Le Mas de Peint is an authentic small boutique hotel on 550 hectares of land in the wild part of the Camargue in Provence.
How would you describe Le Pavillon de Galon in a nutshell?
Pavillon de Galon is a luxury B&B with only three suites in the magnificent Provence. A former hunting pavilion built in the 18th century, the guest house in Cucuron sits on 11 acres and is surrounded by vineyards, orchards, and with enchantingly beautiful gardens. The suites offer panoramic landscape views of Luberon National Park. It is a very calm and private retreat with the most stylish setting that gracefully combines traditional stone-wall architecture with contemporary comforts and amenities. For example, you can choose between their heated infinity pool or the property’s natural pools that even have a small beach.
Pavillon de Galon is an 18th century hunting pavilion. Please tell us a bit about the history of the property.
It’s very interesting because Pavillon de Galon used to be a very important Roman villa. We have the most important water spring on this side of the Luberon and the Romans are, of course, very clever, so they mined it to bring the water directly to our place. It works naturally with no pump or electricity, apparently coming from the south of the Alps.
Later on, for the wealthier people in the 18th century in Provence, the countryside provided a pleasant escape from the towns. Hunting pavilions were built for people who wanted to come with friends for hunting, and for pretty girls. As opposed to Bastides or manor houses, that were more for the family. So it is kind of a pavillon de plaisir.
The original owner was a shipowner and he had boats going to the Americas, from where he brought back plants and trees that were planted here. Some of the trees we have on the terrace are more than 250 years old and have been classified as some of the oldest in Provence.
What was the inspiration to open Pavillon de Galon?
I’m Parisian and after Paris and many travels we decided to come to the Mare Nostrum, the most beautiful climate on Earth. The Luberon region is trendy and expensive, and we thought this valley would not be for us. But destiny is not always under control. We really liked the 18th century architecture and gardens, the fantastic, extraordinary trees, and the pools with water. It is just fabulous.
What would you describe to be the spirit of Pavillon de Galon and your philosophy?
It is all about living with nature.
In your opinion, what is the secret of being a good host?
I realized that if you don’t share a beautiful place, you just go crazy. The first time I thought of this I was working hard in the garden. I thought that if someone is doing this kind of work and is getting so involved in it but has to keep it private and hidden behind big walls for people not to see it from the road, the guy will become totally schizophrenic. We try to share nature, it is important to share beauty.
And our guests really appreciate that and they like the fact that if they want to be on their own, they’re completely on their own, and if they need anything, they know we are here to help them since we actually live here as well.
What kind of guests do usually come to stay at Pavillon de Galon?
The other day we looked at the type of people who come here, who they are. Many are writers, artists, intellectuals, famous people in the movie industry, and they come here to relax. They know they can escape the outside world being here and at the same time live a pretty simple life.
What else is there to do in the region?
Just behind us, 600 meters behind the Pavillon on the north side, we have the Luberon mountain, which is pretty impressive. It’s 1,200 meters. It’s a very wide mountain with 60 percent of all the European butterflies. If someone loves butterflies, it’s really the place to come. And a lot of our guests also come here to go to the famous music and opera festivals and about two hours away we have very good skiing as well.
To you personally, what has been most rewarding about running Pavillon de Galon?
I think the enthusiasm of some people to consider this their preferred place on Earth. For example, we have a very busy and important person who works with the United Nations and lives in Madagascar who comes to visit regularly. When he’s here, he’s totally at peace with nature, spending his time meditating or drawing the landscape. When we get guests like this, they find their peace here.