writer, warrior, whack-a-doodle

Indulging in Provence

Indulging in Provence

June 15, 2011
Posted in: Totally Random | Reading Time: 4 minutes

Provence. I know all 12 readers are waiting for a report. Although I'm pretty sure you just want to see the pictures. Do you guys actually read my posts? Because if you do, I'll try to think of something clever to write.

I'm not an experienced traveler so I struggled for a week deciding on where to book a hotel. Should we stay in something quaint and Provencal or luxurious and wellness-oriented? Or should we stay inland near the historical sites or stay right on the beach?  And is it me, or is it difficult to really judge a hotel based on its web site?

I had just gone through another long spell of insomnia, so I was desperate to indulge. I finally decided on Chateau Montcaud in Sabran, which is further inland closer to the sites that Mr. Wild Dingo wanted to visit. Luckily for me, the Chateau had some limited spa services, such as massage, a hot tub and a beautiful pool. I didn't need or want any other kind of services so it turned out to be a great combination of Provencal and luxury.

The chateau was purchased 19 years ago as a run down home by a couple who seem to be experienced in the hotel rennovation business. The husband is Swiss and the wife French. Their multi-building chateau sits on 11 acres of beautiful gardens and forest, completely enclosed by 12-foot walls. The gardens included a made made pond, acres of forest and both single track and fire road trails.  It would have been perfect to take our dogs  and not worry about leashes as the hotel allowed them.  It made me sad to walk the trails without them but I realized how badly I needed some dog-free days to myself.  The entire setting was enchanting.

It seemed the hotel let in anyone, including the riff-raff, like this cracked-out labradoink having a few zoomies in the garden. He was pleasant boy and Mr. Wild Dingo and I fussed over him plenty during our stay.







There were several romantic quiet places to lounge and enjoy the views--not that Mr. Wild Dingo actually saw any of them. He prefered reading email on his crackberry. Still, it was actually difficult to leave the peacefulness of the grounds and garden to go site-seeing.




Dinner was always its own adventure. The restaurant, located in another building, features a renown French chef, who draws inspiration from Hong Kong, Tokyo, Ottawa and Lisbon, to incorporate a flair of Asian herbs and spices without losing the tradition of true French-Provencal cuisine. The Frenchies sure love to amuse their bouches. Each night featured some exotic pre-meal amuse-bouche, such as rabbit, salmon or a soup served in a shot glass.  With each three-course meal, we indulged with a bottle of local wine.  The evenings were ended with a visit to our table from the chef.

In addition, each Sunday, the Chateau features a Jazz lunch, served outside with a live Jazz band. Unfortunately, we left too early on Sunday to experience it, but it looked to be a huge event and a lot of fun.

On a walk around the garden, I unexpectedly discovered the grotto, another pond and waterfall.

The water flows over some bolders and below over a cave where the water drizzles down into the pond. Guests can book a massage in this cave area and listen to the soothing sounds of the running waterfall.

Also hidden in the trees was a tennis court and a hot tub. Yup. I could live here.

Later this week, I'll post a few photos of the local sites and Roman ruins for all those whacka-doo readers who like that stuff.

By the end of our trip, Mr. Wild Dingo and I gained a wee-bit of weight. But I can't imagine why.


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11 comments on “Indulging in Provence”

  1. Reader 1 of 12 here: What a beautiful spot. I wouldn't have wanted to leave either. Mr. WD must have had to put the leash on you to get you off that property. And is it me or is that like the biggest prawn in the world?? It's nice vacationing with dogs - even if they aren't your own! That doink looked very happy!!

  2. Reader 13th here!
    Such a beautiful place!! No wonder you're a wee bit heavier...It's that Ottawa cuisine! Tory à l'orange avec sa pomme duchesse or une tartelette libérale et coulis de fraises! Oh la la!!
    I saw the ducks in the picture up there....first thing that came to my mind was "Oh! It is a bring-your-own-duck place!". Silly me! Well...maybe not! The magret would be cheaper that way!

  3. Ha ha! Yeah, I'm one of those crazy kids who tortures herself by reading here on a regular basis! I gained two pounds just looking at the pictures of the food! I can't imagine how much the two of you put on!

  4. That looks like a great vacation!
    I have vacationing without Darwin, especially at a place that looks as dog friendly as that place does. Zoomies off leash on the hotel grounds!? Unheard of at most places.
    Who can resist spa time?!

  5. Uh, what is with this badly needed dog free time? Oh we forgot there was a cracker Loki involved. Now if it was only Siberian Huskies you were escaping; we would not be able to comprehend your thoughts.

    Nice vacation spot though, we think we could do some damage to their grounds.

    Remy and Flash

  6. Words? You mean there are words associated with these posts? How did I miss them. Wait.... I'll go back and actually read....

    Whackadoodle? Excuse me? I totally resemble that remark! 😉

    At this exact point in time, Abby is throwing her little stuffed 'eggs' at me, and I think I can see the value in some dog-free time. Actually, I think I could see the value in spending quality time with someone else's dog, so I can leave when I've had enough. Wanna borrow some Goldendoodles? I'll ship 'em right over; I'm sure you'll love 'em.

    As for the vacation. Wow. NICE place to stay!!!

    Now, I'll sit back and wait for pictures of old rocks. 😉

    -Dr. Liz

  7. We don't see how you gained an ounce; every course looks like it consists of just one bite of whatever is being served. Apart from that, however, the chateau looks fantastic! Very restful; no wonder you didn't want to leave. Maybe you can visit again one day and take the dogs. Although we can see no reason for ever taking a vacation without dogs, mama is sympathetic to the occasional desire to have a day or three without feeding dogs, watering dogs, washing dog dishes, cleaning up after dogs, brushing dogs, etc.

    Of course we read your posts, with the same eager attention we're sure you display in reading our comments! 🙂 You're the closest to a European vacation most of your American readers are going to get, and you look at Europe with American eyes just like we would. Besides, we like you and Juno and Loki and even Mr. WD.

    Jed & Abby

  8. I'm with Jed & Abby. This is the closest I'll ever come to visiting Switzerland even though my husband has a bunch of Swiss in him. The fact that you have a Sibe is icing on the cake. And yep, I read every post, and enjoy these little jaunts to Swiss/French/Italian places, the beautiful scenery, the neat photos, and the American outlook on everything. Amuse their bouches, hee-hee!

  9. I'm a reader not a writer..but to help you get to your 11, that looks like sheer bliss. Lazy days and great food. Enjoy the food now because you know there's a "Cracker" waiting for you at home!!

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