MOOD — La Colombe d'Or

The French hotel that has been host to such extraordinary personalities as Pablo Picasso, Matisse, Calder, César and more...

Whether you are juggling or resting during this lockdown, nothing will feel better than a virtual tour through La Colombe d’Or — a family-run hotel tucked between the hills of Nice and Alps Maritimese in Provence, France.

Utterly charming, this rustic and discrete place to stay in the countryside is peppered with a priceless collection of art so extraordinary it could hang in the Tate Modern. For example, a line drawing of a female face by Matisse and a characteristically bold Picasso in a heavy gilded frame jostle for attention in the traditional dining room. A large Calder mobile hangs over the swimming pool, and there’s a Léger mosaic mural overlooking the terrace...

In 1920 local farmer Paul Roux opened a cafe bar in the tiny village of St Paul, which he later added three rooms above for patrons to stay the night. During the Second World War, painters and literati sought refuge on the Riviera. Many arrived at La Colombe d'Or where they paid for their stay or a few meals with paintings — this became the beginning of the most enchanting collection of artwork seen outside of a museum.
But the allure is really in the way in which these artworks are displayed — casually in the dining room and in each of the bedrooms. Each of the 25 room have a vintage charm: four-poster beds dressed in soft white linen and worn in Oriental rugs. The rest of the decor is understated so that your eye has the time to enjoy the masterpiece hanging within arms reach!
"In 1940 the South became the “free zone” and a whole variety of thinkers and artists moved to the Cote d’Azur, turning the Colombe d’Or into one of their places to meet. Some lodged and never really left."
The inevitable expansion of the hotel continued with the facade being assembled with stones from an old castle in Aix-en-Provence, and the architect Jacques Couelle designing a fireplace with the hand imprints of the people who helped to build it. Decades on, the Roux family still own and operate La Colombe d'Or today.
Photos from La Colombe d'Or. Read more, here.
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