Set in the cultural capital of Aix-en-Provence, Hotel Le Pigonnet inspires relaxation through its lush gardens, refined touches and fantastic restaurant.
At the end of a long driveway, Hotel Le Pigonnet idles leisurely, covered in a plush sheet of wandering green ivy. More luxury chateau, rather than hotel, the character and extravagance is immediate and is exactly what I imagined a hotel in the South of France to be like. Rod iron tables and chairs sat amongst bright green gardens, covered with blooming flowers and the sun was shining so perfectly - as if it knew we were photographers looking for that perfect shot. Our first impression was great, really great!
Once a favorite escape for French painter Paul Cezanne, Hotel Le Pigonnet is now a getaway for legendary French actors, locals looking for an escape and plenty of international tourists, looking for a bit of French countryside. We always wanted to visit Aix (which is what locals call the city, pronounced as “X”), and given that the hotel is one of the only five star spots in the city, we had to see what it was all about.
Dreamlike Gardens and Classic Design
Hotel Le Pigonnet is located conveniently, just a ten-minute walk from the city center. If you take a train into Aix, the hotel is only a few minutes away and they offer a complimentary pick-up service, which is always a plus. When we arrived, we were immediately swooned by the central feature of the hotel’s design: the gardens. Hotel Le Pigonnet is surrounded by some of the most vivid, gorgeous gardens I’ve ever seen. The little details came together that was mesmerizing—flowers of many varieties dazzled, fountains trickled, and sculptures stood against a background of rich greenery.
Inside, the lobby presented more like a private home foyer. The interior design was minimalistic and soft, with touches of elegance, like the big, arching windows and ornate, hanging light fixtures. Overall, the atmosphere was comfortable and classically French.
Amenities at Hotel Le Pigonnet
Our room wasn’t quite ready when we arrived, so we rested in the gardens with a glass of rosé...not a bad way to wait. Wandering through the gardens or simply lounging within them was one of the highlights of our stay. The gardens are naturally relaxing, and create a calm ambient that remained constant throughout our trip. While the gardens feel like an amenity themselves, Hotel Le Pigonnet also offers a wellness center with heavenly spa services and a fitness room. If you’re looking to get into the city, there are complimentary transfers to the center whenever you need.
Breakfast at the hotel was served daily. Of course, we sat in the garden, enjoying the tastiest breads, pastries, cheeses, charcuteries, fruits, and espressos. It was buffet-style, and a delicious way to start our day! It felt like a scene from a 19th century romance novel or something, enjoying our coffee under morning light in the garden complex.
Every Room is One of a Kind
Hotel Le Pigonnet is divided into two separate wings. While one is modernly designed, the other stays true to classic French style. Throughout our stay, we stayed in a classic room located in the hotel’s main building. All of the rooms in our wing were uniquely designed, yet all carried the same French theme. Every room is equipped with basic amenities, and designed in a fashion that extends the elegant atmosphere of the hotel. Though our room was small, it didn’t matter because we were out all day walking through the city center or tasting rosé whenever we could.
Dining and Drinking at La Table du Pigonnet
Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, you must dine at their restaurant, La Table du Pigonnet. La Table du Pigonnet is everything I ever dreamed a restaurant in the South of France to be...in fact this entire trip felt like a dream! Soft jazz played in the background, flickering candles were in every direction, all overlooking the gardens in the shade of chestnut trees. La Table du Pigonnet manifests absolute elegance without pretentiousness and arrogance. I was worried I would be underdressed in ripped jeans, heels, and a leather jacket, but soon realized that what I was wearing didn’t matter at all.
As we settled into our private dining area, set before French doors opening to the gardens, I sipped on rosé champagne while Chris drank Pastis, a French aperitif that tastes like anise. The cuisine at the restaurant prides on authentic, Provencal flavors presented in a modern and refined way. We started with a beautifully presented tomato tartar, served with crispy Parmesan and blanched asparagus.
Next we indulged in the sea bass Carpaccio, accompanied with blinis (little buckwheat pancakes)—we loved that the dish played on Thai flavors, like lemon grass. The roasted pigeon was flavorful and my risotto complemented by green vegetables and a basil emulsion was fantastic. Our waitress chose the wine for our meal, and she chose perfectly! All the wines were from the region, and enhanced each and every flavor in the dishes we ordered.
Before or after enjoying your meal at La Table du Pigonnet, make sure to check out the two bars located at the hotel. Le 1924 is an indoor bar with a clubby British vibe, offering homemade cocktails, wine, cognac, and cigars. If you can’t get enough of the gardens, stop by Côté Jardin, located in the garden’s terrace. The bar specializes in classic cocktails and has Mediterranean style tapas for snacking. Both venues have fun, musical atmospheres, so it’s best to check them both out!
Aix-en-Provence: A Cultural Capital of France
Just a ten-minute walk from Hotel Le Pigonnet is the city center of Aix-en-Provence, where you can dive into the culture of the area. The city center has shopping, restaurants, cafes, and architecture to keep you constantly in awe of Aix. Aix is considered a cultural capital of France, and you can enjoy all the city has to offer year round. Our experience in Aix was phenomenal, and Hotel Le Pigonnet made it even better.
For more information about Hotel Le Pigonnet, visit their website: