Some homes possess a special spirit, just like that of an elegant and sweet old lady with whom the owners must negotiate. La Petite Nice is definitely in this category, where the old stones seem to speak, and tell you their stories, and the Italianate garden whispers (with an accent) in your ear the different faces of seasons past.
So this charming guesthouse sits in Barjols, closer to Saint Maximin than to Nice. With its typical façade, it wears the traditional features of a bourgeois home from the south of France, a genuine never-ending ticket to an enchanting past. If you close your eyes, you quickly become an imaginary gentleman invited to the home of the painter from Grasse, Fragonard, or one of the heros of Pagnol’s books.
Indeed, the residents of the place have captured all the symbols of Provençal decoration. On the bed are local embroideries known as “boutis” in warm and sober colors, symbols of a regional know-how. And on the walls, paper with dense patterns and bright colors, as if it had lasted througout the centuries without suffering the torments of time, give a very 19th-century style to the rooms. The bathrooms give off a retro vibe, and we expect to glimpse for an instant when passing by a mirror Brigitte Bardot’s face and lion’s mane, straight out of “And God Created Woman.” The different faces that Provence has known are discovered room by room.
But not without a certain modernity. Indeed, Corinne and Emmanuel, sculptor and painter respectively, have had fun with tradition. The wallpaper, spared a certain death, only covers part of the walls on purpose, to reveal a little vintage and colorful detail in a room like the dining room. The cement tiles, a source of coolness for centuries, no longer function as a team, but in patchwork, mismatched just so, and dotting the whole building with their patterns.
The mixes are coherent and charming, and will take you back in time as on a frieze, tracing an unforgettable portrait of a Provence become myth for decades, outlined in works by the most important artists from Cézanne to Hitchcock… And in your most beautiful dreams.
La Petite Nice
9 rue Pierre Curie
Route de Brignoles