Arguably the world’s greatest living chef, Alain Ducasse has vision, determination and a formidable public persona. Most revered for his French haute cuisine, he’s amassed 19 Michelin stars and owns 20 restaurants from Las Vegas to Tokyo. His four-star Provençal villa, L’Abbaye de la Celle, an hour’s drive from Nice Airport, embodies “regional culture and omnipresent nature” within 2,5 hectares of poplar trees, a vegetable garden, orchard, vineyard, and views of the ancient Abbey.

The epitome of modern luxury, its five suites and five superior rooms set within the private park-like grounds, dotted with giant Giocametti styled sculptures by Nathalie Decoster, encourage relaxed seclusion and quiet contemplation, far from the madding crowds. Their gentile staff and “leave us to listen to the cicadas” sign on the doorknobs encouraged me to book a few more nights in this harmonious sanctuary.