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Languedoc, Luberon, Provence and Girona and Calella

We have read many wonderful posts about Languedoc, Luberon, and Girona and Calella. We have decided to go - to all of them mid June to mid July 2013.

Any current suggestions about great places to eat in Girona?
We are planning to eat at Carme Ruscalleda in Calella, comments? Suggestions?

On to Prades (Maison Prades - we will eat dinner there). Limoux (?), Minervos (Relais Chantovent - yes we will eat there).

Then Pezenas, open to suggestions. We can not get a response from Hotel Faurie so I am not sure about getting to eat at Saint Agreve. We will keep trying.

On to Vaison la Romaine, Saint Remy and Marsielle. I would love any and all recommendations. Thanks

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  1. I look forward to reading more about your planning -- sounds like a great trip. I suspect that Faurie is closed now, they may not be responding for that reason. -- Jake

    4 Replies
    1. re: Jake Dear

      Thank you Jack, do you think they may be closed permanently or just open during late spring and summer? I have not tried calling them but have sent multiple email messages.

      1. re: miseenplacekh

        I was referring to the seasonal closing. When we were reserving last year we found many places in this general area closed Jan-early April. Some monitored email reservation requests when closed, for others it took weeks and follow-up requests to get a response. I'd not worry too much about Faurie, I assume they are simply on a well deserved break.

        1. re: Jake Dear

          Jake Dear
          Sorry I miss spelled your name earlier, I will re-send a request to Hotel Faurie the end of April and see if I can get a response.
          I am putting together a more detailed itinerary with specific ideas about where to eat and will post that by this weekend. Did you enjoy Le Puy? It looks interesting and we love the french lentils.

          1. re: miseenplacekh

            Pas de problem. I would not wait until end of April, but try it end of March.

    2. How long will you be in Pezenas? Will you be spending some time exploring the surrounding towns and villages?

      Even if you won't be there long, you could make a slight (and very picturesque) detour between Minerve and Pezenas and stop for lunch at Le Cave St Martin at Roquebrun - I've reviewed it on here if you want to know more.

      14 Replies
      1. re: Theresa

        Theresa we will be in Pezenas for 4 days and will make a point to stop at Le Cave St Martin. Thank you and I do promise to respond when we return about our experience. I will go back and re-read your review. We will be in Pezenas for the market also.

        1. re: miseenplacekh

          And how many days will you be in St-Rémy & Marseille? For St Rémy area, I'd suggest le Bistrot du Paradou (in le Paradou - closed SUN/MON), le Mas du Capoun (in Mollégès - closed SAT lunch, TUE night, & WED), le Potager du Mas at the Mas de la Rose (in Orgon - closed SUN night & MON). For Marseille, you can have bouillabaisse at Chez Fonfon in the lovely Vallon des Auffes (closed MON lunch & SUN). There's also la Table de Ventabren (in the adorable village of Ventabren - closed TUE lunch & MON)

          1. re: boredough

            Boredough,
            We will be in St-Rémy four days, and Marseille four days.Thank you for these suggestions! We have not put Ventabren on our list but we will now.

            1. re: miseenplacekh

              Why are you spending 4 days in Marseille? I live in the south of France, and no one i know would ever spend 4 days there. Most people don't even go.There is a lot of hoopla about Marseille and the year of culture, but all the city has done is to widen sidewalks and add a promenade. The MuCem (new Med Museum of Culture ) isn't due to open until June--but since this is Marseille who knows when it will open.

              The traffic in Marseille is the worst in Western Europe (not my opinion, but there are statistics.) People drive like Italians--very impatient. I was rear-ended last May by a driver who didn't want me to stop at a red light.

              I actually do go to Marseille occasionally since I need to take clients there. Personally I think your time is better spent elsewhere. There is so much in the south of France to see.

              1. re: sderham

                Well, it is actually 2.5 days, we hope to visit the Calanques one day (take a bus and hike down with a picnic) and spend another day in town. If you think that is way too much we will think about that. the last night we are spending at the airport as we have a super early flight and do not want to think about the traffic. It is 4 nights but one is coming in late in the day, and one at the airport. I appreciate knowing about the driving. We will check out the MuCem if it is open mid July.

                1. re: sderham

                  Excuse me but with all due respect I can't let cutting and ill-informed remarks like this pass. Though certain openings (like the MUCEM) are set to fall into place later in the year, Marseille is absolutely bubbling with wonderful things to do throughout 2013. Agreed, it's not a Certified Tourist Spot like some people only feel comfortable in; it is rather an authentic, vibrant city with a wonderful food culture. I am writing this after lunch at Arnaud de Gramont's Café des Epices. How he manages to surprise meal after meal stuns me. We were three for three delicious courses and a nice bottle of rose for a little over €100. The main course of pagre (a Med. white fleshed fish) on a layered bed of avocado purée et a crunchy kind of quinoa particularly stood out. In any case the sunny afternoon in the quiet space behind the town hall surrounded by dozens of olive trees in enormous, attractive pots didn't hurt either. Not trying to pick a fight but, seriously, if you can find your time is better spent elsewhere, then I'd like to know where elsewhere is.

                  1. re: johnmarseille

                    Thank you for this comment. I hoped that Marseille would have some unique and wonderful food and culture. We will note this. Can you tell me if you use public transportation (we will have dropped off our car before hand or plan to). Is the bus system usable?

                    1. re: miseenplacekh

                      It's a pleasure to see you're wo open-minded about Marseille. Yes, public transportation is fine, with a very elaborate bus system complemented by tramway and metro. Check out the RTM site for the buses. Where is your hotel, by the way?

                      1. re: johnmarseille

                        We are "guessing" meaning we have made a reservation at the Saint Ferréol at 19 Rue Pisancon. We are open to ideas as they have a very reasonable cancellation policy. Our goal is to have good access to good restaurants and transportation. We would love any suggestions.
                        We also are open to any other places for unique (to Marseille) and wonderful food.

                        1. re: miseenplacekh

                          I'm sure that on this site and elsewhere you can find good hotel recommendations. My two might be 1) on the high end, the Palm Beach, great sea views and super bar, not in the city center but easily accessed by the 83 bus which runs all the time. 2) the New Hotel Bompard, a mini-chain with, I think, three in Marseille, all nice but the Bompard is interesting because it's in a cool "bo-bo" residential neighborhood, Bompard in the 7th (one of Marseille's 111 named neighborhoods), calm, nice pool and garden, five minute walk to the Corniche Kennedy (and the Petit Nice restaurant), four stars but not too expensive, and linked easily by the 61 bus to the city center. As far as restaurants are concerned, I think there is some good stuff already on the site, but you might also look at the NYTimes "36 hours in Marseille," which I could have written myself. But just for the record (maybe again): la Cantinetta (book, impossible otherwise), le Café des Epices (book), le Rowing Club (chez Gilbert), chez Vincent (simple, timeless), le Ventre de l'Architecte, la Villa, le Peron, l'Epuisette, le Yen, les Arcenaulx, almost anything in les Goudes (village in Marseille but way to the south on the coast road). Only places really to avoid absolutely are the crummy tourist joints on the south side of the Old Port--with the exception of the Café OM (very decent brasserie food), avoid anything on the Old Port within 100 meters of the McDonalds (yes, MdDo's). Good luck and enjoy your trip!

                          1. re: johnmarseille

                            Johnmarseille
                            Wow, this is wonderful. Thank you for the suggestions and booking advice. We will follow through and report when we return.
                            We do appreciate your suggestions and transportation advice. We will review the accommodations and then get busy with restaurant reservations. Again..... even the clear directions about the old port is very helpful. Merci beaucoup.

                    2. re: johnmarseille

                      I agree with you, John. Marseille is a dynamic, wonderful city! I have been there several times over the years and enjoyed every visit.

              2. re: miseenplacekh

                If you would like a drive into the amazing scenery in the mountains north of Pezenas, do consider a trip to St Gervais sur Mare. It's about an hour away, or a bit less, and the drive takes you through the pretty vineyards and hills of Roujan and Faugeres, and then into the Haut Languedoc National Park.

                St Gervais is only a small village, but it has a lovely new restaurant called L'Ortensia, where the chef is an exstudent of Alain Ducasse. I've written in more detail about our meal there, so you can find that on this board.

                It would be a lovely few hours out and would give you an idea of the area away from the coastal plain - and when you see the views from the restaurant you will think you have died and gone to heaven - it really is a beautiful spot, and they have huge windows looking over the valley and mountains, as well as a terrace.

                1. re: Theresa

                  Terrific we will, this was just on my radar but now we will make it happen. Thank you. I will look for your details on the board.

            2. I live in Vaison la Romaine. The only two places in town I would suggest are: Brin d'Olivier and Le Bistro du'O (in the medieval town on the hill.) The Brin d'Oliver has a Bib Gourmand.
              Usually, however, I go to Coteaux et Fourchettes in Rasteau. Great wine list, good, young sommelier, and very good food. 3 course lunch is about 23 euros, dinner about 30 euros. Nice terrace in back.
              No website but check them on Trip Advisor or Facebook.

              Another place I like in Cairanne is "le Tourne au Verre."
              http://www.letourneauverre.com/
              More casual, about 15 euros for lunch, with about 15 wines by the glass. Both of these places are frequented by people in the wine business.

              For a one star experience "Le Grand Pre" in Roaix is the place to go. http://www.legrandpre.com/
              They have a bistro "Preface" at the same location.

              There are tons of good, small places in the area but wasn't sure what you would like.

              5 Replies
              1. re: sderham

                Sderham
                Thank you, this is the stop we are most concerned about. We like small and good and bistro is fine. Not all meals need to be starred, just delicious.
                Can you confim the best markets around and the days? I have my eye on some linens (used or new).

                1. re: miseenplacekh

                  Absolutely the best and biggest market in the area is Vaison on Tuesday. Nyons on Thursday. The big l'Isle sur la Sorgue market (one hour away) is Sunday morning, but there is a brocante (flea market in the pm.)

                  All the markets sell linens, but Les Olivades ( a high en brand) has a factory store in St Etienne du gres, about 20 minutes from St Remy. http://www.provencefoodandwine.com/20...

                  Old linens--the brocante at L'Isle sur sorgue will have some. Will think if there are others.

                  Back to you tomorrow with small places to eat around Vaison. How long will you be there? You haven't mentioned wine tasting around Vaison--some of the greatest Rhone vineyards are nearby.

                  1. re: sderham

                    This is terrific information and I will report back and bring back examples. Wow thank you so much. Yes we would very much like recommendations as wine is a driving force for visiting this area.

                    1. re: miseenplacekh

                      sderham, we will be in Vaison la Romaine around 2-3 days, so we have a few evenings and would love some wine tasting suggestions. I do want to thank you again for the linen info.

                    2. re: sderham

                      Coteaux et Fourchette is a wonderful restaurant but it's actually located in Cairanne. We also like l'oustalet in Gigondas a lot.

                2. We spent a week in the Languedoc area and can recommend a few restaurants we thought were worth a visit and thoroughly enjoyed. But... just back from a trip and I'm brain dead so come back to see what I post later today or tomorrow.

                  If you need a good B&B for Limoux or Pezenas, write to my email (under my profile). We stayed at exceptional places!

                  1. "Any current suggestions about great places to eat in Girona?"
                    My rule there is to check chef's cv's out to be sure they spent some but not too much time at El Bulli.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: John Talbott

                      El Bulli closed in 2011, but Adria has moved on to the Basque area, he's working in Bilbao.

                      1. re: lemarais

                        Yes I know, table for 12; I was commenting on where to eat in Girona (the OP's question).

                      2. re: John Talbott

                        John Talbott
                        We are researching this right now and will post our ideas, if you are aware of anything after we post our plans please let us know. Thank you.