Welcome to the Ministry of Style

If the French will ever think about opening a ministry dedicated to the biggest achievements in their cuisine, best hoteliers and restaurateurs, design and traditions in general, this Ministry of Style should be placed in Les Prés d’Eugénie, located in a tiny village which is approximately 1,5 hour drive from Biarritz or Bordeaux. For more than 40 years this hotel, restaurant and spa is one of the most exclusive places in France and a favorite destination of the French establishment.

IMG_9834IMG_9849IMG_9990 0302Eugénie is the place of opulent interiors with extravagant details over which even the most avid advocates of sharp lines and minimalistic interiors will not stay indifferent. The reason: this place is a complete and well thought story about the grand hotel and the small spa village that has developed after 1861 under patronage of the Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III. Eugénie has become a destination itself and its guests will rarely pick up this hotel as a base to explore the surrounding region. They come to Eugénie to hang out around the property and to indulge in all what this lavish countryside retreat can offer: from elegant suits, extraordinary dining experience in its three restaurants, or one-of-a-kind spa treatments… all of that on 8 hectares estate comprised of parks, gardens and 18th and 19th century buildings.img_9857IMG_9854img_9921A day at Eugénie starts with breakfast served in your suite or in the garden. There are plenty of choices for breakfast including the “breakfast minceur” or a morning version of the cuisine minceur for which Eugénie is world famous. Basically it is the lighter version of traditional Nouvelle Cuisine.

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img_9990-0055Huge salons and veranda on the ground floor (all filled up with eclectic mix of antique furnitures and paintings) are all connected to each other as one big living room overlooking the park and gardens. Restaurant, reception, bar and even the main staircase of the hotel are all part of the same open space divided only by a different atmosphere of each corner. The atmosphere is undoubtedly very exclusive but not stiff at all. Probably because the service is very friendly and professional at the same time.IMG_9934IMG_9950 IMG_9990 0047During the day guests of Eugénie will go for a spa treatment in the old barn, take a bike and go for a ride in the countryside or they will chill around the pool with a sip of fresh verbena infusion tea.IMG_9990 0240img_9990-0243img_9975IMG_9966img_9990-0184-4Needless to say that the main events of the day in Eugénie are lunch and dinner and all that goes between and after it. The buzz starts after breakfast when the army of waiters and cooks work on the lunch preparations in the main restaurant. After all this is one of the most famous 3 michelin star restaurants in France and its chef Michel Guérard is a legend of the Nouvelle Cousine.

IMG_9990 0234IMG_9948IMG_9990 0193IMG_9990 0194Around 12.30 the tables inside the main building and on the terrace are ready to welcome guests who are excited to see what the chef and his team had in mind this time. Have a look how they set tables and imagine what has followed 🙂IMG_9990 0196IMG_9964IMG_9967IMG_9952This gourmet restaurant is not the only restaurant in Eugénie. La Ferme aux Grives is a rustic restaurant and probably one of the best of its kind. This place is simply stunning in every detail. IMG_9990 0037IMG_9990 0118IMG_9990 0119IMG_9990 0028IMG_9990 0076IMG_9990 0047IMG_9990 0038IMG_9990 0079IMG_9990 0083But the best is yet to come! If you have never been invited to a royal feast or a state dinner, than you should book a table at the main restaurant and have the same feeling except that the food is better and you do not have to wear a white tie. Khakis will do fine here!

The ritual starts  with the aperitif in the garden.

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While sipping your glass of Bellini or gin&tonic you will agree for the menu and the wine. Then once your table is ready a waiter will call you… curtains are up and the show begins right in front of you!

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This beautiful hotel, restaurant and spa is a masterpiece of Christine and Michel Guérard. There is no doubt, it is a quintessence of luxury, it is a model and inspiration for other hoteliers and restaurateurs  and a great thrill for their guests. Hope you have enjoyed a glimpse of their savoir fair. Cheers!
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