This piece originally appeared in the Russian edition of June 2018’s IN/EX project – a publication dedicated to the finest interiors and exteriors around the world. Words and pictures are by Anna Khrutsaya and Elena Gulyaeva.
The hotel Le Mas Candille is a calm haven in the French Riviera’s sea of glamour and high society. It seems that it was created specifically for those whose eyes are filled by the spotlight and who have more than enough publicity, but who lack in relaxation and solitude. Just a 15-minute drive from the red carpet in Cannes, 25 kilometres from the international airport in Nice, and 20 minutes from Grasse, and you come across 5 acres of heavenly shrubs, filled with the twittering of birds and the aroma of Provencal herbs.
The garden itself is the maître d’ here – it welcomes you, escorts you, and narrates. You somehow unexpectedly exhale, relax, and ease yourself from the room to the terrace to admire its lovely view of the Alpine foothills. For dinner, there’s no need to “wear” your favourite perfume – after the pool, the sun, the Provencal oils, and being surrounded by lavender, your skin won’t be needing the customary store-bought aromas.
On that note: dinner. The local restaurant has a Michelin-star, and it is well-deserved. Chef Xavier Burelle combines the simplicity of Southern-French cuisine with the exquisite tastes of the Riviera. Young asparagus is served alongside Atlantic Bluefin tuna (prepared bottarga-style) and orange-flavoured sauce; mullet is served with olives and poached carrots. Farm products and local herbs are grown here, on the roof of one of the Bastide rooms.
The spa is also excellent – it follows the brand ESPA, which means that you are guaranteed spot-on aromatherapy, massages, and natural oil-based treatments. After such pampering sessions and sampling of Provencal dishes, seasoned with fresh air, a sound sleep will not be long in coming, and an excellent one at that! Do not hurry, and leave all of your affairs and schedules behind. The road to serenity will find you on its own.
First of all, head to Mougins – the nearest town – it’s a 5-minute walk away. There, you’ll find the Picasso Museum of Photography (the great Pablo spent a total of 10 years in the neighbourhood), you’ll learn that Churchill and Jacques Brel also called Mougins their home, and that Edith Piaf, Dior, and Jeanne Moreau spent some of their time here. All of this brings the wandering wind of adventure to tickle at your nostrils. It is easy to make short car trips from Le Mas Candille – all of the main attractions and “must-see” sites are located within an hour, or maximum two hours’ ride, from the hotel.
Heading to the left (if you are facing the sea), you will come across the Matisse or Rosary Chapel, Valloris ceramics, Nice, Cap-Ferrat, Monaco, San Remo, casinos and palaces, and the garden of the Baroness Rothschild, the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.
Heading to the right, you will encounter the classic Provencal landscape, lavender fields, Saint-Tropez, Hyeres, and Toulon’s Design Parade. Head back towards the mountains and you will find Grasse. Head towards the sea and experience Cannes and the Cap d’Antibes. In the evening, Le Mas Candille’s warmly welcoming hotel and garden will once again be waiting for you, and will bring even the most exhausted traveller back to life.
Please note: As of Spring 2020, Le Mas Candille offers its guests a more casual dining experience with Le Bistrot du Mas, headed by Chef Basile Arnaud.