There is so much beauty when travelling Provence that it can be quite intoxicating, and a little overwhelming when it comes to deciding where to stay and what to do. However, if you want an authentic Provencal experience, staying at a Maison d’hote such as Domaine de Fos will provide you with an insider’s guide to the Mediterranean heartland of France, so much so you might not want to leave.
Domaine de Fos is so typically Provencale in colour, architecture, stature and attitude. It’s located in the Gard Department about an hour from beautiful Avignon and about 10 minutes drive from the charming smaller town of Uzes in Montaren et Saint-Médiers. Driving along poplar lined roads and turning down little country lanes is part of the fun in finding the domain, and when you eventually come across it, its likely you will sit in amazement, because it is simply breathtaking in a carefully curated but completely effortless way.
Bienvenue: Owned by Marc and Valerie Courivaud, who made a tree-change a few years ago from their life in Paris with their now independent children, the couple have an eye for chic style but also for comfort. The domain is recognised as a maison d’hote, popular in France and similar to a bed and breakfast, only dinner is also served with the hosts joining the table. And from the moment you arrive, you feel like you have become part of the manor.
The scent of Domaine de Fos is Olive Oil and lavender that is as fresh as the Provence breeze. Upstairs, over-sized guestrooms run along the corridor dotted with antiques and that from the giant windows you can see the rose garden in the courtyard and the wistful dramatic skies that Provence is known for. The kitchen downstairs, painted in a Van Gogh yellow, is warm and a little chi chi with its fabulous chandelier and doors opening to a lavender garden. Love love love!
After settling in exquisite clean spacious chambres, time is given to becoming acquainted with the hosts. A champagne with hors d’oeuvres by the fire or refreshment by the pool. Polite but warm conversation in Franglais (broken French English), a little laughing and sharing … a little pinching oneself that it’s real … and it’s time for a rich but simple fare cooked by Marc. An entree, perhaps a main of Marc’s famous chicken aux morelles, dessert and cheeses. More wine. It’s time to relax some more before retiring.
Exploring the lavender strewn countryside and the nearby ancient stone villages is on the agenda for a day or two. A trip to the World Heritage listed Pont du Gard (ancient Roman aqueduct bridge), a drink with locals in Uzes, some shopping and then returning to what feels like home that is so friendly and charming. Alternatively, exploring one of the little restaurants in Uzes or around the area is equally encouraged. The evening meal at the domaine is your choice.
Leaving Domain de Fos was easy, only because I know that we’ll be back. The residence has enough space to allow you to dream about life in Provence, to recharge … to say a bientot and merci beaucoup.
Have you been to Provence? What was your experience like? This post was written from my heart, no sponsorship, just a really wonderful time in a beautiful place with beautiful people♥