If you have ever dreamed of languishing in the heart of a Provençal village, strolling along cobbled streets to get your morning baguette, passing charming squares littered with locals on café chairs reading the paper with their espresso: this is the place for you.
Think Soho-House meets Jean de Florette, this is charming village life with a generous pour of contemporary cool. The check in desk is the bar, and your key is an electronic wristband that opens the lift and your room and will, if you’re anything like me, leave you feeling like a Marvel superhero in a Panama hat.
As with any Beaumier hotel, Le Moulin has a cheeky, playful feel to it. It works with its environment, not against it, populating rooms and spaces with books from authors who defined Provence, like Marcel Pagnol and Henri Bosco, and whimsical postcards of French philosophers as well as savon de Marseille in all the bathrooms. The hotel’s sleek aesthetic – created by young French architect duo JAUNE- is a canny blend of earthy tones and neutral accents. The whitewashed stone walls, terracotta tiles and wicker chairs are shrewdly mixed with intriguing modern art pieces.
The guests are stylish families, friends and young couples; all of whom have travelled here for an authentic slice of Provence.
Set the scene
Le Moulin is, as you might expect, an old mill. It lives in the achingly charming village of Lourmarin, in that stunning part of Southern France known as The Luberon. The hotel sits on the edge of the village, right on one of its main streets. It boasts a terrace on this thoroughfare, which we sat at on arrival, sipping a morning coffee and engaging in that typical French pastime: people watching. And there is plenty of it in Lourmarin; a bustling, vibrant place full of art shops and cafés. Indeed, right opposite the hotel’s own terrace (which comes alive at night, festooned with fairy lights and drenched in pastis, with live music every Tuesday night) is Le Moulin’s own village shop ‘Les Commissions’ filled with food, local honeys, preserves, oils, soaps and curios.
Within, there is the hotel bar – the beating heart of the hotel where you can organise valet parking at the same time as ordering your rosé- and a sprawling, beautifully designed lounge area complete with sinkable chairs and chess boards. The hotel restaurant, to the left of the bar, has an airy feel thanks to its large arched windows, looking out on to the courtyard garden (a particularly good spot for breakfast). The gardens themselves are deceptively small. Secreted gates in verdant hedges will lead you to the pool- little but exactly the right size for a hotel which prides itself on chic hamlet life as opposed to poolside glamour.
Le Moulin describes its aesthetic as ‘intentional sobriety’- a curious way to describe its undeniable warmth. Sure, the palette is paired back (the ‘intention’ being to let the village speak for itself) but the character of the hotel is deafening.
There are 35 rooms, ranging from classic and superior to junior and family suites (and one behemoth called ‘The Beaumier Suite’). These are all white and infused with yellows, ochres, reds and hessian browns- the colours of the Roussillon quarries. There are wicker chairs and shuttered windows. Coffee tables are laden with French books of the region and its most famous writers and the usual suspects (TV, radio etc) are all accounted for, as well as a quaint mini bar accessible through a curtain. The bathrooms are a russet tiled 1970s affair- chic and stocked with- as my husband would like put on record- the ‘fluffiest bathrobes in the world.’
Food & Drink
Le Restaurant du Moulin serves food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is ideally taken in the sun dappled courtyard, and is served to your table. Coffee, pastry baskets and eggs are all included in the menu – and, if lacking in variety – are all perfectly delicious. Juices are served in earthenware jugs and the entire affair is as undeniably chic as it is tasty.
Chef Mathis Larrode has constructed a delightful menu throughout the day. The focus is on local, seasonal produce, with a Provençal flavour. There is freshly caught fish (you are roughly an hour’s drive from the coast), lamb from nearby Sisteron and roasted apricots with honey and almond. One of Lourmarin’s famed ice cream purveyors (Maison Ravi) supplies the sorbets and scoops, though I would also heartily recommend a stroll through town to Glacier L’Ormeau, where you will have a coconut ice cream that will knock your little head off.
The bar at Le Moulin is one of its star attractions, and draws in locals as well as guests. They have a varied cocktail menu and, of course, plenty of pastis, and it is where to go for a vibey feel even in the middle of the afternoon. If you’re packing up a picnic to go on your travels around the region, stocking up at Les Commissions is an excellent shout. There you can grab everything from a freshly made sandwich to a bottle of vin.
Beaumier, for the uninitiated, is a small French hotel group with a discerning eye and a knack for creating destinations with a unique feel, often in existing, historical buildings. Le Moulin is one of the newest openings of their eight French properties, opened in 2022, and the only one situated in the heart of a village. The converted 18th century mill retains its individual charm, and many of the original features while still bearing all the hallmarks of a Beaumier hotel: a sense of paired-back cool, a whimsical trim and a seamless pairing of the modern with the traditional.
The menu here is proudly sustainable and the hotel encourages you to ditch your car and pick up one of their bikes instead, for a more eco approach to exploring the region.
There are many family options when booking rooms- from deluxe family rooms to the family suites- but most rooms are sizeable enough for a cot or camp bed. There’s enough in the local area to occupy families; from cycling to exploring and even kayaking in the region’s rivers. There were many children there when we stayed; all of whom appeared to be having a marvellous time.
Whilst there is no spa at Le Moulin, there is a small and lovely pool in the garden, where other wellness offerings take place (not to mention the Sunday night outdoor cinema). Fitness sessions, pilates and yoga classes happen there throughout the week (weather permitting) and for the slightly less agile, there is always pétanque.
Whilst the hotel itself is welcoming and gorgeously decorated, Le Moulin’s selling point is undeniably its location. Lourmarin is a gem to be discovered; a village which feels as though you have stumbled on to a film set. Winding streets full of galleries, restaurants and art stores, stone fountains and inviting squares bursting with locals drinking pastis. It is so charming it often feels like a pastiche of a French village but it has an energetic atmosphere and a bustling art scene that will remind you it is alive and well.
Lourmarin is one of so many quaint villages in The Luberon and serves as a great jumping off point for exploring them. It is also ideally situated to allow you to explore so many of the main sights of Provence: Avignon, Arles, Gordes, Aix-en-Provence. All are manageable day-trip drives or less away. In short, Le Moulin is your perfect Provence address.
Le Moulin is less than an hour’s drive from Marseille Provence Airport, with regular flights from London on British Airways, EasyJet and Air France.
To Book: beaumier.com
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