A sunny escape

AUTUMN ESCAPE

Last October I was lucky enough to be invited on a trip to the gorgeous Crillon Le Brave in the south of France. I stumbled upon the B-E-A-Utiful hotel online and had been wanting to visit for months. Naturally when I got the email it seemed too good to be true!

Autumn is my favourite season but it blew my mind to be in this part of the world, where the sun shone but the leaves were still beautiful colours of red against the 17th & 18th century sandstone bricks. When I’m stuck in the city for too long I seriously miss a horizon, and Crillon Le Brave has the most incredible horizon I’ve ever seen. I woke up before sunrise one morning and sat on the window sill watching the vineyards come to life, cockerels shouting, people driving to work, cyclists also up early to catch the worm. I find it hard to sleep from excitement when I travel and watching the sun come up in this special place was a treat. It was like going back in time and I really felt like I could just relax and take time for myself.

There are plenty of places to chill within the hotel. It’s perched on the very top of the hill where there are many levels and layers to hide away and relax within. Even better is that every terrace and balcony looks down towards the dreamy turquoise pool and valley beyond; that traces its history back to the Roman era two thousand years ago.

Following a tour of the grounds we sat for lunch at La Grange Bar and enjoyed a chilled glass of rose with salmon tartare on the sun filled terrace – my idea of heaven! After we’d unpacked and relaxed in our rooms it was time for a game of Pétanque in the garden, which I can’t say I was a natural at, but it was lots of fun (and I lost graciously). Dinner at Bistrot 40k AND Restaurant Jérôme Blanchet was a complete dream, everything is sourced locally and we had every course introduced by the very talented chef himself. Not to mention the wine pairings, which we were lucky enough to have a private wine tasting & canapés in the wine cellar the following night with Benoit Liebus (Crillon le Brave’s wine sommelier).

The region is huge for cycling and the hotel have bikes to hire and discover the valley on wheels also. We had a picnic packed and ready for us on arrival at a disused quarry site nearby. It truly looks like the Arizona dessert rather than the south of France. I was completely awe struck by the experience.

Even looking back on these pictures has me yearning to go back to this picture perfect part of the world. Crillon le Brave, I am in love.

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