Terre Blanche FranceFour Seasons Provence at Terre Blanche: An Idyllic Family Hideaway
For families on the go, sometimes the resort alone is the ultimate destination. Tucked away in a forgotten paradise of southern France is the Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche. You might have initially snubbed this resort as too far west for a Saveur Magazine-worthy exploration of Provence, or too far inland for dipping your toes in the cool waters of the Riviera. The truth is, what makes this resort so alluring is its refreshing isolation. The geniuses behind the resort intended for its guests to stay put – and they succeeded. Even better, the Four Seasons factored children in the equation. It’s where families go to unwind, surrounded by lush fields of lavender, sporty diversions, and exquisite food.
During your stay, expect nothing less than top-notch amenities – and the service to match. The Four Seasons brand will not fail you. In fact, you’ll probably take several showers each day just to lather yourself in complimentary L’Occitane products. The turndown service is an encore for the Provençal treats brought to you every evening.
The world-class spa is a 34,000-square-foot facility for the soul. Meditate in the Zen Studio, indulge in a unique skin treatment using local ingredients or sign up for a customized well-being program during your visit. The property’s infinity pool would once have lured you to its edge for hours of mindless gazing at the countryside. With children in tow, you might feel more at ease wading in the adjacent kids’ pool, before retreating to your cabana for nap time. The toughest decision your family may need to make is whether to finally finish reading the Harry Potter series on your outdoor patio, or gear up for a bicycle tour of the fragrant hills surrounding the resort.
What to do with the kids in such a remote oasis? Families can hike nearby trails, and arrange for other semi-rigorous outdoor sports like horseback riding and canoeing. However, if you’ve ever felt the need to cut the umbilical cord on vacation, this is the place to do it. Parents don’t need to feel guilty about dropping off the little ones at the Kids For All Seasons Club. They’ll be as happy as you’ll be, as you laze away the afternoon at the spa’s VIP Couples Suite. Peruse the menu of children’s activities and you’ll quickly realize why the Four Seasons dominates the family travel market. Seriously – the kids’ club is better than most summer camps back home. Forget sing-a-long hour – here, you can introduce the little ones to a cooking class, or let them explore the region’s plant life with the resident botanist. You are, after all, in Provence, right? If you have a little Tiger on your hands, then an afternoon at Albatross, one of Europe’s finest golf training facilities, is a must.
This out-of-the-way destination also delivers out-of-this-world food. The award-winning Faventia, the main restaurant, is an unforgettable dining experience. The outdoor breakfast buffet is a feast of riches: Brioche, pain au chocolat, plus all the baguettes, cheeses, fruits and charcuterie you could possibly need for a morning meal. Dinner is Mediterranean with a local twist – so fresh and tasty that the kids won’t even glance at the children’s menu.
Should you ever leave a resort intended to make you stay? Normally no, but there is way too much eye-candy in this part of the world. The Four Seasons Provence is closer to the French Riviera than to the more traditional towns of Provence. Ideally, families will rest and recharge at the resort for three to four days before kicking things up a notch and joining the well-heeled crowds at nearby Cote D’Azur or wandering around the medieval villages and olive groves of Provence
If you must part ways with your gracious hosts, try something a wee bit more laid-back than the Riviera beaches. Amplify the senses with a drive to nearby Grasse, the self-proclaimed perfume capital of the world. The most fragrant village in southern France is home to the International Perfume Museum, with one of the finest collections of perfume bottles and artifacts in the world.
For a more adventurous day-trip, head to Gorges du Verdon, a gorgeous gorge. The turquoise-green waters of France’s Grand Canyon are postcard-perfect, but it’s the daring sports that are the real draw, and the village of Castellane is the perfect base. Not for the faint of heart, parents with older children can try hot-dogging, a riveting inflatable canoe ride down the river. For something less extreme, but equally as thrilling, consider cliff diving, kayaking, or rock-climbing.
There’s no doubt that the Four Seasons Provence is geographically lucky, with the best attractions of southern France well within striking distance. But before you strike, sit back and let Provence come to you.