21 September 2008

Group Sibuet - Romantic French Hotels, Part 1

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Jocelyne Sibuet, author of the popular decorating tome,  "A French  Country Home, Style and Entertaining," has been called the Martha Stewart of France.  But while Martha  concentrates her efforts  around the home,  Sibuet's forte is hotels.   Both Sibuet and her husband Jean-Louis hail from families in the hospitality business, so their interest in hotels came naturally.   In business now for over twenty years, their first effort was located in the west, high in the French Alps, where they renovated and restored a neglected property.  Today, they own a number of small, boutique hotels in the ski resort town of Megeve.   About eight years ago, a chance trip to the South of France, opened their eyes to the possibilities of a new venture, and they now own two hotels in the region. It would be a dream of a lifetime to experience each one of their hotels for a week or how about for a month - hey, as long we are dreaming, let's dream big!   To start, today, we'll visit La Bastide de Marie, the couple's first foray in hosting guests in the same area that Peter Mayle immortalized in A Year in Provence.  La Bastide, with 12 guest rooms,  is located in a centuries old farmhouse in Menerbes - just 24 miles east of Avignon in the Luberon Mountains.   The property is 37 acres, much of which is comprised of the Sibuet's vineyard that produces their label Domaine de Marie.   The atmosphere of the hotel is rural to be sure, but definitely not rustic.  Jocelyne's deft touch is everywhere:  from the fresh flowers, to the lush towels, to the linen napkins,  to the votive candles - the atmosphere is heady with the scents and sights of the Provencal lifestyle.   The Sibuet's goal is to make their guests feel as if they are actually at home here, that they belong here, rather than they are just visiting.

 

Jocelyne is not formally trained as an interior designer, yet La Bastide's interiors are an integral part of its charm.  Eschewing the popular Provencal bright yellow, red and blue Pierre Deux mini prints, La Bastide de Marie is a vision in griege, that perfect shade somewhere between gray and beige with just a hint of green.  The interiors are real.  There is no faux country French here, and certainly, there is no Americanization of that style, as some other boutique hotels in the area are.  The rooms do not appear to be staged, rather they seem to be rooms you might find in a private home, an effect Jocelyne has strived hard for.   Each room is different, as is each bath.  And each was thoughtfully pulled together by Sibuet who searched the countryside looking for  furniture in the nearby antique markets.  The ever present linen, in that wonderful griege color was culled from fabric houses such as Pierre Frey,  Canovas, and local artist Edith Mezard.  The rooms each have their owns  names inspired by their fabrics:  Gris de Sauge and  Miel d'Oranger - to name a few.   Jean-Louis was in charge of the restoration of the farmhouse and the renovation took just over a year to complete.  Guests have their choice of staying in the main hotel or in one of the two outbuildings located slightly further away.  There is a spa on the property, as well as two swimming pools.  Day trips include visits into town or to nearby areas such as L'Isle sur la Sorgue, the world famous country antique market or to nearby St. Remy.  Not surprisingly, Jocelyne reports that most guests prefer to stay put and revel in the quiet, lazy days of farm life.

 

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The nearby town of Menerbes - the closest neighbors to La Bastide de Marie.  Who is Marie?  The Sibuet's  daughter!

 

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Jocelyne, the French Martha Stewart, and Jean-Louis on the grounds of the Bastide.

 

 

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Gravel roads to the hotel are lined with tall cypress trees and lavender in the summer.  The Bastide is open spring through fall, and is closed for the winter.

 

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An aerial shot of the ancient farmhouse, built of native limestone with terra cotta tile roofs.  Here you can see neatly planted rows of the vineyard that produces Domaine de Marie.

 

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An overhead shot of the Bastide.  The  vineyard surrounds the hotel on all sides.

 

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This large window leads to the area that was once the barn and today is the main lobby.

 

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The same view,  taken in fall - isn't this gorgeous?

 

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One of the pools, located inside the walled area next to the former barn.

 

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Another shot of the romantic walled swimming pool, built to resemble a grotto.

 

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The hotel has two main swimming pools.  Here, is the second one which terraces down from a fountain.

 

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The hotel has its own spa, but massages can take place outside under the trees!  Nice!     

 

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A  dining terrace overlooks  the vineyards.  The tables are set with the white and griege linen cloths that Jocelyne so loves.  Atmospheric candles are set about  in glass votives  and in lanterns.      I love the curved black iron furniture.

                                                                                                                     

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Past the terrace, chairs   lined with scalloped matelasse, are set up on the lawn.  Notice the baskets and votives - details of Jocelyne's that make La Bastide de Marie unique and authentic.

 

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The large lobby, or living area as it is called, was originally part of the barn.  The huge fireplace is a natural gathering place.  The upstairs library is reflected in the mirror above the mantel.

 

  

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A close up of the massive stone fireplace in the lobby area.

 

 

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The staircase in the lobby leads to a library.

 

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A closer view of the stone staircase and library.   The floors and stairs are native French limestone - to die for!

 

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The large window, once most likely the barn door, looks out onto the dining terrace and the countryside beyond. 

 

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Lounge chairs are set up in front of the lobby's big window.  The shelves are filled with antique objet d'art and old books that Jocelyne collected for the Bastide.

 

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  Another living area in the lobby, surrounded by antique chairs upholstered in linen.

 

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Lunch is served outdoors, on shaded tables covered with white table linens and baskets of fresh herbs from the garden.  The kitchen is at the back through the limestone arch.

 

 

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Setting the table:    Jocelyne designed the hotel uniforms with their long linen aprons, khaki skirts and crisp white shirts.   Notice the scalloped tray that hold the napkins - darling!  No detail is too small for Jocelyne.

 

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The kitchen, where guests are welcome to come and take cooking lessons.

 

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Tables are set up in the kitchen for meals.  Beautiful antique chairs surround a long, wood table.

 

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The dining room.  A console with scalloped sides holds a sculpture and lit candles.  Potted rosemary substitutes for fresh flowers on the tables.

 

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At night, tables are lit by candlelight in another area.

 

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Each room in the main Bastide is decorated differently.  Here, a native boutis covers the iron canopy bed, draped with linen.  The floor is terra cotta pavers.  A wainscot is painted a rich persimmon. 

 

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The other side of the bedroom, showing a beautiful French settee sitting under the oval mirror.

 

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This bathroom has two large vessel sinks.  No cabinet doors - the griege linen covers the pipes!

 

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This suite has an iron canopy bed, with linen curtains.  A writing desk steps in for a  night table.

 

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The other side of the suite, showing it's own fireplace and slipcovered sofa with seagrass rug - my favorites!

 

 

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The suite's bathroom is set behind paneled walls - open at the ceiling.  Linen curtains substitute for doors.

 

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This room is decorated with a toile inserted wood headboard.  Linen curtains hang from the bed's corona.  The bath is behind the half wall to the left.

 

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A vignette in one of the guest rooms.

 

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This bathroom is below, reached by a set of winding limestone stairs - how romantic!  To let in light, a small window was carved out of the stone next to the tub.

 

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Red toile and white and griege linen decorates this room.

 

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An antique mirror and claw foot tub are the highlights of this bath.  The wainscot is faux marble.

 

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This chicly uniformed employee carries a basket of towels to the Bastide's outlying building - the private guest house located off the property.

 

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The two outbuildings, pictured above, further away from the main Bastide are available for let - for those who desire even more privacy than the 12 room main hotel provides!

 

 

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The staff, bring linens to the outbuildings in authentic french wicker baskets.

 

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Gorgeous lavender lines the walkway to the private outbuildings.  Just beautiful!!

 

 

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The outbuildings come with their own pool.  Ahhhhh.

 

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The main living area of one of the outbuildings.  Each of the two outbuildings holds 10 guests.  The limestone stairs lead to guest rooms.

 

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A dining room  in one of the outbuildings.   Guests who stay here  may have their meals delivered to their room, or they may join the other guests in the main Bastide.  Each outbuilding has it's own kitchen.   At the hotel, all meals are included in the room price, except for lunch. 

 

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This living area has bookcases painted gray - here all the books have white or cream paper covers.  I love that look!

 

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One of the bedrooms in the outbuilding. 

 

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Another bedroom - with a view towards the bathroom.

 

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One the bathrooms in the outbuildings.

 

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The map showing the towns where  Group Sibuet has hotels.  La Bastide de Marie is located in Menerbes, in the south.

 

I hope you've enjoyed our virtual visit to the South of France!  Hopefully, one day, we can all go in person.  Be sure to visit the web site for La Bastide de Marie here.   And to order Jocelyne Sibuet's book, go here

47 comments:

  1. OMG this is beautiful -you have me seriously considering flights to France right now! Thank you for the inspiration!

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  2. Such wonderful eye candy!! Thanks for the trip.

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  4. wow, i wish i could be there right now! amazing photos, thanks for sharing!

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  5. Joni --
    Really enjoy your Blog-!
    Who could live without these Lovely "Home Tours" -- This one on the Hotels in the South of France is the Best Yet-!
    So Happy that you made it through the Storm - to bring us all more Timeless and Timely Decor Ideas-!
    THANKS for such an Inspiring Blog-!

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  6. Just a spectacular post! I can't look at it fast enough to see it all or slow enough that I don't miss anything. I will be pouring over these pics for days1 Thanks, Joni! You have outdone yourself with this one!

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  7. Something tells me this is not going to be a bargain rate of $109 for the weekend!

    European hotels are divine - when they are 4 stars that is. I did find that there are some gems in the 2 or 3 star range in Germany and the Netherlands. But I just adored going and having all those fluffy goosedown duvets, tons of pillows, chocolates and fresh flowers in the room! We were literally stranded in Hamburg once when we missed the every-other-day ferry back to London and Mike says he's been paying for it ever since - we found a wonderful hotel tucked away which we frequented for years after that.

    This last time in the UK, we would go to old country hotels, usually an old mansion turned into a hotel so the character of the house remained intact - one was in Hampshire and had been Henry VII's hunting lodge (part of it obviously as it had been added to throughout the convening 500 years...).

    If only walls could talk...

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  8. Well, you did it again Joni! Beautiful pictures, wonderful poetic and comprehensive narrative describing the post and you always know how to make us swoon!

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  9. Oh, and "YEAH!" to those of us not formally trained who "have the eye"!

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  10. Oh my!! Wonderful post, Joni!
    I just adored it! The only problem now is....I WANT TO GO THERE! NOW!

    BTW....I got my new Charles Faudree books in on Thursday....I think this is his best one yet. What do you think!

    Thanks for the wonderful and inspirational post tonight!

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  11. Oooo, lots of ideas to emulate "steal" here! I definitely am looking at the paint technique on those bookshelves as one that I might be able to pull off myself on the guest room bookshelves. Lovely blog Joni, I'm as inlove with the education I received through your posts as I am with the inspiration! bravo!

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  12. That pool is just too much. I want to be there right now. Amazing.

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  13. A post close to my heart Joni!
    I hear only good things about this hotel from friends who have stayed there on their travels.
    Jocelyne has a wonderful sense of style and truly captures the spirit of 'cote sud' living.

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  14. So beautiful. I cannot even imagine such a wonderful vacation, but thank you for helping me to dream (since I can't sleep it's quite welcomed)

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  15. Welcome back you hurricane trooper! Of all the amazing photos and backstories to this post, 2 things really stand out and speak to me. 1. The service staff 'look & style'. I love the uniforms. 2. The vision of griege. I don't think I could get enough of that colour. Incredible feature article Joni. I so enjoyed this with my coffee today.

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  16. Merci Joni!! What a fabulous post...just gorgeous!!! Wish I was there right now!!! Thank you for sharing!!!!

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  17. What a beautifully authentic place! Oh! I can smell the lavender!

    Those outfits the staff wear just seal the deal for me.

    I'll take the outbuilding, oh, for perhaps a year...or decade or two.

    Thank you Joni. I'm dreaming again!!

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  18. Heaven! Seriously have me thinking about booking flight... Love how many pics you post.

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  19. Gorgeous post! WOW, for not being a formally trained in interior design, Jocelyne sure pulls off some spectacular interiors! Simply beautiful. I love all the soft neutrals and the linen everywhere, even the staff's attire! What a beautiful setting! AHHHHHH...SIGH! a massage under the trees!! makes me long for the weekend and it's only Monday!

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  20. Wow!! Can I please book a trip now, that place looks amazing!! I'm relaxed now just looking at all those wonderful pictures.

    Thanks so much for the wonderful eye candy on this chilly Fall Monday morning!!

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  21. That's the French fireplace of my dreams! Thanks for such a delightful post. It brought peace and quiet to my morning. Your are simply the best, Joni!

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  22. Oh I am DYING! I want to live there. How gorgeous and serene. That is the best decorating and architecture I've seen in a long time. Thanks Joni!

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  23. This is so beautiful!

    Question: What is "griege linen"? Gray linen? Can you find it in Houston?

    Thanks! Lindsey

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  24. Simply amazing; another one for the "dream vacation" list!

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  25. Oh Joni, thankyou for sharing these beautiful pictures with us. It looks like heaven on earth. I will seriously try to talk my husband into a trip to France and by these pictures I don't think he will need too much persuasion. Hayley

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  26. Hotel of my dreams -- must remember to buy lottery tickets tomorrow -- I'd stay for a year if I won that kind of money! LOL! And those uniforms -- tres belle and the linen -- tres chic! The entire place is "tres charmant"

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage -- sighing over another wonderful dream posting by our fav blogger!

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  27. This looks like absolute paradise. The lavender alone is worth the trip. I am filing this away in case I ever want to surprise my husband with a trip to France. Thanks for the info!

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  28. I loved Part 1 and Part 2. Which room to choose? Which place to dine? It's all too good. xo xo

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  29. J,
    Simply Dreamy, its perfection (in MY decorating book!)
    Merci~
    Lisa
    coastal nest

    ps
    how is everyone doing down there with the clean up??

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  30. Joni,what a treat, I haven't traveled as much as I would like lately, however you take us to another world!

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  31. A true feast for the eyes - absolutely beautiful. Thanks!

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  32. Just got my BHG and there is my favorite Texas Blogger. Hello famous!

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  33. this is my favorite post yet. lost in thoughts, unable to work now! i'm stunned by the perfection of it all.

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  34. I love...love...love those stones, so nice and soothing. Nice rustic, French, country whatever style that is, I just love it. Your post took me there, thanks for sharing such a nice place and letting me experience the feel, thrill and happiness of being there.

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  35. I had heard about this hotel but I've never seen pictures of it !
    It is gorgeous !
    I may stop there for a romantic week end

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  36. Take me away and there now!! So absolutely dreamy.

    Karen :)

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  37. Are you tired of the hotels giving you a routine service! Then check out the hotels in Singapore. The hotels are known to serve their guests with class and perfection. It is the service of these singapore hotels which makes them one of the best in the world.

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  38. Have a look at www.grangesdenhaut.com in Chamonix...an amazing luxury ski & spa retreat with a view....

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  39. Das glaubst du ja selbst nicht

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  40. The Pictures of this Hotel are simply amazing. at first sight it looks like any royal palace. Very Nice!!

    Hotel Gramado

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  41. There are definitely some great romantic hotels in NYC! I also really enjoy the boutique hotels, like the Soho when accompanied by my significant other.

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