Gordes Area with Young Child
Hi - my husband and I are staying near Gordes for one week in June. We are traveling with our 5 year old son. He is used to going to nice restaurants(tends to be well behaved -although a picky eater) but we want to make sure that we don't try to "overdo" it with him. Looking for one nice meal a day ...with that being said should we avoid any of these places with him in tow.
Bistrot du paradou
le clos de la violette in Aix
le fournil in Bonnieux
le mas des Vignes in Bedoin
l'Auberge de la Loube (Sunday brunch) in Buoux
l' oustau de Barmaniere in les Baux
We are realistic that he may not eat much at any of these restaurants but don't want the waitstaff to be rude to us either for bringing in a small child. Any other particular recommendations of places to eat and things to do that are both kid and adult friendly would be greatly appreciated. We will have a car and dont mind driving for up to an hour for any activity/restaurant. Have read plenty but looking for off the beaten path ideas.
We stayed in Joucas (just down the road from Gordes) summer before last. Our kids were 10 & 12 at the time. From your list, we went to Le Fournil. This restaurant is fine--the view from the upstairs terrace is wonderful. Have you considered Le Mas Tourteron? It was our favorite restaurant in the area. Food is great, the dining room and garden are beautiful, and the staff is friendly and welcoming. May be a little pricey, but with the euros you'll save by not driving an hour each way, it may be a wash. Our family liked the village of Goult the best. We went there several times. Goult has a nice cafe on the square. There's a horse & pony farm between Joucas and Goult. My daughter and sister rode horses there one afternoon. It's a little scruffy and the owner speaks no English, but it might be nice just to stop by to see the ponies and miniature horses. My son loved hiking through the Colorado de Rustrel area. We let him smear the ochre on his t-shirt and it's stained to this day. My one word of warning regarding driving long distances to dinner in Provence: the lesser-traveled roads in that area can be pitch black at night and it's easy to get lost. I would recommend not driving too far at night.
I agree with the warning about driving at night in some of these areas, as the roads are windy and hills are steep.
As for restaurants:
Oustau de Baumaniere is very pricey (200-300 Euros or more per person for the menu, wine not included). If you are into paying $500-700 for one dinner, this might be the place for you (not for me!). But if you are going to that area, your son might enjoy visiting the Château des Baux de Provence just up the road from Oustau. You will see great views of the Alpilles countryside and can check out the ancient war machines (catapults, etc.). There is a good restaurant - la Reine Anne - at the entrance to the château with a nice terrace from which you can look up at the castle-fortress.
I was not aware that Auberge de la Loube had a "Sunday Brunch" but I know very well that you must reserve for lunch or dinner (better go for lunch as the climb up to Buoux and then back down is not recommended at night). If you go to visit M. de la Loube's place, be sure to order a Rinquinquin cocktail (white wine which has been flavored with macerated peaches) - a real delight! If you go there and dine, you might ask M. de la Loube if he could show your son his horse-drawn carriages after he finishes lunch service. You and your son will be amazed at what he has. Not sure if he speaks any English, but perhaps you speak French.
Another place you might visit is the nearby town of Coustellet, where the Musée de la Lavande is. You can take a tour (for a fee) of the lavender factory and see how they extract the oils and make soaps, etc., then shop in the store for all sorts of lavender products. In the town itself, a short drive south of the museum is a small restaurant which serves very good cous-cous and this would be an unusual dish for your son to try. I do not remember the name of the place, but it is right opposite the old (now-closed) Coustellet train station. There are 2 or 3 restaurants on that little street, so check out the one that offers cous-cous (quite authentic, the owner is from North Africa). One order of cous-cous royale for 2 will serve all 3 of you.
You should also visit Roussillon to see the ochre soil.
Are you talking about La Fourchette in Avignon?
Both Bistros Egalyieres and Paradou should be fine with your son. If you are going over to Les Baux, you won't want to miss the olive oil collaborative at Maussane les Alpilles. Their shop is open on Tuesdays for purchasing their oils and soaps, which, imho are some of the finest anywhere.