Set in 600 acres of parkland, olive groves, truffle woods and vineyards, France’s 17th-century Château La Coste is home to the art collection of Irish property developer Patrick McKillen. It has also just become home to Villa La Coste, a 28-suite hotel and spa, with a restaurant headed by three-Michelin-starred chef Gérald Passédat.
Gérald Passédat will be at the helm of the Pavilion restaurant. It will be the first restaurant outside Marseille for the Michelin-starred chef, who owns the clifftop hotel Le Petit Nice. Passédat is celebrated for cooking inspired by the sea, but at the Pavilion he will follow in the spirit of La Coste – as the architects and artists invited to create installations do – and take inspiration from the Provençal countryside. ‘It is something different for me,’ says Passédat. ‘Rather than looking out to sea, I am searching for the finest ingredients from the land. It is going to be unique.’ McKillen conceived the design of Villa La Coste in collaboration with his in-house architects and the Marseille-based Irish architect Christopher Green.
In its restaurant, Louison (lunch from €65; dinner from €95), Passédat aims to combine “la terre et la mer”. Starters include carpaccio of turbot with local black truffles, foie gras with seaweed broth, and fish bouillon with garlic extract and black olives. Among the mains are roast Haute-Provence lamb, slow-cooked catch of the day and a lightly truffled chicken with porridge oats.
From afar, Villa La Coste—a low-slung assemblage of stacked rectangles in beige stone built into the flank of a hill—blends so harmoniously with its natural surroundings.
The art element certainly shines through. Villa La Coste has Louise Bourgeois works in its reception area, while all the state-of-the-art suites feature contemporary sculpture, photographs and other pieces from McKillen’s collection.