Pictures of the floating world

Terre Blanche: Grasse, La Colle Noire and other sights

This is your sign to book a trip to the south of France and visit Terre Blanche!

By Anna Purpurpurpur

This October, I was invited to stay at a magnificent hotel less than an hour from both Nice and Cannes: Terre Blanche Hotel Spa and Gold Resort. Let me show you Provencal towns and Côte d’Azur gems you can explore around this area using Terre Blanche as your base and the highlights of my stay.

Grasse

When you say Grasse, you say ‘perfume.’ It’s the capital of the perfumery and perfume industry!

Grasse used to be known for its leather production; however, since the 18th century, the town has become known for its flower farming. Rose de Mai, used by Chanel and Dior; jasmin brought by Moors in the 16th century; tuberose; lavender; violets, and fleur d’oranger are all grown here in large quantities thanks to an extraordinary microclimate favourable for the plants. 

As many raw flower materials are grown here, many perfume houses and their fabrics are located in the area, and others collaborate with local producers. Among the famous perfume houses that you can visit are Fragonard, Molinard, and Galimard. The schools of ‘noses’ – perfumery schools – are based here too.

There are quick a few landmarks to see in Grasse ( I’ll publish a guide to it later) including main tourist street Rue Jean Ossola, the 12th-century Cathedral Notre-Dame-de-Puy, the gorgeous Town Hall – Hôtel de Ville, and of course MIP, International Museum of Perfumery,  and Fragonard Museum, factory, and boutique.

Château de La Colle Noire and Dior legacy

I would have missed Château de La Colle Noire if not for my kind driver – he pointed to it and told me its history!

Actually, this property was acquired and redesigned by Christian Dior with the help of a Russian architect, Andreï Svetchine. Dior’s father, Maurice, lived around Montauroux, near Callian, with Christian’s sister Catherine, who inspired the creation of Miss Dior perfume, so Christian knew this very well. Access to the Chateau is limited, so I’ve been able to see it only from the outside. So, I enclose the official photos of it. 

Maurice Dior is buried not far away from here, too, at the Cimetière de Callian.

Saint-Cassien lake 

Lac de Saint-Cassien is a natural wonder located pretty close to Terre Blanche. Stretching around 7 km long from north to south, you can observe its wild, untouched beauty or participate in water activities such as sailing on a pedal boat or canoe (look for the rental closest to you).

There are some zones for picnics as well, although a large part of the lake is not developed.

The remnants of Viaduc du Riou de Gourdon

Visiting Terre Blanche, you’ll be thinking of how tranquil and peaceful the surroundings are. However, sadly, this area was also torn by WWII.

As a historical remnant of it, there is Viaduc du Riou de Gourdon, a large arched bridge over Gorge de Loup that was destroyed by Germans in 1944. It used to be a distinctive landmark of the area featured on the postcards (as the one featured below dating to 1895); however, now you can spot just a small piece of it left. 

Terre Blanche

Terre Blanche is a five-star luxury hotel, spa, and golf resort in the Pays de Fayence, south of France. The property belonged to the Bouge family from the end of the 19th century till 1979, when it was acquired by Sean Connery (my favourite James Bond!). Later, famous golf enthusiast Dietmar Hopp saw potential in the property and bought it.

I stayed in the Premier Suite with a private terrace overlooking picturesque villages and hill slopes of Pays de Fayence.

Apart from a living room, bedroom, and terrace , I had a large bathroom in terracotta hues to go along with the rest of the decorations.

The highlights of the hotel are the artistic touches. Provencal lavish nature is enhanced by sculptures you can meet any now and then (among the artists whose pieces you can see are Jean Miro, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Antony Gormley).

The territory itself is vast, spreading over 750 acres: you can take a buggy to move between locations; however, it’s a shame to miss the tranquillity of walking under the shadows of olives along the tidy paths and enjoying the aromas of blooming plants around. For golf enthusiasts, there are two 18-hole golf courses (I deeply regretted being an amateur in golf, although I utterly enjoyed my rounds around some famous British golf venues such as St Andrews).

You can relax by the pool area overlooking Provencal scenery or pay a visit to Terre Blanche spa.

The spa is located in a separate building, and there are a few zones inside the spa, including the Infusion Tea Room, the Garden, and the Pool area with several saunas, hammams, and ice fountains.

The upper part of the building is where the spa treatments take place (I had a facial with Valmont products and a few body treatments including a divine Balinese massage with a white tea flavored body oil). 

There are a few dining options inside the Terre Blanche as well. I went to Le Gaudina for a more relaxed experience and Les Caroubiers, a clubhouse restaurant overlooking a golf course. Menus of both showcase the local produce and the best of Provencal dishes with a high-end twist. 

For those traveling with kids, there are the Kids club, playground, and many kid-friendly activities such as meeting the donkeys or various workshops (if I would travel with my baby this time, I’d definitely attend those!)

What else can you see around Terre Blanche?

Villages of Tanneron, Montauroux, and Callian are among the closest to the hotel. You can explore other villages of the area, such as Fayence, famous for its farmers market, Mougins with a beautiful historical centre, or have a 30-40 min ride to the seashore to explore Nice and Cannes!

You might also like my other blogs about France:

Hope you enjoyed my blog,
Yours,
Anna xxx

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