An intimate haven for the romantic traveller.
Whether your relationship is going full steam ahead or has hit
the rocks, a romantic escapade could be just what it needs.
Christophe and Annabelle Valentin are happy to open the doors of their small and captivating hotel in the centre of Old Nimes, in Provence, which is undoubtedly one of the most romantic areas in the south of France. Hidden behind high walls, Jardins Secrets is on the site of an original 18th century coach house which was the former family home of Annabelle's grandparents. It has been transformed into a lodging full of detail and charm and it has a spectacular cloister and equally spectacular gardens stocked with bougainvillea, jasmin, old rose trees, orange trees and olive trees. There is a beautifully atmospheric fountain and an enchanting pool.
Inside the hotel there are chandeliers and sumptuous upholsteries alongside stained glass, paintings and religious imagery. Everything complements everything else, and there is a sense of order, authenticity and calm sitting alongside the sophistication and “cleanliness” following its intense restoration. The hotel is full of 18th century treasures and the luxury of the salons contrasts with the simplicity of the kitchen. Annabelle explains how the good taste, so clearly on show throughout the hotel, is as much a product of their professions as anything else: “I met Christophe
whilst we worked together in various interior design magazines, he as a photographer and me as a stylist and journalist” she says.
While travelling around the world, they picked up furniture and objects. “We love beautiful and special things, and all our finds have their place here” she explains. In addition to the garden and an interior decoration full of personality, the hotel oozes hospitality in each of its details. “We like to welcome and take care of each person as if it were the most important job in the world” she confesses. The romantic and charming style is never corny or overloaded. It is measured and subtle: a vase here, a wall lamp there or a chair in the right place. On sunny days, life takes place outside. The pool, surrounded by leafy gardens, is the focal point. In the winter, the fireplace provides the necessary heat for the interior. Antique armchairs and sofas invite conversations in the common areas, while in the rooms, marble, free-standing bathtubs, vanity tables, silk fabrics and brocades transform the bedrooms into luxurious boudoirs. Four-poster beds, bouquets of roses and antique porcelain take us to times of splendour and exquisiteness. And, as Christophe reminds us, “Don’t forget - all this is in a place so hidden and secret that you almost forget that you are in a city center. All you see is the garden and the only noise you hear is the splash of water and the birds singing in the garden.”