Updated: Aug 21
My name is Marcia. I spent a wonderful week of immersion with Virginie. I want to share a trip that left a big impression on me.
That day, after breakfast and the morning lesson on the conditional, we left for Aix-en-Provence. We took gas on the road, which was not easy. The refineries were on strike at the time. After a visit to the beautiful city of Aix-en-Provence, we went to lunch at the Hotel Caumont.
I. Hotel Caumont in Aix en Provence: a historical monument
1. What is the Hotel Caumont in Aix-en-Provence?
In short, the Hôtel de Caumont is a magnificent mansion. It was built in the 18th century and has recently been restored to become a cultural venue. It now houses an art center.
Virginie loves the Hotel de Caumont. She tells me that sometimes it's difficult for her to remember the dates or the type of architecture of the monuments. What she likes most is the history of the monuments and their legends.
2. A little history of the Hôtel de Caumont in Aix-en-Provence
Virginie tells me as we enter the courtyard of the Hotel de Caumont that this magnificent mansion belonged to the Caumont family. Their daughter, Pauline, aged 16, married Louis de Brancas. He himself came from a noble family and therefore had an enviable social position.
However, Pauline de Caumont's family was extremely rich and influential, and her dowry was considered one of the largest of her time. In addition, Pauline de Caumont was known for her beauty and charm, which helped make her marriage to Louis de Brancas one of the most enviable of her time.
Louis de Brancas was therefore considered to have received the best dowry and the best marriage of his time due to the wealth and social position of his wife, as well as his own position as a noble in society.
They had 4 children together. Their marriage was very tumultuous. They eventually separated. Pauline bought the Hotel de Caumont in 1742 and organized sumptuous parties and receptions there. She was a woman known for her good taste and generosity.
In addition to a rich history and an art center, the Hotel Caumont has a café-restaurant. It is a charming place that offers local cuisine and fresh seasonal products.
II. Our lunch at the Caumont Hotel in Aix-en-Provence
1. Where is the Hotel Caumont restaurant located in Aix-en-Provence?
The Hotel Caumont is built on 2 floors. The restaurant is located on the ground floor to the right when entering the Hotel Caumont. It is housed in the former orangery of the hotel, which has been transformed into a bright and friendly space. We entered the restaurant. We arrived around noon, which is early for the French. If you arrive between 12:30 pm and 2 pm, there will surely be a rope to invite you to queue, with a sign indicating that you must wait to be seated.
2. Lunch in the Hotel Caumont restaurant in Aix-en-Provence
When we arrived, we were able to get a table outside. The waiter came to explain the daily menu and specifically the dish of the day. That day, the Hotel de Caumont offered scallops in squid ink on a bed of seasonal vegetables.
With Virginie, we burst out laughing because she saw from my expression that I didn't understand anything. I still wanted to try it. I did well because it was delicious. We didn't have desserts. However, the Hotel de Caumont offers absolutely delicious traditional desserts such as lemon meringue pie, Tarte Tropézienne, or apple tart. The menu changes regularly. But we were really full. I had a coffee, but I had forgotten that French coffee is so strong. So I had to add two packets of sugar. Second burst of laughter during lunch.
After our lunch, we left our table to take a walk in the French garden of the Hôtel de Caumont.
3. The French garden that borders the restaurant of the Hôtel Caumont in Aix-en-Provence
The garden is located behind the hotel and is open to the public. We strolled through the alleys and admired the different flowerbeds and fountains. The garden is a peaceful haven in the middle of the city, and it's a perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.
In conclusion, our visit to the Hôtel Caumont in Aix-en-Provence was a delightful experience. We enjoyed discovering the history of this beautiful monument and its transformation into a cultural center. The restaurant of the Hôtel Caumont offered a delicious meal in a charming setting, and the French garden was the perfect ending to our visit. We would definitely recommend a visit to the Hôtel Caumont to anyone visiting Aix-en-Provence.
If you are coming for an immersion stay in Provence, I really invite you to contact Virginie in Provence. She will be happy to make you discover the different aspects of Provence: landscapes and scents, but also culture, gastronomy... while helping you to improve your French.