Jean-Francois Ott's Provence

© Hervé Fabre

The Domaines Ott co-director, and descendant of the three-estate winery's founder, shares his picks for where to eat, sip, and sight-see in Provence and the Cote d'Azure.

What neighborhood are you from? I was born in Toulon and I live in Le Castellet, where Chateau Romassan—one of our three wine estates—is located. I lived in Chateau Romassan when I was a child. I left about 10 years ago to study, but I came back in 2002. I think I will stay forever!

Where would you put up friends visiting town? Hopefully, in Chateau Romassan with me. It is a big house! If not, I would say, Hôtel de la Tour (24 Quai Charles de Gaulle; 33-4/94-74-10-10; in harbor Sanary-sur-Mer, or Hostellerie Bérard (6 Rue Gabriel Péri; 33-4/94-90-11-43; in La Cadière d'Azur, which is a very nice, typical village of Provence.

Where is the best place to find your hometown’s signature dish? Hotel de la Tour for a grilled fish or Bouillabaisse.

What is your favorite restaurant to take visitors? Harbor 464 (460 Ave. du Prado; 33-4/94-74-10-33; in Sanary, on the sea—good food, good people, and good place.

Where can you find the best cocktails? Beer list? Wine list? I dont really know places for cocktails and beer, but wine: at our wineries! (33-4/94-01-53-50; You can taste all the Estates at l'Oenothèque de Bandol, too (Pl. Lucien Artaud; 33-4/94-29-45-03;

Where would you choose to splurge on a night out? Saint Tropez. Everything there is about the party. Try Les Caves du Roy (Ave. Paul Signac; 33-4/94-56-68-00;

What’s the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon in town? Take your swimming suit, a towel, and go to the beach to enjoy the sun.

What is your Sunday morning routine in your neighborhood? Spring and summer I go boating with my three children and enjoy the best hours of the day. The best Sundays during winter and fall include picking (fishing) sea urchins before eating them for lunch!

Where is the best place for a leisurely weekend lunch? I would say in L’Esprit de la Violette in Aix en Provence (10 Ave. de la Violette; 33-4/42-23-02-50;

Where do you go for the perfect cup of coffee? Chez Poupoune in Bandol in the early morning (1 Quai Charles de Gaulle; 33-4/9432-4179; Or—different place, but same time—Senequier in Saint Tropez (Quai Jean Jaurès; 33-4/94-97-20-20;

What’s your favorite view in town (that tourists might not know about)? On a small mountain which is called Le Gros Cerveau. You walk for an hour and then you can see from the beautiful island of Porquerolles to Marseille.

What’s your favorite path or trail to follow on a walk? Le chemin des douaniers (coastal path) that goes from Marseille to Saint Tropez, all along the shore.

What are your favorite offbeat cultural attractions? The produce and local artisan markets in all the villages are something to see. Try the one on Wednesdays in Sanary. 

What’s the ultimate souvenir from your town—something you can only get there? The light, the smell, the atmosphere—you will keep them in your heart for life.

What’s the best-kept local secret? A secret must stay a secret. Come and you might discover it... or not.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of Hotel Bérard & Spa; © Hervé Fabre, Courtesy of Domaines Ott’s Winery, Chateau Romassan