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Lumani in the press

The Times  Rick Steves  The Independent  Lonely Planet  France Magazine  Alistair Sawday's

« THE TIMES » 24.03.12 - Europe on a shoestring : Great hotels under £100 - 30 best places by Alastair Sawday
LUMANI, Avignon, Vaucluse
Tucked into the medieval ramparts is this handsome 19th-century house. Walk off the street into a cool, lush oasis with plane trees, hammocks, deck chairs, sculptures and shady spots for reading. Inside are light-filled minimalist rooms with abstract paintings, all following the principles of feng shui.
The owners, Elisabeth and Jean, encourage creative pursuits, so there is a soundproofed music studio; they provide tours on architecture and art , and give cookery classes

Guide Rick Steves' Provence & French Riviera 2009
Lumani provides the ultimate urban refuge just inside the city walls, a 15-minute walk from the Popes' Palace. In this graceful old manor house, gentle Elisabeth and Jean welcome guests to their art-gallery-cum-bed-and breakfast that surrounds a fontain-filled courtyard with elbow room. She paints, he designs buildings, and both care about your experience in Avignon. The five rooms are decorated with flair; no two are alike and all overlook the shady garden .

The Independent
It may be right in the centre of Avignon but Maison Lumani offers a very different take on the provençal way of life than the conventional herbs-and-yellow- tablecloths stereotype. Set in a large 19th-century building, this avant-garde guesthouse has five contemporary, fairty minimalist rooms. The furniture has been sourced from all over Europe and, with one of the owners a painter, the walls aren't short of coulor. The lofty, cool rooms feature windows looking out over 100-year-old plane trees in the garden and the guesthouse also boasts its own soundproof music workshop.

lonely planet 2009

Guide « PROVENCE & the Côte d'Azur »
This fabulous maison d'hôtes run by Elisabeth, whose artworks are hung throughout the stunning house, and her husband, Jean, a saxophonist, is a found of inspiration for artists. Lumani's stone walls house five rooms (including two suites) and a sounproofed music atelier
overlooking a fountained garden. Elisabeth and Jean offer a table d'hôte (set meal; €25; minimum four people). An adjacent artists' workshop is avaible for rent. Wi-fi is free.

#107 August 2007 ; www.francemag.com

Home is where the art is
Couple has transformed an ancient Provençal house using their favourite artists as inspiration. ANTHEA GERRIE
Takes a look around

You don't have to be a painter or musician to stay at Maison Lumani, the most unusual B&B in Avignon, but if you are a creative type you'll have a treat in store. The wonderful haven tucked into the city walls of this ancient gateway to Provence, which hosts important art and music festivals throughout the year, was created by artists specifically for other artists. So it has a few unusual favilities to go with the colorful one-off bedrooms and striking, sculpture-lined courtyard garden.

For a start there's a purpose-built studio, adjacent to Elisabeth Beraud-Hirschi's own workshop, where she produces all the pictures that hang in the five guest bedrooms, as well as work for her outside patrons. And then her husband Jean, who masterminded the architectural transformation of the old maison de maître, insisted on installing a fully soundproofed music room for practice sessions wich wouldn't disturb the neighbours-although in this charming bohemian section of town, just inside the Porte Sant-Lazare, they probably wouldn't objects to any stay strumming or drumming. Either way, this unique facility makes Lumani the lodging of choice for performers attending the major summer music festival in July.
But anyone who just likes to look at beautiful things will enjoy staying at Lumani, which was exactly what Elisabeth, a Parisian antique dealer-turned-painter, and Jean, a Swiss architect, had in mind when they decided to set up shop in Avignon four years ago. They wanted the pleasures of living in Provence without sacrificing a lively urban lifestyle.

A touch of style

“Avignon is a real cultural hub, and apart from the fact it's right in the heart of Provence, it also has a heavy Italian influence which is important to as we love Italy too”, explains Jean, who converted the listed building with great style three years ago.
It took them a year before they found their ideal property, but Jean had very firm ideas of the four elements it would have to accommodate: “I had already drawn it in my mind-a home for us and our two sons, a separate house for guests, a sudio for Elisabeth and visiting artists and a purpose-built music room, not least because i love playing sax myself.
“The whole project took just nine months”, he says proudly, to which Elisabeth quickly adds; “Yes, just like having a baby-and it was every bit as painful !”
Painful literally, that is, only for the builder who fell through the rotted floorboards of the top storey of the handsome, shuttered three-storey 19th-century stone mansion where guests sleep. This floor also houses a cosy red living-room, striking dining room, library with fireplace and the fabulous old kitchen awash with original beams and old blue and withe tiles where breakfast is prepared.
The guests in this suite, who now have a totally safe floor, albeit of salvaged ancient boards, get a breathtaking view of the old city walls and the sun setting over the Rhône, while from the front of the house, all guests have a view of Jean's 21st-century artistry-a beautiful modern pond over which hangs a striking rusted iron mobile.
The guests in the top floor get a breathtaking view of the old city walls, and the sun setting over the Rhone.
Beyond that is a brand-new wing, part of which looks as though it has been there forever. This is the little house where Jean and Elisabeth live with their two teenage sons in very modern, open-plan style. Once a single-storey outbuilding used for storage, it has had an extra storey and spiral staircase leading to the sleeping quarters added, but a sloping roof of old tiles retained to comply with listed buiding regulations, makes the building look from the outside as though it, too, has been there for 150 years. This has not precluded the addition of a modern, glass-fronted studio across the remainder of the rear, from whitch guests can view Elisabeth's canvasses and the artist herself at work.
Between the family house and the studio is a purpose-built studio for visiting artists, whitch, by next summer will be fitted with a sleeping loft.

Philosophical struggle

When it comes to the decoration of the guest rooms, two separate philosophies struggle against each other, resolving in an effective compromise; Jean, the modern architect, prefers the “less is more”, approach and uses local materials and tactile surfaces. He has harnessed hand-made terracotta tiles from Apt that are contemporary with the building, and local stone from Cassis and Tavel.
Wet rooms in place of traditional shower cubicles add a distinctly contemporary touch.

Rooms reflect the romanticism of Matisse and Bonnard as well as the spare, but deeply emotional, modernism of Rothko.

The interior decor is Elisabeth's territory and here she enters into a dream world inspired by her favourite artists. Rooms reflect the romanticism of Matisse and Bonnard as well as the spare, but deeply emotional, modernism of Rothko, and a touch of the surrealism of Magritte. She also worked in antiques for 20 years and has a passionate love of objects-particularly art nouveau and art deco-which are carefully placed to chime with Jean's “less is more” mantra!
“Where we agreed completely is to employ feng shui principles throughout, and to theme the guest rooms”, explains Elisabeth, “a world of travel, a world of theatre, even a world of dreams”. Thus the Escale suite on the first floor is designed to recreate the feeling of a 1920s liner, with a private terrace equipped with deckchairs intended to resemble a stateroom balcony and an art deco wood and leather cabin trunk in place of a wardrobe. “The idea is to evoke sense of time standing still you get while you're travelling, especially on the ocean”, explains Jean, who added a grand external staircase to mimic the idea of escending a gangplank. A Japanese wooden bed, along with Oriental screens, and light fittings from an actual yacht, reinforce the theme of being gloriously all at sea.

Artistic inspirations

Lumière, on the second floor, pays homage to the great painters of their Provence, bringing inside with paint the blue sky which inspired them, as well as offering inspirational views over the Rhône, Ramparts and garden.
Coulisse (translation: backstage) is the theatrical room-cue the red velvet curtains, dressing-room-style spotlights around the bathroom mirror and an original poster advertising the Avignon theatre festival: “It's a deliberately mysterious room-just as theatre is mysterious in its work of creating a new reality” says Elisabeth.
The red of the curtain reappears dramatically here on the walls of the loo. But possibly no aspect of the interior decor of the house is quite as startling as the blue ceiling, pale yellow walls and red marble vanity unit of the Rêve room devoted to the surreal!
Elisabeth, also a fan of natural materials, chose 100 per cent linen for curtains and pure virgin wool for bedspreads, as well as making liberal use of the red and yellow ochre pigments of nearby Roussillon. But as her secret weapon is her imagination, description only goes so far... you really have to experience Lumani for yourself to understand the magic of its atmosphere.

Rooms at Maison Lumani, 37, rue Rempart St. Lazare, start at 90 euros and can be booked on tel: (Fr) à04 90 82 94 11, www.avignon-lumani.com

Description only goes so far.... you'll have to experience Lumani for yourself to unterstand the magic of its atmosphere.

Alastair Sawday's 2008
Special place to Stay

Minutes from the Pope's Palace and the mythical Pont d'Avignon, tucked into the medieval ramparts, is this handsome, blue-shuttered, 19th-century house. Walk off the street into a cool, lush garden with 100-year old plane trees, hammocks, striped chairs, sculptures, and shady spots for reading or contemplating; it is beautifully designed and blissfully peaceful (just the plashing of a fountain, the chirruping of birds).
Inside are light-filled, minimalist rooms with abstract paintings on withe or vibrant walls, tiled floors, clever lighting. Bedrooms are just as beatiful and truly restful; all look over the garden. Your hosts, Elisabeth (an artist) and Jean (an architect), encourage creative pursuits: they give you a sound-proofed music studio, provide tours and guidebooks on architecture and art, and offer classes in cookery. Allow them to look after you in the ochre red salon... or you may rent the whole house and do your own cooking. You are in the heart of Provence so explore the lavender fields, stride the hills and visit the delightful villages and their markets.
Peaceful, creative, special.

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LUMANI - bed and breakfast in Avignon, Provence
37, rue du Rempart St. Lazare - 84000 AVIGNON
lux@avignon-lumani.com    -  tel : (33) 04 90 82 94 11