Provence, France

Le Galinier

Price per night from$157.45

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 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR139.09), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

La vie en roses

Setting

Lavender-scented parkland

With Provençal charms more headily concentrated than a lavender eau de parfum, historic bed and breakfast Le Galinier is the stay for those seeking bucolic beauty, beamed rustic dwellings and very easy living. Around the main 18th-century bastide and its constellation of estate buildings, verdure thrives, wildflower-dotted meadows unfurl and yew trees rise above it all, while interiors marry contemporary furnishings, antiques and artfully age-worn stone and wood. This all sets the scene for gentle games of pétanque, alfresco cinema screenings, cocktail-making classes and the kind of refined relaxation Provence has been honing for centuries.

Smith Extra

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A glass of champagne each

Facilities

Photos Le Galinier facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Nine, including a range of flats, lofts and houses.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Check-in, between 4pm and 8pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £129.81 (€153), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €4.40 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates don’t usually include breakfast, which is rustled up from the market and hyperlocal suppliers daily (€25 a person).

Also

When looking around the garden, keep an eye out for the old cistern, restored into an attractive water feature alongside fountains dotting the grounds.

Hotel closed

The hotel opens so guests can enjoy the long lazy Provençal summer, from spring to late October.

At the hotel

Landscaped grounds, rose gardens, orchard, pétanque court, alfresco terraces, laundry (minimum €25 fee). In rooms: TV, Bluetooth speaker, bouquets of wildflowers, free bottled water, La Bottega bath products. Suites also have a small library and most of the lofts and houses have a private terrace, too.

Our favourite rooms

Each of these hideaways has the kind of nostalgic, sepia-toned feel of a time-worn but looking-great-for-its-age south of France residence. Untreated floors and stone walls gracefully bear the marks of age, vintage furnishings and wood beams nod to a blissful bucolic past and sprays of wildflowers evoke Provence’s fragrant side. And there are contemporary comforts, too. The hotel’s private residences are the homiest – we like La Maison du Chef, which has a squared-off patch of garden and sleeps up to six, and Le Loft Blanc for its spacious layout and bedroom with a modern bath tub to soak in.

Poolside

Activate starfish mode and float along in the hotel pool (open 8am to 8pm) flipside up, gazing at the treetops. It’s set in a peaceful part of the grounds lousy with verdure and there’s a bank of white-cushioned sunloungers and parasols where guests can while away the day.

Packing tips

Bring a book to press flowers in, a basket for posies, a head for wine to swim in and an appetite for the rustic good life.

Also

The hotel isn’t easily navigated in a wheelchair.

Pet‐friendly

Les chiens are more than welcome in all rooms for €25 a pet, each night. See more pet-friendly hotels in Provence.

Children

Les enfants are very welcome, and most of the lofts, flats and houses have space for families. Plus kids can spend their days feral in the grounds and frolicking in the pool.

Best for

All ages are welcome. Swim-confident kids can spend sunny days in the pool.

Recommended rooms

La Grange will sleep a small family of up to four and has a private terrace and kitchen. Larger families (up to six) have a choice of an elegantly rustic flat, loft or the Maison de Chef, which has its own garden and oodles of space.

Activities

There are few specific activities onsite for little ones, but they can play pétanque, join outdoor cinema screenings and go for bike rides through the grounds. Plus they’ll enjoy exploring villages and the vast stretches of the Luberon park.

Swimming pool

Children are welcome in the pool, but there are few child-friendly features aside from some Roman steps. Parents can sit on a lounger by the side and keep an eye out.

Meals

Dining in room and having a small but effective kitchen allows flexibility for families and there are delis and grocer’s where you can stock up nearby. A simple snack menu is available by day, with bread and spreads and local treats to pick at. You’ll need to check with the chef to see if they can cater for smalls at the table d'hôte.

No need to pack

The hotel has highchairs, but you’ll need to bring essential baby kit or favoured toys and tech.

Sustainability efforts

The hotel champions local suppliers by sourcing ingredients from the local farmers’ market and uses eco-friendly cleaning products, and glass water bottles are used in lieu of plastic.

Food and Drink

Photos Le Galinier food and drink

Top Table

Take breakfast in bed, picnic on the lawn for lunch, and join the other guests in the lobby lounge when you’re being hosted for dinner.

Dress Code

Dress like the lavender fields are your catwalk: something swooshy with a jaunty hat.

Hotel restaurant

While Le Galinier is first and foremost a bed and breakfast, owner and chef Delphine hosts a table d'hôte on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday nights (although the schedule may change). You’ll need to let her know in advance so that she can gather enough market and farm fresh fruit and veg, meat and more, plus tap into the resident olive mill, to prep her delicious locally inspired feasts. When Delphine has hung up her apron for the night, take the 10-minute walk into Lourmarin to dine in the leafy courtyard or vaulted dining hall of sister stay Le Moulin, where the menu picks influences from different ports across the Med, with dishes such as smoked eggplant caviar, monkfish stew with fennel and saffron and hay-smoked pork rib with sauce vierge. If you want to compile a picnic, Le Moulin also has a deli selling meats, cheeses, fresh bread, jars of hand-pickled vegetables and more. 

Hotel bar

Like dining, drinking is a somewhat casual pastime here, where you can order beers, wines or champagne, but have no fixed place to park yourself; just sip and sit where you wish. Le Moulin has a lively cocktail bar for those nights when you want long late drinks and some local colour.

Last orders

Breakfast runs from 8am to 10am, and the table d'hôte is served between 7pm and 9pm.

Room service

Breakfast and light snacks can be ordered to your door from 8am to 10pm.

Location

Photos Le Galinier location
Address
Le Galinier
D943 Av. du 8 Mai
Lourmarin
84160
France

Embrace park life at Le Galinier, which sits on three hectares of lush landscaping in Provence, just below the less-tamed Luberon nature park.

Planes

The closest airport is at Avignon, a 45-minute drive away, which services a number of European cities. Marseille airport is a little further away (around an hour’s journey), but has a wider range of connections, with direct flights arriving from further-flung French-speaking countries, including Montreal. The hotel can help to arrange transfers on request.

Trains

There are excellent train connections across France and beyond, with direct TGV services from Paris, Brussels, Geneva and Barcelona to Avignon Station, a 90-minute drive away, and Aix-en-Provence station (just over an hour’s drive away). If you arrive by Eurostar, transfer to the Gare du Lyon, from where the journey south is just under three hours.

Automobiles

No offense to walking, but profusely purple lavender fields, stripy vineyards and preserved hilltop villages look all the better when whipping past a window (especially one attached to a vintage car). Wheels will absolutely come in handy in these rural parts, and there’s ample parking space at Le Galinier for all guests (you’ll get a code on arrival). If driving down from Paris, the journey will take around seven hours along the A6 and A7 roads; from Nice take the A8 road; and from Grenoble follow the A51.

Worth getting out of bed for

In the rankings of France’s next top-model village competition (officially titled Les Plus Beaux Villages de France), Lourmarin, which the hotel sits at the edge of, places highly. It’s overseen by a regal 16th-century castle with a waterlily pond, cobbled streets ring with café chatter, and its gaily periwinkle-shuttered ivy-clambered houses look much as they did back in the day, plus it’s surrounded by vineyards, and groves of almond and olive trees. It entered the spotlight in Peter Mayle’s seminal book A Year in Provence, but hasn’t let fame go to its head: the market still sells the same baskets, fines herbes, wine, fromages, honey and handicrafts each Friday morning; residents still gather for apéritifs in antique squares; and people pay their respects to famous former resident Albert Camus, who’s buried in the cemetery. The one concession to modernity: the castle now hosts gigs and festivals. The hotel is less than a 10-minute walk from the centre of the village, and it’s also sat at the entrance of the Luberon Natural Park, a hikers’, twitchers’ and animal lovers’ dream, with a vast stretch of forests, canyons, plains and scrubland to roam. Like any excellent host, the hotel will keep you entertained, with activities most days of the week: Pilates each Monday in a part of the garden overlooking the Luberon, outdoor cinema screenings on Tuesdays and Saturdays, yoga sessions on Wednesdays, cocktail-making classes in the bar on Fridays and pétanque tournaments on the weekends. Visits to local olive mill Le bastide de Laval and stargazing sessions can be arranged, or you can borrow a classic Citroën 2CV for touring the surroundings in style.

Local restaurants

If you’re taken with Le Galinier, get acquainted with Le Moulin, its sister property in Lourmarin. In its cavernous, light-bathed dining room or on its pretty terrace, you can enjoy a Med-Moorish feast of smoked eggplant caviar, Bouzigues mussels with Thai basil and ginger, monkfish stew with saffron and peach crumble with verbena foam. And, make it a hat trick, with a stop at Beaumier’s third, a 15-minute drive away. Provençal ingredients get a modern spin on La Bastide de Capelongue’s range of menus, with dishes such as rockfish with fennel and orange, zucchini and green-bean salad with mint and truffle, and calissons (traditional local sweets) with grapefruit marmalade and almond ice-cream. 

Local cafés

In Lourmarin, Café Gaby (Place Ormeau) is popular for its proudly unfussy feel, lively terrace and casual French fare. Stop in for a parfait, salad Niçoise or even a drop of absinthe.

Local bars

You won’t want for wine in this part of the world; you can barely pop a cork without it hitting a bar or winery. Le Wine Club on Rue des Penitents Blancs is one you’ll want to join for its friendly introductions to interesting local bottles in an atmospheric vault. And, further out into the countryside, Domaine de la Cavalière – a picturesque bucolic estate with a working farm – is leading the way in vins naturels

Reviews

Photos Le Galinier reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this exuberantly green bucolic bastide near toytown village Lourmarin and unpacked their sprigs of lavender and bottle of fresh-pressed olive oil, a full account of their winsome break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Le Galinier in Provence…

Provence is like the restaurant you keep going back to, the same brand of cosy sweater you keep buying once it falls apart, that film you’ve watched a million times. There will be clouds of lavender, hilltop towns won’t have been overrun with prefabs and southern French cuisine will be as reliably delicious as the time someone first said ‘hey, let’s smear this with duck fat’. Its staying power is such that you could almost imagine running into Cezanne, merrily painting away on a hillside, or see a centurion marching through the fields. So, when deciding where to stay, think ‘if it ain’t broke’ and book a residence at Le Galinier, a country estate and bed and breakfast with restored villas and farm buildings orbiting a noble 18th-century bastide in resplendent landscaped parkland. Sequestered away here amid shapely hedgerows, clusters of yew, and wildflower-strewn meadows, you’re in a microcosm of Provence’s timeless splendour. Rooms and residences update things a little, with some stylish contemporary furnishings; but beams, untreated flooring and stone walls that wear their scuffs and graffiti proudly, and hand-me-down antiques ensure you never stray too far from the past. Time may stand still, but days will zip by in a Super 8 haze of hilltop-village hops in a vintage Citroën, learning how to make lavender-sprigged cocktails, taking apéritifs over games of pétanque. But, rest assured, no matter how quickly and forlorny check-out comes, Provence will still be here doing its thing, the next year, and the next…   

Price per night from $157.45

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