Housed in a 16th century farmhouse that was once a base for sericulture, La Maison d’Ulysse is itself rich in history. For those seeking more, Gauthier Vandendriessche, one half of the hotel’s founders, provides his top recommendations for exploring and savouring the medieval history of the surrounding region.
Gauthier’s recommendation includes a visit to three medieval villages, all situated near the hotel: Lussan, with its idyllic location perched on a rock with unobstructed views of Mont Ventoux; Saint-Laurent-la-Vernède, a perfectly-intact medieval fort surrounded by large stone walls that mask the peace and tranquillity of the village within; and Vézénobres, with its buildings that appear to hang onto the hill, with spectacular view of the Cevennes.
In Uzès, a medieval city itself, there are many terraces to discover where a glass of the local wine can be savoured before continuing on to explore the ancient alleyways and mansion-fronts that reside. The medieval garden is also worth a visit – with 450 varieties of plants, many of which can be found in La Maison d’Ulysse’s own gardens, there is much to explore before climbing the King’s Tower in the centre of the garden, offering magnificent views of the city below.
Just a 50-minute drive from La Maison d’Ulysse, Gauthier highly recommends a visit to the Abbey of Saint Roman – occupied by monks between the 6th and 17th centuries before becoming a private castle of which only ruins remain today. From the parking lot, a 600-metre path across wild shrubbery leads to this stunning stone-carved chapel which sits on top of 150 tombs and offers unobstructed views of the Rhône valley.
For those wanting to explore further, Gauthier recommends a full day discovering the picturesque town of Aigues-Mortes, once a major port which now sits much farther from the cost that it did during the Middle Ages. The village is just a 10-minute drive from Espiguette beach, which Gauthier describes as the most beautiful beach in the region. During the short journey between Aigues-Mortes and Espiguette beach, there is plenty to discover including the Camargue salt flats as well as the elusive pink flamingos, which can be spotted throughout the year.
After a long day of history and exploration, La Maison d’Ulysse offers the perfect retreat. A small luxury hotel located in the South of France, near Uzès, Nîmes and Avignon, the hotel is set in a lovingly restored 16th century building steeped in history, providing a relaxed, welcoming and authentic atmosphere.
As well as being surrounded by stunning gardens, the hotel includes a vaulted spa and Turkish baths, a heated outdoor pool and a wonderful Provençal restaurant. La Maison d’Ulysse was recently voted on the Top 25 Coolest Hotels in the World as selected by Forbes Magazine and Tablet.
For further information and reservations, please visit www.lamaisondulysse.com/en or call the hotel on +33 4 66 81 38 41.