Les Baux de Provence is a very special region in South France. While the areas around Aix-en-Provence, Avignon and of course the Côte d’Azur are well known globally, this is a rather hidden gem! We stayed in what was the originator of the tourism in the region – the famous Baumanière Hotel.
The gardens of the hotel are in meticulous shape, but still feel very personal.
A family hotel
We already got to meet Marie Noelie Charial during her visit in Vienna, when we talked about coming to Provence. She and her parents run the hotel together – and it was founded by her great grandfather in 1945. When she showed us around and told us the stories of her childhood running around the vast gardens of the estate, we could sense what was at the heart of the hotel: It’s a family affair!
History & Present
When Marie’s great grandfather Raymond Thuilier founded the hotel in 1945, he had just quit his job working in the insurance business. He was no trained Chef, but he started cooking there and received 3 Michelin stars for his efforts only 9 years later. Today you can still sense his presence in the place, that has now grown into a complex with 5 different buildings, that feels more like a small village, than a hotel with 54 rooms and suites.
This building called “Le Manoir” has a funny history – half of it was once bought by a guest who wanted to stay whenever he pleased, without having to book a room. When he passed, the hotel could buy the property back, but decided to leave it in it’s original state. Therefore the house now has two different facades and styles.
L’Oustau de Baumanière as seen from above
Vegetarian pioneer work at L’Oustau de Baumanière
L’Oustau is the oldest piece of the puzzle at the Baumanière Hotel. This was the first building Monsieur Thuilier had bought and turned into the now famous restaurant and hotel. This is where he was one of the first to introduce vegetarian haute cuisine in France – a country with no specific vegetarian tradition. He brought back the inspiration for this form of cooking from his travels to India, where he got overwhelmed by the possibilities of vegetarian dishes.
L’Oustau de Baumanière still has 11 rooms today and the restaurant that still has 2 Michelin stars today.
We got spoiled with a 8-course dinner beyond any description. Even after years and years of vegetarian cooking and eating out we have never eaten anything as refined and rich in variety as what we got served here. The tasting menu included dishes made with the organic vegetables, that are carefully grown in the hotel’s own garden.
Every dish was mainly sourced from the hotel’s own organic gardens. Tastes of carrots and ginger combined to an incredible starter. Green peas and asparagus followed and a millefeuile of vegetables so delicious it would melt in your mouth. We had never been so happy after 8 courses as here and even managed to eat all 3 dessert courses, that were served!
Rhubarb variety was the first course of our dessert menu.
The highlight of the dessert menu was the cold green tea with spices, that was served on a tea waggon.
Our room at the Carita building
We stayed in the “Mas Carita” building, which hosts 14 rooms and is close to one of the three pools of the hotel. Our room was in the first floor of the building and had it’s own private terrace and huge sun-filled bathroom. The décor of each room at Baumanière is unique and very charming.
The location: Les Baux de Provence
This mountain village is located in the heart of the so called “Alpilles” mountain range. It has been awarded the “One of the most beautiful villages in France” title and bears this with pride. We recommend visiting the village in the late afternoon hours, when it gets quiet and romantic.
From up in the village of Les Baux you can even look down on the buildings of Baumanière hotel.
Next to the village you can stroll through the limestone formations.
The perfect traveler type for Baumanière Hotel
This is no hotel for the party-loving crowd, but a place to unwind. We believe the perfect traveler type for this hotel is the slow-paced gourmet, maybe especially the vegetarian ones (but we didn’t try the meat and fish dishes, which are probably just equally good).
+ Family atmosphere with luxurious service.
+ Discretion and location just surrounded by limestone mountains and olive trees.
+ The best vegetarian cuisine we ever tasted.
– In such a hotel, there’s only really small things to complain about. We don’t like to have the toilet in the bathroom, which we also had here (although the bathroom would’ve been spacious enough to have it separated).
Read more about the hotel here:
Read all about our travel tips for the Luberon area in the Provence:
Blogpost “A Scented Journey”
Disclaimer: We were invited to the region by the Official Tourism Board. The views in this report are our own.