In Ville d'Avray, west of Paris, the creators of Caudalie Vinotherapy Spas, just launched Les Etangs de Corot. Unless you were on another planet you'll know Caudalie are the revolutionary anti-aging products, created in 1994, using grape pips from the vineyards of Chateau Smith Lafitte, Bordeaux, much copied, never equalled.
The new concept is by Alice and Jerome Torbier, the couple fell in love with a seedy hotel, had the vision to see that Les Etangs de Corot, with its' beautiful lake, 10 minutes from Paris, could become a romantic "must-visit" address. "It’s a great opportunity for local clients, or visitors to Paris, who may not have time to get to Bordeaux to re-discover the world next door. Years ago this was wine-growing country, the Fausses-Reposes forest on the other side of the lake was planted in 1684", explains Mme Torbier.
Most of the 43 rooms, including 3 suites, overlook the lake and forest. Each room has its own personality and decor. Some have terraces, all have names of artists and celebrities who spent time in Ville d'Avray: Jean Cocteau, Yehudi Menuhin, Victor Hugo, Zola, Manet. A short biography is given with the candy/fresh grapes at turn-down service.
Dramatic lake-views make the state-of-the-art Yves Collet designed Caudalie Vinotherapy Spa unique. Enter the relaxation room, the gentle rippling of water running down a stone wall puts you in the mood for, say, a bubbling bain barrique, enriched with marc de raisin, exfoliating and invigorating. There's a long menu of massages, gommages and soins de visage for every taste, to take alone or à deux. After the treaments relax with a tisane, leave with a goodie bag of Caudalie products.
You may choose the detox raisin cure, in which case you'll be eating grapes and drinking tisanes. But it does seem sad not to taste Benoit Bordier's light and innovative cuisine. The informally chic Café des Artistes serves bistro dishes, has a tapas menu, and vintage wines are served from the Enomatic machine, as well as from a comprehensive list.
Le Corot restaurant is an elegant airy space surrounded by trees, plants and birdsong. The chestnut/walnut decor features outsize screens decorated with figures taken from Corot's paintings; stags and reindeer head trophies gaze from the walls. As warmer days approach eat in the garden at Les Paillottes, the outside extension of Le Corot, at water’s edge where you can feed the ducks, who have names given by the staff. To the left is Camille Corot's villa (1796-1875) one of France's greatest landscape painters, a forerunner of the impressionists, he painted the countryside surrounding the family pile at Ville d'Avray as in, "Brume Matinal au Marais". See it in Musée Marmottan www.marmottan.com
With Benoit Bordier's "Menu en 5 Seances" choose from Foie Gras Ravioli, seaweed butter, soja and chestnut. Plump St. Jacques with vegetables, grain mustard, jus de haddock and curry. Main could be juicy chunk of sole on the bone with baby leeks, coconut, hazlenut, purée of potatoes spiked with lime. Or, pink organic lamb mousseline of spinach sitting on a fragrant puddle of orange and cinnamon jus. Cheese is from Jean-Yves Bordier (no relation: 9 rue Orme, St, Malo T: 02 99 40 88 79) Pudds are variations on fruit based fantasies, say, Pomme which is Dacquoise of coconut, cider-baked apples and paired with sparkling glasses of cider by uber-cider-maker Eric Bordelet. Or, La Poire. The Pineapple, Le Chocolat, All good, all created by BB.
Les Etangs de Corot
53 rue de Versailles
Ville d'Avray - 92410
Tel : 01 41 15 37 00
Getting there :
By train: Gare St. Lazare-Ville d’Avray Taxi from Paris about 35€
Les Etangs will send a car to collect from station or airport
Rooms & Suites from 185-320€ + breakfast 20€
Average Spend Cafe des Artistes 40€
Le Corot & Les Paillottes - Menus at 37 & 85€ +
A La Carte about 55€ + wine
Caudalie Vinotherapy treatments
Cures of 2-6 days about 423€-1204€
Forfait Weekend Corot-Versailles 435€