Just beside the historic Palais des Papes, the Mirande was once the private residence of a wealthy family and has been beautifully restored maintaining original details throughout. Dinner in the Michelin-starred restaurant on the terrace is a truly memorable experience flanked by the papal walls. In the cellar, a charming kitchen with hanging copper pots, a wood burning stove and large communal table are where cooking and pastry classes with world-renowned chefs are offer. From spring through fall, there are special cooking classes available for children as well.
Who Should Stay: Someone who appreciates beautiful antique decor and loves a true sense of place.
Who Should Not Stay: The hotel is over 700 years old, and while the renovation has been done rather recently, the normal kinks of an old property do exist. The decor is pure Provence and may not offer the full-service a larger hotel can provide.
Indagare Tip: While each room is completely unique in color and decor, be sure to request first-floor rooms with higher ceilings.
From an Indagare member who stayed at La Mirande:
“This hotel is located not far from the Pont De Avignon itself. Indeed it’s practically under the walls of the Palais des Papes that separates the walled town of Avignon from the Rhône River and its famous half bridge. About 700 years ago, La Mirande was built for the cardinals to the Pontiff. The Popes decamped to France when early-14th-century Rome was not at all welcoming. Today the Palais is an architect’s dream: a silent witness to French history and an anchor to the surrounding wine country of the Rhône and Châteauneuf du Pape.
The village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, literally “new château of the Pope,” twelve miles north of Avignon, is a mandatory visit, a gaunt presence atop the highest point in the region, uninhabited since World War II, ravaged by Allied gunfire on the stubborn German observation post it provided.
The wines of the Rhône, as fascinating to the palate as those of Bordeaux but often a quarter the price, are the specialty of La Mirande’s hushed and graceful dining room. The menu, determinedly handwritten—in classical French, of course—is superior to that of the nearby much-lauded restaurant of Christian Etienne. One night we discovered that the diners next to us had a very well-behaved dog under the heavy tablecloth—such are the delights of French life.”