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Dining in Provence


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My husband and I are spending several days in Provence. We have taken an apartment in central Avignon, and have arranged to rent a car. We are looking for both delicious and authentic Provencal meals as well as some of the fine restaurants.

We plan on hitting the markets for breakfast items to have in the apartment most mornings, and will buy cheeses, breads, fruits, wines, and meats to have in the apartment and to perhaps pack picnics occasionally for the drives.

So far we have reservations at these restaurants:

Bastide de Capelongue (Bonnieux) - lunch

Restaurant Christian Etiene (Avignon) - dinner

La Mirande (Avignon) - dinner

We will probably be driving to Arles, Nimes, Aix-en-Provence, Carpentras, perhaps Marseilles, Orange, L'Isle-Sur-la-Sorgue, the Camargue, and small villages in those areas, during our trip.

Suggestions for restaurants - expensive or cheap, as long as they are excellent - are truly appreciated.

Also, if there are any towns, villages, or sights we should definitely see while in that area, please advise.

Thank you so much!

Eileen

Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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Thank you all for your suggestions! I would also love to know where the best pastry shops and bakeries are in the area if anyone has any inkling.

Your selections are fine but try to dine where there will be some locals like the bistro du paradou.

I googled and found an amazing review by Patricia Wells, although it is 2 decades old - I'm hoping It's still as wonderful as she makes it sound. Just what we would love to try. Thank youj, cigalechanta.

Forgive me if this is gratuitous, but I assume you’ve already checked out our compendia of existing topics on Nice, Cannes, etc and Provence, including Avignon.  There's a lot of wisdom there that will save you time.

I checked out the compendia, and there were some helpful insights there. Thanks, John!

Try the map. CLICK CLICK!

The map is AMAZING! Someone had way too much time on his hands! What an accomplishment. Thank you for the heads up on that, Dave.

Eileen

Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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Thank you all for your suggestions! I would also love to know where the best pastry shops and bakeries are in the area if anyone has any inkling.
Your selections are fine but try to dine where there will be some locals like the bistro du paradou.

I googled and found an amazing review by Patricia Wells, although it is 2 decades old - I'm hoping It's still as wonderful as she makes it sound. Just what we would love to try. Thank youj, cigalechanta.

Forgive me if this is gratuitous, but I assume you’ve already checked out our compendia of existing topics on Nice, Cannes, etc and Provence, including Avignon.  There's a lot of wisdom there that will save you time.

I checked out the compendia, and there were some helpful insights there. Thanks, John!

Try the map. CLICK CLICK!

The map is AMAZING! Someone had way too much time on his hands! What an accomplishment. Thank you for the heads up on that, Dave.

Eileen

Thanks for the kind words.

Two places, one in & the other near Avignon added today.

Please, please report on your restaurant experiences. That way I can add to the map for everyone to share.

Dave

PS: Can't resist saying that we're going to Le Vieux Pont in Belcastel tonight for dinner. Lucky us!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just wanted to thank everyone again for all of the wonderful recommendations. We did end up having lunch at Chez Serge in Carpentras, Le Mas Tourteron in Gordes, Les Floret in Gigondas and a couple of other wonderful restaurants. Only had one bad meal and that was dinner in Gordes on our last night. After that, we were on to Paris and ate at Le Comptoir, L'Ourcine and La Meditarranee. All wonderful meals. Our last night in Paris, we went to the Ritz and had very expensive martini's and ate the complimentary nuts and olives for dinner. Came back to our hotel and had the pastries we had picked up at Gerard Mulot and fell happily asleep. Wonderful way to end our trip.

P.S. If anyone ever need a place to stay in Gordes, I will be happy to give you the information on our rental. It was truly perfect and beautiful.

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I'm happy I saw this thread. We'll be in Provence for a few days next month and were thinking of having lunch in Les Beaux on our way to L'Isle sur la Sorgue from the airport in Marseille. A couple of questions: (a) is it even doable to take that route or is it more out-of-the-way than it looks on a map and (b) can anyone recommend a place for lunch in Les Beaux? Chez Serge and Les Florets look like great options for lunch on some of our other days -- when we head L'Isle up to Vaison la Romaine.

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I'm happy I saw this thread. We'll be in Provence for a few days next month and were thinking of having lunch in Les Beaux on our way to L'Isle sur la Sorgue from the airport in Marseille.  A couple of questions: (a) is it even doable to take that route or is it more out-of-the-way than it looks on a map and (b) can anyone recommend a place for lunch in Les Beaux?  Chez Serge and Les Florets look like great options for lunch on some of our other days -- when we head L'Isle up to Vaison la Romaine.

I assume that you mean "Les Baux-de-Provence"? If so that is certainly a nice place to stop and it should be a nice (and scenic) trip. If you go to ViaMichelin that you should give you a suitable route, starting off on the Autoroute. (When we first stayed in that area we tried to avoid the Autoroute, but for going to/from Marseille it is the only sensible option).

If you check some of the compendium threads on here you should find some recommendations for Les Baux. We have eaten there, but only light lunches and also only during the summer. The only thing to be aware of is that you would probably NOT want to visit if the winds are too high - the views there are spectacular, but it is also rather exposed!

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I'm happy I saw this thread. We'll be in Provence for a few days next month and were thinking of having lunch in Les Beaux on our way to L'Isle sur la Sorgue from the airport in Marseille.  A couple of questions: (a) is it even doable to take that route or is it more out-of-the-way than it looks on a map and (b) can anyone recommend a place for lunch in Les Beaux?  Chez Serge and Les Florets look like great options for lunch on some of our other days -- when we head L'Isle up to Vaison la Romaine.

I haven't eaten there in a few years but mention1 has and I hope he'll chime in here, but we had a nice lunch there and it's a great site, so long as you don't need knee replacements.

As for the route, I'll defer to others who live there; me I go anywhere I want to.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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  • 2 weeks later...

We are going to Provence in March. I think we are renting a house in Arles area--so where to eat? What to eat? What can't we miss?

I have been to France, but never the south, so we are very exicted!

It's also my birthday (big 40) so any very traditional splurges to reccommend? (no foam, no nouvelle)

Thanks!

Edited by scordelia (log)

S. Cue

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We are going to Provence in March. I think we are renting a house in Arles area--so where to eat? What to eat? What can't we miss?

I have been to France, but never the south, so we are very exicted!

It's also my birthday (big 40) so any very traditional splurges to reccommend? (no foam, no nouvelle)

Thanks!

Dear Scordelia: We have been Frankophiles for over 30 years and share your enthusiasm for visiting Arles and the south of France. We are also Chicago eGulleteers!!!

You seem to have definitive food preferences. You are excluding French nouvelle cuisine and foams. Foams are a Spanish food influence, not French. Can you articulate what foods you do want to sample while visiting this area in France? March will be a delightful time for visiting the South of France. Would like to help you assess eating options but more specifics are needed. Judith Gebhart

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You might also want to try the i nteractive eGullet map of restaurants outside Paris. For that matter you might want to check out the Paris map as well.

There are tons of recommendations for Provence by eGulleteers. Just expand the map so you can see the precise locations.

Go here for the link.

Have fun!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, I like traditional, classic food, and I'll eat anything--no problems with fish, offal (except brains), any meat or vegetable, and I am really looking forward to experience true Provence cuisine. I am not a big nouvelle fan. I adore Chateau-neuf du Pape and we were hoping to hit some wineries too.

Thanks!

We are going to Provence in March. I think we are renting a house in Arles area--so where to eat? What to eat? What can't we miss?

I have been to France, but never the south, so we are very exicted!

It's also my birthday (big 40) so any very traditional splurges to reccommend? (no foam, no nouvelle)

Thanks!

Dear Scordelia: We have been Frankophiles for over 30 years and share your enthusiasm for visiting Arles and the south of France. We are also Chicago eGulleteers!!!

You seem to have definitive food preferences. You are excluding French nouvelle cuisine and foams. Foams are a Spanish food influence, not French. Can you articulate what foods you do want to sample while visiting this area in France? March will be a delightful time for visiting the South of France. Would like to help you assess eating options but more specifics are needed. Judith Gebhart

S. Cue

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I was just in Arles last week and had a nice dinner at Loup Galoue (not sure of spelling) Escargot, Bull Tenderloin in red wine sauce it was a good meal with a great atmosphere. I think 3 courses was 28 euros, a bargain as far as I am concerned. There are only 28 seats so make a reservation. We walked in at 7:30 on a tuesday night and 15 minutes later the place was full. Try to drive to Uzes on the Weds or Saturday market day. In St. Siffret I had a great meal at L'Authentique.

If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. How could you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat!??

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We are going to Provence in March. I think we are renting a house in Arles area--so where to eat? What to eat? What can't we miss?

Don't forget the great couscous joints in Marseille, which is about an hour from Arles. Sur le Pouce in the Belsunce neighborhood is a cheap, authentic classic. It might be a bit scruffy on the edges, but they prepare very light and fluffy (double-steamed) grains. Along with the standard options for flavorings / toppings, on Fridays they serve couscous au mérou (grouper). La Kahena, at the edge of Vieux Port, is popular with Algerian pied noir families, and Le Fémina (also in the center) serves barley couscous. (If you go to Le Fémina let me know; when I was last in town, at the end of August, it was closed.) After, amble down to Vieux Port and find the tiny Pâtisserie d’Aix, which has fab Tunisian délices – mouthwater zlabia, makrouth, m’karek, beignets tunisiens, etc. The beignets are fried right among the handful of tables. (By the way, the owners are cousins of the owners of Sur le Pouce; both opened in 1981.)

And don't skip the lovely Camargue just south of Arles. (Be sure to try bull meat.)

Back in Arles, you'll find plenty of interesting stuff to eat at the massive Saturday street market.

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