Provence, France

Le Couvent des Minimes

Rates from (inc tax)$213.63

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (21EUR), via, using today’s exchange rate.


L'Occitane-enhanced convent


Aromatic Luberon gardens

With verbena, roses and lavender growing fragrantly around its stately stone façade, Le Couvent des Minimes Hôtel & Spa is a Provençal countryside ode to L’Occitane. You'd hardly know that Minimes monks and Franciscan sisters lived here for centuries, considering the sprawling sanctuary's two pools, seductive spa and 15 acres of verdant gardens, the products of which you'll dine on in the hotel’s gourmet restaurant.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

Free use of the L'Occitane spa throughout your stay (usually €25 a day each), plus home-made macaroons or other treats in your room on arrival


Photos Le Couvent des Minimes – Provence – France

Need to know


46, including six suites.


12pm but flexible, subject to availability and half a day’s room charge, until 6pm. Earliest check-in, 3pm.


Double rooms from $213.63 (€195), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional room tax of 2% per room per night on check-out.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR215.00), via, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (€31 a person, or €41 a person for in-room breakfast).


The spa is open by appointment from 10am–8pm. Treatments are deservedly popular, so remember to book.

Hotel closed

From 2 January to 9 February 2017.

At the hotel

Spa with sauna and hammam, gym, wine cellar, pétanque pitch, tennis court, former church used for exhibitions and events, pool table, DVD/CD library, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD/hi-fi, minibar and L'Occitane toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

If you like the sound of space, white walls and calming pastels, book one of the mid-range Restanque-Deluxe rooms. If you have friends or family in tow, opt for the hotel’s biggest suite, La Maison de Mane, which can be arranged as a two-bedroom apartment. Newlyweds may want to follow the oak steps that spiral up to the honeymoon suite (in the Suite category), La Cassine, tucked away behind a small wooden door in the oldest part of the building. Walls are whitewashed, with regal purple furnishings adding pools of colour; the bedroom has a vaulted ceiling and overlooks the gardens.


There is an outdoor pool and an indoor pool to dip into.

Packing tips

Leave room in your suitcase to fill with goodies from the hotel’s L’Occitane boutique, where their exclusive Le Couvent des Minimes range is sold.


The hotel has two wheelchair-accessible rooms. Smokers can light up on the outside terraces.


Pooches that notch up 5kg or less on the scales are welcome for €35 a night. See more pet-friendly hotels in Provence.


<i>Les petits</i> are welcome, with cots (free) and extra beds (€50) for under-12s available in deluxe rooms and above. There's a kids menu, and babysitting can be booked in advance (€15 an hour). Guests must be 16 to use the spa.

Food and Drink

Photos Le Couvent des Minimes – Provence – France

Top Table

In summer, the restaurant moves out into the courtyard. Sit indoors by the open fire in winter.

Dress Code

Floral prints, understated colours.

Hotel restaurant

Le Cloître is one of the area’s most renowned restaurants, serving simple but refined dishes, such as sea-bass with crystallised lemon and dried fruit and nuts. The menu often features vegetables and herbs plundered from the hotel’s gardens. In balmy weather, buffet lunch is served at Bancaou, the restaurant next to the swimming pool.

Hotel bar

Le Pesquier lounge bar is decorated in shades of ocean grey, caramel and cream, with plump sofas and armchairs, and sleek bar stools. Open during high season, Le Caveau des Minimes is a bar and terrace overlooking the pool. The wine cellar, La Cornue, can be reserved in the evenings for special tastings, for four or more people.

Last orders

Le Pesquier opens for breakfast at 7am, and serves main meals and nibbles until 10pm. Le Cloître is open for dinner from 7.30pm to 9.30pm from Wednesday to Sunday, and for lunch from noon to 2pm on the weekends

Room service

A selection of salads, sandwiches, starters, mains and puddings is available 7am–11pm.


Photos Le Couvent des Minimes – Provence – France
Le Couvent des Minimes
Chemin des Jeux de Maï
Mane en Provence


The nearest airport is Marseille Provence Airport (MRS), an hour’s drive from the hotel ( You can get a taxi from outside the airport.


Aix en Provence TGV is just under an hour’s drive from the hotel, with connections to Paris, Avignon and Marseilles.


Take the A51 to Aix-en-Provence, leave at exit 19 (La Brillane), then take the road to Forcalquier (D4100). Drive through Mane en Provence, bear left towards Manosque and before leaving Mane en Provence, take Le Chemin des Jeux de Mai, on the left.

Worth getting out of bed for

There’s a sprawling market in Forcalquier every Monday, and a Sunday market at Chateaux-Arnoux-Saint-Auban. Expect gloriously bulbous organic fruit and veg, fresh-from-the-oven baguettes, and enough agricultural tools for Old McDonald and his farm. For scenic vistas, visit Sisteron, a commune located between two long mountain ridges – there’s an ancient citadel to explore, winding narrow streets and a 12th-century cathedral. Ask the hotel nicely and they will pack you a picnic before you head out. If staying in a converted convent has awakened your spiritual side, head to the Abbey of Our Lady of Ganagobie, where a daily mass is sung in Gregorian chant, from 3pm–5pm. Having explored the local area, spend a day or two simply enjoying this beautiful hotel, with treatments at the L’Occitane spa, games of tennis, pétanque and pool, a romantic promenade through the garden’s aromatic 15 acres, a perusal of some tomes in the library and a dip in both the pools.

Local restaurants

The crispy pizzas come stacked with fresh ingredients at La Manne Céleste on Le Grand Chemin (+33 0(4) 92 75 05 70). Dine on the terrace at La Bastide de Moustiers, the award-winning Alain Ducasse-owned country-house hotel located at Chemin de Quinson in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie (+33 (0)4 92 70 47 47). La Bonne Etape at Chemin du Lac, Château-Arnoux-Saint-Auban, is another pretty Provençal hotel with a gastronomic restaurant and a second, equally appetising eatery. If you like what’s on your plate, you can request a cookery class at the hotel (+33 (0)4 92 64 00 09).


Photos Le Couvent des Minimes – Provence – France

Anonymous review

This review is taken from our guidebook, Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection: France.

Centuries-old cream stonework, terracotta rooftiles – little about Couvent des Minimes’ exterior betrays that this former home to the Order of the Minimes has been reincarnated as an elegant hotel. Barely past the pastel-painted cafés and houses in the village of Mane-en-Provence, a driveway brings our car up past the hotel, beyond rows of olive trees. We amble towards the bell-towered main house, past the striking moat-like pond. Mr Smith looks at me with befuddlement. ‘How can such a charming old house contain two pools, a spa, a bistro and a fine-dining restaurant? Are you sure we’re at the right place?’

‘Bonjour,’ smiles a friendly receptionist as we pass through the discreet front entrance. Polished stone floors and vaulted ceiling are the only echoes of this building’s past: in its sleek entrance hall, a glass cabinet of L'Occitane products and chill-out tunes welcome us to a modern-day sanctuary. Signing-in formalities complete, the friendly front-of-house offers us a fresh raisin juice each. Mr Smith looks bewildered again. I picture his brain cogs at work, conjuring a tiny juicing contraption with someone struggling to individually press halved raisins. Once we've swilled the sweet grapey nectar, it's time for a freshen-up in our room before supper. We shun the stairs – our next pick-me-up is a lift so brightly lit we need sunglasses. A timely reminder that our tired complexions are ripe for a L’Occitane facial, perhaps? (The sweet-smelling Provençal cosmetics brand is in cahoots with Le Couvent.)

Taupe linens, limed-oak flooring and framed pressed lavender sprigs in our spacious suite nudge us further into relaxation mode. Morsels of chocolate cake wink from beneath a small glass cloche. Perched on the end of the bed, we greedily demolish our unexpected treats. How different this is to my last brush with a nunnery: I can still see Sister Kevin (no, really) waving that big, well-thumbed book at me, aged 12. No, it wasn’t the all-time bestseller you’d usually associate with a nun, but a tome by the rather less saintly Jeffrey Archer. I’d been caught reading Kane and Abel in an RE lesson, which didn’t go down so well. To my habit-wearing teachers, it signalled that my time in their establishment had run its course. But hey, being expelled from a convent school is up there with swimming with dolphins, doing a marathon and visiting Provence, don’t you think? It has to be done at least once in your life. Although please don’t ask me to do a marathon.

Toying with the notion of making a quick a tea in our room, Mr Smith decides an aperitif in the bar would be more like it. On a balmier evening, we’d hit one of the foliage-fringed terraces or the lavender-sown inner courtyard. Tonight, a G&T by the fireplace in the library is our cosy rendezvous. Olives, roasted almonds and blue corn chips take the edge off an appetite built up during the hour’s drive from Marseille airport.

People-watching in upmarket French hotel restaurants is first-class grist to overactive-imagination mills. Le Cloître doesn’t disappoint, providing a cast of couples of all ages. A chap accompanied by a decades-younger blonde, joined after a while by another woman? It's a perfectly respectable family celebration, no doubt. My imaginings are probably the repercussions of that spell at a Catholic girls’ school. If only my convent had served bistro-style red mullet and king prawns, like they do here. And tasty Côtes du Ventoux by the glass. I don’t think it’s even legal in France to serve custard as lumpy as they used to in Buckinghamshire.

The following day has been set aside for steaming, swimming and mostly staying supine; just the thought of such an Elysian afternoon elicits a heavenly night’s slumber. I’m pretty sure that Sunday mornings don’t get easier than choosing between a banquet of a breakfast or a splash in one of two pools. Croissants, cold cuts, muesli, yoghurt and eggs win over a mooted visit to the hotel’s gym. After eating more food groups in one sitting than I’d usually have over a week, we’re fuelled for a quick explore. Ideal for this lazy pair, Forcalquier is on our lap, a 10-minute drive away. The hilltop Haute-Provence town provides us with a 12th-century cathedral, stylish brocante-filled shops, a bustling market and many cafés and bistros. Nice. Now our postcards can legitimately say we did more than lie around like beached whales in white towelling for most of our trip.

Mmm, laconium and caldarium. No, not prescription drugs, nor fungal infections but, rather, the bathhouse delights awaiting us back at Le Couvent des Minimes. Robed and slippered, we drift down to the pool and collapse on a double lounger. (If we made furniture at Mr & Mrs Smith, this would be one of our signature pieces.) Squeezing into our respective saunas, our next challenge is some competitive sweating. I emerge the victor, surviving 20 minutes in the 85º heat. My beet-red colour has my Scandinavian-heritage Mr Smith smiling as he luxuriates in the cool pool. Chuckle he may, but a quick pummelling on the thighs from the jets in the indoor pool, and my circulation is boosted to turbo.

More steaming and water-dipping is punctuated by top-ups of verbena tea. The relaxation room doubles as a tisanerie, blessed with the same soothing view of the gentle Luberon hills flanking the outdoor pool. After floating into a candlelit therapy room for a facial, I surrender, finally, to a succession of smearings of local-herb-infused creams. It’s so relaxing I nod off, waking up with a loud toad-like snort – an embarrassing interruption to the new-agey swimming-with-dolphins soundtrack. What a contrast to our usual hedonistic boutique boltholing: this salubrious escape has been uplifting to mind, soul and body. Merci bien, Couvent des Minimes. Careful though – one more day in your clutches and I’ll even be considering that marathon.

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 Le Couvent des Minimes’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Everything! Magnificent food, stunning rooms (though some dodgy), great pool area. L'Occitane spa was well priced for a hotel and products in the room. Guy Bachelas bike hire. Will deliver. Great bikes and amazing area for recreational cycling.

Don’t expect

Make sure you dont get a room overlooking the internal courtyard.


Stayed on 4 Jul 2016

We loved

The grounds of the hotel are absolutely spectacular and even more beautiful than pictured. We went boating on the lac Saint croix and it was a very authentic and beautiful experience

Don’t expect

The service standards of typical relais and chateaux properties


Stayed on 13 Jun 2016

We loved

Village location, attentive staff, ambience, chilled atmosphere, lovely food, fab bedrooms. Absolutely gorgeous central atrium/lounge. 10/10

Don’t expect

Outdoor pool to be unheated - shame.


Stayed on 11 Apr 2016

We loved

Beautifully restored old nunnery now a hotel. Staff were professional, efficient and friendly. Great atmosphere and a very peaceful ambiance. Lovely!

Don’t expect

We went with our dogs and they were not allowed into the restaurant or breakfast area. So expect to order room service if you want to dine with your pups.


Stayed on 17 Dec 2015

We loved

Spacious grounds and the pool...also a short walk into the village for the bars and shops.

Don’t expect

Spacious rooms.


Stayed on 7 Sep 2015

We loved

Amazing Bistro, lazy surroundings, laid back vibes.

Don’t expect

Quick service at the bars, lively nights.


Stayed on 27 Jun 2015

We loved

Location, Grounds, Room, Pool, Friendly staff, Food

Don’t expect

Decent Wifi (it was quite poor for a 5 hotel), High staff levels (we never really saw anyone in overall charge)


Stayed on 7 Jun 2015