Saturday, October 4, 2008


The French soap maker L’Occitane (and two investors) have opened the 46-room Couvent des Minimes Hotel & Spa in a restored 400-year-old stone convent outside Mane, in the Luberon. (It's about an hour from Avignon.) I haven't been there yet but I hear, from well-traveled friends, that it's amazing. The four-star hotel is home to the first L’Occitane Spa in France. Chef Philippe Guerin, 38, trained with top chefs such as Alain Chapel and the Pourcel brothers in Montpellier; he also worked at the Negresco (Nice) and the Château le Domaine Saint Martin, a Relais & Châteaux in Vence. General manager Pierre‐Alexandre Francin moved over from Villa Gallici in Aix--and was at the Meurice in Paris for more than a decade--so you can be sure the service is every bit as great as the setting. In November, doubles begin at 205 euros and special fall/winter packages are available. For readers of my blog, Pierre-Alexandre is offering an elegant L'Occitane Gift Set as a welcome treat.;

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