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Mar 19, 2011 07:50 AM

Sunday night dinner in Avignon

I'm looking for a recommendation for an excellent, but casual restaurant for our first meal in Provence. We will be arriving from Paris on a Sunday afternoon in June, staying 2 nights in Avignon (without car), then heading off by bike to explore the area. We'll probably eat at La Fourchette on Monday night, but I would love some recommendations for a restaurant open on Sunday night. Given the nature of the rest of our trip (cycling) we will not be bringing any elegant clothing, so we need places that can accept casual attire. We also prefer a casual atmosphere. Outdoor dining would be lovely. Any suggestions?

By the way, does anyone know the website for La Fourchette. A google search comes up blank.

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  1. I don't think you have to be concerned about elegant clothing in Provence. "Casual" is certainly the operative word for just about everything. Still, I wouldn't be quick to wear jeans to a Michelin-starred or other high quality restaurant, but regular slacks & normal shoes (not sneakers or T-shirts) would be fine. That said, you could wear jeans (anything) to le Moutardier du Pape. I would hardly categorize the food as excellent, but you can't beat the setting. If the weather permits, you can sit in front of the Palais des Papes, a perfect introduction to Avignon. On the other hand, if you are more interested in food quality, there's Hiély-Lucullus, where jeans might not be appropriate. Haven't been there in years, but friends were there recently & loved it. As for la Fourchette, the Michelin guide ( for English descriptions) indicates an e-mail address, if you're just looking to book a table .(

    1. Hiely and La Fourchette are both excellent choices. not sure about places open on Sunday night. I would call and ask.

      FWIW, I realize you're going to be biking, but do pack a pair of slacks other than jeans and/or a skirt (If you're a woman) and some shoes other than sneakers. Casual IS the order of business in most Provence restaurants, but jeans and sheakers are considered less than casual.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChefJune

        I think we are back in the territory of dress "instinct" versus dress "code". Profsuzy - When you refer to casual wear, what exactly do you mean?

        I find it takes less space to pack a couple of thin summer weather dresses that roll up, along with a pair of lightweight sandals, than packing other types of clothing.

        How many nights will you be in France? Even on a bike trip, are you eating in hotel restaurants in the evening, or actually camping out the rest of the time?

      2. According to what I was able to find out on-line, both Hiély & le Moutardier are open on Sundays, which is why I mentioned them. Le Moutardier's tables take up a large area of the Place du Palais, adding to the extremely casual atmosphere created by all sorts of action going on in that same square. OTOH, jeans are probably too heavy for June anyway, so crease-resistent-washable slacks or skirt are probably your best bet for any type of venue (as per ChefJune's comments). In my "provençal experience", the majority of men wearing jackets are British - I think the more formal tendency is in their DNA.

        1. L'Essentiel, 2,Rue Petite Fusterie...not far from the Palais.
          A fine favorite of many, particularly those of us who commute from Paris on Friday PM or shop
          Avignon on Sat.
          See their excellent website for details.Lunch & dinner .Closed Wed.& Sun. however.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Franco American

            Thanks to all for your suggestions. To answer your questions, souvenir, we'll be staying in a bed and breakfast in Avignon, and in hotels the other nights. We're definitely not camping. But my husband wants nothing to do with a jacket and/or tie on this trip, and I assume that such formal attire wouldn't be expected in Provence. I can certainly bring casual skirts or dresses, and he can bring wrinkle-resistant khakis - I hope that will be acceptable.
            I've only been to Provence once, 20 years ago, and I was wandering around on my own and traveling on the cheap. Things are better now, but we are not looking for the starched linen kind of restaurant, but rather a more informal, even rustic atmosphere. L'Essential looks very nice, but since it's closed Sunday, it's probably out - unless I give up Fourchette, and I'd rather not. Hiely looks lovely, and I know it gets great reviews, but it does look more formal. Le Moutardier might be the ticket for us, especially if it's a nice night. Are reservations always necessary? We're talking about a Sunday night in mid-June. Thanks all!

            1. re: Profsuzy

              In the better restaurants, which I thought you were inquiring about, it is best to have at least a shirt, and it is always better to reserve, esp for a Sunday night when few restos are open and the picking is thin. If you want to try walkins, then this thread is probably not useful.

              1. re: Parigi

                I have no idea what you are talking about - have at least a shirt? Who ever said anything about a shirt? The question was whether a jacket and tie was needed for any of these restaurants. FWIW, I have no idea what walkins is.

                1. re: Profsuzy

                  "I have no idea what walkins is"

                  Walking in to a resto with no reservation

              2. re: Profsuzy

                You would be dressed just fine for Hiély (skirt/dress+khakis) should you opt for that kind of experience. As for le Moutardier, their website indicates an e-mail address ( so you could probably book a table easily enough (even in English). If you decide to wing it and just show up, you might have to wait a bit - but if you run into problems you can always find a restaurant in the nearby Place de l'Horloge, albeit a very touristy one. Keep in mind that Sunday June 12 is a holiday, in case that's the date you'll be there. (That shouldn't affect the restaurant's open status, but it might be more crowded.)

                1. re: boredough

                  Thanks boredough - I'll likely email them a couple of weeks in advance, especially since so many places are closed on Sunday evening. Thanks for all your help.