restaurant Les Pêcheurs, which looks out onto the sea and offers a feast for the palate as well as the eyes, with a view of the Esterel massif in the distance.
- Le Saint-Paul
In a secret and sunny Eden, located within the ramparts of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a famous artists’ haunt, the Saint-Paul casts its timeless spell. This is the place to stay if you want to fully appreciate French-style hospitality and sophistication. The listed mediaeval promontory where the hotel stands transports you, in supreme comfort, to a world of myth, legend and history. The guestrooms and suites offer stunning views over the village or over the plain up to the Mediterranean. Savour delicious regional dishes on an exquisite, flower-bedecked, sunny terrace – paradise indeed.
- Le Domaine de Mas de Pierre
It is the very heart of the Côte d’Azur that beats at Domaine du Mas de Pierre, a luxurious resort located in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, an emblematic picturesque village in the south of France. In this confidential corner of paradise extending over eight hectares of greenery, there are nine contemporary bastides draped in natural stone which welcome you in the middle of magical Mediterranean gardens. The 76 spacious rooms and suites of this bright hotel harmonize beautifully with the Provençal and eco-responsible soul of this haven of peace. This can be found in the 2,000 square meter spa with panoramic views of the surrounding hills, as well as in La Table de Pierre, the gastronomic restaurant run by Chef Maxime Leconte, or in the Lis Orto bistro run by Chef Emmanuel Lehrer.
- La Villa Gallici
In Provence, the Villa Gallici welcomes you to a beautiful Florentine residence that inspired Paul Cézanne and allows you to visit the genius painter’s studio. Paul Cézanne missed Aix terribly whenever he left, and never ceased to be inspired by its beauty. Many after him succumbed to the charm of this town and the ambience of this Florentine residence. The rooms are sumptuously decorated, and open onto a private garden filled with the fragrance of lavender. The cuisine pays tribute to Provence with dishes like sautéed loin of lamb and aubergine caviar with olives, black garlic sauce and fried basil. Try the famous local speciality of Calisson, sweets flavoured with melon and orange. Villa Gallici offers a special “Cézanne package”, which includes a visit to the painter’s studio.
- Hôtel & Spa du Castellet
An exceptional spot in the heart of Provence. On the edge of a forest of pine trees overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the Hôtel du Castellet is one of the region’s most charming properties. Guest rooms have a chic country home atmosphere and there are plenty of sun-drenched terraces. Three-star Chef and MOF (Best Craftsman of France) Christophe Bacquié has stamped his style on the Restaurant Christophe Bacquié, the prestigious gourmet restaurant of the hotel. The cuisine is based on seasonal and Mediterranean produce enlivened by a hint of flavours from further afield. For absolute relaxation there is the Spa awarded as Best Luxury Spa in Europe 2021, golf course and pools. When night falls, the gazebos are illuminated, to highlight the beauty of the grounds.