Terre Blanche’s chief concierge reveals a “haven of peace” with his authentic Provençal experiences
The Concierge Series: Tempus celebrates the luxury travel industry
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Grégory Vacca has been the chief concierge ‘Clefs D’Or’ of five-star Provence resort and golfing paradise Terre Blanche since 2013. With 21-years’ experience in luxury hotels, Vacca’s main role is to make sure each of his guests receives a unique experience in what he describes as “a haven of peace”. Here, he shares his favourite provençal activities and secret moments that guests can enjoy in the South of France.
Where can visitors find the best views?
On the heights of the Pays de Fayence, only a 30-minute drive from the resort, there is the pretty village of Mons. From its high orientation, it offers a unique and breath-taking panoramic view over the entire French Riviera, with the Lérins Islands in front of Cannes, and Fréjus on the other side all the way to St-Tropez. Some days, you can even see the mountains of Corsica.
Do you have a favourite lunch spot?
The question is difficult, because we are lucky to have many restaurants, or “bistrots” as we say in French, of great quality, authentic, simple, with local-sourced (farm-to-table) produce and Mediterranean cuisine full of flavours. If I had to choose one, it would be L'Escourtin. Its cuisine is tasty, full of sunshine and the setting is typically Provençal. Located in an old olive oil mill, hence the origin of its name, "Le scourtin", which is a carpet and a filter that allows the extraction of olive oil under a press.
What unknown or local experience would you recommend?
If you love nature and want to discover the secret garden of the locals, I invite you to go hiking along the "Siagne", a river that takes its source in the Vaucluse and crosses the Canton to continue to Cannes before flowing into the Mediterranean Sea. There, I will show you magnificent spots to bathe in its crystal clear and fresh waters and even organize a picnic basket for you. This is also something I like to do on my days off, and perfect for families. >>
Could you tell us about a place in the destination that is special to you?
There is the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rose which is a Gallo-Roman archaeological site at only 10 minutes by car from the resort. It dates back to the 10th to 11th centuries and is the oldest religious monument in Callian. There is also the Priory of the Abbey of Lérins island: I know the family who owns the estate on which it is built and who have the keys that open its doors usually closed to the public. All around there is nothing but fields of roses, jasmine, olive trees and vines. Their wine is excellent and it is possible to taste it, with moderation of course.
What one event of the year would you recommend guests experience?
An unmissable event, held five times a year in the village of Fayence, is the antique dealers' fair. A unique opportunity for lovers of beautiful pieces to meet more than 70 exhibitors and hunt a bargain under the shade of centenarian plane trees in the large garden of an old Provencal bastide.
Are there any news experiences offered by Terre Blanche that you look forward to sharing with guests?
Without hesitation, one we co-founded this year with Le Clos de Callian. This unique olfactory and creative experience offers our guests the opportunity to experience a morning of immersion with the growers and a perfume creator, the history, the hand-picking of Centifolia Roses (in May) or Tuberoses and the creation of a fragrance. The Rose Centifolia has a sweet scent and is very much in demand. All the production is moreover exclusively for the House of Christian Dior Perfumes. Also, as part of our “Provençal Pursuits”, our guests can also experience a biking tour with a guide through Le Pays de Fayence and its fairy-tale setting to meet with local producers to do goat cheese and olive oil tastings. I am happy and proud to be able to share these one-of-a-kind experiences that you will find nowhere else.