Hotels of the month

Le Couvent des Minimes hotel & spa L’Occitane, divine rebirth

One of the finest addresses in the Luberon has undergone a complete metamorphosis, sublimating its historic heritage and gaining in contemporary style. A huge new L’Occitane spa, with its remarkable facilities and treatment menu, consolidates the place as a must-see holistic destination in Provence.

The pitch | Le Couvent des Minimes, a historic building in the heart of Provence

Initially, the idea was simply to extend the spa. But then it became clear that everything had to be rethought. Three years of work were required to reopen this renowned Luberon hotel, owned by the L'Occitane group, in summer 2023. There was no question of turning it into a palace, as Fabien and Valérie Piacentino, who run the Provence establishment, stressed that the aim had always been to maintain its status as "a beautiful 5-star hotel that could attract local guests as well as those from further afield". A successful gamble, with a culture of elegance, service, comfort, authenticity and serenity (as befits a historic convent!), tinged with an omnipresent family spirit.

think Utopia Deplanta

The challenge was considerable: to restore the soul and magnify the heritage of this convent built in 1613 for the Minimes nuns, dissolved during the Revolution and left unoccupied until the Franciscan nuns moved in in 1862, leaving only in 1999. Renovated twice, it became a hotel and spa in 2008, and is still steeped in history, with its chapel, bell tower, cloister and terraced Way of the Cross still intact. The Swiss firm De Planta Associés Architectes was responsible for its majestic rebirth, assisted by numerous local craftsmen.

What's the hotel like?

All the spaces have been redistributed and the historic parts meticulously restored and modernized, in a palette of timeless tones of white, blond, greige and wood. The centerpiece, the entrance via the chapel - previously unused to any real purpose - now transformed into a lobby, is spectacular: 10-meter high ceilings, a Burgundy stone floor, original framework and doors, 18 17th-century stained glass windows and a frieze, with floral motifs running around the ceiling, entirely cleaned by hand. A monumental chandelier by Spanish designer Antoni Arola evokes a candelabra decorated with dozens of candles. In the nave and passageways, lounge areas with sofas and coffee tables invite you to check in. A living space flooded with light like an open-air salon, the cloister has kept its beautiful wooden framework from the last renovations and its round pool, and welcomes L'Alambic, a new cocktail bar decorated with zelliges.

Le Cloitre bar © Think Utopia Deplanta

Two tables, two atmospheres

Louis Gachet, young MOF chef from La Chèvre d'Or (2* Michelin in Eze), and Laure Desmorieux, pastry chef from L'Oustau de Baumanière, bring their creativity to the plates of the two in-house restaurants. The Bistrot Pamparigouste, a large, bright dining room overlooking the gardens, offers sunny, seasonal regional cuisine, while Le Feuillée (a tribute to Louis XIV's botanist who started out as a convent porter), the gourmet restaurant, seats 35 in a chic, intimate atmosphere. In fine weather, the attractive tree-lined Provencal terrace adds a poetic touch to the experience. Red mullet, calamari, Sisteron lamb... are all favored by the chef in his many compositions. As for the cellar, La Dame Jeanne boasts more than 800 references, led by Provence wines, to be discovered during wine & cheese tasting evenings in  the specially equipped cellar.

What are the rooms like?

The initial capacity has been reduced to provide more space and light. The 49 rooms and suites, all with views and most with terraces, 34 in the historic part of the hotel - including 1 duplex suite in the bell tower - and 15 on the spa roof and surrounding area, feature oak and natural materials: linen, wicker, cotton, raffia, terracotta... tranquillity is the common thread. Jérémie du Chaffaut, from Edition Midi, has turned antique Provençal furniture into an art of living, such as his headboard in the shape of a large screen, the sides of which fold down into an alcove and house wicker basket-drawers.The solid oak seats, sourced from sustainably managed forests, are upholstered in natural straw hand-woven by the last remaining Camargue chaisier, while the glazed dressing room, sideboard and secret-drawer desk were custom-made by joiner Joris Ballabio. True living spaces, the bathrooms are separated from the bedrooms by fluted glass doors and feature fine tiled floors, locally cut stone basins, walk-in showers and island bathtubs..

Albertine Suite living room ©THINK UTOPIA DEPLANTA

The hot spot

L'Occitane's flagship spa would be worth a stay in itself. Separated from the hotel and entirely rebuilt in a way that combines luxury and sustainability - low-carbon concrete architecture integrated into the landscape, bio-sourced insulation, natural paint, etc. - it is bathed in natural light and in dialogue with the surrounding nature. - it is bathed in natural light and in dialogue with the surrounding nature. Its 2,500 sq.m. of floor space opens onto an immense reception area featuring a herbal tea room, a comfortable waiting area and a large boutique showcasing the brand's many product ranges. A wet area houses two pools (indoor and outdoor), a sensory pool with aquatic trail, a sensory shower, a hammam, two saunas (one of which overlooks lavender fields), an ice waterfall and a salt grotto (for the same benefits as a seaside holiday).

Sensory pool

In the dry zone, the wellness offer is completed by 10 treatment cabins - including two duo cabins - where guests can receive a wide range of personalized rituals such as the signature energy stone treatment, a fitness room, yoga room and relaxation room with cocoon armchairs suspended like swings. Each hotel guest is entitled to 3 hours' spa access, to be booked on reservation or arrival, to ensure that the wet areas are used sparingly.

Around the hotel?

Le Couvent des Minimes is located in a region rich in discoveries. These include

  • The medieval village of Mane
  • The picturesque town of Forcalquier
  • Sauvan castle, known as the Petit Trianon of Provence
  • Giono's Provence
  • Manosque and its surrounding hills
  • Or the L'Occitane factory, open to the public.
Outdoor spa pool

What makes it different?

A 5-star hotel that sets itself apart from the ostentatious, luxury hotel industry. Friendly service and a constant concern to offer travelers a real break, with the natural help of a soothing, magnificently redesigned landscape.


Practical information

Le Couvent des Minimes Hotel & Spa L'Occitane

49 keys, from €380 breakfast, Relais & Châteaux hotel.

Chemin des jeux de Maï,04300 Mane

5 things we loved about the Couvent des Minimes

  • The extraordinary interior décor with its delicate historical details
  • The spa, as beautiful as it is remarkable for its services
  • The ambient serenity, both in the rooms and in the fragrant terraced gardens.
  • The omnipresence of plants, a tribute to the convent's original botanical vocation: fields of lavender in season, herbs, Mediterranean plants, olive trees... right up to the spa's green roof.
  • Laze by the new 25 m pool, reminiscent of the original basins
  • Breakfast, entirely homemade - pastries and cakes to die for - and which goes so far as to include a machine that concocts instant spreads


Receive the best of travel every week
Exceptional hotels, fabulous destinations, exclusive addresses: get inspired all year round with our Newsletter.