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The once sleepy town has become chic and cosmopolitan, distilling the essence of art de vivre with its café society, restaurants, luxury food stores and interior-design shops. Still far removed from the brash modernity of the Côte d'Azur, many visitors are attracted by the irresistible combination of sophisticated simplicity and top-class restaurants.

WHERE TO STAY IN ST-REMY-DE-PROVENCE

HOTEL LES ATELIERS DE L'IMAGE

36 boulevard Victor Hugo (00 33 4 90 92 51 50;
www.hotelphoto.com). A high-tech, ultra-minimalist and recently revamped hotel. Has a gorgeous pool.

CHATEAU DES ALPILLES

(00 33 4 90 92 03 33; www.chateaudesalpilles.com). This elegant hotel has a discerning clientele. Has a swimming pool.

WHERE TO EAT OUT IN ST-REMY-DE-PROVENCE

CHEZ L'AMI Hôtel Les Ateliers de L'Image, 36 boulevard Victor Hugo (00 33 4 90 92 51 50).Serves sophisticated Franco-Japanese cuisine.

GRAIN DU SEL 23-25 boulevard Mirabeau (00 33 4 90 92 00 89). Stylish restaurant with Baroque decor and a chic atmosphere. Expect hearty, regional cuisine and a quaffable wine list.

ALAIN ASSAUD 13 boulevard Marceau (00 33 4 90 92 37 11). This restaurant has a deceptively rustic pizzeria-style interior. Again, regional cuisine, but in tough competition from a huge number of similar eateries in the area.

MAISON JAUNE 15 rue Carnot (00 33 4 90 92 56 14). This offers a Provençal menu de degustation. Creative one-Michelin-starred cuisine, elegantly served.

OUTSIDE THE CITY

OUSTAU DE BAUMANIERE (00 33 4 90 54 33 07; www.oustaudebaumaniere.com). The chichi, two-Michelin-starred restaurant at this Relais et Châteaux property is worth a visit - if your credit card can handle the expense.

BON VOYAGE!

XX PAM PAM