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Lyon, Beaune, Arles and Nice

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Help! I am leaving on Friday for a car trip through northern Italy and France. I have all of my hotels and inns booked, and haven't dealt with our meals. Not a good place to be since we are all about food and not so much about sightseeing. I will be with my wife and 2 sons (14 and 18). we are from Manhattan, so 4 star restaurants aren't our goal. We love to eat lunch and dinner at authentic local places. we also love to search out markets and local flavors. We will have a car, so we can travel from the "bases" I noted in the title to this post. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.

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  1. Today I saw that this post has not had reply, perhaps because there are so many threads about Beaune, Lyons and Nice that regular posters get "attention-saturation" about answering a potentially very long post covering mostly previous grounds.

    "I will be with my wife and 2 sons (14 and 18). we are from Manhattan, so 4 star restaurants aren't our goal. We love to eat lunch and dinner at authentic local places. we also love to search out markets and local flavors."

    To supplement your research, I want to add one place outside Arles, the ferme-auberge Berbegal.
    http://www.barbegal.fr/ferme_auberge_...
    A resto can't get more authentic than this: a farm with a resto side-business (which means you must reserve). It uses only ingredients from its own farm or from nearby associate farms. I had the best pistou soup in my life there, which the 5 of us cleaned up so well that surely the kitchen did not have to wash the tureen afterwards.
    The last two times we had carré d'agneau there, because it made it so well. Authenticity oblige, there is not a great deal of choice. But if you don't do lamb, there is an alternative main, but I don't remember.
    Even if your boys do not like sightseeing, nearby (1 km away) is the breathtaking Roman mills Barbegal. Even men and boys who do not like sightseeing like those (and immediately try to figure out how to build them better, duh).

    In fact, only when you get to a high place around the Arles area, it hits you how the Romans were builders.
    Another fun place for visits and eats is nearby Glanum outside the lovely if a bit Parisian-chic town of St Rémy. (I wish the Glanum museum could learn from Vaux le Vicomte which makes a map-game for children and gets children interested in every room, looking for historical and artistic clues.) There is a Taverne Romaine on site. We love archeology and have gone to Glanum several times, always bypassing the Taverne Romaine thinking it must be gimmicky. But Anthony Bourdain filmed an ecstatic lunch there. Who's going to argue with the Big AB.

    In fact Arles, so compact, is full of Roman ruins and … good eateries. My favbes are:
    - Atelier Rabanel (but maybe a little temple worrship-like for kids and for this adult),
    - Rabanel's more casual bistro next door,
    - L'Affenage. It has a huge selection of Provençal hors d'oeuvres, which appeal to children, and adults, hey.
    - Many other good bistros in town, like La Gueule du loup, l'Aubin de Thym. But children may be bored in these exquisite Provençal eateries... You may want to consider

    - the morning market in Arles Wedn and Sat, get a picnic lunch and picnic nearby. Another great picnic spot, besides the Barbegal site itself, is the little park in the village below Les Baux de Provence, where you picnic in the shadow of the Les Baux castle ruins on the hill .