Enjoy the long afternoon swims, beautiful architecture and incredible food of the South of France with Creative Director, Matt Lennon.
NAME: Matt Lennon WHAT YOU DO: I’m a Brand Director and Creative Consultant STAR SIGN: Libra (Scorpio Rising) LIVING: Sydney, Australia LOCATION: South of France
There are so many beautiful places to rest your head in the South of France. From private villas on the coast to the old world luxury of Hotel du cap Eden Roc in Antibes. However, my absolute favourite place to stay is the understated yet elegant La Colombe d’Or hidden away in the foothills between Nice and the Alpes Maritimes.
La Colmbe d’Or started life as a respite for artists like Matisse, Miró, and Chagall who all swapped pieces of work in exchange for a night at the inn. Over time the property evolved into a 25-room boutique hotel and the artists work became an impressive private collection now proudly displayed on the walls.
The rooms are chic but simple in a quintessentially French kind of way – almost like someone has thrown them together and by some miracle the parts line up precisely.
In the centre of the hotel is a leafy courtyard and pool perfect for spending the day in the sun or getting through a good book… If you’re in France (or anywhere really) I highly recommend Tin Man by Sarah Winman; it’s the type of story that creeps up on you unassumingly and then takes your breath away.
It’s set partly in the South of France and it. is. EXTRAORDINARY.
La Colombe d’Or is also one of my favourite restaurants for a special lunch or dinner but the place that encapsulates everything I love about the south is Chez Jo at Plage du Layet in Lavandou. It’s a family run seafood restaurant hidden away at the end of tiny Layet beach.
The menu is small and unfussy, you perch on plastic chairs set out on a wooden platform above the water and are surrounded by local families who have been eating there every summer for generations.
Make sure to order the whole fish or crayfish with roast vegetables and local rosé by the bottle.
There’s so many wonderful beaches to discover, villages to explore and incredible art to see in the south. Fondation Maeght, nestled in the hills of Saint Paul de Vence is one of my favourite places in the world for modern art and also one of the most beautiful.
Designed by Spanish architect Josep Lluis Sert the building and grounds alone warrant a trip into the countryside.
Speaking of landscaped grounds, another place not to miss is Villa et Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild in Cap Ferrat.
This pretty pink palace was built by the wonderfully eccentric Baroness Beatrice de Rothschild in 1905 and is filled with antique furniture, old master paintings and priceless sculptures.
The grounds are made up of nine different themed gardens that range from traditional to exotic and there’s a cute cafe that serves really good iced tea!
My favourite little piece of coastline is a place that a friend took me last summer in Antibes. It’s known as Billionaire's Bay by the locals and quite aptly is only accessible by foot or boat unless you’re lucky enough to own one of the discreetly lavish homes that surround it.
Just around the corner from Hotel Du Cap, you won’t find a beach club or tourists here just chic locals, beautifully secluded swimming spots and crystal clear water.
I don’t tend to do that much shopping in the South of France. A lot of the stores can be over-priced or touristy and if I’m being honest I prefer to spend my days eating, napping, drinking, and swimming.
Having said that, shopping in Monaco is quite a surreal experience just because there’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Affine Design have recently built the Monte Carlo Pavilions which are a series of temporary dome-like structures that house 20 luxury flagships and are worth visiting, even just to browse.
For other kinds of shopping – I love Marcheé Forville in Cannes for fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers and the markets in Aix en Provence for vintage furniture and antiques
Packing for a trip is a weird talent of mine… along with parallel parking in tight spaces and ordering from a menu (just don’t ask me to do it in French!). For a few weeks in Europe I think good luggage is key; I love Fabbrica Pelletterie Milano’s selection - they’re sleek and super sturdy, perfect to throw in the back of a rental car or check and forget at the airport.
I’m not the type to overhaul my wardrobe for a summer vacation, but I do have some staples that work especially well in the Cote d'azur: I always travel with an oversized shirt from bassike in a crisp white cotton and a pair of their light-weight tailored pants, a couple of fun swimmers and shirts from Double Rainbouu, and a whole heap of tees from my wonderful friend Emma Mullholand’s aptly titled label, Holiday.
A leather sandal and a pool-slide are also essential, as well as a pair of comfy trainers for unexpected adventures or hikes. In terms of grooming, I am pretty rough-and-ready when I travel; I use a good quality SPF moisturizer, Aesop’s Parsley Seed Cleanser and B Triple C formula (which works wonders after a long haul flight) and wear Le Labo’s Patchouli 24 – the sun and the sea do the rest.