courtesy of Château Juvenal

Château Juvenal is like a comfortable and stylish home away from home nestled in the gentle rolling countryside of Provence. The rural setting on a large plot of land offers peace and quiet in a tree-filled garden with pond, pool and vineyards. Close to Avignon, Mont Ventoux, the Dentelles de Montmirail and numerous small charming villages, Château Juvenal is well situated. One can venture out for a day of hiking, cycling, wine tasting or visiting local sites and return to the relaxing and congenial atmosphere of the château. Though the address says Saint Hippolyte de Graveyron, there is no village, only the mayor’s office and a church. The houses and farms are picturesquely dotted throughout the surrounding landscape.

The hosts, Anne Marie and Bernard, are welcoming, informative and available when needed. They open their château for you to stay in one of the five spacious bed and breakfast rooms with large windows opening to the garden. The main floor includes a magnificent dining room where a copious buffet breakfast is waiting, as well as an entry foyer with billiard table and piano and a grand salon for lounging. Dinner is offered one night a week as table d’hôte. We were lucky to be there to partake of the evening meal. The food was delicious, as was the wine from the estate, the warm hospitality and the interesting conversations with other guests. Three of the other guests arrived by helicopter piloted by one of them. They landed in the vineyards, a rather rare occurrence, but quite fascinating for us to witness.

Renovation of the château has been on-going since 2001 when the property was purchased by Anne Marie and Bernard. Two gîtes, or small apartments, plus one large apartment have recently been completed within the château for guests wanting to stay a week or longer. We got a tour of this new area and were awed by the creative manner in which the inner spaces were configured and decorated. The colors, fabrics and materials are exceptional as is the detail work done by local artisans.

We slept well in the red accented chambre, cerise (cherry). I loved gazing out the window at the swaying trees and full moon as well as hearing the soft hooting of the resident owl during the otherwise quiet night. There is a good selection of cafe’s and restaurants nearby for savoring the wine and cuisine of this highly appealing region.

Chateau Juvenal, 120 chemin du long serre, 84330 Saint Hippolyte le Graveyron. Tel: +33 (0)4 90 62 31 76. From 140 €/ night. Discounted when you stay 5 nights or more.

Jo Anne Marquardt is the author of My Trip Around the Hexagon: Meandering in France and Falling in Love with France, both available at Amazon.com. Her first published book, Falling in Love with France, offers responses to the various questions friends and family have asked her over the years about why she visits France so often. The second book includes illustrations and descriptive notes from her travel journals.

Visit Jo Anne’s website to check out her art: www.joannemarquardt.com.

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