Hotel Le Moulin de Lourmarin in Provence, France

, April 3, 2024

Provence is privileged with an abundance of cultural waypoints, equally spread around the patch of Southern France along and inset from Cote d’Azur. The span reaches from the west at Arles and Les Recontres photography exhibition to Nice via Cannes, Saint-Tropez and Saint Paul de Vence. Nudge north from Marseille to the Luberon range to uncover a small parcel of elevated terrain located equidistant between the coast and southern flank of Mt. Ventoux.

A central base for Luberon gastro-athletic excursions, and a charming destination its own right, is Lourmarin. Briefly home to novelist Albert Camus, the small village has recently welcomed French hotel group Beaumier. With the help of Jaune Architecture, Beaumier carried out an ambitious conversion of a building once home to the village’s 18th century oil mill, opening their 35-key hotel in 2021. The building’s firm foundations and stone structure are immediately striking, setting the stage for running, cycling and convening with friends.

 Photo: Gaëlle Rapp Tronquit

The 35 bedrooms make the most of the original mill building, reaching out into four annexed buildings that Beaumier integrated in to the hotel. The 18m² Classic and 20m² Superior bedrooms make up half of the quota, with expansive Deluxe and Suite providing 40m² to 50m² of floorspace. Jaune and Beaumier chose to style all interiors the same, using pale hues with sisal yellows and ochre reds. Glazed tiles characterise bathrooms, clay creations made by Terres Cuites de Raujolles in Millau 80 miles west of Lourmarin.

Modern furnishings include Bang & Olufsen speakers, while toiletries from Grown Alchemist infuse bergamot, damask rose and sage. Polished steel Sjöstrand coffee machines are included in rooms, though pods don’t compare with coffee options at Les Commissions, a deli appendage to the hotel. Geberit toilets and dense overhead shower and tap fixtures cover water amenities, with a ceramic hood from Zangra hosting toilet rolls. Master switches and convenient charging locations extend the detailed attention to the basics.

Bacheto at Le Moulin de Lourmarin (Gaëlle Rapp Tronquit)

The large vaulted room on the ground floor of Le Moulin houses the Bacheto restaurant, described by the hotel with the ergonomic adjective “bistronomic”. Expect generous dishes combining seasonal produce in creative but not complicated combinations. A €25 breakfast option is the only morning option, followed with a lunch service and dinner from 7pm. Coffee is available throughout the day in the hotel and opposite at Les Commissions, with confident cocktails and competitive mocktails made at any hour.

Le Moulin doesn’t have a gym but has included a small pool in the courtyard behind Bacheto’s outdoor seating area. This and an indoor mezzanine area provide useful “breakout” areas for guests – laptop users and bookish readers aren’t strangers in Lourmarin.

Swimming pool at Le Moulin (Gaëlle Rapp Tronquit)

Beyond Le Moulin in Lourmarin itself, you can find a small supermarket as well as a postal office selling international newspapers. A handful of restaurants and wine bars cluster the central hub of the village. Aim to arrive by noon on Friday if you’re staying during the weekend – the Friday market is an attraction with multiple tapenade, olives, cheese, bread and charcuterie options to stock in the Italian IndelB fridge in your bedroom.

Training Notes

Lourmarin is perched on the lateral Luberon range, a band of muscular terrain made of rocky outcrops reaching up to 800m above-sea-level. Roads and trails weave through the narrow valleys, opening up a range of routes for cyclists or runners – varied but not punishing until your reach Mt. Ventoux 50km away.

Runners can use the lanes surrounding Lourmarin for uninterrupted tarmac road runs, or step sideways onto dry trails that reach up to ridge lines to the west of the village. A 12km / 420vm loop sets out from the outskirts of the village – head up Chem. de Pierrouret then look for a right turn at this sign. Access to other trails can be found up the D943 2km from Lourmarin (trailhead location). For a hill interval at 3% incline, also use Chem. de Pierrouret (photo of roadway).

Looking South towards Lourmarin

Cyclists willing to commit to 30+ miles have plenty of variety when setting out from Lourmarin. Terrain to the south is flatter, with more challenging gradual climbs to the north. A local route takes you down towards Bonnieux before cutting West to Luberon (a 17km route with 600m of climbing). A more rangy ride takes you due north and across to Gordes and the base of Mt. Ventoux – Chateau Ventouret could be one turning point, midway up the south-east face of Mt. Ventoux.

There is no swimming pool in Lourmarin. The nearest pool for swimming laps is in the nearby village of Charleval, Piscine Municipale des Bois.

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