3 days in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse
We are going to Provence for the first time and will be spending 3 days in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. Where should we eat? I have been searching on this board on and off for the last few weeks and I am having some difficulties figuring it out.
It has been suggested that we drive to St Remey-de-Provence and Les Baux on Wednesday and drive to Lacoste, Menerbes and Oppede-le Vieux on Thursday. Also, we will be driving from Aix en Provence to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse on Tuesday and we could certainly make side trips for great food and interesting sights and scenery.
What kind of food do we like? Local, a lot of produce, regional tastes, not too heavy. I imagine that we will try to eat our large meal of the day around lunch at least some days. Any help will be appreciated. Do we need to make reservations?
What do you think of the recent updates on La Bartavelle in Goult, which is a very short drive from Fontaine de Vaucluse?
Actually I would unhesitatingly stay in Goult (or Bonnieux) instead of Fontaine de Vaucluse. My experience comes from staying in the region in June and September, when Fontaine de Vaucluse always have traffic jam of tourist buses. Another problem with the otherwise pretty village is that the shops and cafés don't look as though they catered to locals at all, but rather to those tourist buses, with an overwhelming number of identical souvenir and postcard shops and similar-looking restos and café.
In recent years I only go by Fontaine de Vaucluse, never stopping, on my way to the Isle sur la Sorgue market. The road from Fontaine de Vaucluse has the best parking possibilities.
Lastly, with your extremely short stay, you may want to visit the nearby beautiful Venasque and the Gigondas wine regions, instead of St Rémy and Les Baux, also very beautiful, but further away. I am just suggesting a way to streamline your commute so that you don't spend your mere 3 days too much on the road driving instead of enjoying.
Then I guess it's too late to take Parigi's (good) suggestion to stay in Goult or Bonnieux. Therefore on Tuesday I would head towards FdV via Cadenet, stopping in Lourmarin for a coffee, pastis, or glass of rosé in Café Gaby, followed by lunch in Bonnieux. Le Fournil will be closed but l'Arôme (for which there are some conflicting opinions on CH) should be open. For a more elaborate (& expensive but memorable) lunch, you could eat at the Bastide de Capelongue, overlooking Bonnieux. (See other threads on that.) Then depending on how long lunch takes, you could see Lacoste & Ménerbes before arriving in FdV, as they are small villages that do not require much time. Including Oppède-le-Vieux is probably too ambitious, because that involves a bit of hiking from the parking area.
This would leave you an extra day to follow Parigi's suggestion to visit Venasque & Gigondas on Thursday (La Bartavelle is closed TUE/WED, so you could save room for dinner there that evening), and head south on Wednesday for the market in St Rémy, lunch at the Bistrot du Paradou (51€ for dinner, so I think slightly less - maybe 45€ for lunch, including starter, main, cheese platter, dessert, wine, coffee), followed by a visit to les Baux and the Carrières de Lumières http://carrieres-lumieres.com
As for the need to reserve, that is always a good idea so that you won't be disappointed & get turned away....especially at the very popular Bistrot du Paradou & la Bartavelle.
EDIT: another option for Tuesday would be to have a light lunch at la Flambée in Bonnieux (individual pizzas upstairs on the terrace, weather permitting), saving your big meal for dinner at la Ferme de la Huppe in Gordes.
We were in Fontaine De Vaucluse 2 weeks back had a great lunch at the Petrarque et Laure in a outside garden area. It was a great meal, service was good, they have Leffe beer on tap which is one of my favorites. If you should go to St Remy we had a great lunch at Bistrot Alpilles we were there on market day which was interesting an every Wed thing. There is a free parking lot not far away. If you are a lunch person you need to mind the time most of these good spots quit serving at 2PM sharpe then start again at 7PM. A short drive from your home base is another interesting small town Pernes Les Fontaine we were in and out of here a lot as it had a wifi spot a bar downtown. We had two good reasonable meals in the Cote de Jardin the service was good food was good and it did not take forever. The village of Venasque would be a nice drive for you it is interesting,old, and built on the side of a hill looking out over a large valley here we had one of the best meals of the trip Les Remparts once again parking was close. Isle sur Sorge is only 15 or 20 minutes from F-d-V we had a good lunch at the Bellevue right on the river an on another day a good meal across from the tourist center under the Plane trees sidewalk table. I think you will have a good time kep in mind that this is a part of the world that does not get in a hurry so allow some time for the meals.
I have just finished a week of wining & dining 6 women. As usual, there was too much driving as we did go to St. Remy, Crillon le Brave, Bonnieux, L'isle, Vacqueyras, Cassis. We ate lunch and dinner out all days but one.
One addition that I would make that is not mentioned in this thread - Auberge de Lagnes. It is very close to Fontaine and the room, the service and the food is very good and well priced.
I also recommend that if you do go to St. Remy continue to les Baux to the Carrieres des Lumieres. Sounds hokey, is really quite neat to see.
ALSO - be very careful in any of the villages on market days. I had my wallet stolen in St. Remy last Wednesday. Less than 5 minutes and I did not feel a thing - other than stupid, as I always tell guests and clients to be very aware. Don't leave anything visible in your car and if you carry a market basket dont put anything valuable in it.