Destination: France: Provence
Auberge la Fenière
Set behind plane trees on the road leading to the village of Lourmarin, La Fenière is run by one of France’s top Michelin -starred chefs, Reine Sammut. It started as a simple patio restaurant that Sammut launched twelve years ago in a refurbished 19th-century farmhouse, little dreaming that her self-taught cuisine—a creative mix of family recipes from Malta, Tunisia, Sicily and Provence—would catapult her into the limelight. Today La Fenière has evolved into a bona fide culinary destination comprising a charming eighteen-room country inn, a gastronomic restaurant and a neorustic bistro, La Cour de Ferme, in an enormous barn. There’s also a boutique that specializes in local gourmet products.
To the original seven Provencal-style rooms in the main house, just above the spruced-up Baroque-meets-Zen dining room, Sammut and her husband, Guy, have recently added eleven in three different sites. In the farm’s revamped stables are the five contemporary Bellevue suites, featuring clean lines, a flashy color scheme of reds and violets, Pop art and private terraces that have a view of the lush hillside vineyards and the Durance river valley. There’s a long stone pool for lap swimming. Friends or families seeking privacy may prefer to book Reine and Guy’s former private home, a gray stone 19th-century granary, tucked behind the olive and fruit tree grove, that has been converted into a comfy four-bedroom annex stylishly supplied with hand-stitched quilts, a plum leather sofa, pistachio walls and a cavernous red-tiled bathroom. Those desiring a more boho experience—or just a special treat for the kids—might opt for one of the two authentic gypsy caravans parked in the neighboring field and fully equipped with bathrooms and air-conditioning.
Among the auberge’s international clientele you’ll meet members of the Parisian beau monde such as French fashion and soccer stars, draped in white linen, many with young children in tow. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, thanks to Sammut, whose personality is as radiant as her cuisine. Highlights of the latter include a John Dory carpaccio with local olive oil, roast lamb with spices and pineapple confit with dark chocolate mousse and an exotic raspberry-hibiscus sorbet.
After a breakfast of croissants, homemade bread, cakes and jams and lavender honey, laze on the grass surrounding the main pool to the thrumming of cicadas, then check out Lourmarin’s boutiques and historic château. Come sunset, order a cocktail in one of the airy white Moroccan tent lounges scattered throughout the garden. Serious foodies should take advantage of Sammut’s Thursday and Friday morning cooking classes, which culminate in lunch made from ingredients plucked from the vegetable and herb patch. Rooms from €170; suites from €220.
Search By Keyword
Amazing wildlife and sensational safari camps are keys to why...
Known as an eco and adventure destination, this Central American...
New on Indagare
Give the Gift of Indagare The perfect present for travelers: a membership to Indagare. Buy now
Indagare Insider Trips: Cuba, Myanmar and India: We’re planning trips throughout the year. Contact Indagare (212-988-2611) to be added to the wait list.
- Community: Share advice with fellow members asking about your favorite travel discoveries.
- Indagare Insiders: Three-day itineraries for families in London and art lovers in Vienna. Plus, fashion insider Chiara Ferragamo’s picks on what not to miss in Florence, Bonnie Gokson, owner of Hong Kong’s lofty Sevva on Hong Kong, Culinary Insider: Budapest.
- Rant & Rave: Indagare members can share their advice with the community by logging in first, then clicking here: Rants & Raves.
- Give the Gift: Indagare: Give the gift of travel intelligence with a membership to Indagare. For details or to order, call us at 212-988-2611 or click here: Gift Membership.
- Indagare Plus: Remember that hotels marked by an Indagare Plus symbol offer preferential rates and benefits to members.
- Indagare Share Feature: Share articles, postcards and reviews with family and friends on such networking sites as Twitter, Facebook and Delicious. Simply click on the three small dots that symbolize our connect icon, at the end of every article, and follow the link to the networking site of your preference.
- Sample Indagare: With free bi-weekly email blasts on new hot spots and insider tips when you sign up for our mailing list.
- Profile feature: Members share your profiles, comments, favorite articles and IQs. Just click on the Profile tab on the upper right of your screen and look for the Edit My Profile blue tab.
- Indagare means to discover, explore, seek, scout in Latin.