Le Pigonnet -A garden where Cezanne wandered…

Le Pigonnet is a beautiful Hotel in Aix en Provence, France, tucked away from the town centre, albeit not far away. Le Pigonnet is from the French word Pigeonniere ( Pigeon House). As you enter along a magnificent tree-lined avenue to view the hotel, you would be surprised by the humble entrance. Le Pigonnet was originally a Provencal mansion in the 18th Century, and many of the charming features remain. Once inside, the entrance is more like a family home than a foyer of a modern hotel and venue for locals and tourists alike. The classic French doorway opens into a stunning contemporary French style with traditional charms- like stepping back in time and simultaneously feet firmly in the 21st Century. We were fortunate to stay at Le Pigonnet in June 2019.

Upon our arrival, what is truly magical is that the Hotel sits in magnificent gardens, and they surround the Hotel and can be viewed from every room. The garden forms a tranquil, shaded, unique and fascinating green space for the guests to enjoy and view not only from their rooms but from every dining area and all the shared spaces; breakfast terrace, bars and restaurants. The Gardens were in the early days (before a Hotel) a favourite place where the artist Paul Cezanne would wander the Gardens with his easel for different views of the Sainte Victoire Mountain in the distance. I admit it was the glorious garden that made me choose this hotel for our stay in the South of France.

Le Pigonnet’s address is 5, Avenue du Pigonnet, Aix-en-Provence, France a hotel that brings Aix locals and tourists together for fine dining, special events and music on a regular basis. We were fortunate that a party was held on one of the nights we stayed and so were able to enjoy live music and the Joie de vie of French hospitality and fun.

The Hotel was originally an 18th-century Manor and was a family-run Hotel from 1924 to 2014. The highlights of the Hotel are the statue of Saint Peter, the ancient chestnut tree, the imposing long tree-lined driveway entrance and the welcoming ambience of the magnificent gardens. The Hotel is now owned by Esprit de France who have maintained the unique nature of the Hotel including the lush gardens and surrounds.

Unlike many Gardens, we happened across in France the Hotel facilities such as restaurants, bars and outdoor heated pool are actually within and of the garden rather than separate spaces. The charming stone terrace hosts breakfast and dinner accompanied often by live music and sits right in amongst the trees, hedges and greenery of this fabulous garden.

We stayed at Le Pigonnet in Aix en Provence for a few days so enjoyed many opportunities to soak up the pleasure of a secluded spot in the shade from the ancient chestnut tree, to sit and have tea in the garden and listen to the birds playing in the numerous fountains.

Not forgetting the roses, for Le Pigonnet has within the old stone walls, many beds of roses. As you stroll along the walkways away from the shade of the ancient trees, rose blooms glow in the sun.

An aspect of visiting magnificent gardens on one’s travels is that, unlike in your own garden at home, you can relax and not feel the terrible urge to attend to something. As Lewis Gannet American Journalist was quoted as saying

“Gardening is a kind of disease. . . . When you go visiting, your eyes rove about the garden; you interrupt the serious cocktail drinking because of an irresistible impulse to get up and pull a weed.”

Rose arbour without blooms.

This area pictured above is often used for musical and dance recitals with guests viewing from hidden nooks and crannies amongst the foliage.

Le Pigonnet has many of the essential elements of classic French-style Jardins including leafy green arbours and garden rooms, statues, hedges, garden rooms, walkways various types of fruit and pine trees planted in rows, pergolas, archways and plenty of fountains and water features.

Aix en Provence called Aix by the locals is the cultural hub of the South of France. It was a delightful stay at Le Piggonnet and we enjoyed the charm of a truly authentic Provincial home with the comfortable, elegance and atmosphere of a classic yet contemporary French Hotel. The interior of the hotel was minimalistic, yet interesting with fabulous touches of artefacts, light fittings, antiques and arching grand windows that framed the stunning gardens.

Content Di Baker 2019, reposted March 2022

Images Di Baker 2019 in France

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