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Apr 15, 2012 07:20 AM

Provence June 22-30 2012 Need restaurant help

Hello all
My family(wife, sister-in-law, and two children ages 7 and 9 and myself) are heading to Provence for a far too brief stay this summer. We are staying just outside of Noves and I would love some help on restaurant and day trip recs for our stay.
I would say we are not Michelin star seekers, but would prefer solid local friendly places.
Also if there are any particular markets that you love, please share.
Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance...

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    1. As per Parigi's reply, there already are plenty of suggestions to be found on Chowhound (see search function). However here are some ideas:
      Mas du Capoun in Mollégès
      Bistrot du Paradou in le Paradou (although it's a set menu, they will do a meal for the kids at a more than reasonable cost)
      Bistrot Découverte in St Rémy
      further away :
      l'Arôme &/or le Fournil in Bonnieux
      la Flambée in Bonnieux (for great pizzas - be sure to sit upstairs on the terrace, weather permitting)
      l'Ane sur le Toit in Mérindol
      Chez Etienne in Marseille (another place known for its Provençal pizza) - plan around a boat ride to the Château d'If (think Count of Monte Cristo) or the Calanques
      Favorite markets:
      St Rémy on WED; Lourmarin on FRI; Aix-en-Provence on THU or SAT; Isle-sur-la-Sorgue on SUN
      Have fun!

      16 Replies
      1. re: boredough

        Thanks for the specific recs. I've been perusing the France board and trying to do research on this area of Provence for a few weeks. It almost seems overwhelming considering there are a very large number of "can't miss" towns. From what I've read it would seem Goult and Saignon are worth an effort, can anyone comment on any other towns that might be considered If I'm being too vague please let me know.

        1. re: ZachM

          I happen to like some of the 'touristy' places, especially for a first trip to Provence. Time permitting, I wouldn't let a visitor miss Roussillon, Gordes, Bonnieux, Lourmarin, Les Baux, Oppède le Vieux, & Saignon (although Gordes & Bonniex are in some ways nicest from afar). And if the lavender is out, I'd take them to the Abbé de Sénanque.

          1. re: boredough

            My list would be: Bonnieux, Goult, Venasque, Lourmarin, Ansouis, Val Joannis, Sénanque,

            1. re: Parigi

              Thank you very much for your input. As I put my plans together, I'll be back asking questions.
              Your help is much appreciated.

        2. re: boredough

          We are going to be in Aix for almost two full days and one night before heading to Noves. Any recs on lunch and dinner in Aix. We are not looking for anything too pricey, just solid value and perhaps some patio dining.

          1. re: ZachM

            L'Epicurien in the Place Forum des Cardeurs would fit the bill - open Tues-Sat for lunch & dinner in June (Mon-Sat dinner only July/August). If you need a place to have breakfast, I'd recommend the Bastide du Cours on the Cours Mirabeau. For €6.90 you get a large (for France) freshly-squeezed OJ, (good) coffee, and a basket of small pastries (mini croissants & pain au chocolate) with a well-made mini baguette....butter & confitures. You could order 3 of those and have enough to feed the kids.

            1. re: boredough

              Sounds great. I cannot thank you enough for your suggestions. I plan on visiting most of the places you mentioned in your previous post and I will report back when we return.
              I must warn you, I will not have near the detail or elegance of prose that kurtis had in his impressive post from last year, but I will do my best...

              1. re: ZachM

                No matter where you end up, have a great time!

            2. re: ZachM

              La Pizza (Horrible name, good food) in Aix might be a good fit for dinner one night. They have outdoor seating, great wood-fired pizza and good pastas. Rustic, delicious, friendly.

              1. re: Klunco

                Haven't been there in a few years, but we did like the pizza there (3 rue Aude).
                Also, in case you (ZachM) plan to take the Route National 7 from Aix to Noves, you will just about pass Vernègues (near Cazan, which is about mid-route of that ride). Le Repaire is a great place (with a lovely terrace) for omelets, salads, crêpes (savory & sweet), and a vast selection of ice cream desserts that the kids will surely enjoy. Open non-stop as of noon everyday except Tuesday.

                1. re: boredough

                  I cannot thank you enough. I have trailed you for two straight picks and I am in awe at your expertise. Had dinner at L'Epicurien last night and the meal as well as the setting was unbelievable. Solid food, service and surroundings overwhelmed my entire family. And then to follow, we had lunch at Le Repaire today and it was breathtaking. Food was good enough, but the surroundings were spectacular.
                  I really appreciate your recommendations Looking forward to the rest of our holiday.

                  1. re: ZachM

                    Thanks for the report. Glad you & your family liked both places. In case you're thinking of going to these restaurants while in Noves:
                    Le Mas du Capoun (Mollégès) is closed for dinner on TUE/WED, and has a 33€ (or maybe 35€) 3 course prix fixe with, if I remember correctly, 5 choices per course. Go for whichever wine special they're offering, as it's usually good and extremely well priced. (I have no idea what they do for a kids' menu.)
                    Le Bistrot du Paradou is closed SUN/MON, and for 51€ (I think less than half that for kids) you get appetizer (possibly 2 choices; usually no choice), main course (no choice), generous assortment of cheeses, dessert (about 8 choices), coffee, and their house wine. For both restaurants, be sure to book as they're always full. And for good reason.

                    1. re: boredough

                      I've booked bistro Du paradou, and I'm totally pumped, but I need help for our day trip to Avignon for lunch. Seems like too many choices(I know what a dilemma). You have any go to choices that are solid but not over the top.

                      1. re: ZachM

                        Sorry to say but we haven't done dinner in Avignon in quite a while - just a simple lunch from time to time, at, what turned out to be, serviceable places. However from long-ago-experiences (+5 yrs) at restaurants that still seem to be looked upon favorably, I'd suggest you take a look at the menus at la Fourchette and l'Isle Sonnante, almost next to each other on the rue Racine. Also, l'Essentiel (rue Petite Fusterie) is a place we want to try, but have not had a chance. Good luck.

                        1. re: boredough

                          No worries. Think we will just get lunch at Les Halles or just get something "serviceable" as you say.
                          Once again, thank you so much for your input.

                          1. re: ZachM

                            If it's not too late... there are a couple of good sandwich stands in the Place de l'Horloge where you can get delightful and messy Pan Bagnats.

          2. We have eaten lunch several times at L'Essentiel and recommend the restaurant very highly. I have previously linked pictures and details from my blog.

            Monday, I had a fabulous lunch at La Mirande behind the Pope's Palace in Avignon. It was an outstanding meal and we will go back for sure. The chef came out to chat with me after the meal and invited me to come back and see the kitchen and meet his equipe and then showed me how he prepared the Daurade sauvage before taking me on a tour of the old historic kitchen on the lower level where they offer cooking classes Monday - Friday. I have attached a picture of the Daurade Sauvage part of the that day's Menu du Marche.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Pammel

              Thanks to both Pammel and Boredough for your help. I think we will try something a little simpler today in preparation for Paradou tomorrow.
              Pammel we drove the route de vins yesterday and passed through your lovely town of Sablet. I may be in contact with you in the future to rent your house. Truly beautiful town and area. Do you rent for periods shorter than a week?
              Thanks to all your help.