Nestled in the bucolic Drôme region, an hour south of Lyon and flirting with the edge of Provence, is the charming city of Valence. Known as “The southern door of France”, Valence peacefully sits in the middle of the well-known vallée du Rhône. As we discovered last week, the main attraction of Valence is of course if you are a gastronome (food aficionado), Le restaurant Pic which is under the direction of the only female, 3 Michelin stars chef in the world. But there is more to La Maison Pic than just a gastronomical restaurant. It’s also a boutique hotel member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux chain, a cooking school and an elegant bistro.
Walking around the property, you can definitely sense a feeling of harmony thanks to the skillful work of the architect Bruno Borrione. Following its awarding of a third Michelin star, La Maison Pic has undergone a serious transformation over a 2 year period. During that time frame, the 15 hotel rooms, salons, seminar rooms and the two restaurants have all been renovated to better translate the personality and style of its new star: Anne-Sophie Pic. All this work translates in a very cohesive and tasteful style all across the establishment. The choice of texture and colors conveys a soft and modern feel while the earth tones, punctuated by some splash of pink, gently remind us that a woman leads the boat.
The two bedrooms we booked were bright, comfortable and elegant. In chamber #14 (Deluxe room), we enjoyed the large bathroom appointed with a beautiful oval bath and a rain shower. Chamber #12 (Superior room) was a bit smaller, ideal for a single person, but came with an ingenious bathroom system hidden behind a glass wall. Since we checked in around 4pm, we were welcomed with a delicious patisserie from the restaurant pastry chef Philippe Rigollot. What a better way to start this culinary journey.
Simple and elegant décor that recall the dining room color palette (Deluxe room)
The bathroom in the deluxe room showcases modern and elegant features
Each room is decorated with some colorful exotic blooms
The ingenious bathroom system in the superior room
The pink sofa is creating a stunning color contrast
A little box of chocolate will be waiting on your pillow before you fall asleep
In 2008, La Maison Pic opened Scook, L’école de Cuisine (The Cooking School). Located down the road, a few hundred meters away, Scook offers an amazing array of cooking tools and signature ingredients as well as cooking and wine classes. The school is open to all: professionals, amateurs and kids thanks to a great selection of classes. If you don’t have time for a cooking class, several cook books written by Anne-Sophie Pic are available in the store as well as online.
Like Alice Waters’ crusade for a better food, Madame Pic is also very engaged in transmitting her passion for food and authentic taste to the new generation. She has written many cook books for children and also launched a foundation “Donnons du goût à l’enfance!” (Let’s give taste to childhood). Her work includes various workshops and projects to familiarize kids with real foods as well as nutrition. It is so inspiring to see great chefs devoting time for such causes.
The main entrance showcases a giant picture of Anne-Sophie Pic
The modern kitchen were the cooking classes are given
Another restaurant named “Le 7, Bistro Chic” is also part of the hotel. More casual than its famous neighbor, Le 7 offers a simple and refined cuisine in a modern setting. The name and décor of this bistro are honoring the Route Nationale 7 (Road 7) that was for many years before the highways were built, “la route des vacances” (The vacation road), the only way to access the French Riviera from Paris. Due to this reason, many good restaurants including several 3 Michelin stars restaurants found a natural fit with la Nationale 7, making it a real gastronomical road.
The kitchen under the direction of chef Stéphane Rossillon, offers traditional French dishes with a modern twist. Because our stay was only overnight, we did not have the chance to enjoy Le 7. But without any doubt, this modern bistro is probably one of the best “hot spot” of Valence.
Hidden behind the main building is the garden and swimming pool area. The place is very peaceful with cozy lounge chairs resting under a big olive tree and inviting us for a nap. The intimate dimension of the hotel and garden area really makes you feel like at home.
Entrance of “Le 7, Bistro Chic”
The swimming pool and garden area
Le petit-dejeuner (breakfast) was a wonderful culinary experience. Called “Matins de Pic” (Mornings from Pic), they can be enjoyed in the salons down stairs or in the comfort of your bedroom. Since we selected the later option, we were greeted with an enormous wooden tray carried by two smiling women. Discovering all the homemade goodies included in this breakfast was really part of the pleasure. Great detail and attention was given to the composition of this tray: fresh viennoiseries and bread, homemade jellies and marmalade, fresh fruits, Panna cotta, and a brioche conveniently wrapped and ready to go with you.
Le Petit-déjeuner Matins de Pic: A gourmet breakfast enjoyed in the room
Homemade marmalade and Jellies
A visit at La Maison Pic should be included in every traveler’s bucket list. We enjoyed every aspect of our stay, from the food to the amenities, without forgetting the warm and professional team that welcomed us. Le Restaurant Pic was truly a culinary experience of a lifetime, and hopefully we’ll have many more opportunities to enjoy Madame Pic’s cuisine.
For more information
285 Avenue Victor Hugo
Tel: +33 4 75 44 15 32
Superior room starting at €290 per night
Special offers including dinner at the gastronomical restaurant are available on the website.
Le 7, Bistro Chic
Open everyday lunch and diner
Menu starting at €28 for a three servings menu
Tel: +33 4 75 44 53 86
Scook, L’école de Cuisine (The cooking school)
243 Avenue Victor Hugo
Website (Classes and website are only available in French)
Check out our interactive map of Provence to see where I took all the pictures featured in this article.