The small “hotel particulier” (= townhouse) located at 10, place de la Mairie, in the charming Provençal village of Ampus (Haut Var) has reputedly been built just after the French Revolution, in 1799. For centuries, it had housed one of the leading noble families of the region, before becoming a well-known Michelin – starred restaurant in the 1990s – 2000s. However, the dilapidated state of the building forced the much loved restaurant to close and the beautiful old mansion to fall into further disrepair.
House & Rooms
It was eventually acquired by Alexander Kraft, Chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty France – Monaco and an internationally renowned arbiter of style, who saw in the building an opportunity to indulge in his passion for restoring and decorating historic buildings, creating new businesses and at the same time giving back to the local community by creating a hitherto non-existent meeting place for visitors and locals alike. Over several years, Kraft pursued the painstaking complete restoration of this little architectural gem: The natural stone façade was carefully revealed through a meticulous sand-blasting and hand – cleaning process; bricked up windows were opened and transformed into French windows with mini-balconies; structural weaknesses required the building of a completely new stair case, new ceilings, reinforced walls, not to mention top-to-bottom new wiring and plumbing.
In this rebuilding process, only the finest materials were used: All floors are solid natural stone floors; the steps of the staircase as well as the façade stucco ornaments have been hand carved from solid stone by a local stone mason. Several tiny rooms were reunited to create 4 cozy bed – and bathroom suites, each bedroom boasting its own bathroom clad in Italian Carrere marble and hand cut mirrors. Antique 18th and 19th century fireplaces, stucco panels and hand-cut mirrors were installed in each bedroom. The 4 guestrooms may be small in size (ranging from approx. 12 – 16 sq.m.) but offer tasteful high-end features and perfect comfort that even some 5-star-hotels lack. After all, perfection is most always in the details…
All rooms are equipped with arguably the world’s best beds, hand-made to order in Sweden especially for La Maison Bleue by legendary Swedish bed maker Hastens. Leather – clad table lamps and wool-cashmere bed throws come from Ralph Lauren Home. All rooms feature precious 18th century George III antique side tables from England, original lithographs from Picasso, Matisse and other world renowned artists, antique marble fire places, and Chinese ceramics.
Perfect comfort is assured by 300-thread count bed linen and towels made from the finest Egyptian cotton, a free mini bar stocked with regional products, free espresso machines stocked with specially selected Caffè Vergnano blends, and high-end flat TVs with a free movie library. Other personal touches include a small guest library in each room consisting of selected auction catalogues and vintage novels, and solid wooden hangers and clothes brushes from The Hanger Project in the USA. The classic marble bathrooms are stocked with organic bath products from Bamford England.