My mind strays today to the countryside of France. As much as I love Paris and Lyon, the lush rivers, forests and rolling French landscapes offer entirely restful and appealing travel.
From the French word égal (equal), egalitarian applies to me and my way of travel. I write about and have enjoyed two- and five-star lodging and all points in between. And, yes, I even have played the nature card and ‘camped’, though that inclination is long gone. I’d prefer now to sleep well and see the stars from a lovely terrace overlooking the land. Just such a remarkable place comes to mind today.
Bienvenue to the charming village of Eugenie-les-Bains in southwest France and to the incredibly refined Les Prés d’Eugénie. One of the prestigious properties of the Relais & Châteaux Association, Michel Guerard’s accommodations offer a gated enclave in a serene setting just steps from a village that could as easily be part of that pristine principality of Monaco. One of the property’s signature descriptions is an “echo of colonial India”, and it is accurate – refined, elegant, a mix of antique furnishings and original paintings with in an entirely tasteful setting. Every single element seems designed to inspire warm hospitality in the Landes department in Aquitaine.
If we can no longer continue to invent and as a result find pleasure in our creativity, then we must ask why.”
—Chef Michel Guérard
His story and his success are apropos and interesting. Early on a celebrated French chef, Michel and his wife, Christine, bought the existing chateau and property in the early 1970’s with the thought of creating an ideal south-of-France experience. Such was the birth of Eugenie-les-Bains and Les Prés d’Eugénie, a retreat with beautiful, lush grounds, a relaxing spa and a country restaurant – Fermes aux Grives.
Chef Michel masters his style of cooking, one of the first of the nouveau cuisine that blends the bounty of the area with the artistry of the chef. One might expect a lofty air from such a property, but no – warmth and courtesy abound. You can enjoy a bike ride in the country or a Michel bottle of wine on your own garden-oriented terrace. In no time, you can visit glamorous Biarritz on the Atlantic or cross the Pyrenees to San Sebastian.
My ‘bucket list’ definitely includes a visit with Michel and Christine … and soon, I hope!
We’d love to hear from you!
Copyright © 2005-2016, LuxeEuro, LLC. Photo and text, all rights reserved