La Mirande

Avignon, Provence, France Book from Book from £356 per night

Classical interiors, seductive food and exceptional service are the hallmarks of this grand hotel, which overlooks the famous Papal Palace
La Mirande - one of the loveliest buildings in Avignon - stands opposite the southern wall of the Papal Palace and was once owned by the physician of Napoleon III. The façade dates to 1688, the dining room to the 14th century, and on this land once stood the Palace of the Cardinals. Outside, the cobbled streets of the old town are strictly for feet, not cars, making this one of the quietest city hotels you’ll ever find. And all things Avignon are on your doorstep.

Inside, a treasure-trove of beautiful things awaits, not least in the excellent restaurant (don’t miss the tasting menu). The hub of the hotel is the interior patio, where afternoon tea is irresistible. Elsewhere, chandeliers aplenty in the drawing-room bar; English decorum in the pretty breakfast room; a sublime walled garden that shines in summer. The smart rooms come in country-house style, with marble bathrooms, enticing beds, the very best linen and the most wonderful wallpaper, plus almost all overlook the palace.

Highs

  • This beautiful old mansion has an unbeatable position opposite the Papal Palace
  • We were utterly blown away by the food, which is served in a 14th-century dining room
  • The terraced garden is a real boon in the middle of the city
  • Staff excel at delivering brilliant service throughout the hotel
  • A great base for day trips around Provence

Lows

  • It is undoubtedly expensive, but this is a beautiful hotel and they rarely come cheap
  • The buffet breakfast is pricey, and while the spread is extensive, you can head to nearby cafés and pay a lot less
  • The city can get very busy during its summer festival (mid-July/early August)
  • Parking is an issue; we got lost in Avignon’s narrow streets trying to find somewhere to leave the car

Best time to go

Avignon is a small city, thus a year-round destination. The festival draws 200,000 people into the city walls between mid-July and early-August, so if you want to avoid the crowds, steer clear then.

Our top tips

Take a drive to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (30 minutes by car) and visit Saint-Paul de Mausole, the institute Van Gogh admitted himself to. It's a hauntingly beautiful complex where he painted some of his most famous works. You can stand at the window in his former bedroom and gaze out across the lavender. While in town, check out the Roman ruins at Glanum.

Great for...

Foodie
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 26 rooms
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

This is a small, grand hotel and smart rooms come as standard. All shine in English country-house style, and all but 3 have fine views of the Papal Palace.

Expect an uncluttered, period feel throughout, with smart fabrics on the walls, sisal matting on polished wood floors, and beautifully upholstered armchairs. Wallpapered bathrooms come in coloured marble; most have shower heads above the baths.

Each room is completely individual, and none are small. We stayed in a Deluxe room, and loved our wooden writing desk and wallpaper from which the hotel derived its logo. The Suite is for those who want to splash out, and features 6 huge windows and a separate living area. Beds - turned down while you’re away at dinner - are extremely comfortable and come with beautiful white linen. Expect gilt-framed mirrors, acres of curtains, French antique touches, and fruit laid out neatly on a plate with pressed white napkins.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • TV

Eating

Dinner is the main attraction, and it’s served in the 14th-century Cardinal’s room. Our meal here was nothing short of exquisite. We opted for the 5-course tasting menu (à la carte is also available), and ate mushroom and truffle soup, gnocchi with fresh Provencal vegetables, magnificent cheeses, and champagne ice topped with golden sugar curls and liquor-infused raspberries. Utterly faultless.

Breakfast is served either in the garden or in a pretty room overlooking it. You harvest from a big central dining table that is crammed with temptation. You’ll find poached apricots and figs, delicious pears, a big bowl of fruit salad, perhaps a cake of fromage blanc. There are also baskets of croissants, baguettes, homemade jams, and plates of meat and cheese.

Lunch is served in the dining room, and you can order light snacks in the drawing-room bar, the patio and the garden (during the summer). There’s afternoon tea, too. Extremely tempting cakes go out on display on the patio, making all resistance futile.

The guest table is a chance to eat in the original 19th-century kitchen (which is predictably beautiful). Your dinner is cooked in front of you on a wood-fired stove, then eaten communally at a big kitchen table.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating: Chinese Cabinet
Activity:

Activities

  • Take a cooking class in the 19th-century kitchen with the very best chefs from the region

  • Explore the Papal Palace. The Avignon popes lived here from 1307-1377 (the antipopes stayed until 1408), but the palace didn’t rise until Benedict XII took the reins in 1334

  • See Le Pont d’Avignon, which fails - in some style - to cross the Rhône. You can walk down through the attractive gardens of Rocher des Doms for splendid views of the bridge and the river below

  • There are a number of good museums in town, not least Musée du Petit Palais, where you can see an exceptional collection of medieval art

  • Spend a day in the wine fields of Chateauneuf du Pape, which were cultivated to serve the popes of Avignon

  • Head to The Luberon to explore the beautiful hilltop villages. Pierre Cardin puts on opera in a quarry in Lacoste every summer

  • L’Isle-sur-La-Sorgue is home to one of Europe’s biggest antiques markets, which takes place every Sunday; browse its 350 stalls that wind through the narrow streets of the old town and spill out across the water

  • Take a day trip to Uzès, one of the best-preserved medieval towns in France

  • Marvel at The Pont du Gard, a magnificent Roman aqueduct that dates to 50AD, is built on three levels and stands 49m high

  • See the magnificent Roman architecture in Nimes - it's amphitheatre is the best-preserved in Europe, while the Temple in Place Carrée is the only fully-preserved Roman temple in the world

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Children are welcome.

Family friendly accommodation:

Deluxe rooms can take a baby cot; Grand Deluxe rooms a rollaway bed and a baby cot. Families could also book the Suite for 3-4 (the Suite and a Deluxe room combined).

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Location

La Mirande is set in the centre of Avignon, in the south of France.

By Air:
Avignon (10km) is your nearest airport; Nimes (58km) and Marseille (85km) are close, too.

From the Airport
The hotel can arrange a transfer from the airport, or you can jump in a taxi.

By Train:
Avignon is served by TGV (high speed train); journey time from London is about 6 hours, which makes it barely any longer than flying. If you're just visiting Avignon on this trip, it's an excellent option. The station is about 1km from the hotel.

By Car:
If you want to explore the region, consider hiring a car. Please see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

Airports:

  • Avignon 10.0 km AVN
  • Nimes 58.0 km FNI

Other:

  • Beach 75.0 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
8/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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