Six of the Best Hotels in Rural France

Six of the Best Hotels in Rural France

nothing like a balmy afternoon spent by the pool, rosé
in hand, lavender perfuming the air. Pair that with leisurely bike
rides and copious brie and you’ve got an idyllic holiday à la française. With luxurious
stays fit for Marie Antoinette and rustic farm-to-table
experiences, our lowdown on France’s best countryside hotels has
something to satisfy every summer craving.

D’Une Île


D’Une Île transports guests into a Charles Perrault
fairy tale. Inside, exposed wooden beams and copper Tom Dixon wash
basins make unexpected but charming design partners, along with
cartoonish cushions and beds built into the floor. Tree branches
serve as clothing racks, adding a touch of whimsy to each room.
Nestled in Basse-Normandie’s Le Perche Regional Nature Park, D’Une
Île also takes advantage of its locale by serving produce from its
garden or nearby markets. Days start off with yoghurt served with
fresh honeycomb; lunch and dinner revolve around just-picked Swiss
chard and multi-hued carrots, as well as the catch of the day from
the Chausey islands. Complete the experience with the hotel’s
selection of natural and biodynamic wines.

La Bastide de Gordes


This hotel climbs the hill in Gordes, offering a sweeping vista
across green valleys and villages perched atop surrounding bluffs.
A Provençal dream, La Bastide de Gordes feels like
a castle tucked away from the rest of the world. Take in the view
from your clawfoot bathtub, from the chaise lounge on your private
terrace or – our favourite option – while clinking Aperol spritzes
on the multi-level patio by the swimming pool. When not sharing
moules à la Provençale at L’Orangerie restaurant or having your
umpteenth ratatouille at golden hour, book into the hotel’s Sisley
Spa for an outdoor massage in a leafy setting.

Le Barn


An hour away from Paris in the Rambouillet forest,
this Yvelines hotel
offers a rural escape during a city-based
holiday. The converted barn has 71 rooms and trades in views over
bustling Parisian streets for those over a serene lake. The decor
is rustic and laidback while maintaining an obvious sense of French
design know-how, and each space has been carefully repurposed: the
former mill, for instance, has been refashioned as a spa, complete
with wooden hot tubs. Breakfast is taken at a countertop, as if
you’re at a friend’s country home, while other meals are often
served family-style at a long table under the trees.

This image is on holiday

Château les Merles


A classic Bergerac château with an elegant stone swimming pool,
Château les Merles is one of
those stays where you’ll really have to force yourself to leave the
property for a wine tasting tour or kayaking down the Dordogne
river. The hotel’s grounds have a tennis court and golf course,
making it ideal for an athletic getaway en famille during which
your main daily activities rotate between bountiful meals and
beating your siblings at rummy. Book a few of the hotel’s sleek
rooms, which are kitted out with gilded mirrors and enormous
armoires, or opt for one of the villas with a private pool for a
larger group affair.

Domaine des Etangs


With a name that literally translates as “Domaine of Ponds”,
this hotel, comprised of an 11th-century château and farmhouse
cottages, is unsurprisingly surrounded by small bodies of water.
Whether you’re looking to sample cognac on a sheltered dock or take
out a rowing boat for a Notebook-style paddle, misty mornings and
sun-dappled afternoons are best spent on the waterfront here. The
rooms are equally magical, with modish bathtubs, cosy libraries and
fireplaces built into stone walls, artfully mixing antique pieces
with sleek lines. For those with a penchant for eye candy, the
Domaine also has art exhibitions on rotation, showcasing
contemporary pieces by international artists.

Domaine de Fontenille


Shaded by leafy cedars, Domaine de Fontenille is a
natural playground, with its own vineyards, bunches of lavender and
elegant cypress trees. The rooms are done up in earthy tones for
maximum relaxation, while blue-shuttered windows open out onto the
lush property. As with many of our favourite hotels, food is a
primary focus here. Chef Jérôme Faure certainly doesn’t disappoint,
serving flaky croissants and homemade jams for breakfast, and blue
lobster in the Michelin-starred Le Champ de Lunes come dinnertime.
A 25-minute drive from Aix-en-Provence, this hotel has got
everything you could want from the countryside, with an easy
city-fix (or even just a trip to the market) on hand.