My first seven years dwelling in France, Good was my house. I crisscrossed the coast by bus, bike, and practice; road-tripped all through Provence’s lavender and sunflower fields; took ferries over to Saint-Tropez and the Lérins Islands; and hitched rides to buy on the Friday market within the Italian border city of Ventimiglia.

The Riviera I’ve all the time recognized has an invisible border in Cannes, the place the native practice line from Good arrives at its ultimate cease. The different aspect, en path to Marseille and the Calanques — jagged limestone cliffs encasing fjord-like aquamarine coves — is like coming into a wholly totally different area of France. On the practice journey right down to Cannes from Paris in mid-April, I couldn’t fairly place the seaside city of Théoule-sur-Mer — a reputation I’d solely seen flashing previous because the high-speed TGV practice whipped by means of the tiny station with out stopping.

The realm’s important attraction is the fantastical, bubble gum-pink Palais Bulles, dressmaker Pierre Cardin’s former “Bubble Palace” that might have been a stand-in as a set for Barbie. However the opening of Château de Théoule, French hospitality group Millésime Assortment’s first property on the Côte d’Azur, is getting down to make this sleepy seaside city a vacation spot of its personal — a extra intimate model of close by Hôtel Belles Rives in Juan-les-Pins. Each spots have wealthy histories (F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote “Tender Is the Evening” when he lived on the house that might grow to be Belles Rives), however Château de Théoule’s story feels just like the plot of a Juliette Binoche movie that veers off in 5 totally different instructions.

Working initially as a savonnerie, or cleaning soap manufacturing unit, when it opened in 1630, it rapidly shuttered so it wouldn’t compete with close by fragrance capital Grasse. The primary renovation didn’t happen till the top of the Nineteenth century when the kid of rich silk retailers from Lyon (the town as soon as was the capital of the European silk commerce and the place Hermès’s ateliers are nonetheless positioned) took over the property.

In 1910, Scottish Lord M. Harry Crowford added the heavy-handed ending Tudor touches within the type of turrets and serrated ramparts earlier than transferring together with his mistress to the dual fortress throughout the bay, the place he may nonetheless maintain a watchful eye on his spouse and youngsters (the property is now a trip residence for French electrical energy firm EDF).

The French aren’t shy to share tales like this (in a single model I heard, the mistress was the nanny) — it’s all instructed very matter-of-fact in the identical method you may point out the château’s two-year-long renovations, a collaboration between ML Morand Legrix Architectes and the Bâtiments de France architects, the state-run group devoted to preserving historic monuments and websites.

“The historical past of this place — that was my fil conducteur (frequent thread) for the design,” explains Millésime’s decorator, Marie-Christine Mecoen. “This château handed by means of so many eras — I needed to spotlight the historical past however push the story in a brand new method.”

Courtesy of Chateau de Theoule by Millesime

Over my three days right here, I settled right into a slower tempo of life than I’m used to now in Paris. On morning strolls alongside the ocean with my canine, eating places obtained their catch-of-the-day and thoroughly etched menu additions in cursive on chalkboard indicators. Sailboats bobbed in neighboring Théoule harbor, empty masts forming a refrain of windchimes as an occasional breeze rustled. My former house in Good missed a superyacht-lined port, however this one had a way of calm.

Looking towards the Bay of Cannes, star-studded La Croisette is only a 20-minute drive away, however the two locales couldn’t appear additional aside. You gained’t see flashy designer labels and sky-high stilettos right here — there are many different locations close by if you wish to see-and-be-seen.

Whereas it wasn’t seashore climate (temperatures remained a gentle, crisp 50 levels), there was a pre-season vitality that felt virtually just like the final day of faculty as everybody was making ready for summer time days geared round rosé by the water. However shoulder season has all the time been my favourite time to be within the South of France — and Château de Théoule was the right base for exploring a special aspect of the Riviera.

Château de Théoule

  • Parts from every of the château’s house owners are woven into the modernized tackle the Nineteenth-century construction — suppose draped silk headboards, boudoir-inspired fringe lamps, and Second Empire-style furnishings and antiques.
  • Every room revolves round its personal theme, so no two are alike, and the design is anchored round a sole vintage.
  • The non-public sandy plage (a welcome departure from the Riviera’s pebble-covered coast) opens as much as rows of solar beds spilling out alongside the shore at La Plage Blanche.
  • The handy location to the area’s gateway airport in Good locations company equidistant from Monaco and Saint-Tropez, that are about an hour away by non-public boat.

The Rooms

Gaelle Le Boulicaut/Courtesy of Chateau de Theoule by Millesime

The 34 rooms and 10 suites are unfold throughout the unique château and two adjoining villas. Every design and colour palette highlights a special side of the château’s historical past and signature notes in fragrances like my second-floor duplex room dubbed La Valérianne (a nod to the valerian flower utilized in perfumes). Rattan palm tree lighting fixtures crown both sides of my mattress, and wealthy textures like plum velvet armchairs and woven rugs mix harmoniously with the ochre-colored partitions.

Gauzy, custom-made eggshell-white linen curtains from Parisian inside design firm Maison de Vacances cling over the floor-to-ceiling window that doubles as a built-in glass balcony. Curtains additionally separate the lavatory (outfitted with KOS PARIS toiletries) from the remainder of the room, and a {custom} scent crafted in Grasse wafts all through. In the primary château’s rooms, Mecoen, a former antiques vendor, blended antiques sourced all through France (“There’s a spot in Good I’ve been going to for 40 years that’s like Ali Baba’s cave,” she says) with extra trendy touches like mirrored armoires (mirrors are a typical theme all through), walk-in double showers (that is her signature), and round soaking tubs.

Rooms within the Artwork Deco villa subsequent door are softer and coastal-themed, with pastel shades impressed by colours of the seafloor, Thirties-style seashell lighting fixtures, and glass-encased showers going through the Mediterranean. All rooms exhibit views of the Bay of Cannes, however just some have balconies or out of doors patios opening out to the pool or gardens. (Not one of the duplex rooms have an outside house.)

Meals and Drink

Gaelle Le Boulicaut/Courtesy of Chateau de Theoule by Millesime

Gastronomic Italian eatery Mareluna, within the Artwork Deco villa, spills out onto a terrace, giving Taormina vibes. The design is playful but coastal stylish with burnt-orange velvet crescent-shaped couches, mosaic-clad partitions, and assertion items like a Julius Caesar bust. With younger chef Francesco Fezza on the helm, the crew is off to an formidable begin on their mission to safe a Michelin star. (Fezza reduce his tooth alongside Ducasse protégé Jocelyn Herland at Le Meurice in Paris.)

Gaelle Le Boulicaut/Courtesy of Chateau de Theoule by Millesime

The Amalfi Coast-raised chef sources components on twice-weekly visits to Cannes’s Marché Forville and from different native producers for a menu that integrates the lodge’s theme of perfume and scent (starters are known as high notes, mains are coronary heart notes, and desserts are base notes). Dishes mix Provençal flavors with Italian touches for plates like ossobuco tortellini, squid ink tagliatelle with Menton lemon and smoked herring roe, and pigeon with stuffed morel mushrooms.

Gaelle Le Boulicaut/Courtesy of Chateau de Theoule by Millesime

Even for those who sip one of many cocktails with a small plate, like a truffle croque-monsieur or pissaladiére onion tart on the bar, you’ll nonetheless go on a gastronomic journey. Cocktails — that are additionally out there at seashore membership La Plage Blanche — shake up classics for variations just like the Bloody Might Day, squid ink-infused mezcal with a tomato and olive oil vinegar and Strawberry Fields, elderberry-infused gin blended with strawberry purée, vanilla syrup, tonic, and egg white. 

Facilities and Experiences

Gaelle Le Boulicaut/Courtesy of Chateau de Theoule by Millesime

Throughout my go to, it was too early within the season for the few seashore bars within the space, which is in full swing about now, due to the Cannes Movie Competition. The lodge’s non-public seashore membership, La Plage Blanche, was open solely on weekends once I visited, however in excessive season, the restaurant and bar might be open every day for lunch and dinner (seashore chair reservations begin at 45 euros and are open to exterior company). Because the climate warms, the lounger-lined pool may also characteristic a bar that stays open till 11 p.m. Although I couldn’t lounge beachside, I spent my afternoons absorbing the solar at a desk within the backyard whereas studying and sipping a glass of rosé.

From the lodge’s non-public boat slip within the neighboring harbor, you possibly can depart on a full- or half-day cruise to clear-as-glass coves and underwater sculpture parks between the close by Lérins Islands, the place you possibly can dock for lunch at movie star hotspot La Guérite. The rust-red Massif de l’Estérel mountain vary that descends to the ocean can be carved with mountain climbing trails and staggering cliffs nice for trekkers and climbers. 

The Spa

Gaelle Le Boulicaut/Courtesy of Chateau de Theoule by Millesime

Millésime’s signature wellness idea, Éc(h)o Spa, is intensive for such an intimate property. Therapies just like the 90-minute signature scorching seashell therapeutic massage — Coquillages d’Azur, carried out with polished tiger clam shells and ending with a rejuvenating LED masks — are provided in three therapy rooms (one is outside on the seashore membership), or company can go for a therapeutic massage in-room. The ending touches have been being added once I visited, however now that the spa is full, plan to spend a complete morning or afternoon soaking within the indoor jacuzzi or two out of doors Nordic baths overlooking the Mediterranean. A health heart can be on the way in which, however within the meantime, company can e book a private coach or non-public yoga session.

Household-friendly Choices

All the rooms on the second flooring of the château are duplexes — apart from the expansive Merveilleuse Suite, which extends out to a terrace topped with a jacuzzi — and have a twin mattress on the higher stage, making it a superb choice for households for the reason that lodge doesn’t have connecting rooms. Close to the spa, the two,200-square-foot, three-room Maison de Pêcheurs (a transformed fisherman’s home) takes over one of many lodge’s three buildings, giving households or teams of associates an onsite non-public villa expertise.

Château de Théoule presents facilities for infants and youngsters like a starfish toy and child equipment by French skincare model Mustela. Pets additionally obtain an in-room deal with on arrival.

Accessibility and Sustainability

Château de Théoule’s sustainability initiatives concentrate on sourcing native components and avoiding single-use plastics and packaging. The doorway, all public areas, and the bar and gastronomic restaurant are accessible. Some visitor rooms are on the bottom flooring, however vacationers with decreased mobility can entry upper-level rooms by way of elevator.


A forty five-minute drive from the Good airport or 20 minutes from the Cannes practice station, the lodge is a perfect base for exploring the French Riviera by land and sea. Skip the site visitors through the Cannes Movie Competition or the bustling summer time months and cruise over to La Croisette by boat (the Théoule-sur-Mer port is a three-minute stroll from the lodge) or hop on board a water taxi to dine alongside the water at jet-set favourite Anjuna in Èze.

Learn how to Get the Most Worth Out of Your Keep

Château de Théoule is a part of the boutique Millésime Assortment, so it isn’t linked to a loyalty or factors program. Charges in excessive season (mid-June to mid-September) are comparable with the remainder of the French Riviera (learn: dear), so one of the best time to go to is within the low or shoulder season months (October, April, Might), when charges are a fraction of the value, beginning round 360 euros per evening. Like most resort cities on the Riviera, the lodge shuts for the winter season in October and reopens in April.

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