Forget clinical-looking boot camps: after a tough 2020, this year’s approach to wellness is all about the joy of living. And when it comes to healing the soul, you can hardly do better than heading to the Airelle retreat in the south of France. Located in the perched village of Gordes, in the heart of Provence, La Bastide occupies the former 16th century stately home of the painter Marc Chagall, just a 40-minute drive from Avignon.
Designer Christophe Tollemer spearheaded the €33m (£30m) renovation project, which earned it coveted palace status in 2016. Interiors forgo modern lines and neutral palettes in favor of quirky, well-studied French maximalism comprised of period furniture, antique floor tiles, rich tapestries, ornate wallpaper, vintage books and over 2,000 paintings.
For the look of its Sisley spa, Tollemer was inspired by the nearby Notre-Dame de Sénanque abbey, the 12th-century Cistercian abbey built in the Romanesque style and set amid picturesque lavender fields. The spa reception is designed to look like an old apothecary, and the indoor pool, steam room and treatment rooms are accessed through arched stone hallways and heavy walnut doors, each opening to reveal stunning views on the surrounding Luberon mountains.
Days aren’t spent fasting, but feasting on Mediterranean fare, lounging by the pool, and venturing out on e-bike excursions. Nights are reserved for honey-colored sunsets, outdoor movie screenings, and stargazing. Welcome to the south.