Fodor's Expert Review Brignoles
Although it's known as the market center for the wines of the Var, Brignoles's largest attraction is still the Abbaye de la Celle, a 12th-century Benedictine abbey that served as a convent until the 17th century. The abbey was abandoned until Maria Fournier, owner of the Iles of Porquerolles, decided to open it as a hotel in 1945. Despite its sudden rise in status with the likes of Charles de Gaulle vacationing here, the town continued to resist change firmly. In fact, the simple Romanesque chapel housing a 14th-century Christ figure largely acclaimed as an anonymous masterpiece still serves today as the parish church. It's here in this historic spot that celebrated chef Alain Ducasse has his culinary hideaway, Hostellerie de l'Abbaye de La Celle.