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Provence suggestions?

annamikemc Mar 10, 2008 07:50 AM

Hello all,

Well, I haven't even been on my Paris trip yet and I'm already planning my 2009 trip to Provence!

We'll be spending around 10 days in the area in April 2009 and will be exploring as far west as Nimes and Uzes, as far east as Roussillon, and up to the Orange area above Avignon. We've already been to Aix and Marseille so we will not be going that far south. With that in mind, we're looking for a list of recommendations in various price ranges to consider, so then we can research and narrow down from there. We'll have a couple of more pricey starred meals, and also would love some local smaller favorites. We prefer French food when in France, but it doesn't have to be all Provencal in focus. We will also have a car so we are not limited to areas with TGV access. We've looked at the guidebooks and online, but there are so many that I'd love personal recommendations!

Thanks in advance!
Anna

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  1. ChefJune Mar 10, 2008 10:58 AM

    If you don't have Beaugraviere in Mondragon on your list, I'd recommend adding it....

    Bistro d'Eygalieres in the town of the same name has outstanding food and ambiance.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ChefJune
      annamikemc Mar 10, 2008 11:01 AM

      Thanks! I will look into both.

      I saw your previous posts, you seem to know a lot about the area! If any others come to mind I'm all ears :)

    2. s
      souvenir Mar 10, 2008 01:44 PM

      Given where you've visited before, I have two different areas to suggest as a home base: around Vaison-la-Romaine, and the valleys around Les Baux de Provence.

      Using either as a base, there are lots of options for wonderful meals within fairly short drives. While in those areas I stayed at hotels and a b&b. In retrospect, I wish that I had rented a house or apt so that I would have been able to cook since local markets were wonderful (near les Baux, in les Maussane les Alpilles).

      3 Replies
      1. re: souvenir
        annamikemc Mar 11, 2008 06:58 AM

        Thanks souvenir...we're going to stay one week in Menerbes and another around St Remy, so I think we'll have a good balance of both areas. Any specific places you can recommend in the areas we'll be visiting (not just in those villages)?

        1. re: annamikemc
          s
          souvenir Mar 12, 2008 09:19 AM

          Yes- while I wish I could say that I've lived in the area as johnmarseille has, I do love the area and have stayed there several times over the last ten years or so. Around St Remy is a great location to have as a base for one of your weeks. Here are some suggestions for you to consider, not yet mentioned, at 3 different levels:

          First- the highest end (and most expensive):
          l'Oustau de Baumaniere in the valley of Les Baux de Provence
          then
          La Petite France, a little further along in the valley in Maussane-les-Alpilles
          and
          Le Bistrot du Paradou, Le Paradou

          Also, there are wonderful wineries to visit. Here is one thread that mentions a few, as well as books for background reading:
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/479457

          Hope this is helpful.

          1. re: souvenir
            fesenjan Mar 15, 2008 12:45 PM

            I second Le Bistrot du Paradou. My husband and I had an amazing aioli there for Friday lunch once.

      2. j
        johnmarseille Mar 11, 2008 01:24 PM

        I've been living in the area for twenty odd (very) years and have a couple of ideas: Le Vieux Castillon in the village of the same name near le Pont du Gard (great hotel and fabulous 1 star restaurant that tastes like 2, Relais et Chateaux), le Mesclun in Seguret, in one of the wine villages near Gigondas, modest and inventive restaurant in a "perched village" with tons of style; le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier, fine hotel and legendary restaurant, a kind of little paradise out of the blue in not the most attractive of areas; le Grand Hotel in Sete, inexpensive but stylish hotel, good restaurant in a real French port most tourists don't visit. Now I know you said you're not going to Aix or Marseille, but let me just add for those who are reading these posts and might want to come down here : le Petit Nice in Marseille (new three star Michelin entry), unthinkably good and expensive, totally classic call but I had to mention it; le Peron in Marseille (new 1 star); l'Amphytrion in Aix--great value and food, and the chef Bruno Ungaro is great. Hope this helps a bit. If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask.

        1. r
          rrems Mar 11, 2008 08:15 PM

          In St. Remy, we had a wonderful lunch at La Maison Jaune.

          1. zuriga1 Mar 12, 2008 06:07 AM

            I can highly recommend L'Auberge de la Loupe (some say Loube) in Buoux which is not that far from Menerbes. It's closer to Apt, but well worth the short drive. You will rarely get such a wonderful, Sunday lunch as this place serves. I can also second the recommendation of Le Vieux Castillon. Up above Apt is the lovely, small town of Saignon. There's a lovely, small hotel and restaurant there - perfect for a lunch stop. It's Auberge du Presbytere.

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

            2 Replies
            1. re: zuriga1
              c
              CJT Mar 12, 2008 12:45 PM

              The ones who say LOUBE are the correct ones. De La Loube is the family name of the owner. Auberge de la Loube is worth the visit for either dinner or lunch, but be sure to reserve in advance, lest you arrive and find he has filled all the places he will serve that day and meal. We went on a Saturday in September and he turned away 2 couples, both of which had not reserved. He was serving 20 places that day and he had 19 taken. Better he should restrict the number of places he will serve than lower his quality, Although he has a slightly gruff manner, he is a very warm and friendly man.

              1. re: CJT
                zuriga1 Mar 13, 2008 12:41 AM

                It was about 9 years between my two visits to the Auberge de la Loube, but nothing at all had changed except for some building works. I've always booked ahead and gone for the Sunday lunch. After that meal, one just wants to lie in the grass and nap and look up at the beautiful Provencal sky. :-) I'm getting the urge to go again!!

            2. ChefJune Mar 12, 2008 09:14 AM

              St. Remy is one of my favorite places anywhere! I love Armand Assaud. It was the first place I ever enjoyed quince!

              Check out the Mas de Cornud. www.mascornud.com great place to stay, or have a cooking class, or sign up to have them take you on an insider sightseeing trip!

              The olive oil mill and shop at Mausanne les Alpilles is not to be missed.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ChefJune
                annamikemc Mar 12, 2008 11:33 AM

                Thanks everyone! We now may actually be staying one night in Aix at the end of the trip for airfare practicalities, so I'm open to more suggestions there!

                1. re: annamikemc
                  s
                  souvenir Mar 12, 2008 01:48 PM

                  Here's an earlier thread with some suggestions I made for dining in Aix. I had hoped that the OP of that thread would give an update with what she tried, but it hasn't happened, yet.

                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/486920

              2. w
                WandaBWild Mar 16, 2008 08:40 PM

                Hi Anna,

                My husband and I were in Provence last week. We stayed at Alain Ducaisse's property, Domaine des Andeols in St. Saturnin de Apt for a couple of nights. The property is gorgeous. We had a delicious meal at the restaurant on the property and it was truly top-notch in every way and we were pleasantly surprised by the prices. Be forewarned though...the service is pretentious and snooty. We also went to Le Fourn!l in Bonnieux which is an easy drive from Roussillon. Delicious meal, wonderful service in a beautiful atmosphere. I highly recommend it!

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