On the advice of an American friend, we stayed 5 nights at Le Mas des Gres in the heart of Provence, 15 years ago. We had a wonderful time there and each evening we relished a superb 4 course dinner prepared by Thierry, the chef. He and his wife, Nina, own and operate this converted farmstead (where back in the day, the animals lived on the ground floor, and the family lived on the upper floors). Even though we have lived half of each year in Paris for the last 8 years, we somehow never made it back to Provence. This year, 2015, we decided we had to return. It was way past time…… Nina and Thierry still own and operate Le Mas des Gres, only now, there is a 14 year old son who was not there when we first visited. The inn is just as beautiful as before, and clearly many upgrades have occurred. Nina and her staff tend to every need of every guest. Our room was large and the bath was very large and very modern and our room was super quiet. While it was too chilly (in mid-October) to be out on the grape arbor-covered terrace for our aperitif each evening, it is more beautiful than we remember. Each evening at 8, all the guests who have opted to have dinner there (and we think they all did) gather in the beautiful, rustic, Provencal dining room and the staff begin to bring the first course, then the main course, then the cheese course, then the dessert, all accompanied by the regional wine of your choice from a very reasonably priced carte du vin. All 5 evenings we were there, every dish of every meal was different from the night before…..and all were stunningly well made and utterly delicious. Seriously, superb food. Thierry shops in the local markets every day. We were struck by how many of the guests were clearly known to Nina and Thierry, indicating a houseful of return guests. For 3 evenings, they hosted 10 older French golfers who were on a golf outing. They were such fun. We felt so welcome and we just hated to leave. I should mention that the car park is walled and gated and we felt very secure. I should also be clear that this hotel is 20+ miles from Avignon and one must have a car, which is fine, since our days were purposely spent driving around the countryside. Le Mas des Gres is ideally located for day trips to Avignon (Palace of the Popes), to Marseilles, to Aix en Provence, to Apt, to Carpentras, and to tiny ancient villages perched on mountainsides in the Luberon and Vaucluse mountains. Finally, there are only 12 rooms and reservations are essential. For certain, we will not wait another 15 years before we return to pick up our friendship with Thierry, Nina and their fine young son.
The 2015 season is going on and we had the lucky surprise of norwegian guests staying with us and telling us how they found us … thru an article on a wine-blog of James Learmouth. We are proud of sharing this with you and like to say thank you to him for that comment. Since 2006 we are still worth the treat and cook fresh from the market every night. We joined Hôtels au Naturel in 2007 which is a label given to hôtels in a Natural Parc and the french gouvernement changes the road names, which make it more diffcult to find us without turning arround. Luckily we have got Domaine Tourbillon on the roundabout, from where you go straight to Gordes and Apt and we are just 600m away on your right hand side. Hoping welcoming you again and best regards.
Route d’Apt, the N100
84800 Lagnes, near L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
tel +33(0)490 203285, fax +33(0)490 202145 e-mail email@example.com http://www.masdesgres.com/
This is ideal for anyone exploring the Lubéron or southern Rhône. It is spoiling to stay here – the classic shuttered Provençal farmhouse has its vines and shading outside the house, dining is under the plane trees in the evening, and there is a medium-sized pool to be lazy beside. Feel no pain. Nina is half Swiss German, half French and big, long-locked Thiérry half French, half Italian. The fact that I stayed during the 2006 World Cup added to the general banter. There are 14 pretty spacious rooms that are done in a comfortable, coolly Provençal style. Dining is very good, with fish sourced from Marseille including the local rascasse and daurade, and cherries from the neighbour (for example). The wine list has a wide selection of rosés and serious estates such as Beaucastel, Rayas and even Cornas from Auguste Clape – Thiérry: “I love the wines of the south.” Visits can be arranged to vineyards, Roman Provence, Antique Shops, while Cookery and Painting classes are also on offer. Save up before going: this is quite an expensive venue, but well worth the treat. L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is 6 kilometres away, and Marseille airport barely 45-50 minutes.
Nina et Thiérry Crovara
Open mid-March to mid-November
LOCAL WINES CÔTES DU LUBÉRON, CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE – See more at: http://www.drinkrhone.com/the_rhone/eat__stay#sthash.vfI5qykW.dpuf
Le Mas des Gres, Lagnes – environmentally-friendly hotel in Provence
« Just 45 minutes’ drive from Avignon in the Luberon Regional Nature Park, Le Mas des Grès is the first hotel in the Luberon – and in the county of Vaucluse – to be awarded the ‘Hôtel au Naturel’ label for its peaceful situation and environmentally-friendly operation. »
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