After two years of work, the Relais & Châteaux des Etangs de Corot finally reopens its doors. Facing the ponds dear to the painters, it offers a bucolic haven between Paris and Versailles.
A small bucolic haven halfway between Paris and Versailles, surrounded by the great national domain of Saint-Cloud on one side and the forest of Fausses-Reposes on the other. The ponds of Ville d’Avray have long been a favorite of painters, especially Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, one of the founders of the Barbizon school and a pioneer of the impressionist movement, who has immortalized them on numerous occasions. It is there, in this classified space, in front of the ponds, that the 4 stars establishment of the Etangs de Corot is installed. Gérard Jicquel, a Breton entrepreneur and founder of the Beautiful Life Hotels group, has fallen under its spell, to the point of buying it in 2019 from Alice and Jérôme Tourbier. After nearly two years of work, the Relais & Châteaux establishment reopened its doors in the fall of 2022.
More than a facelift, it’s a real renovation that the establishment has undergone. The different spaces were not only redecorated, but completely redesigned to improve the experience offered to customers by highlighting better distributed spaces. How not to fall under the charm of this vast interior garden with a ginguette spirit, made up of cascading terraces, rocked by the gentle tumult of the fountain? On the ponds side, a few steps lead up to the Paillotes, a listed 19th century guinguette that matches the retro and bucolic spirit of the place and offers an unobstructed view of the ponds dear to the painters. Below, there is a row of three private outdoor spa cabins that also offer a view of the ponds: each one has a whirlpool bath offering a unique bucolic relaxation experience. This space extends a completely renovated Spa, based on a set of 8 cabins, articulated around a sauna and a jaccuzi open to the outside. Redecorated around ochre colors, this Spa uses products signed Phytomer and Kos.
Inside the establishment, the bar Le Camille has moved and settled not far from the lobby, in a cosy decor evoking impressionism. Every day, between 11 a.m. and midnight, it offers a menu of wines, spirits and high-end soft drinks, prepared by the head sommelier. In the rooms, the work carried out during the renovation focused on the decoration. The 42 rooms, including 3 suites, make ample room for nature: canvases at the head of the bed reproducing Corot’s paintings are inserted into a colorful and cozy environment, in a colonial-chic style, extended into bathrooms covered with Moroccan zellige. The windows overlooking the ponds and the interior garden promise a rural interlude.
The gastronomic offer of the Etangs de Corot holds its rank. Orchestrated by its talented chef, Remi Chambard, at the helm here since 2012, it revolves around two singular locations.
The Café des Artistes, first of all. This brasserie, now installed in the former location of the gastronomic restaurant, offers a vast space evoking the world of ponds. We can see, nestled between the beams, boats, oars and other elements of fishing. Extended by a large terrace, the Café des Artistes, open every day, offers a family and gourmet cuisine made of local products operated by Rémi Chambard and his team.
On the floor below, the transformed space is home to the Michelin-starred restaurant Le Corot, in a sleek 30-seat setting of light, soft colors, clean lines and wood. The chef brilliantly offers a country ballad in four, six or eight times in the soil of Ile-de-France. His gourmet cuisine is largely inspired, if not dictated, by the surrounding nature, wonderfully embodied by the signature dish called “Ville d’Avray”: a fine tart with mushrooms, candied onions and guinea fowl, embellished by a few leaves of agastache with licorice and aniseed flavors. Our favorite is “Suresnes”, a scallop, parsley root and wine sauce, nicely lemony and delicious: an appetizer as we like them, which takes a back seat to the product while revealing the creativity and technique of the chef, and which is generally a sign of talent.
Finally, how can we not mention the “little extra” dear to the editors of L’Honoré Magazine: the cheese platter, which has disappeared from so many fine tables and which, here, finds its place. A simple and coherent concept, articulated around three farms in the Paris region, each offering two or three cheeses. The raw milk tomme from the Ferme de la Chalotterie, with its powerful fruitiness, is exceptional!