Traveling in the South of France out of season was a surprisingly great experience. In October together with my friend Lidia, Australian fashion blogger, we stayed a couple of days in a luxury resort Les Roches Rouges in Saint-Raphael and totally enjoyed the calm and relaxing off-season atmosphere. The hotel closed its doors until next spring just three days after our departure, so we really seized last chance to stay in this beautiful place.
Why choosing an off-season travel to the French Riviera which is usually considered as a summer hot destination?
First reason is the unique peaceful atmosphere only possible when nobody is around. You don’t need to queue to get a free beach chair or a table in the restaurant. No noise, no rambunctious children, no eating-all-the-time neighbors near the swimming pool. During my vacations I always look for calmness and all these details are extremely important for a quality rest.
Second reason is the nature in autumn. The trees put on a colorful foliage, the light is soft and the weather is cooler than in summer. In the South of France the sea is still warm in October and we started every day by a refreshing swim. It’s also a perfect period for outside spots, especially long joggings along the seaside.
Third argument is money. Most of the hotels have different prices for high and low seasons and try to attract the off-season clients by interesting offers. The tickets are also cheaper in autumn than in summer and you can often catch the last moment ones!
So if you are not happy to get your vacation in autumn, these reasons will probably make you change your mood…;)
We stayed in the elegant 5 star hotel Les Roches Rouges, situated directly on the Mediterranean rocky beach. Even if according to its address the hotel is located in the city, you forget about this once you’re inside. The area around the hotel is wild and picturesque: the beautiful coast with the cliffs and pine trees, pebble beach and infinite blue. We immediately fell in love with this view!
As for Saint-Raphaël, it’s an old, colorful and charming small city, like many other cities in Provence – this region is particularly rich of charming places. Once Saint-Raphaël was a fishing port, but today it’s a popular tourist spot, only fish restaurants remainding us about its origine.
The hotel Les Roches Rouges is designed with lots of taste and attention, using mostly natural materials like wood, marble, linen, cotton. As a visual story teller, I adore when every corner can be a good spot for a photo. That’s the case of Les Roches Rouges – each decoration object or piece of furniture is simple and stylish, the colors are perfectly matching (we loved joyful white-orange combination!) and the whole interior is totally harmonious.
Breakfast was served on a large terrace facing the sea. With a view like that evening tastes better but I should say breakfast was objectively excellent: lots of fruits and berries, delicious cheeses and yoghurts, fresh croissants, freshly squeezed juices… The hotel privileges local and seasonal products, and it’s definitely the best policy. There are lots of healthy options for those who pay attention to the calories and food quality. We made ourselves fantastic fruit bowls and spent at least one hour breakfasting every morning!
Les Roches Rouges has two swimming pools, one of which with salt water, and a private beach. Those who prefer to swim in the sea but don’t like pebbles, can use the stairs to go into the water. I love the waves and had so much fun swimming along the coast, and Lidia stayed near the swimming pool. Both we got so tanned after just a couple of days in the sun that one could hardly believe we spent this time in France in October and not on a tropical island!
And the most incredible thing about our vacation is that we felt like we were alone in the whole hotel! It was the off-season effect but also the result of the clever hotel’s territory zonation. There are several levels, different places for relax and many hidden spots to make it sure you are not disturbed by the other guests.
To sum up, I’m definitely converted to the off-season travel enthusiast and found my new favorite place on the Mediterranean coast:)
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