09 October 2015
Taking the time at Baumanière
First there is the light, this light we can only find in the South of France, in Provence, attractive in any season. And then there’s Les Baux de Provence, its wild landscape, rocky movements, steep white masses, surrounding the village with cobbled streets, one of the most beautiful of France. Its cliffs that exacerbate this luminosity trough its whiteness, its castle and its ruins, marquis title given to the family of Prince Grimaldi seem to protect what is set below.
This is here, in the heart of the Alpilles, that Baumanière Les Baux de Provence is nestled.
To celebrate its seventy years, the domain gathered together this year under a single name and a single hotel complex, Oustau de Baumanière and Cabro d’Or, the two main institutions, members of Relais and Chateaux in France and other houses acquired along the decades such as the Manoir and its garden of roses under the shadow of the 100 years-old trees, La Grigou, a small farmhouse welcoming a family home, and Carita and Flora, last renovated caskets, near the vegetable garden. Vegetable garden that provides the table of the two restaurants of the domain which have kept the name « Oustau » and « Cabro d’or » and continue to feed the international reputation of this unique place.
It’s a legendary domain in France, result of the work of four generations. We could have said, from father to son since 2012, Marie Noélie, daughter of Jean André Charial, grand son of the founder Raymond Thuilier joined the family business. It is after she travelled on her own and made her own experiences (including chef at restaurant Européa in Montreal and officiated with Gérald Passédat in 2006) that the young woman finally naturally decided to join her father and perpetuate the love of beauty in the domain and the taste of good inside the plate.
From an old abandoned farmhouse in the heart of the Alpilles, beloved by Jean Cocteau who shot his film “The Testament of Orpheus”, her great grandfather Raymond Thuillier, fell in love with the place and erected there a protected cocoon, charming, off time, inaugurated by Georges Pompidou in 1945, the year of birth of Pierre André Charial, her father. The Queen of England, Maurice Druon, Frédéric Dard, Marcel Pagnol, Picasso and Pavarotti to Charles Aznavour and Daniel Auteuil, many personalities have tasted the timeless charm of this unique place. Because at Baumanière in the shade of ageless trees in gardens, crumbling under the bowers of roses of Ronsard, following the scent of honeysuckle or on the road leading to the village on foot, time stops, eyes fill with the natural beauty of the landscape, and when we sit down to eat under the mulberry trees, taste buds get excited.
There, at « Oustau » restaurant, the hotel masters introduce you to stuffed vegetables “à (la) façon de » Jean André Charial, zucchini flowers from the organic garden or slice with a beautiful precise gesture flaky sweetbread or roasted lamb leg with anchovies accompanied with an “Affectif », red wine from the estate. Emotional as the owners of the place who pass on a great idea of hospitality and turn this enlightened and radiant place into something magic. « 70 years under a lucky star » as the family says. Long live to Baumanière !