Babymoon Heaven at Crillon le Brave, Vaucluse, Provence
Last June we took a long weekend together down to Provence to mark a very special time for us. I was 6 months pregnant and this weekend was going to be an utterly indulgent ‘babymoon’ at Crillon le Brave.
Paris was warming up, and I was growing by the day. I pulled out a few loose fitting favourite dresses and met Etienne at Gare de Lyon on a Friday afternoon. We meet some friends by coincidence at the cafe in Gare de Lyon who invited us over for an Apero at their house in the country the next day, we all pile into the train together. The TGV takes only two and a half hours down to Avignon, the only issue for us being that Etienne only ever drives vintage cars, so getting used the 4×4 Volvo was rather infuriating for him with all the bells and whistles that came with it. I tried my best to steady my travel sickness by holding onto the car door (my only main pregnancy issue) much to Etienne’s frustration of how annoying this is for him to watch.
The drive up to the hotel took maybe less than 30 minutes, but 5 minutes into the drive you’re catapulted out of city life into the most beautiful winding landscapes. We were both quick to spot Mont Ventoux ahead of us.
We arrived at the most perfect hour, up to the door where our bags were whisked from the boot, and our car was parked up for the weekend for us. The summer breeze was flowing through the main house, and I was excited to take a look around.
The two restaurants are laid out for courtyard dining, one above the pool (the fine dining experience and also where breakfast is served) and the cobbled terrace restaurant where we chose to eat from the simple brasserie style menu that evening.
Within 5 minutes of arriving, I’d fished out my bikini and scurried down to the pool with the bowl of local cherries left in our room with a copy of CN Traveller. I was desperate to soak up the last hour of sunshine next to the pool.
With our bedroom windows open, Apero hour was calling by way of the jazz band playing on the upper terrace.
I pulled Etienne out of his siesta eager to watch the sunset, before we headed down to the courtyard for a beautiful simple supper.
The hotel was so peaceful, there were 4 or 5 with couples, a big table of cyclists who’d come to cycle up Mont Ventoux the next day, and a lovely French family who’s children had impeccable manners. I hope my child is as good as theirs at the table one day I thought to myself.
Breakfast was heaven, the upper terrace caught the morning light, the most beautiful buffet was laid out, punnets of fruit, pastries, and local jams and honeys. I had developed quite a serious case of gestational diabetes (the cherries the day before were already on the serious do not eat list) but I indulged a little and just upped my insulin that morning.
Now imagine the aches and pains of being six months pregnant, and what could make you smile just that little bit more than the breakfast you had basking in the morning sunshine, a Bamford Haybarn body massage.
Just utter bliss. It was still quite the novelty of ticking the pregnant box on the arrival questionnaire, and my therapist created the most blissed out pregnancy massage that’ll remember for years and years.
As I floated up to our room, Etienne decided we must race with lightening speed to the local market which we’d realised was going to close in an hour, so I duly hotfooted it to the car and we raced to the local village called Bedoin.
I’m so glad we did though, nothing like the hustle of a local market, plus we managed to buy some bouquets of local garlic and some other handmade local presents.
What else is there to do in the area you may wonder? Well this really is a hotel to come and relax, it’s hot on the honeymoon radar, you come to just zone out, but there are some beautiful cycle routes, walks and close by destinations to visit.
For those who like a bit more structure to their day, the hotel have also prepared a series of great cycling, walking and driving excursions from the hotel. Their Top 10 list of things to do can be found here.
As we left the hotel we thought we couldn’t come all this way and not reach the summit of Mont Ventoux. Rather embarrassingly we drove up there, puts us to total shame when you see the blood sweat and tears of those who cycle and even run to the top!
As if you need anymore convincing why you should visit Crillon le Brave (and bear in mind the Eurostar from London to Avignon as well as our super speedy French TGVs) there is a heated swimming pool (29 degrees) from March to November (6m x 11m), massages & treatments in their Bamford Spa des Ecuries, an authentic boules court to test your skills, trekking bicycles so you can have a wander, a nearby tennis court, the concierge and reception team can arrange arrange local activities, and finally they’ll arrange transfers from and to Marseille Airport and Avignon TGV train station. So you really have no excuse. Now go and choose your bedroom here.
With all my thanks to GrifCo PR for co-ordinating the experience
Hotel Crillon Le Brave Provence – Place de l’Êglise 84410 Crillon Le Brave – France