Château La Coste is a wonderland, hidden in the foothills of the Luberon Valley of Provence, France. A property that combines art, architecture, wine, nature, and dining all in one magical experience.
The view of the property, as it comes into view in the distance, is majestic, starting with the gate at the entrance, by Tadao Ando, a self-taught Japanese architect known for creating zen in his work, by leaving empty space to represent beauty and simplicity. Concentrating on inner feeling rather than outward appearance.
Louise Bourgeois’s Crouching Spider is the next sculpture we see, perched in the pool between the parking and main building. Tickets (a small entrance fee to roam the property) are purchased in the main building (a restaurant and gift shop, also by Tadao Ando). Guests are given a map of the domain which has descriptions of the instillations and artists.
A spectacular wander, on windy stone trails, surrounded by vines, tractors at work, and a sweeping views of the Luberon Valley. As we roamed we took in the art instillations, Tracy Emin’s Cat inside a Barrel, Frank O. Gerhy’s Pavilion de Musique, Paul Matisse’s Meditation Bell, Tom Shannon’s Drop, and my personal favourite, Tonga’s Psicopompos, eccentrically built displays of large hanging crystals. Those are just to name a few of the many artists that contributed to the instillations around the property.
My month-old daughter, Eva, was a perfect little tourist, she slept in her front Ergo carrier most of the day, but I like to think she took in the energy of that magical place. The walk finishes back at the main building, the Tadao Ando Art Centre and Restaurant , where we had a lunch by the water’s edge. The restaurant is an open, modern and luminous space. The menu highlights Provençal and Mediterranean specialties and seasonable produce from the organic vegetable garden specifically designed by Louis Bench. Meals are served, of course, with wines from the Château La Coste. Wines, which are made by biodynamic practices, paying respect to the land by using methods which are in perfect harmony with nature.
We took a long lunch catching up as old friends. I was there with my Canadian friend Juli, whom I was staying with, as well as our friend, Fabrizio from Italy, whom we’d met walking the Camino de Santiago a few years ago. Fabrizio has children of his own and he was so sweet with Eva, holding her and speaking Italian to her.
After lunch I changed my daughter’s diaper in one of the classiest, sleekest bathrooms I’ve ever seen, then spent a little time perusing the gift shop. The salesclerk was so lovely, and proud of their extensive collection of specialty books, a range of rare titles on architecture, wine, gastronomy and Provençal garden design. There’s also a large selection of creative books for children, but I didn’t buy any for Eva. I decided I’d rather live with the dream and the hope that one day soon, we’d go back.