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May 9, 2012 11:32 AM

Food and Impressionism

Bonjour French Chowhounders:

I have an odd request. A friend of mine is teaching a university course on Chemistry and Impressionism in Paris and Provence (Avignon, Aix and Nice and surrounding areas) next January. I'm wondering if any of you had suggestions about restaurants, cafes, bistros in those areas that might have some relevance to any of the Impressionists or Impressionism in general. We'll be scouting out locations in a few weeks and we can check out any suggestions you have. Thanks very much for your assistance.

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  1. There is a large casual cafe in the Musee d"Orsay that seems applicable. Remember a great expensive lunch near the Maeght as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

      Le Moulin de la Galette on the peak of rue Lepic, in the original location of Le Moulin de La Galette, where the painting of the same name was painted by Renoir.
      Does not have tood food vibes though. Better eat before you go.
      Café Matisse (57 rue Notre-Dame de Lorette). I heard it was an impressionist hangout in its its forelife, but now I can't find any info on the internet.
      This webpage has many addresses of impressionist hangouts:

    2. For Paris, the old guinguettes (outdoor summer cafés) come to mind. Only about half a dozen left though and all in the suburbs, usually along the Seine. e.g. la Guinguette de Neuilly on the Ile de la Jatte (métro: Pont de Neuilly). La Guinguette Auvergnate in Villeneuve-Saint-Georges (15 minutes by RER from central Paris). Actually quite fun for a drink or snack but the food, except for a plate of whitebait I had once at the Neuilly one, is rarely memorable.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Parnassien

        Oh, yes to this! A Sunday lunch and afternoon at la Guinguette Martin Pecheur is high on my list of indelible memories.

        Be sure to polish your paso doble!

        1. re: mangeur

          Mme Mangeur, I think I love you. :)

          1. re: Parnassien

            Likewise, I'm sure. (LOL) But please understand that Paso Doble is for me an appreciation rather than an accomplishment.

      2. Thank you all for this helpful information. Do you have any suggestions for Provence?

        1 Reply
        1. re: ChemWork

          I can't vouch for the quality of the food, but there's always Café des Deux Garçons at 53 Cours Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence, supposedly frequented by Cézanne. Next door (at #55) you will see traces of the painted sign for for his father's hat shop. And there's le Café la Nuit in Arles, "star" of the well-known Van Gogh painting. And while you're in the area, you might want to check out the Carrières de Lumières ( - the current version of the Cathédral d'Images in les Baux. The "show" is Van Gogh & Gauguin - an innovative way to appreciate their paintings in a very cool (in more ways than one) venue. (I apologize in advance for mentioning non-food.)