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Hotel Highlights

  • Flamboyant bed and breakfast
  • Exceptional array art masterpieces
  • On the doorstep of the historic village of Vence

Overview

This boutique hotel on the Côte d'Azur is ideal for art lovers, filled with the wonderful private collection of the owner. Each of the rooms are spacious, giving La Maison du Frêne the intimate feel of home away from home. It's location in the heart of Vence means the treasures and delights of the Riviera lie right on your doorstep.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking La Maison du Frêne with us:

A presentation box of locally produced handmade soap

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at La Maison du Frêne

20% off three-night stays in November and December 4 nights for the price of 3

Facilities

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La Maison du Frêne – Côte d'Azur – France

Need To Know

Rooms

Four.

Check–out

1pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $191.09 (€151), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €1.00 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates include breakfast.

At the hotel

Lounge, library, free WiFi. In-rooms: TV, DVD.

Our favourite rooms

The Chapel Suite is lovely, light and airy, and the balcony of the Pop Art Suite has a view of the Matisse-designed Chapel of the Rosary.

Also

The hotel is perfect for art-lovers, filled with the owner’s personal art collection and an extensive library of original art books.

Children

The hotel’s art collection makes it unsuitable for under-12s. One of the suites can accommodate three people.

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

Complimentary tea is served in the afternoon. Evening meals are available on request, made from the best fresh produce from the local market.

Hotel Bar

Guests can enjoy drinks throughout the house.

Room service

There is no room service available.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Artistic flair.

Top table

In the intimate dining room.

Local Guide

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La Maison du Frêne – Côte d'Azur – France
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

There are some excellent art galleries in Vence. Have a browse around Brett Rhodes Neal’s studio on La Place Du Peyra. Some of his works can also be seen at La Maison du Frêne.

Local restaurants

With two Michelin stars, Restaurant Le Moulin de Mougins on Quartier Notre Dame-de-Vie in Mougins (+33 (0)4 93 75 78 24) has suitably excellent cuisine. Book a table in their sculpture garden. Le Crabe Enragé, on Avenue Marcellin Maurel in Vence (+33 (0)4 93 24 61 50), specialises in tasty crab and seafood dishes. The Colombe d’Or in Saint-Paul-de-Vence (+33 (0)4 93 32 80 02) is as famous for its fabulous art collection as it is for its fine food. Le Château du Domaine St Martin on Avenue des Templiers in Vence (+33 (0)4 93 58 02 02) has a Michelin-starred restaurant, La Commanderie, with fantastic panoramic views across the Côte d'Azur, as well as an excellent, less formal grill restaurant in an olive grove. La Farigoule on Rue Henri-Isnard (+33 (0)4 93 58 01 27) has rich, comforting Provençal dishes and a beautiful rose garden.

+ Enlarge
Streets of Vence

La Maison du Frêne

1 Place du Frêne, 06140, Vence, Côte D'Azur, France

Planes

The closest airport is Nice Côte d’Azur, 14km from the hotel. To reach the hotel from the airport by car, take the A8 highway and then the Cagnes/Vence exit, followed by the RN7 to Cagnes-sur-Mer. From here, keep following the CD36 to Vence. Alternatively, take a bus from the airport (www.cg06.fr); the 94 or 400 should get you to Vence in roughly an hour.

Trains

The closest station is Cagnes-sur-Mer, from which you can take the 400 bus to Vence. For the TGV from Paris, you will need to arrive in either Nice or Antibes; the Eurostar will get you there from London St Pancras, with a single change in Paris.

Automobiles

La Maison du Frene is situated off the A8 motorway, past Cagnes-sur-Mer. Nice and Antibes are 30 minutes away by car; to Cannes or Monaco, allow 45 minutes. Estimated driving times from nearby cities are an hour and a half from Toulon, two hours from Marseille, and four and a half hours from Lyon. Secured underground parking is available.

Reviews

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La Maison du Frêne – Côte d'Azur – France

Anonymous review

by Kirsten Orchard , Master marketer

We touched down in Nice at the start of Mr Smith’s 40th-birthday weekend, observing that the Côte d'Azur attracts a rather more sophisticated crowd – if you class skinny white jeans, Cavalli sunglasses and Gina sandals as sophisticated – than our fellow travellers on recent Balearic trips. There’s status and money in them there Provençal hills, evidently, which…
Read more

La Maison du Frêne

Anonymous review by Kirsten Orchard, Master marketer

We touched down in Nice at the start of Mr Smith’s 40th-birthday weekend, observing that the Côte d'Azur attracts a rather more sophisticated crowd – if you class skinny white jeans, Cavalli sunglasses and Gina sandals as sophisticated – than our fellow travellers on recent Balearic trips. There’s status and money in them there Provençal hills, evidently, which at least bodes well for my secret search for a perfect, original birthday present.

And so to collect the Fiat Panda. Lesson number one: when picking up a Fiat Panda, you really shouldn’t stand in the Platinum queue. Luckily, Providence smiled: the customer before us was so patronising that I gave the member of staff a sympathetic look. Hertz forgave us for standing in the posh queue, and rewarded our sympathy with a upgrade to a BMW X3 – a veritable mini Chelsea tractor, not ideal for the narrow streets of the hilltop towns, but undoubtedly a coup. Lesson number two: being nice wins the day.

Shortly after spotting the beautiful cité historique of St-Paul-de-Vence on our left, we arrived in the less touristy but equally charming hilltop town of Vence. At La Maison du Frêne, we were greeted by Thierry, the owner. Both the man and his house are stylish, witty and unorthodox. You get the impression that you are stepping into a more interesting world, where anything goes, as long as it can be loosely termed as art. Freedom of expression, creative inspiration and exceptional taste make this a boutique guesthouse you won’t forget in a hurry.

There are just four rooms in La Maison du Frêne. An indulgent thought would be to bring a group of your closest friends, take all four of the rooms and have an intimate house party hosted by Thierry. All the rooms are spacious enough to feel like your own apartment, with art, antiques, sculpture and books adorning them. The books on Coco Chanel and the history of couture that lined the shelves meant I subtly binned my well-thumbed celeb magazine.

We stayed in the Parisian room. Its bed is fit for a king. Thierry puts some of his best pieces in the rooms; he is such a perfectionist that, apparently, he personally takes care of every single detail, right down to the bedding. La Maison du Frêne is an undeniably impressive labour of love. Our bathroom was beautiful: surprisingly large, with double basins and big shower with curved glass wall. There was a large hanging space for clothes and an empty fridge. What an inspired idea: choose your own contents in the local shop and avoid suffering the heavy prices of the usual in-room minibar.

The thing is, La Maison du Frêne is not a hotel; it is definitely more like a private house where you can combine complete privacy with your host’s conviviality. Guests are free to do whatever they want, and are given a code to access the front door when Thierry isn’t at home. If the reception area and kitchen are open, he is at home; if they are locked, you go straight up to your suite. The first day it was just the two of us at breakfast.

We sat at the kitchen table with Thierry preparing and entertaining around us. Once a director for French beauty brand Carita, and also a former hairdresser to the stars, Thierry has an interesting perspective on life. He has been surrounded by beautiful people all his years, but he gives the impression that he prefers to be surrounded by beautiful things. We thoroughly enjoyed our conversations about life, style, fashion and art. Not to mention the fabulous breakfast: fresh orange juice, tea, coffee, ripe apricots and blackberries, fresh baguettes and croissants with butter and jam. Very French, very lovely.

We decided to pop into the tourist office in Vence to pick up a map of the walking trail to St-Paul-de-Vence. We set off in shorts and trainers, fearing we looked like cartoon tourists. Map in hand, we still didn’t get it quite right, and went a little off-piste. It was a beautiful sunny day, though, and the walk through pine trees looked and smelled wonderful.

We knew St-Paul-de-Vence was an idyllic place, all winding streets and steep inclines; what we didn’t expect was the quality of art for sale in this little hilltop town: from original Dalí sculptures at €425,000 to vintage fashion ads for €25. We stopped for a lovely lunch on a terrace, and admired the pretty streets, although we did get the impression that it is a bit of a Disneyland village intended for British, American and Japanese tourists. We certainly weren’t the only people looking in confusion at a map in the middle of the street.

Back in Vence, we went for a wander around the irresistible galleries and met Brett Rhodes-Neal, a painter and sculptor who trained with Hockney and who is one of the artists whose work is represented in La Maison du Frêne. My husband is a completely obsessive canine-lover, and he fell head-over-heels in love with Brett’s Beagle in Boots, a carbon-fibre dog wearing trainers, painted in tribute to Lichtenstein. We commissioned our own Picasso-inspired hound, which will shortly appear in a Taschen book. Most importantly, I had found the perfect 40th-birthday present for my husband, and there was no disputing it was an original one.

Not content with spending a small fortune on the four-legged artwork, we then made our way to Galerie de l’Evêché to look at some new Dalibert oils, and to meet the man himself – artistic temptation seems to wait around every corner in Vence. Suffice to say, we ended up buying five paintings for our new house. We don’t have a sofa, a bed or a table, but never mind: we can sit on the floor and be inspired by our first experience of buying art as a couple. There was no denying that La Maison du Frêne had certainly had a profound effect upon us. More than that, we can say we returned from our stay in Vence inspired by l’art de vivre, aka the art of living.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in La Maison du Frêne's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We liked our beautiful hosts and the room in particular although it was all wonderful! My only complaint was that we needed to stay longer!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We received the warmest of welcomes at this hotel. We loved the decor and the incredible room with an almost uncanny selection of interesting books on the nightstand. It was just perfect from start to finish.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We stayed at La Maison du Frêne for seven nights and we couldn't have picked a nicer place for our trip to the Côte d'Azur. The place is as described in all of the other reviews; you feel like you might have accidentally walked into an exhibition instead of your place of accommodation! We had Suite Pop Art which is an Andy Warhol 60s theme. As well as having a really fun feel to it, we should also say that the place was spotlessly clean throughout and everything laid out just so. A concession to modernity is made with the inclusion of an iPhone dock with lightning connector which was nice to have too. A small fridge is also in the room which is great for chilling some drinks. As for the hosts, Guy and Thierry were both great; they made it really feel like you were staying with friends. They were a great help in providing local knowledge on dining, drinks places to see, and transport. It was also always a pleasure to wake up to the smell of the Guy's croissants baking in the oven! Upon reaching the breakfast room you are greeted by the ever enthusiastic Thierry, who seems to live for the happiness of the guests, always ensuring that you are all set with any information that you need for the day ahead.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the very friendly and informative hosts, and the lovely art collection. I could have spent hours looking at the art and reading the books.

Don’t expect

It would be better if they had a parking space!

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the rooms, the service, the breakfast, the artistic design of the interior art works and the cleanliness.

Rating: 9/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Our hosts Guy and Thierry were such fun and very helpful with information about the surrounding area. The B&B is a showcase of beautiful and whimsical art. We had the Vallarius Suite which was beautifully appointed with their wonderful collections of art, fantastic books, lush towels and a very comfortable bed. Even though it faces the street is was very quiet. Breakfast was a treat of fresh-baked croissants, jam, cheese, yogurt, fresh fruit of the season, juice and coffee. This is a small, intimate B&B with exceptionally large rooms and a great location in Vence. Guy and Thierry made our stay there most memorable!

Rating: 10/10 stars