Perched on the edge of charming Mougins and mere minutes from Cannes, romantic Les Rosées is the perfect base for exploring the sparkling Côte d’Azur. Inside, a banquet of sumptuous fabrics, rustic antiques and tapestries play against a dramatic backdrop of mediaeval-effect stone walls and arches.
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Guests staying one night get a Les Rosées aperitif; guests taying two nights or more get a bottle of local wine
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Check-in, from 3pm. The doors are locked at 10.30pm, so ring ahead if it looks as though you’ll arrive later.
Double rooms from £197.72 (€220), including tax at 10 per cent.
Breakfast is an additional €15 a person.
The hotel has a cigar stash to accompany a glass of Cognac somewhere discreet.
At the hotel
Gardens, library, treatment room for massages. In rooms: free WiFi, CD, iPod dock, minibar and Fragonard products.
Our favourite rooms
With honey-hued walls, a tower-shaped reading room full of natural light, separate dressing space and marble bathroom in shell pink, Isadora is the most romantic suite. Taking up the whole top floor, spacious and contemporary Serguey is coloured with cool neutrals, and has a working fireplace and a slate wet room. For a quirky stay, book the restored and re-upholstered Romany caravan, which has a little terrace. The garden-level suites St Honorat and St Marguerite both have space for an extra bed in the sitting room, so they’re good options for families.
The small, unheated (but sun-kissed) pool is set in the picturesque garden, down a set of stone steps from the house.
Comfy shoes for long walks, logo-ed shades for a trip to Cannes (20 minutes away) and an F Scott Fitzgerald novel for poolside reading.
In keeping with Mougins' mediaeval atmosphere, there are no TVs in rooms.
Plump for a breakfast table in the shadow of the tower, by the outdoor sofa.
Chic and comfy: cool linens and espadrilles.
Breakfast at Les Rosées is an offering of organic, fair-trade local produce, with sweet, flaky sultana pastries and jam from the hotel’s kitchen. For a candlelit dinner, choose from the restaurant's two €39 set menus, making use of fresh and seasonal produce in inventive provençal dishes such as a courgette and asparagus velouté, ricotta raviolis with crispy pancetta and roasted apricots with lavender ice cream. You'll need to book 24 hours in advance.
No bar, but you can sample the hotel’s stash of robust reds and medal-winning local whites (plus home-made orange or nut wines) beneath the olive trees, in your boudoir, or nestling on velvet cushions in the salon.
A selection of drinks and snacks is on offer from 8.30am until 10.30pm.
The closest airport is Nice Côte d’Azur, 25km from the hotel. Take the A8 highway and then the D6185 toward Grasse. Alternatively, take the bus from the airport (www.cg06.fr); the 210 will get you to Cannes, and then the 600 links up Cannes and Grasse. Get off in Mougins, from where the hotel’s a short taxi ride away.
The closest train station is in Mouans-Sartoux, a 10-minute drive from the hotel. It can be reached directly from Nice in an hour.
On the edge of Mougins and 15 minutes from Cannes, the hotel is connected to the rest of the Côte d’Azur by the A8 motorway. Nice is half an hour away by car. There’s free parking.
Worth getting out of bed for
The Fragonard perfumery in Grasse, at 20 boulevard Fragonard, provides the hotel’s products – and will create a bespoke scent for you, too. The sweet-toothed should head to Confiserie Florian at Le Pont du Loup, Tourrettes-sur-Loup, a 35-minute drive from Les Rosées: a bonbon factory offering free tours and tastings. While you’re there, stop and let your sugar rush subside at nearby Gourdon, a mediaeval village near the Gorges du Loup. Back in Mougins, the MACM(Classic Art Museum) has a collection of remarkable antiquities as well as works by Chagall, Matisse and Cézanne.
Book a table at Le Petit Fouet, replete with beams, chandeliers, barmen crooning along to old French songs – and a parrot that peers down at you while you eat. The walls are lined with irresistible confitures, candles and loose-leaf teas to take home, and tables spill out onto a terrace. Head next door to sample the foie gras at Resto des Arts on Rue du Maréchal Foch, open from 7pm until late (closed Sundays and Mondays). For dinner, book ahead at Aux Trois Etages and bagsy a seat under the awning outside.
This review is taken from our guidebook, Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection: France.
We are, it turns out, the only non-honeymooners at Les Rosées, and it isn’t hard to see why – it just doesn’t get much more romantic than this. As pretty as its name, it’s a lovingly restored, traditional Provençal country house, sitting in the same flower-filled garden where it has snoozed peacefully for more than 400 years. The village of Mougins, only a 20-minute drive from the glitz of Cannes, is to be our gloriously tranquil base for exploring the most glittering stretch of the French Riviera.
Arriving late and weary, we don’t fancy venturing out for dinner, but a little life-saver of ham and cheese with a glass of wine in our room is rustled up, no problem. We are in the Isadora suite (a favourite of Liza Minnelli, apparently), whose big bedroom opens onto a turreted lounge. After our long car journey, the bed, with its clouds of crisp linen, is heavenly.
The flagstoned rooms have a rustic feel, yet they’re stylish and restrained, decorated in warm, earthy tones, à la French country chic. I’m quite happy making like Minnelli in my turret, but there’s another low-key lounge downstairs, full of magazines and books, and with a grand piano. Homely touches betray the influence of the owner’s Canadian wife: all-organic breakfast is a treat of croissants, home-made jams and cold meats, served on white tablecloths in the idyllic garden. The pool is a good size and, if we weren’t on the doorstep of so many of Europe’s A-list towns, we could easily spend a blissful day reading in the shade of the trees.
I convince Mr Smith that we have to visit the famous Fragonard factory in nearby Grasse, the perfume capital of the world. After the olfactory excesses of the city described in Patrick Suskind’s novel Perfume, I am a little disappointed by how clinical it all is today. A guide explains the whole process, from distillation to bottling. Did you know that to extract one kilo of rose essence you must distil 3,000 kilos of roses? The tour is free but ends, predictably, in the factory shop, with a fairly heavy sell. Mr Smith grumbles, but agrees to treat me to a tiny bottle (only, I suspect, because our attractive and fragrant guide recommends it so warmly). The products at Les Rosées are Fragonard, so I’ve already had a chance to sample them in the luxury of our pretty, Provenc?al-style bathroom.
Wanting to clear our heads, we decide to head to Cannes for a spot of sea air. I work on the culture desk of a newspaper, and I’ve always found myself more than a little envious when the film critics set off to the famous festival every year (though, as books editor, I do get to sit in a rainy tent in Hay-on-Wye). So I am very much looking forward to finally promenading the Croisette, even if it isn’t red-carpet season. Some enticing smells along the front remind us that it’s lunchtime; after much indecision over the choice of rather intimidating beachside restaurants, we settle down for lunch and some serious people-watching. No wonder everyone tends to wear giant sunglasses – all that bling can be rather blinding.
Daring to join the rows of oil-slicked bodies, laid out like so many king prawns, takes more than a little courage. Once we’ve taken out a small mortgage on two sunloungers, we join everybody in pretending not to be ogling everyone else.
We have only been enjoying this for half an hour or so before the sun is eclipsed by the arrival of a scary-looking DJ and a boombox so large it can surely be heard in Monaco. We wander off to the marina for a tour of the yachts.
After the glare of Cannes, coming back to mediaeval Mougins is rather like taking a languid, flower-filled bath. All winding bougainvillea- bedecked streets of artisan shops, fountains and restaurants, it is exactly how you would imagine a picturesque village on the French Riviera to be – only more picturesque.
And it’s always nice to follow where Jean Cocteau, Man Ray, Christian Dior, Catherine Deneuve, Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel have led. Most famously, Pablo Picasso spent the last 15 years of his life in Mougins, high on a clifftop overlooking the Côte d’Azur, after he married Jacqueline Roque. The village’s Musée de la Photographie has a wonderful collection of portraits of him and other 20th-century icons.
It is early evening by the time we get back to base, and Mougins’ townspeople and tourists – all elegantly turned out – are beginning to emerge for drinks in the square before dinner. There are so many lovely-looking restaurants that it’s almost impossible to choose one, but in the end we plump for Le Petit Fouet, liking the sound of its name. Thank goodness we did, or else I might never have discovered strawberry soup. The ‘Little Whip’ is also a foodie emporium, and I buy several pots of posh jam for a fraction of the price they’re sold at in the French delicatessen near my London office.
The highlight of the trip for Mr Smith is undoubtedly driving along the heart-stopping coastal roads. For me, it has been the complete tranquillity of Les Rosées, a soothing contrast to our high-rolling, scent-inhaling, beachwear-clad excursions to Grasse and Cannes. I probably stand as much chance of persuading the film critics to let me tag along for the film festival next year as I do of ousting Nicole Kidman out of a leading role. Still, that doesn’t mean Les Rosées won’t play a star part in the sequel to our séjour in Provence – coming soon.