Chateau La Coste

Louise Bourgeois, Crouching Spider, 2003
 

Louise Bourgeois, Crouching Spider, 2003
Photo by Mart Engelen


 

Chateau La Coste has been on my wishlist for a very long time and so, last autumn, when I read that it was holding an exhibition of photographs by Cy Twombly, one of my favourite American artists of all time, I travelled to the south of France to visit this amazing estate, which belongs to the Irish property developer and art collector Patrick McKillen. In the past, great painters have taken to other mediums: think of Picasso’s ceramics and Willem de Kooning’s sculptures. Cy Twombly’s photography only began to be widely known after his death in 2011 and at La Coste I was treated to an intriguing and rare selection of his interiors, still-lifes and landscapes. But that was just the start: Chateau La Coste brings together the best of so many things: works by world-famous artists, first-class cuisine and gallery spaces. Located in the centre of Provence, between the historical city of Aix-en-Provence and the Luberon National Park, this magnificent estate has over 200 hectares of vine- yards and vegetable, fruit and flower gardens, and last but not least there is the hotel. Set on a hill, the Villa La Coste has 28 villa suites. Beautifully designed by local architects Tangram, they are unique and authentic in their contemporary refinement and in complete sympathy with the artistic spirit of the domain.

As you wander through forests of oak trees and century-old pines, vineyards and meadows of wild flowers, you come across stunning works by artists including Alexander Calder, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Sean Scully, Tracey Emin, Franz West and Richard Serra. And of course Louise Bourgeois’ impressive ‘Crouching Spider’ is impossible to miss. There are buildings by highly sought-after architects such as Jean Nouvel, Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry and Renzo Piano. For fine dining, you have the choice of two fabulous restaurants: Le Restaurant Villa La Coste, overseen by executive chef Gérald Passédat, who has three Michelin stars for his Le Petit Nice restaurant in Marseille, and the Argentinian restaurant Francis Mallmann, overseen by the Argentinian chef who cooks steaks on an open fire like no other. During our stay we chose the Argentinian restaurant and enjoyed a glorious meal comprising an unsurpassed dome- smoked lamb with aubergine and roasted peppers and a roasted half-duck with broccoli and potatoes a la Plancha. These were, of course, accompanied by delicious biodynamic wine from the estate. Can’t wait to go back.

 
—Copyright 2018 Mart Engelen
 
 

Alexander Calder, Small Crinkly, 1976
 

Alexander Calder, Small Crinkly, 1976
Photo by Mart Engelen

 
 

Tracey Emin, Self-Portrait: Cat inside a barrel, 2013
 

Tracey Emin, Self-Portrait: Cat inside a barrel, 2013

Photo by Mart Engelen

 
 

Franz West, Faux Pas, 2006
 

Franz West, Faux Pas, 2006
Photo by Mart Engelen