We have been travelling to France for over 20 years, and have travelled from Picardie to Corsica in that time. Our favourite hotel is the Bastide de Lourmarin. It is very special. It fits perfectly into its classic surroundings. There are the things you expect such as lavender, there are pine trees, there are cigales, yet the hotel is at the same time modern in a french way. Its decor of warm colours, paintings and sculptures, the soft jazz music, and touches such as the window from the first floor that provides a framed view onto the village, a natural painting, distinguish this hotel. It is clear that its creation was and remains a labour of love for its owner and those who work there. As the name indicates it is located in Lourmarin, a beautiful picturesque perfect provencal village whose main street of little cafes, art galleries and restaurants hum with activity during the summer months. People watching with a coffee or glass of rose, or strolling and looking in the shop and gallery windows are the favoured pastimes. We first found the Bastide about seven years ago by chance. It had just opened. Since then we have returned every year, always in the summer and sometimes twice a year, visiting even in January once. There are many things that are special here, but one of its unique features is that each room is individually themed. Many have an oriental slant such as the Buddha or Zen, and the larger rooms have spectacular decor such as la Ronde. Even for those looking for something more traditional, there are rooms like la Romantique. The staff have always been warm and kind to us, and we enjoy meeting Sophie in particular each year. Breakfasts are ample and generous, and enjoyed on a veranda with vines overhead looking out onto the pool. That pool is perfect for a swim to cool down in on the baking sunny afternoons, and there is little more pleasant than reading a book by it, and of course listening to the chorus of cigales in the background. Drinks are available at leisure on a vouched system, and lunch can even be had from the hotel's restaurant sitting by the pool. The owner takes great pride in his hotel and from year to year we have seen the high standards maintained. Philippe is always there to make sure everything is working correctly. Overall, the Bastide is a very special hotel. It does not provide box-like clinical and functionally identical rooms, instead it is a hotel of immense character, charm and individuality .We have stayed in several of the different rooms, and we have our favourites, but those will remain a secret. Part of the fun is finding one or more that you like and are special to you. Visit often to do so. Thanks to all at La Bastide for the great kindness they have shown to us over the years. We will see you soon on our next visit.
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