A gourmet pause with duo Marco Garfagnini, Airelles Culinary Artist, and Sébastien Hoffmann, Pastry Chef at Les Airelles

Stories

What are your premium products?

M.G.: I attach great importance to the flavour of each ingredient in its natural form, even more so if it is fresh and of excellent quality. I am, however, very sensitive to the taste that a good olive-oil can produce. The depth of its savour, its texture on the palate. It offers a thousand new possibilities in cooking.

S.H.: I have to confess my own little sin: all kinds of fruit! They are an endless source of inspiration. Pears, whose juice is a real elixir, mangoes, but also citrus fruits. When picked at maturity, they are real treats for the tastebuds: a dessert of roasted clementines, for example, marinated grapefruit, mint and pepper, proposed on the Carrara menu.

And your most spontaneous inspirations?

M.G.: Chefs often find inspiration in nature or our fondest memories. For me, they are harbours in Italy, the Mediterranean, my grandparents’ gardens, though walks in the mountains too. I find the richness of nature fascinating and inspiring.

S.H.: In my creations, you also find inspiration from the south and the Mediterranean. I also like to work with produce from the land and herbs from kitchen gardens such as tarragon and thyme. They ensure superb harmony among tastes and wonderful lightness for desserts.

Nearby producers guarantee the quality of your dishes?

M.G.: Respect and trust characterize our relationships with our partners. The quality of their produce must be on a par with our demands so that we satisfy our guests.

S.H.: For many years, we have enjoyed privileged partnerships with producers in the region. These ties based on trust allow us to obtain high-quality ingredients throughout the season. It is a real joy for a chef to imagine and conjure up recipes in concert with local producers.

Tell us about carrara, the new restaurant at Les Airelles.

M.G.: It is a unique restaurant, refined and harmonious, offering a real culinary symphony. It is also a place for sharing and warm congeniality, always sunny, as in Carrara, my home town.

S.H.: Those lucky enough to have visited Carrara in Tuscany have savoured the delightful lifestyle in this little town between sea and mountains, known worldwide for its quarries of white marble. Our restaurant remains faithful to this spirit. For me, Carrara represents the well-executed simplicity of Italian tables, densely packed and ultra-friendly.

Finally, how are you approaching this new winter season?

M.G.: We are pursuing our discovery of the charms of simplicity. The authenticity of the Alpine environment continues to inspire us, and we add rays of sunshine to guarantee truly radiant meals for our guests.

S.H.: This season will be marked by comforting, gourmet savours in great classics recalling childhood, but in re-tweaked versions!

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Elio Parente, Head Concierge and "Clefs D'Or"

Stories

Elio Parente is Head Concierge and “Clefs d’or” at Airelles, La Bastide in summer, Head Concierge at Airelles Val d’Isère in winter… He is there to see that your stay is more than perfect.

Guaranteeing your comfort, this native of Naples is a real orchestrator of the ballet performed by the concierges, with an attentive ear for your slightest request. After winning his spurs notably at the Concorde Lafayette and Plaza Athénée in Paris, he arrived in Gordes six years ago with a deep desire to work there and presenting himself spontaneously! He has never left, but made his entrance three years ago in Val d’Isère for the winter season with the same passion: offering each guest the ultimate experience in an environment he adores, authentic and elegant.

Pleasing clients, remaining discreet at all costs, achieving the impossible to meet demands, keeps him happy every day. Elio dreams of just one thing: to make your stay unforgettable

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Christopher Tollemer, the Interior Architect of Le Grand Contrôle

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The Interior Architect sets his signature to Le Grand Contrôle. His goal: to guarantee your most spectacular hotel experience by stepping back to the past.

To decorate this legendary place, an hotel in one of the world’s most well-known landmarks, I was honoured to win a competition entered by 25 international architecture agencies. The building which once played host to the ministries of Finances then the Army had been abandoned.

My mission was to restore it just as it was in the 18th century, in 1788. We worked with curators of the Château de Versailles, with the interior of the Petit Trianon for reference. All the proportions are identical to the original ones, the fireplaces have been restored with the same kinds of marble. The long private corridor of the Minister of Finances, which led directly to the Château and the King, has been completely rebuilt. Wandering through it gives you a real thrill… Restoring all its lustre to this place, adapting it to meet codes of luxury while observing technical constraints, creating a kitchen for Alain Ducasse, a Spa… all huge challenges! We furnished the hotel with about one hundred 18th-century pieces by major cabinetmakers.

A long treasure hunt lasting three years in auction rooms, antique shops… enabling us to unearth Aubusson tapestries, Louis XVI consoles… I worked on the precision of the decors with the Pierre Frey firm of furnishing fabrics. Thanks to its drawers of archives, we recreated all the fabrics, restoring the gracious atmosphere of the 18th century.

“I think my wishes have been met: here, it feels as if time stands still.”

The bedrooms, bearing the names of the domain’s great historic figures (Madame de Staël, Rose Bertin…), have no screens. The parquet floors squeak, as in old residences. Régis Mathieu, designer of the chandeliers in the Château de Versailles, perfected a bulb which recreates the intensity of candlelight. The result is an ambiance and a colour of a unique hue. I think my wishes have been met: here, it feels as if time stands still. When you sleep here, when you stroll around, alone, in the gardens of the Château, the dream comes true.

 

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For the love of excellence

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Étienne Petitpez was appointed General Manager of the hotel Airelles Val d’Isère in 2020. After his time at the Ritz where he was in charge of Rooms Division, he participated in the re-opening of the iconic Parisian hotel before heading back, with the greatest pleasure, to Airelles Val d’Isère.

His arrival is no surprise, as Étienne enthusiastically shares the values embodied by Airelles: a quest for excellence and the search for a life-style “à la française” in which a sense of marvel is paired with human warmth. Passionate about luxury hotels, he studied law before working in some of the world’s most prestigious palaces such as the Bristol Paris (Oetker Collection) and the Meurice (Dorchester Collection).

Airelles Val d’Isère has something unique, it is here that my passion reaches its peak, and it is this feeling I want to pass on and share with my teams. There is a real sense of hospitality, of service. There is so much joy in surpassing oneself to ensure people’s happiness!”

Étienne Petitpez praises the values of mountain authenticity and generosity which characterize service in his hotel. Refined, attentive service: “Luxury is a lifestyle, and attention to detail is our sole priority for our guests’ well-being. In fact, our team-members share these values that they adopt as their own and which contribute towards their fulfilment here with us”. Right on the snow front, Airelles Val d’Isère offers a wealth of activities and unique experiences: downhill and cross-country skiing, dog-sleds, snow shoes, ice diving…

The pleasure of dining is also given a place of honour with the restaurant “La Grande Ourse“, which has officiated since 1936 in bistro style with a piano-bar ambiance. But also with the creation of the chic restaurant “Loulou Val d’Isère” by the duo Claire and Gilles Malafosse, and Chef Benoît Dargère.

“If Airelles Val d’Isère were not perfectly rooted in the local community, it would diverge from the spirit of Savoy, stamped with loyalty and solidarity,” says the General  Manager. “Which is why we work in close partnership with local producers and our neighbourhood stores. Let’s mention, for example, La Maison Chevallot and La Ferme de l’Adroit.”

Together with all the Hotel’s teams, Étienne Petitpez promises us an unforgettable season!

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What drew Julien Révah to Le Grand Contrôle? The King’s Esplanade, the enchanting gardens and their extraordinary perspectives.

Stories

What an adventure, transforming an historic landmark into a luxury hotel!

Firstly, it was a winning partnership between two men, Stéphane Courbit and Alain Ducasse. Then, it benefited from in-put from numerous contributors – a scientific committee, craftsmen, experts in Historic Monuments, making it possible to restore Le Grand Contrôle’s former splendour while proposing a luxury hotel endowed with every modern comfort. Significant efforts were also made in terms of sustainable practices. All the furniture is from the period, geo-thermal energy is used for the building’s heating and air conditioinng, and the lighting is 100% LED.

Guests are able to benefit from unique experiences?

The most extraordinary experience is to sleep within the Palace of Versailles with views of the Orangery Gardens, the Lake of the Swiss Guards, and the Southern Wing. Guests also benefit from a multitude of privileges and exclusive access to the Palace of Versailles and its gardens outside visiting hours.

What makes Versailles so special?

In Versailles, each day is sheer magic! The light is never the same, nature evolves with each passing season, orange and lemon trees enter end leave the Orangery beneath the hotel’s windows… It’s a spectacle of which one never tires.

Your ”secret spot”?

Definitely the inside of the Orangery in winter. All the shrubs that flourish in summer in its flowerbeds are kept inside in winter, making the Orangery a real forest where birdsong is joined by the fragrance of orange trees.

If Versailles were a song?

I immediately think of La Marche pour la Cérémonie des Turcs by Jean-Baptiste Lully, but it’s not a song, so I suggest Outro by the French band M83, the signature tune for the TV series “Versailles”.

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"Welcome Home!" Interview of Jean-Pierre Lerallu

Stories

After joining Les Airelles in 2004 as Reservations Manager, Jean-Pierre Lerallu soon made headway within the Collection, becoming Deputy General Manager of Les Airelles then General Manager of La Bastide in Gordes. In 2017, he returned to Courchevel to take over Management of the Palace Les Airelles.

If he is now entrusted with management of Les Airelles, it is thanks to his passion, loyalty, professionalism, and his pride in belonging to the Collection. For him, “Les Airelles embodies Courchevel, the legendary, sporty world capital of skiing. The resort’s N°1 luxury hotel, the Palace is endowed with a soul and exceptional architecture, to which those who work here are deeply attached”.

Each winter season, just like a conductor, Jean-Pierre Lerallu orchestrates with real brio the fascinating symphony that unfurls throughout the hotel. “The level of service must be irreproachable, with lots of smiles and generosity.” For Jean-Pierre Lerallu, the definition of luxury at Les Airelles is simply the fine art of living, anticipating and projecting oneself into the future to offer guests the services they require before they even request them. “This winter season 2021/2022 has marked the start of a new era for Les Airelles. In a new setting, our Palace has been extended and designed for guests in search of privacy, a refined and harmonious collection of three outstanding hotel Chalets comprised of 19 guest-rooms.”

We are also proud to have become part of the highly prestigious Comité Colbert grouping together luxury establishments and cultural institutions, which represents for us high recognition of our expertise. Opening the door to Les Airelles means entering another world, where luxury goes hand in hand with charm, sincerity, family and friendship.

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Le Grand Contrôle, is one of the finest projects entrusted to La Maison Pierre Frey over the past few years

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The creator’s Pierre Frey grandson, now Communications Manager, describes the firm’s collaboration with Le Grand Contrôle.

The Grand Contrôle project in a few words?

Le Grand Contrôle at the Château de Versailles is one of the finest projects entrusted to La Maison Pierre Frey over the past few years. Our teams and those of interior architect Christophe Tollemer dived into our archives containing over 30,000 documents, some dating back to the 16th century, in order to come up with all the wall coverings. In all, this represents over 3,500 metres of furnishing fabrics, drapes, canopies etc. A phenomenal amount of work!

Can you tell us more about the choice of the fabrics?

The Maison Pierre Frey advised and guided Christophe Tollemer's teams in their choice of fabrics. Some came from our collections, especially for the Rooms and Suites, such as the "Papillons" and "Eglantier" materials, others were modified or custom-made. For example, the floral decor of the Marquis de Fouquet Suite was redesigned using a period engraving. Giving our archives a place of honour, they all confer an individual identity on each room, while respecting the period's style.

Your production behind the scenes?

We are proud to be a French manufacturer with production 100 % Made in France. We are also fortunate to have one of the last weaving workshops in the country. Our fabrics and wallpapers are created in our design studio in Paris, and most of them then come into being in the workshop, near Cambrai.

Pierre Frey, Communications Manager of La Maison Pierre Frey.

If Pierre Frey were a material, what would it be? And a flower, or an era?

If it were a material, I would say cotton as my grandfather began to print patterns on this material in 1935. If it were a flower, it would be hydrangea. You find a lot of them in our designs. Finally, if it were an era, it would be, without hesitation, the 1980's, during which the Maison Pierre Frey enjoyed its golden age.

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A concrete commitment to ecology & solidarity

Stories

“Action comes first, such is the pillar of the CSR strategy (Corporate Social Responsibility) led by Chloé Rossignol for Airelles in the LOV Group.

CSR is a virtuous circle.” As CSR Manager, Chloé Rossignol demonstrates the fact by raising awareness, mobilizing and gaining the commitment of all members of the Airelles teams. “A company’s responsibility is defined by the sum total of small and wide-ranging actions.” In fact, to express Airelles values comprised of Generosity, Excellence, Smiles and Empathy, commitment is of prime importance. When describing the pillars that support her strategy, Chloé Rossignol prefers to talk about performance. “A metaphor implying that there is always room for improvement.

The environmental, social and civic performance

In order to reinforce her strategy’s environmental, social and civic performance, she therefore organizes in-house communication and mobilization campaigns all year long. Children and the handicapped take centre stage. “We are committed to associations such as “Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque”. Thanks to a sports challenge, we raised funds this year for a child’s heart surgery.”

For waste recycling

For waste recycling, Airelles works with Lemon Tri at Le Grand Contrôle, ELISE Alpes in Courchevel to transform food leftovers into compost, and with Unisoap to give a second lease of life to used soap. Finally, “Airelles works in partnership with the “Vendredi” social commitment platform, uniting thousands of associations. Our partners thus participate in solidarity actions on a regular basis.”

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Gourmet experience in Gordes with Jean-François Piège

Stories

Like a bird taking flight, it’s time for the Clover brand to blossom under a new horizon and taste the joys and infinitely poetic spirit of one of France’s most beautiful regions: Provence. Clover Gordes offers a true gastronomic experience, with Provencal notes by Jean François Piège, on site.

For you Provence is...?

Above all, an atmosphere, a feeling of happiness, a place where you know you will enjoy life to the full.

What do your restaurants Clover Grill and Clover Gordes share?

I would say a family attachment, close ties, even if they have their own identities built around the places in which they stand. Clover Gordes is Clover Grill's cooking on a wood fire, with Provençal touches as a bonus.

What are the Signature dishes on the menu? New suggestions to discover this year?

To tell the truth, it is our guests who make our dishes real musts. Carbonara with wild squid and Churros are much appreciated, in both Paris and Gordes. Each summer, Lobster with Pistou pasta also meets with real success at La Bastide. Finally, we change the menu each year to propose new suggestions, as we did last year with starters to share.

” Our 2-star Chef tells us about Le Clover Gordes at La Bastide, but also about Provence and its star products.”

The tomato is the star of the summer. Do you have a recipe idea to share with us?

The tomato is a pure fruit I look forward to each year with the greatest pleasure. I especially like using it to make cold soup. The recipe is very simple: take ripe tomatoes, wash them and remove the cores, blend in a very cold recipient, add salt, pepper, and serve with a thread of regional olive-oil. For even more tastiness, you can add croutons of bread and serve with a cucumber brunoise.

What should we taste at least once in our lives?

No doubt about it, local produce. When staying in Gordes, you really must taste local produce such as cherries and olive-oils that are truly fabulous.

Your favourite indulgence?

I adore cherries and fresh green peas as they are products I crave for, for months, but can only enjoy three or four weeks a year!

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Interview of Madeleine Munier

Stories

A unique location facing the valley of the Luberon and the Alpilles, at the heart of Gordes,
one of France’s most beautiful villages, La Bastide benefits from a grandiose setting. This noble old residence is a place steeped in history where period furniture, objects and refined decor make it an extraordinary retreat in Provence. Comprised of 40 Rooms and Suites, as well as a private villa, La Maison de Constance, La Bastide also offers a wide array of culinary possibilities with its five restaurants (Le Clover Gordes with Jean-François Piège, L’Orangerie, La Citadelle, Le TIGrr and La Bastide de Pierres). The Sisley Spa of 1,600 sq.m then plays an important part in rousing the senses of our guests, with Signature treatments, its indoor pool and other amenities. It is a perfect place for disconnecting and recharging one’s batteries.

In what does La Bastide distinguish itself from other addresses?

A memory worth sharing?
Being awarded the Palace Label in November 2016 was a real joy, the fruit of exemplary teamwork. We strive each day to add further polish to this recognition.

How do you create the “Wow!” effect?

With its extraordinary setting and breathtaking views, La Bastide would not have the same feel without the men and women who participate in its daily activities and give it its soul. Each day, the team devotes itself to looking after all our guests in an authentic, natural and discreet manner. Bespoke service, reflecting real attentiveness to needs, enabling each of our guests to experience a unique stay.

“Madeleine Munier embodies La Bastide since five seasons. Always caring for you, you couldn’t ask for a better mistress of the House”

General Manager of Airelles Gordes, La Bastide

The top 3 most Instagramable places at La Bastide ?

The lap pool, the restaurant at the top of the Orangerie tower and the terrace at Le Clover Gordes.

What is your “secret spot” in Gordes?
The viewpoint from the path above the Théâtre des Terrasses in Gordes, simultaneously offering views of the entire Valley of the Luberon and the Alpilles.

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