Follow roads winding through the Provencal landscape, from Marseille, Avignon or Nîmes and you’ll find yourself at Château de Montcaud, where vineyards unfurl across the surrounding land. This famously scenic terrain is one reason people continually return to the region, but this 19th-century property, which opened last summer, enriches the experience of being here with a unique story told through every aspect of your stay.
When the Swiss Bertschi family took on the 1875-built property in 2016, they began the journey to restoring its original identity, forging a greater connection with the local community. The sensitively-renovated interiors of the house now pair clean, modern design with original 19th-century features, from elaborate frescoed ceilings to patterned tile. Paintings of the Collain family take prominence in the resplendent reception room and contemporary light fittings hang from the ceiling above the spiral staircase.
Twelve acres of grounds are no less representative of the property’s history. It was as Rolf and Andrea Bertschi set about renovating the château that they stumbled upon the estate’s original garden plans. These are what formed the backbone for the garden design today, but with the contemporary additions of a swimming pool and the old stables converted to house the sleek restaurant, bar and light-filled bistro spilling out onto a terrace.
An outdoor space shaded by ancient chestnut trees provides the setting for weekly jazz brunches during summer and a wisteria walkway leads to a kitchen garden and state-of-the-art chef’s kitchen for chef’s table dinners and cooking classes. While these culinary experiences are arranged on request, you can tuck into hearty French plates with local wine in the bistro each day and indulge in the degustation menus of the fine dining restaurant for a sense of occasion.
The silk trade in this region thrived throughout the 19th Century, with prolific trader Alexandre Eugène Collain using his fortune to build the château. Now, this silk connection is central to the story told in the property; panels of French silk feature in each guest room; resident chef Matthieu Hervé has woven inspiration into the menu; and commissioned artwork by silk artisans Sericyne hangs in the restaurant.
In the neighbourhood
Borrow the château’s bicycles to explore the undulating landscape of the Cèze Valley. Visit local wineries such as Domaine la Reméjeanne for cellar door tastings, or pay a visit to the picture-perfect town of Uzès for its weekly Saturday market. The hotel is a little over an hour’s drive from the famous Camargue region, too, making it easy to explore the area celebrated for its long empty beaches, salt flats, flamingos and wild horses.