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Restaurants near Carcasonne and Apt

Hi All -- I'll be traveling with friends who love to eat in southern France during the last week of August. We'll be spending two nights in Carcasonne and two night in Apt (just north of Aix-en-Provence). Does anyone have any suggestions of incredible restaurants in/near these places? We'd prefer to take dinners near these towns, as we like to drink and don't want to have to drive anywhere. But, we plan to take day trips during the days and would happily plan a trip around a long lunch.

Also -- I understand that it is the wine crush in the region and vineyards all have food and wine festivals to celebrate. Any idea where I could find more information on these celebrations?

Thanks!

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  1. In Apt, the only fine place to eat, recommended by Alain Ducasse himself, is: Bistrot de France, in the town center.

    1. We stayed just outside Apt last September. One place you should definitely try is Hotel du Presbytere up in the hill town of Saignon.. right outside Apt. It's a charming little village and that restaurant is always full so book ahead. We had two very good dinners there. They also serve lunch. Another favorite of mine (the best Sunday lunch around)Auberge de la Loube in Bioux. It's a short ride from Apt.

      http://www.auberge-presbytere.com/

      1 Reply
      1. re: zuriga1

        Also at at Auberge de la Loube. It's mentioned in Rick Steve's travel book. Incredible Sunday lunch! Didn't realize that it was cash only until the check came and we had no cash. Panic set in. The owner told us not to worry. He said we could either send a check from the states, stop by with cash when we get some or come by on another trip to the area to pay! Way more relaxed than expected.

      2. Oh boy...there are a bunch of fabulous restaurants near Apt. We were in St. Saturnin Les Apt (the next village over) for a week in June and ate very well. In Goult (outside of the village, actually) is Auberge du Fiacre. Cute family bistro with decent prices and fabulous food - the best creme brulee we have had. Ever.
        Here's a great web site for restaurants and traveling in the Luberon area of Provence:
        http://www.theluberon.com/

        1. Thanks for the great suggestions. I'm traveling to the Luberon too, in August, staying in Bonnieux, so the website looks particularly helpful!

          1. Zuriga1-Do you have directions to/contact info for Auberge de la Loube in Bioux? I couldn't find anything by googling. Or is the town so small that we will find it and be okay without a reservation? We will be going to the sunday market at Isle de la Sorgue and will want lunch after.

            1. Could the town actually be Buoux? Try that spelling

              1 Reply
              1. re: CJT

                Yes, sorry about the spelling. I always seem to get that wrong!
                Here is their phone number: 04-90-74-19-58

                I see that Googling does bring up a lot of information about the place. I'd make a reservation as it's a popular spot. Eating on their patio is very nice if the weather is right. Enjoy the market.. we had a very good time there, too - and before our lunch in Buoux! Buoux is very small but the road can be a bit confusing.

              2. I suspect the harvest may well have just started in late August with the first whites in, the reds probably come in through September. As the harvest and crush are such busy times the festivals tend to take place once all the grapes are in and safely in the tanks fermenting away.

                So many festivals are late September and in October. Here is a Laguedoc site (http://www.viafrance.com/fetes-des-re...) and another couple for Provence (http://www.provenceweb.fr/f/var/event... and http://www.avignon-et-provence.com/fe...)

                1. "incredible restaurants"

                  Could youd define please?

                  Near Apt I recommend:
                  - Bartavelle in the village of Goult. The village was already mentioned earlier bby Zuriga.
                  - Ferme-auberge Le Castelas outside the village of Sivergues. It serves a cold lunch of smoked ham and goat cheeses, all with ingredients from the farm. But what is incredible is the land's end setting of the sprawling old bergerie by the cliff, where little sheep with bells ringing jump on your long table.
                  - lunch at the beautiful garden-vineyard Val Joanis near Pertuis. Again, while the lunch is very nice, the setting is breathtaking. Too bad A. Bourdain discovered it. Well, better he than Rick Steves…
                  All three places offer wonderful walks after (or before or during) lunch for you to walk off the lovely Côte de Luberon.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Parigi

                    Le Castelas is an unusual experience but expensive for a simple meal -- 25 euros per person for ham + cheese + salad + cake (no wine). A reservation is essential, otherwise they'll turn you away, even if it appears they have space (witnessed this happen to several people).

                    Note: The posts above on Bistrot de France are old. It used to be a standby for us, but we ate there last year and the management has changed. Very expensive for mediocre food. Would avoid.

                    1. re: Cookingthebooks

                      Have you noticed that the original post is 4 YEARS OLD?

                      1. re: rrems

                        I did, that's why I added the note about Bistrot de France. Someone else topped this thread and referenced it another recent post, so I thought it would be helpful to add the updated information.

                        1. re: Cookingthebooks

                          Ditto. Provence is still around, no?

                      2. re: Cookingthebooks

                        Better to go to le Castelas for dinner: €30 per person (cash only) for delicious roast pig - plus appetizers, "jambon cru", goat cheeses, roasted potatoes, chocolate cake, Sardinian sangria(to start), red wine (throughout the rest of the meal), coffee, and sometimes grappa (if the staff is in the mood to serve it). Fabulous view of the sunset. They only turn away customers if the farm is booked for a private event: many a wedding or anniversary celebration is held there, so be sure to call first

                        1. re: boredough

                          I actually witnessed them turn away a family of four for lunch because they didn't have a reservation -- the farm was not booked for a private event, others (including myself and friends) were eating lunch there. I strongly recommend calling in advance. That being said, the staff at this place left a very bad taste in my mouth. I probably won't be returning.

                          1. re: Cookingthebooks

                            Very surprising, sorry to hear that.
                            Well, not surprising about the necessity to reserve. Of course one should reserve.
                            I am surprised that you encountered bad service.
                            The staff has always been very gracious about our moving around in the middle of a meal. Once we took our plates and went indoors because there was too much mistral. Another time we moved to a more shady spot in the middle of the meadow quite far from the restaurant terrasse area. The staff was smiling and helping us move.

                            1. re: Parigi

                              I know, I really wanted to like it!

                              I agree with you about the necessity to reserve, but then again, the family had two small children and doesn't the farm produce most of that food themselves? You'd think they'd have a spare piece of ham or cheese to throw their way. Then again, a policy is a policy, I suppose.

                              Perhaps the serveur was having a bad day but he was quite short-tempered. And we heard other stories from our local friends, about the staff pocketing the change from a 100 euro note and saying they weren't "making change that evening."

                              Anyway, I absolutely understand why people like this place -- I just don't like it myself. And there are so many other lovely places to eat in the area that I don't feel the need to return. Also, 25 euros per person for such a simple lunch just feels like the owners have the gleam of tourists in their eye.

                              1. re: Cookingthebooks

                                That's why the dinner meal is so much better: €30 for delicious roast pig plus plus plus .... I agree that €25 is a bit much for what they serve for lunch (we've only been there for dinner but are sure it's a much better experience all around - because of the pig & the gorgeous sunset). As for having to make a reservation, we have been there many times and have rarely - if ever (can't remember it happening) - been asked if we had reserved in advance. We just announce the number in our party and get seated. Maybe the staff recognizes us by now and learned that we never just show up, but we have never heard this question asked of anyone else. None of our friends have had issues either, so I am as surprised as Parigi to learn about your troubles. I suspect that, if you show up at 7:30p (when they recommend you do), you will get seated with or without a reservation - provided they're not having a private function. In any case, it's a long, bumpy ride for a gamble -- the best reason to call ahead.

                                1. re: boredough

                                  Making a call takes 30 seconds. I would recommend that one reserves in advance instead of doing that iffy drive, showing up and praying for one's luck and the staff's good humor.
                                  For that reason I recommend reservation in general, not just at the Castelas.