L'Albiousse

Uzes, Provence, France Book from Eur175

Reviewed by Tom Bell
Magnificent B&B in a grand old house, bang in the middle of medieval Uzès
Uzès sparkles like no other, a magical medieval town with a market that snakes through mazy lanes before flowing into ancient Place aux Herbes. Blissful local countryside laps at the town’s walls and you can drop down from the cathedral and follow a path all the way out to Pont du Gard, a 1st-century Roman aqueduct that clearly qualifies as one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture on this planet. You can even grab a kayak upstream, then float down and pass under it… pure heaven!

This remarkable B&B stands on one of the oldest streets in town, its modest exterior giving way to stunning interiors. There’s a lush courtyard, a vaulted sitting room where a fire burns in winter, then a panelled dining room for delicious food - owners Gwilym and Alexis had a restaurant in Paris before moving south. As for the 5 bedrooms, well, we’ve saved the best for last. Expect gilded walls, chequerboard floors, 16th-century wooden ceilings, ornate marble fireplaces. Enormous beds sport gorgeous linen, there’s fabulous art, cool books and minibars ‘on the house’. And the suites are simply faultless, with daybeds on terraces, Apple Macs stuffed with music and films, and bathrooms that are predictably divine. Excellent restaurants wait in the lanes. Unmissable.

Highs

  • The suites are exceptional - uber-romantic and worth splashing out on
  • Very good breakfasts, served in the courtyard in the summer months - a perfect spot for croissants and coffee
  • Magical Uzès and its Saturday market - the best in Provence
  • The tranquil atmosphere - it's an adults-only place
  • You’re in a great position to explore - Nîmes, Arles, Avignon, St Remy, Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Mont Ventoux are all easily accessible

Lows

  • Communal dinners are by arrangement and not available every night, but great restaurants are on your doorstep
  • Expect a little noise to float up from the lanes below
  • There are no twin rooms
  • No private parking, but a secure car park nearby is reasonably priced

Best time to go

The B&B is open all year and this is a year-round destination, with excellent motorway access to all the places you’d want to see. August is the busiest month, when parking in small towns can be tricky. The run up to Christmas is a great time to come, with Christmas markets, fireworks and illuminations, nativity plays and shepherds’ processions. It’s a time to come and see a different side to Provence, one that exists almost entirely for locals.

Our top tips

Take the Eurostar out of London, change at Lille, then whiz down to Avignon - a 6-hour trip. It’s a much calmer way to travel and you get to see where you're going. You can hire cars at Avignon TGV station from all the usual suspects.

Great for...

Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 5
  • Breakfast (+ dinner on request)
  • Not allowed
  • 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

There are just 3 rooms and 2 suites. They’re all divine, but the Studio Room (which we're yet to see) and Terrace Suites are just that tiny bit lovelier, with a little more space, bigger beds, coffee machines and Apple Macs for cool tunes and movies, plus suites have terraces. Having said as much, the smaller Standard Rooms come in the same grand style with crisp white linen on super-comfy beds and pretty art hanging on the walls. In lots of hotels they’d be the best rooms in the house, so you can book these knowing you’ll get something special.

The design is deeply attractive. All rooms are regularly refurbished and while they’re stuffed with 21st-century comforts, interior design is specifically intended to sweep you back a few hundred years to the days when the house was built. Period colours mix with old stone walls, you’ll even find the odd mural. There’s gilded plaster, original chequerboard floors, then magnificent high ceilings. Thick curtains hang across doorways, windows overlook the lanes, there are books by the dozen and candles on the mantelpiece. Drinks in the minibar (still/sparkling spring water and milk, plus fruit juice and Cokes in the suites) are free.

Funky bathrooms definitely belong to the 21st century. You get concrete floors, corian sinks, walk-in power showers and Miller Harris potions. All have robes, too.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Wifi internet
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Breakfast is served in the courtyard in good weather or in the dining room in cooler months. You get lavender-scented fromage blanc, fruit salad, baguettes and cakes, bacon and eggs if you want it. You wash it all down with fruit juice, strong coffee and Indian tea.

Gwilym cooks dinner a couple of times a week (by arrangement). He and Alexis had a small restaurant in Paris, both quitting 9-5 jobs to go it alone. His food is delicious and it’s well worth eating here if possible: perhaps carrot and chestnut soup, fillet of salmon in a lemongrass sauce, a plate of local cheeses, then lemon and lime cheesecake. He also whisks up fantastic Thai curries, so don’t be shy in requesting one.

You’ll want to eat out, too - Uzès has some excellent restaurants that don’t cost a bomb, and you can walk to most in 5 minutes. Le Bec à Vin, an informal bistro, serves great food at very reasonable prices. It’s open all year, has a terrace in summer, and the wine list is irresistible. You’ll get a good pizza and tasty pasta at Le Zanelli, or try Le Logis des Arts for simple food served in style with colourful art on the walls. For the best food in town - well, actually just outside town, a 10-minute walk - try L’Artemise, which, by all accounts, is heading towards a Michelin star.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Communal dining
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Food and wine
  • Minibar
  • Walk to restaurants
Eating: Breakfast in the courtyard
Activity:

Activities

  • Uzès market is the best in Provence. There are 2 each week, Wednesday and Saturday, the latter being the busiest. The lanes and the square are jam-packed, and you’ll find fabulous local foods, Provençal quilts, lavender-scented soaps, and rather good wine
  • Come for the truffle festival in January, the garlic fair in June, or for the fête votive in early August, when bulls run and horses race around town. It’s the biggest festival of the year and the locals come out in droves. It lasts for a week
  • Head down to Pont du Gard, the 1st-century Roman aqueduct built to carry water into Nîmes. It runs for 50km, dropping a mere 17m on the way. It is a World Heritage site. Either walk over it or kayak under it
  • In Nîmes you’ll find the Maison Carrée, one of the best-preserved Roman temples in the world. And in Arles, you can gaze in wonder at the amphitheatre where gladiators once fought; they still fight bulls here in summer. Van Gogh lived here, too
  • Head east to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue on Sunday mornings for its world-famous antiques market. It’s a very pretty town, ringed with small canals. You can hire a punt and potter along. In July locals clamber on board, then joust with each other
  • Visit Avignon and its half-built bridge. Check out the enormous Papal Palace or come in summer for its Arts festival, with opera, concerts, theatre, lectures and exhibitions
  • The wine fields of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are well worth exploring: visits to certain caves can be arranged. Beaume de Venise, famous for its deliciously sweet Muscat, is here, too
  • Head over to iconic Mont Ventoux, a legendary climb in the Tour de France. You can hire bikes at the bottom (or the top!). Views stretch for miles

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Festivals
  • Food and wine
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Punting
  • Shopping / markets
  • Wine tasting

Kids

This is an adults-only place.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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