It's an inspiring palette: from Marseille to Toulon, new chic and charming stops invite visitors to take leisure breaks on the waterfront. Lodgings come in Art Deco, artsy retreats or iconoclastic designs: here are five locations to enjoy a colorful Provence, nestled between land and sea.
The George Sand Hotel in La-Seyne-Sur-Mer: feet in the sand
Alfred (de Musset), Frederic (Chopin) or Tamaris? The 17 rooms of the 3-star George Sand Hotel have each a different name taken from a romantic universe or novels, for good reason: all their shutters open up to the blue sky over the sea and Les Sablettes beach! Described as "a paradise on Earth" by the writer who lived in the district of Tamaris in 1861, you can take advantage of these bright rooms with a guesthouse atmosphere. Enjoy a real well-being break here with your feet (almost) in the sand: some rooms have a jacuzzi on the terrace, where you can splash around in front of the sea!
Les Roches Blanches in Cassis: live the Roaring Twenties
Blanche (white) is the color of the rocky inlets that serve as the setting of this 19th-century mansion. It is also the shade selected for this house, entirely renovated in the spirit of Art Deco to better bring out the living colors of its decor: green terraced gardens, the deep blue of the Mediterranean and shimmering ocher of the cliff of Cape Canaille. Between rooms and suites with stylish decor, pools overlooking the sea and gourmet restaurants, you can enjoy a unique art de vivre experience in this 5-star hotel, reminiscent of the atmosphere of the Roaring Twenties, when Winston Churchill and Edith Piaf sunbathed around at the edge of the sea.
Les Bords de Mer at Marseille: a chic stay at the edge of the water
Here's another Art Deco look, this time from Hotel Richelieu, home to a dazzling view of the sea and the patina of past visitors. Sporting a new chic location on the cliff, the 1930s building has been transformed into a hotel overlooking the glory of the Mediterranean. In this 4-star spot, everything was designed to magnify the view of the sea, from the bay windows in its 19 rooms and suites, to the restaurant sitting at the water’s edge, where you can explore a generous menu of marine flavors. Want some sun? Go down to the terrace overlooking Catalans Beach to snack on pizza or an organic salad. But at night, go up to the roof for dinner under the stars, set to the music of the waves.
Grand Hôtel de la Gare in Toulon: a place to make yourself at home
“Qui part de Toulon perd la raison” ("Whoever leaves Toulon loses their mind) reads a proverb written in calligraphy on a wall in the breakfast room—this sums up the whimsical spirit inspired by the new generation in charge of this 3-star family hotel. A Haussmann-style hotel, interspersed with unique Chinese pieces picked out by a grandmother with more contemporary references: stairs decorated with reproductions of drawings of the 20th century, circus artists jumping out of the frames to jump on the walls of 39 rooms. This quirky hotel will make you crazy for Toulon!
The nhow hotel in Marseille: Provence meets design
On the cliff, one myth chases the other! Entirely transformed, the Palm Beach hotel has become Nhow Marseille, the new design icon of Marseille. Shoals of sardines made of stainless steel sucker to the ceiling of the Skybar, tags grace the walls of its 150 rooms, and a psychedelic tunnel with designer sofas are yours for the lounging. Like an maiden voyage, the decor of this 4-star hotel plays with contrasts between the sea and the city, the Provençal light and shadows. From darkness to full sunlight, from an icy blue to a bright warm yellow, there are plenty of sensations, including a relaxing stop at the Phytomer Spa with in-house spring water, or a gourmet break in the luminous setting of the Bains de Saveurs.