This month we’re celebrating the finest views which Provence has to offer. Rather than stay at any of the hotels featured, (although if your wallet stretches that far why not) the Guru recommends enjoying a relaxing drink on their terraces. Prices are high, with a beer setting you back anywhere up to 10 euros but nowhere near as high as the room rates, and the views, well the views are just sensational. One final tip don’t be afraid to act like a local: take a copy of La Provence and make a couple of espresso last the morning.
1. The Bastide du Gordes, La Bastide de Gordes & SPA – Hôtel ***** – Restaurant Le Village – 84220 Gordes – Provence – Tél. +33 (0)4 90 72 12 12 – Fax +33 (0)4 90 72 05 20 –email@example.com
From the outside as you approach up the hill towards Gordes, the village’s imperious silhouette is full of promise, but once inside the streets there’s a sense of disappointment. The restaurants collected in the shadows of the Chateau wall are pleasant enough but Gordes is all about the view and in every direction it’s blocked by buildings. The only cafe offering a glimpse of the panorama is the Cercle Republicain bar but the outside area resembles an eagle’s eerie rather than a terrace:- there’s room for perhaps 8 people crammed together like chicks in a nest.
So here’s the solution. Ignore the municipal parking at the entrance to Gordes where the Mairie will happily relieve you of 5 euros, drive up to the entrance of the Bastide – there are parking spaces across the road, and also on a slip road that runs beneath the hotel. Let the doorman know that your off for a drink, and pat yourself on the back as you swagger onto one of the best hotel terraces in the world, with the Luberon shimmering in the distance, and a 5 euro parking credit to put towards your bar bill. It really is the only way to do Gordes.
2. Chevre D’Or Eze – LA CHEVRE D’OR
RUE DU BARRI 06360 EZE VILLAGE – Tel. : + 33 (0)4 92 10 66 66 – Fax : +33 (0)4 93 41 06 72 – Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Eze is a little like Gordes, it is a village that promises so much, but ultimately can end up disappointing visitors. High above the Mediterranean its cobbled streets are pleasant to explore, but as with Gordes the place is all about the view and the view is glimpsed only through the narrow gaps between the houses. The higher you climb the more tantalising the glimpses of the sea become, until eventually you arrive at the dead end that is the reception of the Chevre D’Or. Of course there’s no need to stop, just ask and you’ll be shown to one of the most breathtaking terraces in Provence. The seats sit so high above the sea that it feels like you are in an aeroplane. Yachts make their way serenely across the glassy Med, passing out of sight as they round the shadowy Caps of the Riviera. It’s breathtaking.
3. The Hotel Horizon, Hotel L’horizon, 100, promenade St Jean. – 06530 – Cabris +33 4 93 60 51 69
The Horizon is a much humbler place than either the Chevre D’Or or the Bastide Du Gordes. Across the road from the hotel entrance is a small ramshackle terrace filled with plastic tables and chairs. A level below is the hotel swimming pool. There would be nothing special about the place if it were not for the horizon. From here, high in the hills above the Riviera, you can see the jagged outline of Corsica on clear days. Looking inland the pine filled forests and manmade lakes of the inner Var fall away from you. Cabris is just along a winding road from Grasse, and whereas tourists flock on a daily basis to the perfume capital of France, this pleasant little village remains relatively quiet. Well worth a visit.