The first of two series on exploring the South of France with kids. This week: six of our favorite lodges in the western part of the region. From a tiny but teen-friendly hideaway in St.-Remy to sprawling vineyard retreats, a resort with a kids' club, a dude ranch and a Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms, we've uncovered the ultimate way to cruise Provence with progeny.
Hotel de Tourrel
- The Hotel de Tourrel is a true labor of love, the result of a multi-year architectural miracle where the owners reconstructed an aristocratic mansion then joined a neighboring town home to create St. Remy’s most stylish bolthole.
- The seven suites are a design dream, with the bones of a 17th-century palais and decor worthy of a magazine spread; vintage lovers take note of the phenomenal collection of 1920s furnishings.
- Despite its petite size, the Tourrel has amenities, including a wonderful restaurant (eat here even if not staying here), a beautiful roof terrace and a small swimming pool.
- Families who want a central location in St. Remy can’t beat this setting in the heart of the old town; a best bet for families traveling with teens who want independence from parents and can explore the old town safely on foot.
- The owner also runs a fantastic wine shop next to the restaurant, perfect to pick up a bottle to enjoy on the super stylish roof deck or by the pool.
- Get your Instagram ready: you’ll want to document every design detail to copy at home.
Hotel de Tourrel
5 Rue Carnot, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
Domaine de Manville
- This family-owned resort woos parents with amenities worthy of a Four Seasons: indoor and outdoor pools, great food, an 18-hole golf course and a kids’ club.
- Set just outside the charming town of Les-Baux-de-Provence, the location is perfect for exploring vineyards, castles and small towns of the region.
- The 39 rooms and 9 villas are spread through multiple buildings that belonged to the historic farm but were renovated down to the studs.
- A kids’ club—and a great one—in Provence; this is the Holy Grail.
- Multi-bedroom homes in addition to the hotel rooms mean families can get privacy and space without sacrificing resort services.
- A screening room next to the restaurant; put on a flick for the kids while the parents enjoy a long dinner.
Domaine de Manville
Les Baux de Provence
Les Lodges Sainte-Victoire
- Les Lodges Saint-Victoire sits in Le Tholonet, the countryside just outside the borders of Aix-en-Provence.
- The 39 rooms appeal to lovers of a more urban style, with contemporary art on the walls, clean-lined furnishings in the rooms and modern spa-style bathrooms.
- Amenities include two restaurants, extensive gardens, a spa and indoor and outdoor pools.
- The views of Mont Sainte Victoire are striking; let the kids see Cezanne’s real life inspiration for over 80 of his works.
- Accessibility to Aix with the country setting of a Provencal resort gives families the best of both worlds.
- Book a sitter and have a date night at the Saint Esteve restaurant, where the chef is one of the youngest ever to receive a Michelin star.
Les Lodges Saint-Victoire
Route de Cézanne, Le Tholonet/Aix-En-Provence
Château de Berne
- Spread across 1,500 acres, the Château de Berne is equal parts destination winery and Relais & Chateaux resort, with an award-winning vineyard that dates back to 1750.
- The 27 rooms are spread through multiple buildings that dot the property, and all feature the traditional French Country look with tiled floors, crisp linens and antique accents.
- Once you arrive, there’s no need to leave thanks to multiple pools, a cooking school, a huge spa, excellent restaurants (both of the gastronomic and casual vibe), a top wine making operation and miles of walking and biking trails that criss-cross the hills.
- The cooking school has classes for families, not just sophisticated lessons for grown-ups; learn to make a dish you can recreate at home.
- The outdoor pool with vineyard views and palm trees feels like a lush tropical escape, equal parts fun for kids and relaxing for mom and dad.
- The estate produces award winning wines, so parents can do a tour and tasting without worrying about a designated driver. (Windy roads leading in are definitely to be navigated sober.)
Chateau de Berne
Route de Salernes, Lorgues
Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle
- Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle is one of two Provence hotels owned by star chef Alain Ducasse, this one in the tiny hamlet of La Celle.
- Five of the ten rooms sit in the main house, originally the 18th-century home of a wealthy priest, and the other five are in a separate building that likely functioned as stables.
- Despite the in-town location, the hotel has space to spare, with huge organic gardens for tots to explore and a swimming pool.
- Alain Ducasse dining in a relaxed setting: it’s not often that you’ll eat like this and your kids are still welcome and can romp in the garden while you finish your meal.
- The overall vibe is country guest home not formal hotel, and the hotel is small enough that the staff can customize just about anything.
- The hotel’s history is fascinating; check out the 12th-century abbey and ask about the powerful nuns who ran it.
Mas de Peint
- The dude ranch done French style: this is Provence’s version of cowboy country and serious riders can learn bull-wrangling skills from the real gardians.
- Family owned and family run, there’s nothing corporate about the Mas de Peint, and the proprietor raised her own son on these grounds; it’s kid-friendly to the core.
- The coast is nearby so day trips to a beach are easy, or drive into Arles to see a bull show.
- The Camargue is home to France’s “gardians,” the horse-riding, bull-roping cowboys who have raised cattle on these salty plains by the sea for centuries.
- The sprawling Mas de Peint ranch, clocking in at 1,300 acres, includes a hotel as well as a bull breeding estate.
- Although most guests come for the riding, the Mas also has a great restaurant, a lovely swimming pool and lots of space for kids to run.