WeJust Found The Perfect FoodPorn Hotel In Provence

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by: Suzannah Ramsdale
30 Jul 2017

With vegetables fresh from the hotel garden and rosé so delicious you’ll never be able to stomach a glass of pub house wine again, L’Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle is a foodie fantasy come to life.

Where it it? An hour outside of Nice, nestled in the tiny, sleepy village of La Celle and next door to a beautiful 12th century abbey. The village is surrounded by vineyards and rolling green countryside, a great base to walk, horse-ride and cycle – if you can drag yourself away from the idyllic hotel.

What’s the vibe? Rural Provence. You’ll feel like you’ve just stepped into a scene from A Good Year, but the luxe sequel, where the chateau has been completely restored and is now a 5* boutique hotel. L’Hostellerie de l”Abbaye is famous within France – Charles de Gaulle was a regular back in the day. And it really is a special place. Small but private, exclusive but friendly.

So the rooms must be pretty amazing? There are only 10 rooms and each one is uniquely decorated. Try and book the Lucrèce de Barras Suite, if you can, it’s where De Gaulle used to lay down his head. I stayed in the Appoline Waguelone junior suite, split over two levels and with a private garden, it was tranquility itself. The terrace is the perfect spot to enjoy a sun-drenched breakfast of buttery croissant and fresh orange juice, which the lovely staff will bring to your room at no extra cost.

Ok, so the food, tell me more… This is what it’s all about. The Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse restaurant is the real reason people flock to this particular corner of Provence. The seasonal menu changes daily and most of the ingredients come from the hotel’s garden, if not, they’ll have been sourced from a 30Km radius.

What kind of things did you eat? The mullet with chickpeas and tomatoes stuck out for me – so fresh, so light, so full of flavour. Then there was this amazing fennel and artichoke salad that I could not get enough of. And the bread, oh the bread; so warm and moreish – all baked on site. I’d eat the olive bread every day for the rest of my life. Oh, and for lunch one day, we drizzled local honey over local goat’s cheese while sipping on rosé. The summer vegetables were so fresh, so earthy, so crunchy. You see, daily gastronomical delights.

And what about the pudding? I don’t have a sweet tooth but I still dream of the plum and cherry tart with a ginger biscuit base.

And you mentioned rosé? Yes. The hotel has its own vineyard, which produces 3,000 bottles a year. Leave room in your suitcase for a few. You can also stock up on local ingredients, handmade pottery and the hotel’s bergamot bath products (made by the Different Company) in the boutique shop. We came home with a honey-scented oil diffuser and the smell takes me straight back to Provence every time I smell it.

Will I get some good Instagram snaps? 100%. The restaurant is set on a beautiful terrace surrounded by cypress trees and with views of the rugged Candelon mountains. The main building is also wonderfully Provençal with muted green shutters and terracotta walls. Then there’s the turquoise pool…

Oh yes, and what of the pool? While the restaurant is undoubtedly the main event, the pool is where you’ll probably end up spending most of your time. It’s cut off from the rest of the hotel by an ancient stone wall and feels totally secluded – in fact, when we were there, we had the pool to ourselves. There’s an honesty bar so you can keep hydrated with Perrier (and by Perrier I, of course, mean rosé) and a phone so you can order lunch to be devoured pool-side.

Who would like this hotel? Anyone who likes food. And tranquility.

Price: Double rooms from £268.

Getting there: Flights from London to Nice start at £65.


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