When: May 2016
Where: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France
Stayed: La Bastide de Moustiers
Moustiers is a commune in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region of France, and is considered one of the most beautiful villages in the country. That, coupled with its proximity to the Gorges Du Verdon, makes it an incredible place to visit.
We stayed at La Bastide de Moustiers, a romantic inn and restaurant nestled at the bottom of the village. The property was beyond beautiful, and so authentic and cozy in every way – when I dreamt about spending time in the “south of France,” it was exactly what I pictured… and then some. If you are looking to travel on more of a budget, this area had tons of RVs and tented campsites available.
We booked La Suite Olive, and we could not have been any more delighted with our choice. Bright, airy spaces, a wood burning fireplace, and an entire outdoor area… it was truly one of a kind. Some mornings we had breakfast in our room, while others we ate in the courtyard. With Alain Ducasse behind the property, I thought the food would be excellent, but that is an understatement. Never have I enjoyed bread, cheese or confiture de fraise so much – not to mention how elegant the dinner was!
Did I mention they even gave us matching jammies?!
Moustiers is the most charming village, and we loved exploring it alley by alley. I definitely recommend the walk up to the Chapel Notre-Dame de Beauvoir, as well as the local beer from Bière du Verdon. The village is known for their ceramics, or faïence, of Moustiers. We chose some special souvenirs from Atelier Serrailler, which are now happily placed on our mantle. For dinner, we tried a few spots (Le Treille Muscate, Les Santons, La Cantine), and we loved them all. The first two were traditional French, while La Cantine was cheeseburger/frite/milkshake heaven. Some of the best I have ever had! We also had a starter there that I still dream about – fried sheep’s milk cheese atop a green salad. Ferme Sainte-Cécile was one other restaurant that our hotel highly recommended, but we did not have a chance to make it there.
When we weren’t exploring the village, we were in awe of the turquoise-watered Lac de Sainte-Croix and Gorges du Verdon. You can rent kayaks or pedal boats right at the base, and we opted for a pedal boat our first day! So much fun splashing down the river at approximately 1 mph. The air is heady with wild jasmine, and the whole area has a laid-back, camp vibe. For lunch, we kept it simple and ate at the local snack bars. Nuggets and frites, anyone?!
We also had a picnic on the sandy beaches of the Lac de Sainte-Croix – a definite highlight. Matty wasn’t tempted by the chilly waters, but I jumped right in! Ice cold refreshment of the best variety.
Another afternoon, we drove up the mountain to see the sights from above. The road was CRAZY. I was white as a sheet, gripping the seat, with my eyes squeezed shut. Matty was cool as a cucumber, excitedly taking hairpin turn after hairpin turn, inches from the edge. Crazy drive, crazy beautiful views!
We loved our time here, and hope to visit again in the future, when the lavender is in full bloom. Until next time, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence!
Lauren (and le chat)