Inside Château L’Hospitalet, the South of France’s Luxurious Vineyard Retreat
Live large on the Mediterranean Sea at this stunning French winery and hotel.
The terracotta buildings juxtaposed with the green of the grape vines feels as if it was pulled straight out of a Wes Anderson movie; a swirling color palette as stimulating as the wine itself.
This isn’t an arty Netflix Original though, it’s Château L’Hospitalet; a luxury retreat set on a coastal winery overlooking the Mediterranean Sea with over 1,000 hectares of pine forest in the foreground — and it’s just as stunning (and Instagram-friendly) as it sounds.
The charming hotel, perched among the biodynamic grape vines in a valley in the charming town of Narbonne, is an ideal destination for both seductive getaways and relaxing escapes. In these magnificent surroundings, the hotel and vineyard together form a rare beauty — and the character of the Château will seduce even the most stressed out travelers.
Château L’Hospitalet started out as a hospital, managed by the church in the sixteenth century. Drenched in history, it was purchased in 2002 by biodynamic winemaker and wunderkind Gérard Bertrand and became the natural base for developing his organic red and white wine blends, but has since transformed into the kind of coastal oasis you could easily spend a lifetime getting to know.
The property itself boasts 38 cozy rooms and suites among the grape vines, including a “chambre de plaisir” or pleasure room, which is tucked into a secluded corner of the main property and overlooks the courtyard and Michelin-recommended restaurant.
That south of France-inspired art of living and pleasure seeking is apparent from the restaurant among the grape vines to the annual jazz festival Bertrand hosts for visitors and residents of neighboring Narbonne every summer.
Restaurant L’Art de Vivre, just outside of the main building, boasts local and seasonal gourmet cooking by celebrated chef Laurent Chabert. Chef Chambert’s cuisine highlights local products from his own vegetable garden and fruit orchard, where he grows herbs that give his cuisine its notable Mediterranean feel.
Chambert and his staff pride themselves on serving creative, local fare all year long, while honoring organic ingredients and biodiversity. Do yourself a favor and book a table at this tucked away restaurant even if you’re not staying the night at L’Hospitalet.
If you really want to experience what the vineyard has to offer, follow up your dining experience with a wine tasting and winemaking workshop, which highlight the Languedoc, a formerly overlooked wine region that has been reinventing itself for thirty years and currently leads the way in biodynamic vinification in the south of France.
While it’s easy to spend your entire escape wandering the grape vines, indulging in great wine and fresh Mediterranean food, and relaxing and well, doing nothing, it’s worth getting out and exploring the lands of the Languedoc.
The charming town of Narbonne, just a quick drive from the estate, lives and breaths that same art of living that Château L’Hospitalet is known for. Stop for a bite at Le Salin de Gruissan, a salt marsh and al fresco restaurant serving up fresh oysters and sea snails (which they farm on the property).
Before heading back to the Château for a night of biodynamic wine and unparalleled sunset views, round out the visit to town with a quick stop at Chez Bebelle, a restaurant facing a butcher shop in Les Halles de Narbonne market, where the owner, a former rugby player, throws fresh meat from the shop to the restaurant above the heads of market patrons.
Whether a romantic weekend, an urge to explore the lands of Languedoc and get to know the wines of the region, or simply the desire to get away from the sprawl; Château L’Hospitalet and the surrounding untouched village of Narbonne is a great alternative to the better known Mediterranean destinations.