Bastide Rose – the personal touch

If you like your hotels a little bit quirky and loaded with charm, then head to La Bastide Rose.20160522-105918-largejpg

La Bastide Rose is many things at the same time: an art sanctuary, a sprawling estate, a hub for business meetings and avid gourmands and a private home. It is at any given time each and all of these.

The personal touch of Poppy Salinger permeates the bastide. A charming host and passionate art patron, she has transformed the bastide into an art retreat with annual (sculpture) exhibitions and art features dotted around the grounds. From prestigious international artists (such as Henry Moore, Niki de Saint Phalle and Keith Haring), to fences painted by schoolchildren in the local community, the art is a soothing and accessible compliment to the beautifully manicured grounds on which they are displayed.


The bastide

The bastide itself has a history as interesting as its owners’. Formerly a wheat and paper mill, it was then converted by its previous owners into their Avignon base. As they were involved in the marble industry, swathes of the property (from the staircase to the entire pool) is decked out in high quality Carrera marble – the best exposé of the owners’ materials.


Following the Salingers’ takeover, the bastide has been transformed into a wonderful guest house filled with exciting sculptures, photographs and paintings in almost every nook and cranny. Some of the art is for sale, and the rest represents the owners eclectic taste.

We loved the traditional décor and the details that have been kept at the bastide. Original stone tiles, heavy wooden window shutters, the wonderful marble staircase – all of this juxtaposed against some cool contemporary art.

The grounds, too, are astounding. The bastide lies on an expansive estate, part of which is divided by the river Sorgue, creating a small island of some of the land. In summer, a refreshing Shiatsu massage is on offer in the river, with the 14 degree water offering a refreshing respite to the heat.


All of this a short drive from major cities; Avignon is a 20 minute drive, Arles is an hour to the South (as is the Camargue), an hour to Aix-en-Provence…..La Bastide Rose has the privilege of being close enough to major towns and cities whilst offering guests one of the most romantic and private getaways.



We dined at the bastide on a day when there was a group of 24 guests, so it was quite fun to see the preparation of food for both a small (2) and large group. The food is, in one word, outstanding. Most of the ingredients are sourced from the gardens, such as the herbs and salads, making the hotel remarkably self-sufficient.

Our meal was washed down with a local wine from the neighbouring Chateauneuf-Du-Pape.

We started off with a delicious asparagus salad. Locally sourced and incredibly fresh asparagus by a bed of salad leaves topped off with a creamy sauce; the dish was a taste of heaven in your mouth – especially for the vegetarians amongst you!

la bastide rose 1

Our next course was the chicken/cod with a vegetable melange. With bright orange and deep purple carrots adorning each dish, it was hard not to get excited. The cod, in a creamy white sauce, was a tender dish, with the meat almost melting in your mouth. The chicken dish, doused with a marvellous, rich gravy was equally delicious and accompanied with an array of vegetables, an entirely healthy dish.

la bastide rose

The dessert, however, was the piece de resistance. A sort of Eton mess – but better than – it consisted of a generous raspberry sauce on top of wild berries, with a dollop of vanilla ice cream in the middle topped off with fresh rosemary from the garden – absolutely sensational! The dish was so divine, we considered asking for seconds. The food here, is nothing less than exquisite.

la bastide rose 2


The Pierre Salinger Museum

A word has been said on the fantastical, but not over-the-top, art exhibitions that are held on display at La Bastide Rose. The final word must go to the Pierre Salinger museum. A sort of in memoriam of the late Pierre Salinger, the museum is wonderfully fascinating and often whimsical. Pierre Salinger, Poppy’s late husband, was known for being the White House press secretary for U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. The museum, although small, boasts a wealth of archival photographs, tongue-in-cheek comic strips and important official documents, that have been brilliantly preserved. It is a well-kept sanctuary devoted to keeping the memory of Pierre Salinger if not alive, at least present and relevant – and this is something that is seen throughout the bastide. Indeed, upon entering the bastide, the first cushion that catches your eye states “If there are no cigars in Heaven, I shall not go.” – a warm tribute to, and memory of, some of the things (cigars and perhaps a wry sense of humour) that characterised Pierre Salinger and his life.


In short, for a hotel that offers a laissez-faire attitude, that is full of wonderful and eclectic art, has an excellent casual restaurant and is close to some of the best cities and towns in France, La Bastide would be your obvious choice.

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