Domaine de la Corniche: Serenity of the Seine
Text: Kate Harvey | Photos: Domaine De La Corniche
Float downstream along the Seine, and you’ll soon end up at the breathtaking Domaine de la Corniche. Plucked straight out of a Claude Monet painting, this charming hotel, spa and Michelin-star restaurant offers unparalleled views across France’s most famous river. Now’s the chance to recharge your batteries and soak up the Giverny region – which is a work of art in itself.
From its leafy position on top of chalk cliffs, the Domaine gazes out over the River Seine; a sight one might not expect just 40 minutes’ drive from the centre of Paris. Nestled at the heart of Giverny, the wellness complex is the ideal spot for a weekend away, whether you’re visiting as a couple, a group, or even just for some ‘me’ time. “There are two legends,” explains Laurène Jordan, sales director. “One is that King Leopold II of Belgium had the castle built for him and his lover, and the other is that the Baroness of Wulf had it built to welcome her Parisian acquaintances.”
With its myriad of spaces where the bourgeoisie once roamed, the Domaine is bursting with character. Expect traditional stone masonry, a rich history and tree-lined paths away from the hustle and bustle. Not forgetting the Temple of Love: a romantic stone lookout that can be booked for private spa treatments.
A wellness centre for total tranquillity
The Seine inspires every inch of the Domaine, and the luxury ‘Sequana spa’ (Latin for ‘Seine’) is even named after the meandering curves of the nearby river. Gain access to a stylish indoor pool, equipped with a Jacuzzi and massaging jets, comfy alcoves and sunbeds, large steam room, sauna and a solarium. “We have spa deals for couples, friends – even mothers and children,” says Laurène. French skincare is serious business, and the spa offers a range of treatments from two luxury brands: Cinq Mondes and Nougatine. “The former is rich in exotic balms and oils from all over the globe, and the latter is perfect for younger skin: with honey, sweet almond and macadamia oil formulas,” says Laurène. Spa packages can be combined with various activities and can even be reserved in the evenings for you and your closest circle.
Rest your head in style
Guests can choose to stay in one of four distinct buildings that combine charm with contemporary comfort. “Most of the bedroom windows open out to the countryside or private gardens,” explains Laurène. Escape to one of the 18 castle bedrooms, or opt for one of nine bedrooms in the bucolic 19th-century La Jeanette manor house. There’s also the Forestier cabin, with themed rooms and proximity to the spa, or the Sequana spa itself and its ten contemporary bedrooms.
Michelin-star-studded wining and dining
France has a world-famous culinary heritage, and is something the Domaine promotes with great passion. Not only does its Panoramique restaurant offer enviable views across the Seine, but head chef Julien Razamon has been awarded a Michelin star. And why not combine a lazy lunch with an afternoon of relaxation? “Dine at the Panoramique and then spend the afternoon in the spa for half the price,” suggests Laurène.
Refined epicureans can even try a fine selection of wines handpicked by the head sommelier, Anthony Gala. “We organise wine tasting experiences every Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” says Anthony.
Families will also adore the warm and familiar 20 du Domaine restaurant and wine bar, which also doubles as a quirky ‘bric-à-brac’ shop. “Chef Valentin presents an à la carte menu of traditional dishes from the region and beyond.”
Entertainment fit for a king
When the sun sets, guests can lounge in the Leopold Bar, named after the Belgian king himself. But in this cocktail lounge, resident mixologist Gildas is king. Select one of his bespoke cocktails; or for those that enjoy a flute of something bubbly, the Domaine is also a partner of Moët & Chandon champagne.
In the summer months, the veranda opens up and the Leopold bar extends across a sun-soaked terrace. You can even while away the afternoon with a tipple and a game of pool, chess, or backgammon. And if you prefer something a little more active, there’s bocce, tennis and badminton on offer in the shaded forest. “We also have a kids’ club for three-to-12-year olds that runs throughout the day to keep them entertained.”
The fun does not stop there. What better way to end the evening than with a bottle of Champagne and a cinema viewing? Dim the lights, sink into the red velvet seats and enjoy a film screening in the state-of-the-art cinema room. “The room can also be used for seminars and business meetings – it’s truly versatile,” says Laurène.
Explore Monet’s home
It will come as no surprise that the lush Giverny region is the former home of French impressionist artist, Claude Monet. And with a south-facing outdoor pool, children’s play area, hen house and winding cycling routes through the forest of Rosny-sur-Seine, guests can experience the heritage of Monet’s home not far from the Domaine. You can even rent bikes free of charge. The Domaine is about creating memories – and all family members are invited.
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