Jardins de la Fontaine



This truly charming boutique hotel in Nimes, restored with love and great talent by its owners; editor, stylist and decorator, Annabelle Valentin and her photographer/journalist husband Christophe, is on a tranquil street in the centre of town. It is an exceptional and unique hotel created from an ancient Relais de Post, a collection of buildings around two lovely gardens. With only 14 bedrooms, the Jardins Secrets offers a rare sojourn in historic Nimes.

While the famous Roman Arena makes a trip to Nimes worth the visit, so do the furnishings and decorations of the Jardin Secrets. Inspired perhaps by the eye of an eccentric collector, the interior is replete with quality paintings, chandeliers, silver objects, books, lamps and furniture, each and all of which demands to be noticed by the passing observer.

The ground floor has a series of impressive salons, including a splendid room with a roaring fire in winter. A wonderful bar with dramatically-coloured antique, hand-painted wall-paper murals is at the very end. It is impossible to pass through these salons without spending time admiring the contents, including various singing birds in their antique cages. In the summertime, breakfast is served in one of the two “secret gardens” or in your bedroom, sometimes with a private terrace. The breakfast served in the rooms comes on a tray replete with fine china, freshly-squeezed orange juice, and a fantastic offering of homemade jams, each presented in a glass bowl. The gardens are planted with a profusion of Mediterranean plants, and a delightful pool, much appreciated after a day of visiting Provence.

The exquisite antiques and fabulous fabrics do not in any way detract from the attraction of the splendid bedrooms. Most are on the upper floors, where jasmine-lined cloisters wander around all four sides. Each of the bedrooms is unique, with the opulence of the 18th century married to the best of modern conveniences of the 21st century, leaving any visitor with the desire to return and experience another of the bedrooms as soon as possible.

In addition to all of this, there is a most elegant and delicious spa. Just a glance leads to desire to indulge in its menu of treatments, its heated pool, its steam hamman (Turkish Bath), its massage table, or even just to admire its marble columned interior.

If guests can tear themselves away from “Les Jardins Secrets”, Nimes is one of the most historic towns of France. Its Roman history is reflected today in one of the best preserved of the Amphitheatres of the Roman world as well as the only fully-preserved temple of the ancient world, “La Maison Carrée”. Numerous other Roman monuments vie with museums and modern art and architecture for the visitor’s attention

Jardins de la Fontaine

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