La Bastide de Moustiers - 2018
La Bastide de Moustiers, Provence, France
Alain Ducasse – the famed French cook, responsible for a namesake three-Michelin-starred restaurant at the Dorchester in London and countless other fine-dining establishments across Europe – opened this Provençal country inn in 1994, having discovered the abandoned property while speeding through the neighbouring sunflower and lavender fields on his motorbike. It's not hard to see why he was moved to make an offer; horses graze in a paddock, ancient olive-trees stud the grounds and there's a Riviera-rivalling lake nearby (with clear waters an eye-widening shade of turquoise).
The decor is in harmony with the hotel's country-house heritage: cosy and classic, with charming touches from the original 17th-century building retained and design details including chequerboard tiles in the bathrooms, hanging birdcages, cute curtains and carved headboards. Some of the bedrooms have patios; ours, Pigeonnier, had a mezzanine floor for the bed, with a sitting area and bathroom downstairs.
Food and drink
The kitchen may be tiny, but that doesn't stop its staff producing epic five-course lunches and dinners, and menus that change frequently. Memorable flourishes included ricotta-filled courgette flowers, a huge puff of ham-and-cheese-stuffed bread, styled like a giant Yorkshire pudding, and fish cooked to actual perfection; there is also a vast tray of solely goat's cheeses offered around the terrace afterwards. Ducasse is fully involved, visiting regularly throughout the year and approving every menu change over fax or email.
Video: La Bastide De Moustiers A country Inn in Provence
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