A secret stretch of the French Riviera


There’s another French Riviera, a quietly glamorous, sultry stretch of coast that was once the secret beach hideout of artists and writers, and where Marlon Brando lost his heart to a village girl

The best place to stay is in Bandol at L’Ile Rousse hotel, set back on a hill overlooking a breathtaking curve of aquamarine ocean. Once the home of the actor and singer Mistinguett, then converted into a nightclub in the 1960s, it was recently spruced up to the tune of £15million with a thalasso spa, mirror-like infinity pool and private beach.

L’Ile Rousse
The bay at L’Ile Rousse hotel

Set back on a sloping Bandol backstreet, this landmark 67-room hotel was a hotspot in its heyday because of the unbeatable beachside location, and it remains one of the best bets for toes-in-the-sand bronzing and dining. Modern rooms are deeply comfortable and the spa has many toning sea-water treatments year-round. Guests lunch on salads at laidback La Goélette, and on the terrace of the hotel’s smart Les Oliviers restaurant chef Jérémy Czaplicki creates ambitious dishes such as spelt risotto with shellfish. At Les Oliviers restaurant, which was recently awarded a Michelin star, innovative dishes might include sweetbreads with algae butter, Swiss chard and morels, served in a dreamy beach setting.

Facing the bay of Rènecros, the hotel Ile Rousse allows you to relax in a magical and natural environment, with your feet in the water. Stay for a spa weekend, and enjoy this exceptional location with contemporary and mineral benefits and let yourself be seduced by the life of this seaside resort on the Provençal Coast.

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