Eugénie story started in 1861, when the Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III, gave her patronage to this tiny spa village, which stands on the border of the Landes and Béarn regions.
She had stayed there a few years earlier, on her way to Biarritz, where she was spending her summer holidays.
Although things went rather quiet in the first half of the 20th century, the Eugénie adventure got going again in 1961 when Christine Guérard’s father, Adrien Barthélémy, fell for the charm of the ancient trees in the Parc, and ended up buying both the spa estate and the adjacent hotels.
Christine herself took over when she got back from Mexico in 1966 and, inspired by the history and rural beauty of the buildings, she had construction work carried out, then reopened the hotel, which soon became part of the Relais & Châteaux Association.
Fate took a hand in the Eugénie story once again in 1972, when Christine met her future husband Michel Guérard, who was at the time a young chef based in Asnières-sur-Seine and had 2 Michelin stars. He would become, in the coming years, one of the founders of the Nouvelle Cuisine.
The two fell in love and many “great things” followed, including two daughters, born in 1983 and 1986, and a vineyard in 1984.
In 1974, Michel Guérard left his Michelin-starred bistro and came to Eugénie.
Having always been something of a culinary firebrand, he began watching the way his guests – who had come to lose weight – ate, and as a result, came up with the Grande Cuisine Minceur® (slimming-down cuisine) which immediately made him internationally famous.
He earned a first Michelin star for his creations in 1975, another the following year and finally, three stars in 1977!
Over time, the Estate grew, thanks to the restoration of a former 18th-century convent in 1989, then the Auberge de La Ferme aux Grives in 1993, the creation of the Ferme Thermale® in 1996, lounges and suites in the Impératrice wing in 2009, and finally the Institut Michel Guérard®, and the Mère Poule & Cie culinary café in 2013.
Christine and Michel Guérard now work with their two daughters Adeline and Éléonore and their son-in-law Jauffray. This five cheerful people run Les Prés d’Eugénie passionately and mischievously, together with a loyal staff made up of 180 hospitality “virtuosos”.