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Dining in Provence


PaulaJ
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Thanks Lucy. I'll look up that restaurant. And I totally agree about the cake. I'm sort of toying with the idea of having a friend fly over with one...there are such cake experts in the states!

That's a great distance to travel with such a delicate item. I'm visualizing your friend carrying it on the plane and sitting with it on his/her lap. Unless your friend is flying Business or First Class. Even so, various security checks, walking through the airport, taxi ride, :wacko:

I don't think that you'll have any trouble finding someone local in Provence to make a beautiful wedding cake.

Is there anyway you can go to Provence for a weekend? It sounds like it's in your budget.

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for all the replies, I just wanted to let you all know (because I realize everyone is just biting their fingernails waiting to hear about my wedding plans :rolleyes: ) that after calling all the michelin starred restaurants in a 100km radius (no joke), I fell on Le Jardin des Sens of the Freres Pourcels who have recently purchased a catering copany in the south. So luckily enough they have the expertise of being gastronomes with the equipment of a catering company that can move around. Thank God. Plus they are going to help find someone to do a wedding cake. You'd think it would be sumple to find that in the land of pastries, but I've contacted many top patisseries in Paris who hae never done it before and don't feel confidant that they could!

But in the end, all is well. We got the Freres Pourcel, a gastronomic feast for our wedding and we can do it in a garden. As much as I would have loved Chez Bru, they didn't feel confidant enough to cater outside the restaurant, and also they have just been given 2 stars so they are concentrating all energy into the restaurant there. We'll just have to go for dinner one night.

So thanks for all the help and here's to wht will hopefully be a good yummy wedding!!!

Zoe

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  • 3 weeks later...

Re Les Baux, this is old news, but I can confirm that accomodations and dining at Cabro D'Or were most agreeable back in the spring of 2001. If your budget permits, I highly recommend dinner at Beaumaniere while visiting Les Baux. This two star restaurant used to have three stars. My recollection is that the third star was lost when the restaurant passed from the founder to the present proprietor, his grandson. The gripe was supposedly that the grandson declined to engage in the relentless experimentation that Michelin seems to regard as the key to the third star. In any event, we had one of the great meals of a lifetime there. The premises, the service and,most importantly, the food were of the highest quality. The lamb en croute, in particular, was to die for.

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  • 2 months later...
Zoe

Just wondering how the wedding and the food went?

Cheers

Paul

Hi Paul,

Thanks for asking! The wedding and the food went off without a hitch. Everyone RAVED about the food. It was really extraordinary. The dinner and the brunch the following day were really spectacular. I'm very happy we found out that the Freres Pourcel have that catering division. It was amazing and the staff were 150% top notch. I really couldn't have asked for more.

We also took everyone to the Petit Bru in Eygalieres after the wedding (the following Monday) and it was SPECTACULAR. I highly reccomend it for anyone looking for a great meal in the area - it's 35 euros with appetizer, main, cheese and desert and a 1/2 bottle of wine. Not bad, eh?

Thanks again for asking. We are still reliving the wedding!

Zoe

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  • 6 months later...

A member sent me a PM which I came up short on, so I thought I'd solicit the advice of all who participate in the France Forum.

We are....headed for Provence for 2 weeks early March.  We have reservations so far for L'Oustau… and Mirande.  We are staying in Chateauneuf-du-pape.  Paul Bocuse has not replied to our request for reservations.  We are interested in cheese, wine, eating recommendations and trying not to miss the obvious and we hope we are still in truffle time.    Grateful to you for any current recommendations.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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A member sent me a PM which I came up short on, so I thought I'd solicit the advice of all who participate in the France Forum.
We are....headed for Provence for 2 weeks early March.  We have reservations so far for L'Oustau… and Mirande.  We are staying in Chateauneuf-du-pape.  Paul Bocuse has not replied to our request for reservations.  We are interested in cheese, wine, eating recommendations and trying not to miss the obvious and we hope we are still in truffle time.    Grateful to you for any current recommendations.

I'm hardly an expert but we did have a wonderful meal at Les Florets, a Michelin Bib Gourmand just outside Gigondas. Of course, anyone interest in wine would have a great time in that neighborhood. There's a co-op just outside of Gigondas and one actually within the village itself that offer tastings, and then you can drive to both Vaqueyras (with a wine-seller who offers tastings just next to the bell tower) and Beum-de-Venise within minutes.

For cheeses, I'd recommend prowling the markets (assuming they keep normal hours in March). There has been some discussion regarding whether or not the sellers at these markets are "genuine," but I suggest that if the correspondant seek out smaller stalls selling a limited selection of cheese,s they are likely to be getting artisanal stuff sold, if not by the artisans themselves, by their neighbors. I recall fondly one gentlemen who sold only one type of goat cheese (In Isle Sur la Sorgue, I assumed it was his) but he sold it in four different strengths, based on the age, which made for a fine degustation later than day.

Interestingly, the somewhat contentious Market Day in France thread is more than slightly relevant to your correspondant's request. If he or she has has a place to cook or can find a chef willing to prepare a truffle omelette or two, the Carpentras Market -- maybe 35 minutes from Chateauneuf -- that inspired the book has a truffle market, along with their regular market, both on Fridays.

The wonderful Provence Beyond website has a detailed guide to markets in the region here. It is also well worth clicking through for anyone who just wants to check out towns and villages worth spending a lazy afternoon exploring.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Sounds like you are looking for only high end, top-of the line. Personally, I also love the middle ground, bistro-type, family run places that can often excel in France. Christian Etienne and Europe in Avignon come right to mind as top drawer. Domaine de Valmouriane in Saint-Rémy is a gem, La Regalido in Fontvielle is a gorgeous restored mill.

N.B. I don't think the 3+ hour drive each way to Paul Bocuse is worth it, there are great restos all over France. See some of the Lyon threads, lots of folks have varied opinions about Bocuse.

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Sounds like you are looking for only high end, top-of the line.  Personally, I also love the middle ground, bistro-type, family run places that can often excel in France.  Christian Etienne and Europe in Avignon come right to mind as top drawer.  Domaine de Valmouriane in Saint-Rémy is a gem, La Regalido in Fontvielle is a gorgeous restored mill. 

I would certainly second Christian Etienne in Avignon. (unfortunately we haven't been to the other places menton1 has listed). In Avignon another good place is Hiely Lucullus. Another place within range is Les Abeilles in Sablet - this is a little way north of Gigondas and we had an excellent meal there last September.

(The chef there used to run a restaurant in Gigondas which previously had good reports on eGullet).

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I've stayed and eaten at Les Florets and had good food as well as pleasant accomodations. It's tucked into the hills below the Dentilles.

In nearby Mondragon you should consider eating at Beaugraviere. Here's a link to a review I wrote from a trip several years ago:

http://www.wineloverspage.com/user_submitt...notes/7773.html

Marc

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We'd second the recommendation for La Beaugravière . We ate there this January and it was excellent – great food and an extraordinary wine list.

If there are still fresh truffles available, this is the best local place to try them – the potato and truffle salad (see photo) is still heading our list of best dish eaten so far this year and the truffle risotto is also excellent.

truffle4.jpg

Other places we've enjoyed that are an easy drive from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, all of which are reasonably priced, are:

La Fourchette in Avignon, owned by the same people who own Hiély Lucullus, but less formal. It's full of provencal specialties – the sorts of dishes you'll see on tourist restaurant menus - but done beautifully, e.g. marinated sardines, pied et paquets, a memorable daube.

Auberge la Fontaine in the pretty village of Venasque. A small hotel, a small dining room and a very committed owner-chef, Christian Soehlke. The menu changes to match Christian's daily shopping and is very limited (a good sign).

Bistrot de France in Apt - a classic French experience, with a booking or a very early arrival essential.

Chez Serge in Carpentras – casual, with great pizza cooked in a wood fired oven (although not quite as perfect as the pizzas at the idiosyncratic Napoli Mia in Avignon).

L'Amuse Bouche in Saturnin les Apt – there's no written menu, just a single degustation of eight small dishes. The restaurant is so small that if you have a question about the food you can just about ask the chef while he is cooking.

Le Jardin de Quai in Isle sur la Sorgue with Daniel Hebet, who was once chef at La Mirande. This is also a very limited menu.

For food shopping, we go to the evening Velleron Market at least a couple of times a week. It's a true marché paysan – with producers selling from the back of their vans and the quality is exemplary. Shopping in the early evening seems much more satisfactory than going to a morning market when, if you're on holidays, it's a rush to arrive early when the stalls are still full. You also have a much better idea of what you feel like eating at night and you don't have to cart food around in the height of the sun. In fact Velleron is one of the main reasons we love this part of Provence (the other is probably the southern Rhone vineyards).

In winter, Velleron market opens from 4.30 pm on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and from spring (mid april?) to autumn (end of September?) it is open from 6 pm every day except Sundays and public holidays. The market is on the edge of the village but it's also worth going into Velleron to visit Franck Bouvier boulangerie. The Sunday morning marché paysan in Coustellet is also excellent.

Edited by SDyson (log)
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Here's the third recommendation for Les Florets above Gigondas. Great, and a beautiful view to boot.

If that's not open, next to the co-op that Busboy mentions in Gigondas, is another good, basic restaurant. I had a truffle omelet there to die for. A veritable ton of truffles, delicious!

Beaumes de Venise and Chateau neuf are great places for tasting wine...Orange has a few okay restaurants. Going further south, we found a few places in Avignon and Isle Sur la Sorgue...Lots of other places in the hilltop villages east of Avignon.

Philly Francophiles

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Here's the third recommendation for Les Florets above Gigondas. Great, and a beautiful view to boot.

The view from Les Floret is beautiful, but if you have the time it's worth keeping on up the road past Les Florets for another mile or so: keep right at the col, and continue on until you get to a small picnic site on the right hand side of the road[*]. There's a footpath (signposted for the viewpoint) leading steeply up from the picnic site for about 100m and you'll come out on a small platform on top of the cliffs above Gigondas. The view is pretty amazing.

[*] I use the term road loosely: it is unsurfaced and pretty rough in places.

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Here's the third recommendation for Les Florets above Gigondas. Great, and a beautiful view to boot.

The view from Les Floret is beautiful, but if you have the time it's worth keeping on up the road past Les Florets for another mile or so: keep right at the col, and continue on until you get to a small picnic site on the right hand side of the road[*]. There's a footpath (signposted for the viewpoint) leading steeply up from the picnic site for about 100m and you'll come out on a small platform on top of the cliffs above Gigondas. The view is pretty amazing.

[*] I use the term road loosely: it is unsurfaced and pretty rough in places.

Just outside of Orange lies a most remarkable boutique hotel, Chateau de Masillan...a remarkable place to stay and even more remarkable place to wine and dine...an absolute can not miss (and yes, I've been to Les Florets in Gigondas)

http://www.chateau-de-massillan.com/

- fanelli

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There's a lovely spot for lunch or dinner in Saignon which is perched above Apt. It's L'Hotel du Presbytere. It's such a small town (we stayed there last year) that you won't miss it. Since your location is a bit far off, I'd go for lunch if you're in that area.

One of my favorite lunches is at L'Auberge de la Loube in Bioux.. especially on a Sunday. It's a good stop before or after the Sunday market in L'Isle Sur Sorgue.

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  • 2 months later...

My husband and a friend are going to be in Aix en Provence for one day (visiting the Cezanne exhibit) and are looking for a nice place to have lunch.

Informal, not too expensive, but good (ofcourse :smile: )

(I already told them they are mad to travel there for a 24-hour stay). This one meal is all they're gonna get in France this time..

Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks.

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Chufi, I haven't been to Aix in a few years, but when I lived there these were my three favorites, in no particular order:

Le Carillon on rue Portalis is very traditional in feel and cuisine and won't break the bank. You'll see a lot of locals and not too many tourists here; it's better suited to lunch than to dinner IMO.

L'Amphitryon on rue Paul-Doumer has a special place in my heart because I took a cooking class from Chef Bruno. It's a bit more expensive but absolutely worth it.

Finally, les 2 freres was an undiscovered gem when I lived in Aix. I used to go at least once a week with friends and eat fabulously; one of the brothers cooked and the other served--it doesn't get any better than market fresh food and a long chat with the proprietor. It used to be in the place des sangliers, but a quick internet search informed me that they now have new digs and are a bit more trendy (read: you probably won't receive personal service from either of the brothers). Here's their website in case you're interested:

http://www.les2freres.com/

I'm insanely jealous, by the way. Hope you have a great time.

Eilen

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Thanks Eilen!

I am insanely jealous too, because I'm not going.. :sad:

My husband is taking the trip with his best friend, I'm just being the travel agent here.

I'll pass on the info and report back after their trip (in a couple of weeks).

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Oh, sorry Chufi, I misread! Well at the very least I hope you get some nice presents out of your husband's trip--lots of good food from the markets for him to bring home to you!

Eilen

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I had several really excellent meals when I spent four days in Aix, unfortunately I have no idea of the names/locations. I do have to say, the general level of quality was quite high, so I imagine they'll do OK!

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My husband and a friend are going to be in Aix en Provence for one day

Klary, you were so helpful to us about eating in Amsterdam that I felt badly not being able to help you before. However, if it's not too late, I just put up a Compendium of existing threads that includes Aix. I hope your husband finds a nice place. Best wishes, John

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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My husband and a friend are going to be in Aix en Provence for one day

Klary, you were so helpful to us about eating in Amsterdam that I felt badly not being able to help you before. However, if it's not too late, I just put up a Compendium of existing threads that includes Aix. I hope your husband finds a nice place. Best wishes, John

thank you so much John! Now, I did search for Aix, but nothing came up (which did surprise me..) how is that possible?

Any way, looks like my husband and his companion will have lots of options, thatnk you everybody for the advice.

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