Until now the previously-family owned Château de Fonscolombe was a strictly private residence. However, after an extensive 18-month restoration was completed in 2018, the Relais & Châteaux property has opened its doors to welcome those looking for a secluded stay in Provence.
Boasting more than 300 years of history, the château is now classified as a listed building, with the original part of the structure dating back to the 18th century. It certainly makes an impressive setting for your next vacances, with the refurbishment carefully retaining many original features and the grandeur of the château, whilst bringing the property firmly into the modern day with new and luxurious amenities.
The light-filled guest rooms have been given a contemporary update with soft pastel colour palettes, luxury linens, pared back furniture and marble bathrooms, but are still full of French charm with patterned walls and original tiled floors, typical of the region. The former stables have also been converted into guest rooms, but it’s worth noting that those from the château itself offer the best view; green fields and the gentle bubbling of the fountain are just the tonic for city-dwellers.
The remaining rooms have retained their regality to show how the château once was, with chandeliers, heavy drapes and touches of gold. It might look rather precious – an original 18th century hand-painted Chinese tapestry and Italian leather decorate the walls – but guests are invited to stroll around the property and enjoy it. One of the rooms has even been converted into a small children’s room, while literary fans should also take a peek inside the library, still stacked with original leather-bound tomes.
Pieces of history are also dotted around the lands: notably a tree planted back in 1965 by a former guest, the Queen Mother. There are also plans to restore the historic 1730 chapel, which can still be used to host weddings. You might also notice that on the two towers – beautifully crowned with emerald green tiles which have been restored one by one – the clock is always set at 10:11, romantically marking the time when the owner bought the château.
With such a private and peaceful setting, luxury is laid back here. The most pleasant ways to enjoy the château are the simplest ones, from leisurely lunches under the shade of the 200-year olive tree to days whiled away sunbathing, punctuated by cooling dips in the pool and with refreshments just a phone call away.
On the ground floor, hidden away in cave-like space is a small but rather stylish fitness room and steam room. Beauty treatments take place in a guest room of the château and include a particularly soothing style of massage for ultimate relaxation. The hotel will also soon be working with local perfume brand Rose et Marius to provide guests with wonderfully fragranced products in each guest room, which will also be available to purchase as a souvenir from Provence.
If you’re feeling more active, Aix-en-Provence— with its restaurants, bars, and charming architecture– is just a 25-minute drive away, although make sure to dine in the excellent Orangerie restaurant at least one night during your stay. A tour and wine-tasting at the Fonscolombe vineyards make for a must-do Provençal activity, and if you’re looking to do something special, also make a spectacular setting for a picnic. Whilst you learn more about the wines of the region, and enjoy a little aperitif, the team will be setting up the picnic hampers filled with gourmet treats and more of the delicious wine, offering an unforgettable memory from your stay in Provence.
Château de Fonscolombe
Route de Saint-Canadet, 13610 Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade
Tel: +33 4 42 21 13 13
Rates around 230 euros/night