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Many have thought that mansions should only be explored by those privileged enough to be invited in. La Divine Comédie, tucked away down an impasse and protected from view by walls and a bountiful garden, would not stray from this rule if it were only open to guests enchanted by its atmosphere. An atmosphere of Baroque, Provençal, Italian, grand siècle, contemporary, and even Arabic inspirations. The perfect stage for a theatre of colours, light, volumes and spaces punctuated with heterogeneous objects that serves as an indulgent retreat in the very heart of Avignon.
Avignon first enchanted us with its geographical location, ideally located in the heart of Provence, 45 minutes from the most beautiful sites in the region (the Camargue, Mont Ventoux, Luberon) and only 2 hours 40 minutes by TGV from Paris. Moreover, Avignon is a city of performance, with an internationally recognised Theatre Festival, "Les Hivernales" dance festival, and the show of "Luminescences" at the Palais des Papes. It is a wonderful climate to live in, a Provencal city where life is good and filled with water, light, and bright blue skies cleared by the mistral winds. The Rhône brings all its majesty to the city. It is also a city of history and Popes; a city of architecture with ramparts, churches, palaces; a city of culture with museums and the prestigious Lambert collection presenting the elite of contemporary artists. Finally, it is a cosmopolitan city, at the crossroads of three departments, a city of exchanges around the arts and artists. When at the house itself, seeing the garden (the largest private garden in Avignon) was for us an encounter with an oasis and haven of peace.
Located in the heart of the garden, the house dates mostly from the 19th century. The front door opens to a beautiful stone staircase serving three levels. On the ground floor, we have arranged three reception rooms, the south living room has eight windows. A winter garden with a beautiful glass roof opens onto the garden: you will notice its beautiful herringbone parquet flooring and 19th century table that invites guests to lunch between home and garden in the beautiful light of Provence. The house is full of small fancies from the 18th century such as windows and bull's-eyes separating one room from another, small echoes of the Arab-Italian architecture of the Palace of the Popes and features such as fireplaces and door frames that remind us we are in Provence.
The property is located on the site of Cardinal Amedee of Saluzzo from the 14th century, right-hand man to the Popes of Avignon and their ambassador in all the kingdoms of Europe. His whole "ministry" was housed there and worked in the annexes. It was demolished in the 16th century and the wall (which is still in place) was built with stones from the palace of the Popes. The north wing, where the kitchen is located today, was built in the 18th century. In the 19th century, an insurance company from Marseille bought it and, to accommodate its staff, built the current main building in the extension of the 18th century wing. The house was bought again in 1919 by a large manufacturer of Vaucluse firebrick, however he never lived here and rented the building to various people of note. In the early 1980s (and for thirty years) the building became Avignon's Centre for Linguistic Studies and hosted many artists and famous politicians during the Festival: Jeanne Moreau, Michael Lonsdale and many others did readings here. In July, France Culture established themselves in the garden to produce their programmes. The organisation that rented the property transformed all of the rooms into classrooms. It was in 2009 that we bought the manor to completely renovate it and transform it into a guest house.
A true oasis in the heart of the city, the five suites are about 50m2 each and have been given evocative names (Aphrodite, Consul, Naples...). They are all refined and spacious, one has a private terrace. They are all decorated in a different style with a unique story. All this is in the middle of the largest private garden in Avignon, it is 2500m2 and features more than two hundred different species of plant. The property also has a wellness area and a meeting room in the orangery which looks out over the garden, and a swimming pool.
Avignon is full of places to visit! Just to name a few, we would recommend the "Vox populi" gallery which is both a tea room and a decoration shop, the Lambert collection at the museum of contemporary art, restaurants "La maison de la Tour" and "Le coin caché","The Bronzini House" in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon which shares its expertise around olive oil, and for moviegoers the art cinema Utopia.
A lounge bar is available for seminars, business meetings, cocktail parties and conferences. Housed in the former common rooms of the mansion, "Le Complot" enchants visitors with its stunning volumes, unique decor, 18th century fireplace, grand piano, tree ferns and paintings by contemporary artists. The large windows reveal an elegant terrace in the shade of giant bamboo plants which can accommodate up to one hundred and twenty people. A bar and a kitchen are connected to the room allowing caterers or chefs to prepare any food you would like. It is an unique reception area, with a total surface of 190 m2 (80 m2 inside and 110 m2 outside). This room meets high standards and can be privatised during the day from 9am to 6pm or the evening from 6pm to midnight.