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Returning in mid-April for honeymoon - BOURGOGNE, LYON, LUBERON/PROVENCE

j
j.jessica.lee Mar 20, 2013 09:04 AM

As promised, here is the other section of my trip planning post. You've already been so helpful in Paris - thank you! While I've been to Paris many times before, I've really not explored much outside of the city. I played at a festival in Giverny a few years back and therefore saw that area and also did short trips to Le Havre and smaller nearby towns for performances. I've never been to Bourgogne, Lyon, or anywhere in the Luberon or Provence. My fiance and I have decided that we will do a kind of line, either up or down, of these places. From what I have gathered, weekends are a tricky situation, which is why we are planning to leave Paris in the morning on Saturday, 4/20 (we arrive in Paris on Saturday, 4/13, giving us a good week in the city). I am a little hazy on which place outside of Paris would be the best to go to over the weekend and also in general, how to divvy up the days. We were thinking of returning to Paris on 4/27 or 28 and spending the last few days back there before returning home to New York.

We are planning to rent a car. We will take a train to the first stop (guessing either Beaune or Avignon) and then rent a car from there.

BOURGOGNE
- Are two days sufficient here?
- As I mentioned in my Paris post, we are in the process of contacting vineyards through our favorite wine shop here in NYC and will set up firm appointments once we have our itinerary set down.
- Should we base ourselves in Beaune? A smaller village? My absolute favorite in Bourgogne for wine is Morey St. Denis, but does it make better sense to stay in a bigger area and either walk or drive to the smaller villages?
- I am definitely interested in trying Ma Cuisine and it is on my list. As for the other meals, from reading previous posts, La Cabotte, La Ruchotte (perhaps a good Sunday afternoon/evening spot?), Lameloise, Loiseau des Vignes, Caveau des Arches, and Bissoh all sound interesting to me. Which of these would you choose if you had to? I am not quite sure how pricing is on each of them. I did see that Lameloise does a prix fixe 150E, but wasn't sure on the rest of them. I think we'd want to do one nicer dinner, one more casual, cozy dinner, and then whatever else you recommend.
- Any recommendations on boulangerie/patisserie here?
- As far as wine bars, I read about Part des Anges

LYON
- Again, is one day sufficient here or should we spend two days?
- Boulangerie/Patisserie recommendations? I heard about L'Epiaison,
- If we stay two nights, we'd probably follow the same formula as Bourgogne: one nicer dinner, one more casual and cozy one. Restaurants that are on my radar so far are Daniel et Denise, Paul Bocuse, Bouchon des Filles, Leon de Lyon, Potager des Halles. How is pricing for two with a bottle of wine? Any musts?
- Bernachon will certainly get a visit.
- Is the outdoor market on Sunday afternoon?

LUBERON/PROVENCE
- From the strong recommendations by Parigi and mangeur, we are considering going to Bonnieux. We are also considering Avignon and maybe Aix-en-Provence. Are there any recommendations on how to spend 3 - 5 days in this area? Should we do just one town or do two? How many days would you recommend? My lean is going towards Bonnieux and Avignon, but I'm not sure. We will most likely have a car, so I am trying to figure out where would be a good place to base ourselves. I read that Avignon is not so good with a car. Suggestions?
- In late April, what can I expect to eat here? What are the specialties of the area?
- From Kurtis' amazingly detailed and wonderful report, I am considering having one meal at L'Arome.
- My research in this area is yet incomplete and I am still working and reading up on it. I wanted to get the post up now, however, so am leaving this part a little sketchier than I'd like.

I know this is a lot. Thank you so much in advance for all of your incredible advice, both advice that I've already gotten from reading all previous posts, and advice that is forthcoming.

  1. g
    Giannis Apr 26, 2013 03:46 PM

    I ll answer about Lyon.

    First of all i consider the restaurant Paul Bocuse the best in Lyon. My second choice when i was in Lyon was La Mere Brazier, A 2 michelin star restaurant, which is fairly priced, especially for the quality and the fact that you are in France. The menu for lunch is at 47euros or 50 with dessert and for dinner starting at 67euros. I would recommend in both places to make a reservation. You can see my review here http://gastrotrips.blogspot.gr/2013/0... ...

    Bernachon is medium for me. I respect the fact that they make their chocolate from scratch, but the result was not what i expected. They have very good service and you can have a good breakfast there but eclairs, chocolate bars were mediocre. The palets d or and their famous gateau president maurice bernachon were pretty good.

    I was astoniched by the chocolatier Bouillet. His saint honore, with tarte base was amazing. Eric Kayser has also nice pastries and his famous baguettes are very good. One thing is for sure, in lyon you can find amazing bread pretty everywhere.

    I would suggest that you stay 2 days.

    1. ChefJune Apr 26, 2013 10:23 AM

      bringing this up for the lovely bride to fill us in on Burgundy!

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChefJune
        j
        j.jessica.lee Apr 26, 2013 02:07 PM

        Updating in a new thread - lots to read! :) Thanks for all of your advice!

      2. j
        j.jessica.lee Apr 2, 2013 11:38 AM

        We are renting a car in Avignon and were wondering if we should get the insurance that the company offers or buy separate insurance here? My fiancé will be driving and doesn't have car insurance here. We will be paying with an Amex. Anyone well-versed in this matter? I know it's not food related but it IS getting us TO food. :)

        1. Kurtis Apr 1, 2013 08:15 AM

          Not much for me to add here after the gods of Luberon's "divine interventions" but looking at your schedule makes me want to suggest at least a walk that not only will be breathtaking but will help you to enjoy the meal you had or to come. It's just as enjoyable to get lost between small roads that connects the perched villages as their visibility will guide you in general direction but here are some walks I had or planned so see if any of these interest you. Enjoy!

          1. Falaise in Lioux: 30 min drive from Bonnieux (Bing images have good pics) - and if you have time take route D2 from Gordes toward Lioux in the early morning for mist filled Luberon valley coming to life.
          2. Wandering through the small roads from Bonnieux to Lacoste and back (for me Lacoste was far more interesting to read about than see).
          3. Forte de Buoux
          4. Climing walk to Oppede le Vieux

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kurtis
            j
            j.jessica.lee Apr 2, 2013 08:35 AM

            Thanks, Kurtis! I loved reading your posts on the area (as did everyone else) and they were both beautiful and helpful. This is also very helpful information. Walking in and between villages is one of the things we were most looking forward to, so we will definitely try to do as many of these as possible. While I cannot hope to write anything as lovely as you did, I will do my best to give back to Chowhound as well as I received when I return from the trip.

          2. j
            j.jessica.lee Mar 31, 2013 08:47 PM

            We have four dinners in Bourgogne. I have reserved only one so far, at Ma Cuisine. For the other three, I am considering Caveau des Arches, La Cabotte, Aupres du Clocher, Caves Madeleine, Part des Anges, Loiseau des Vignes. If Lameloise is fantastically worth the price, we may consider that. What do you recommend for the other three dinners? Are there others that aren't on my list that you think I shouldn't miss?

            3 Replies
            1. re: j.jessica.lee
              ChefJune Apr 1, 2013 11:39 AM

              Basically, Jessica, there's just a lot of good food in Bourgogne. I wouldn't worry too much about missing something. (you can always go back!) The only meal we were less than thrilled with was at Chez Tonton. I know it gets high praise from a lot of folks,but the owners for some reason took a huge dislike to us and pretty much ignored us. it took forever to order, and even longer to get our food. By that time, it could have been the best food in the world, we already had a very sour taste in our mouths.

              Loved the sweetbreads at Part des Anges, and always have a great meal at Ma Cuisine.

              1. re: ChefJune
                j
                j.jessica.lee Apr 2, 2013 08:28 AM

                Thanks, ChefJune, for your advice. It is easy, when planning these kinds of trips, to get over-concerned. Always nice to remember to take a step back from time to time. It IS vacation after all.

                I've booked La Cabotte and am thinking of Aupres du Clocher and Caveau des Arches/Part des Anges. I'll put up the final itinerary once it is all set.

                1. re: j.jessica.lee
                  ChefJune Apr 2, 2013 10:59 AM

                  If it matters to you, there are about 7 flights of stairs to get down to Caveau des Arches. (and then up when you've finished). not sure if the food is good enough...

            2. j
              j.jessica.lee Mar 27, 2013 10:58 AM

              We are also considering stopping for a night in Lyon on the way up on the 23.

              1. j
                j.jessica.lee Mar 27, 2013 10:55 AM

                Hello everyone. Many many thanks for all of your helpful tips and advice. I have been busily planning, making phone calls and emails, etc., and here is what I have so far as an itinerary for this part of my trip:

                SATURDAY
                - leave Paris very early on the TGV for Avignon, hoping to get there by 10 or 11, rent a car at the Avignon TGV station, then drive to our hotel in Bonnieux (Le Clos du Buis).
                - freshen up, maybe get a light lunch at La Flambee, or should we pick up something like a sandwich in Avignon?
                - Glass of rosé at Cafe Gaby
                - drive around Ansouis and Cucuron if we are up for it
                - I was in touch with La Petite Cave in Saignon, and they informed me very kindly that they won't be serving dinner anymore, just serving between 8 and 5pm
                - any suggestions for Saturday night for dinner?

                SUNDAY
                - drive to the Sunday market at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue early, pick up fixings for a picnic lunch there, perhaps?
                - Avignon in the afternoon (lunch here instead?)
                - am currently trying to get a reservation at La Bartavelle in Goult for this evening, fingers crossed!

                MONDAY
                - lunch at either La Flambee or perhaps Babouchka
                - visit Gordes, Lacoste, Oppeux la Vieux
                - dinner reservation set at L'Arome

                TUESDAY
                - leave early for Beaune
                - my wine shop is currently setting up tastings for us, so more on that when they are confirmed; guessing we will do them each morning/afternoon
                - hotel booked (Le Home)
                - lunch perhaps at the pizzeria by Ma Cuisine?
                - dinner has not been set yet

                WEDNESDAY
                - tasting somewhere
                - lunches have been hard for me, we want to keep lunches very light and have a bigger dinner
                - thinking of La Ruchotte for dinner but are open to other ideas

                THURSDAY
                - one of these days might see a day trip to Lyon or Annecy
                - dinner set at Ma Cuisine!

                FRIDAY
                - same deal here, either tasting or hiking or day trip (any ideas for good hiking?), visit one of the days to Gaugry and Maille and other places (open to recommendations as well!)
                - dinner is not set and we are open to ideas

                SATURDAY
                - back to Paris, return rental car in Beaune and take the train back up

                Please let me know your thoughts on this itinerary and what you might change or do differently. You have such great suggestions. My fiancé is smitten by all the great advice we have gotten on Chowhound. I think he might be a convert.

                6 Replies
                1. re: j.jessica.lee
                  boredough Mar 27, 2013 03:06 PM

                  I am distressed (!) to learn about la Petite Cave, but those hours do sound very odd. I guess you have opted out of the Bastide de Capelongue. How about la Ferme de la Huppe for Saturday night? It's in Gordes, but not in the perched village part. Food is very good - prix fixe menu should still be 42€.
                  As for your arrival day, the train arrives at the TGV station, which is not near anything. You should get to Bonnieux in time for lunch at la Flambée (they usually stop serving at 2pm). Don't forget to sit upstairs on the terrace, if possible. Re Monday, I'm not sure Babouchka is open on Mondays. Maybe you could have lunch at Oppède-le-Vieux (again I'm not sure any of the few small cafés will be open on Monday, but you never know), but if not, there are several cafés in Coustellet...or Gordes. Try to get to Roussillon after Gordes (if you haven't managed to see Gordes on SAT). I think it's a lovely village, even though some CHers think it's too touristy. Leave Lacoste for last, in case you run out of time. Sorry I don't have any actual recommendations for lunch in these villages - we usually just go for a simple salad which can be found just about anywhere.

                  1. re: boredough
                    j
                    j.jessica.lee Mar 27, 2013 06:45 PM

                    Thanks, boredough!

                    Well, no, we haven't opted out of Bastide de Capelongue. Considering the other expenses of the trip, if it is something that really should not be missed, then we will spring for it. I guess it depends on whether we might want to do one more Michelin lunch in Paris, or do Capelongue or something fancy in Bourgogne. What is your opinion, which I do greatly value? Otherwise, I think we might go try Ferme de la Huppe. Would you recommend that over Le Fournil in Bonnieux? What do you recommend ordering at La Flambee? I will check the opening hours of Babouchka as well.

                    1. re: j.jessica.lee
                      boredough Mar 28, 2013 08:57 AM

                      In your other post, you ask for advice regarding Capelongue, Gagnaire, & a few places in Burgundy. Of the others, we've only been to Gagnaire - and that was years ago - so I can't help you on that decision. If you don't do Capelongue, try to check out the hotel anyway - maybe you can have an apéritif on their terrace (if the weather permits) and enjoy the fabulous view of Bonnieux. Then you'll know where you want to stay the next time you come to Provence :-) As for SAT, le Fournil would work too, but I thought Huppe would be a nice change & get you "out of town". (Since we just arrived back in Provence, I phoned Babouchka to update my notes, and they are closed SUN dinner and all day MON. Note that the menu is very limited, but very tasty North African cuisine -tajine/couscous/bastilla-, if that's what you're in the mood for. I think the bastilla has to be ordered in advance.) Regarding la Flambée, you should have a provençal pizza - simple lunch on their terrace upstairs.

                      1. re: boredough
                        j
                        j.jessica.lee Apr 2, 2013 08:32 AM

                        Thanks, boredough! How's the weather over there? I hope you are enjoying being in Provence and I look forward to joining you in just a few weeks. I'm counting the hours....

                        And thank you for phoning Babouchka! Good to know! We finally received confirmation of our reservation at Bartavelle for Sunday, so we are all set there. With Monday set at L'Arome, we have now only to decide between going to La Ferme de la Huppe or to Babouchka on Saturday. Either one will be preceded by a drink at Capelongue, which is a stellar suggestion. I so wanted to stay there this time, but they were completely booked up. :( As you say, next time.

                        1. re: j.jessica.lee
                          boredough Apr 2, 2013 10:39 AM

                          The weather here is very fickle right now (rainy then sunny then cloudy then...) with temperatures in the 50's during the afternoon (but barely 40° in the morning). It does look like we'll reach the 60's in a few days, so hopefully you will have some decent weather. As for your SAT dinner choice and so you are not 'surprised', you should know that Babouchka is very very casual - a place where the real locals go, and quite different from, say, the atmosphere at Ferme de la Huppe or Capelongue. But after so many French meals, a "former French Colony" meal might be appealing. However I think that your drinks at Capelongue would fit in better before l'Arôme. You could, if you're so inclined, walk there from your hotel & back to l'Arôme (it should still be light enough to find your way). And it's a short walk back to your hotel after dinner. (And one more bit of advice: I really don't know how many "walk ins" show up at Capelongue for drinks on their terrace...probably very few (as opposed to hotel guests)....so it might be best to tell them you're checking out the place for that future visit. If you're lucky, you'll get a few delicious treats with your apéritifs.)

                  2. re: j.jessica.lee
                    p
                    Pammel Mar 28, 2013 06:14 AM

                    From the way you write about your arrival time into Avignon, it seems you may not have bought TGV tickets and reserved seats yet. I would do so right away since you are hoping to travel on Saturday morning. Also picnic in Isle sur la Sorgues could be iffy for April, good chance weather could be chilly so if you want to lock in plans better reserve a table in Avignon. Just so you know, Ansouis and Cucuron are not "drive around" villages. You will have to walk/hike as streets are pedestrian only.

                  3. j
                    j.jessica.lee Mar 20, 2013 07:30 PM

                    We are now considering adding an extra day to our stay in the area, making it four nights instead of three. We have three booked in Bonnieux and are currently thinking of spending a night in Arles or Aix-en-Provence. My fiance has a desire to see the coast. Is there anywhere you would recommend? Marseille? Toulon? My thought was to stay in Arles or Aix and drive to the coast for the day and return and have dinner. One reason for Arles was for Rabanel, but if Aix-en-Provence is worth it, I'd gladly stay there as well. Or anywhere else you recommend.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: j.jessica.lee
                      johannabanana Mar 20, 2013 07:51 PM

                      If you do go to Arles, an easy day trip to the coast could involve lunch outdoors at La Chassagnette, which is fantastic in a lovely setting. It has its own large vegetable garden and the cooking is fresh and inventive without being at all precious. Very inspiring aesthetic to the whole place. After lunch you could drive around the Camargue a little, see the flamingos... The Camargue has some very pretty spots in general.

                      1. re: j.jessica.lee
                        boredough Mar 21, 2013 08:41 AM

                        Although I agree with joannabanana that the Camargue is worth visiting, (injecting my personal feelings here) your fiancé's idea of a coastal village might be better served by a visit to Cassis. Weather permitting, take a boat ride & visit the calanques. Stay in Aix - try to find a hotel near the center of town, not too far from a public parking lot (parking on streets is impossible), so you can walk to dinner.

                        1. re: boredough
                          p
                          Pammel Mar 23, 2013 06:08 AM

                          I agree with boredough about Cassis. Just stay away from the restaurants on the port. If you eat in town, go to Le Bonaparte Restaurant, it's a few streets off the port. Impeccably fresh seafood.

                      2. sistereurope Mar 20, 2013 06:51 PM

                        Hi Jessica,
                        The expert posters have given you some great advice on specific places. I just wanted to chime in to say that on various trips in the past I've spent a week in Burgundy, 4 days in Lyon and a week in the Luberon and I have to agree with others, trying to fit in all 3 would be way too much. If it were my trip: OK you would have already spent a week in Paris so I'd take Boredough's recomends for the Luberon for sure (stayed in Lourmarin and agree totally with Boredough's post) and I'd spend the other portion of time in Beaune. Both places will give you a different feel from Paris, and if you're like us and like to stay somewhere with some dining options that are available without driving, Beaune is the choice. (I loved Ma Cuisine, La Ruchotte for Sun lunch, Part des Anges, Le Gourmandin (On the touristy square but good and undervalued here), Apres du Clocher in Pommard, Volnaysein in Volnay and the wine lunch at Table Comte Senard. (Check out some of the Beaune posts for other tips). Save Lyon for another trip. Keep us posted!

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: sistereurope
                          j
                          j.jessica.lee Mar 20, 2013 07:34 PM

                          Thanks so much, sistereurope! I've read many of your posts as well and they've been extremely helpful.

                          We have decided to cut Lyon out of the picture, due to everyone's tips and advice. As of right now, we are thinking four nights in the Luberon area and maybe three in Bourgogne. Seems as if everyone is pointing us towards basing ourselves in Beaune there. We got a great rec from boredough for a B&B in Bonnieux. Any recs for Beaune?

                          1. re: j.jessica.lee
                            sistereurope Mar 21, 2013 05:31 AM

                            We rented an apartment so I am of no help for the b&b. I'd try to stay close to the city center, but Beaune is small and walkable so anywhere is ok really. Have fun planning and report back with your choices!

                            1. re: j.jessica.lee
                              ChefJune Mar 21, 2013 07:54 AM

                              I would suggest Le Home in Beaune. Here's their web site: http://www.lehome.fr/ It's a small hotel/gite. The owners really know their area and the place is charming and very affordable. We thought it would be a perfect honeymoon spot. They were also able to get us GREAT last minute resto recommendations!

                              1. re: ChefJune
                                j
                                j.jessica.lee Mar 21, 2013 09:01 AM

                                Great recommendation, ChefJune. It looks wonderful and I just submitted a request. What a gem of a place, thank you so much! I'll let you know how it turns out.

                                It looks like it is about 2km from Ma Cuisine/La Part des Anges and the "center" of Beaune. Is it walkable or does it involve crossing larger, car-heavier streets?

                                1. re: j.jessica.lee
                                  ChefJune Mar 21, 2013 09:49 AM

                                  It is walkable, but we didn't. You do have to cross the peripherique that circles the town. Parking is easy, tho, and free in the parking lots just outside the old city.

                                  BTW, there is a pizzeria almost next door to La Cuisine where we ate twice when we wanted something less than a full meal. Excellent pizza and pasta, and an incredible list of Bourgogne wines at crazy low prices (even by the glass). The folks at Le Home recommended it.

                                  1. re: ChefJune
                                    j
                                    j.jessica.lee Mar 21, 2013 11:03 AM

                                    Thanks, ChefJune. Well, they are very nice indeed, even putting up with my sub-par French. They are available and I think we will take it. Did you add the breakfast option or would you recommend finding breakfast in Beaune?

                                    The pizzeria sounds great. One wouldn't think pizza in France, so if it's actually being recommended, it must be good! Plus an incredible list of Bourgogne at low prices? Sounds like heaven to me. I love pizza and would probably be missing at that point in the trip. That's why I'm scheduling a visit to Kunitoriya in Paris for some great Japanese udon in the middle of our trip. :)

                                    1. re: j.jessica.lee
                                      ChefJune Mar 21, 2013 11:11 AM

                                      We ate breakfast there every day. They will make you eggs if you request! and the food was delicious and copious. Easier to eat there before getting on your tasting way! you don't have to look for where to go.

                                      Email me if you want some winery referrals. I have many friends in the area.

                          2. boredough Mar 20, 2013 10:32 AM

                            If I understand correctly, you have only 7-8 days for Burgundy, Lyon & the Luberon. You will lose a lot of time traveling and leave yourself with maybe 5.5-6.5 days of actual sightseeing, so I'd suggest eliminating Lyon from this trip. Maybe take the TGV from Paris to Dijon where you would pick up a car and head to your Burgundy base (Beaune, if the CH experts agree); drive from there to the Bonnieux for a few days in the Luberon (where you should have a car - there is a lot to see...and eat); take the TGV from Avignon directly to CDG Airport (provided you're not leaving from Orly), giving you a little extra time outside of Paris. That said, the Clos du Buis in Bonnieux is a charming place to stay. At this late date, if you can't get a room there, maybe try the Hotel Bastide de Lourmarin (in neighboring Lourmarin, a lovely village). As for restaurants, you should be able to count on most of what Kurtis has already said (although I personally was disappointed at the Auberge de la Loube, which I think he liked), except for changes such as: le Castelas in Sivèrgues seems to have gone downhill; le Presbytère in Saignon has closed. You should also consider la Petite Cave in Saignon, l'Auberge des Carrières in les Taillades, & le Fournil in Bonnieux. As to your point about Avignon, it is practically impossible to park on the streets so you would have to park in a lot (most hotels don't have their own parking facility) - making day to day sightseeing (getting in & out of town) a bit inconvenient. (It's great to visit, however - we usually park in the Palais des Papes car park.) Food-wise, you'll find the usual suspects such as tapenade, anchoïade, lamb in various forms, soupe au pistou, goat cheese, various charcuteries, pastis (drink-wise)....plus those oysters that Kurtis raved about (from the Lourmarin market). If you're interested in a great tagine (lamb with prunes is our favorite), you can have dinner one night at Babouchka in Coustellet.

                            16 Replies
                            1. re: boredough
                              j
                              j.jessica.lee Mar 20, 2013 02:20 PM

                              Thanks, boredough! Your posts were also extremely helpful and instrumental in our choosing Provence and especially Bonnieux.

                              Upon reading your post, I immediately looked up Clos du Buis and there was literally one more room available for only one stretch of time, making it so we must go straight down on the TGV to Avignon on the 20th, rent a car, and go to Bonnieux first. They only had three nights available, so that is that! Thanks for the rec - the place looks incredible! Anything we should know about it to prepare? In Bonnieux proper, it seems as if there s Le Fournil (is this the place with the tarte flambée?), L'Arôme. I'm interested in La Bartavelle and Rabanel as well. What general price range are they for dinner? From Google maps, it seems like Bartavelle is about a 15 minute drive from Bonnieux, which would make it a good choice for dinner and driving back. Rabanel is clocked at a bit over an hour. What do you suggest? I guess we now have three days of dinners. If we do one fancy and two more casual, which would fall into which? Babouchka sounds great, and it's only fifteen minutes away. Is there a good outdoor market nearby on one of the days we are there? If there are oysters at the market in Lourmarin in late April, I will have to go, as both of us adore oysters. Which other towns in the vicinity, in your opinion, are must sees?

                              Thanks again for your advice.

                              1. re: j.jessica.lee
                                boredough Mar 20, 2013 03:51 PM

                                Sorry to burst the bubble :-(, but the market in Lourmarin is on Fridays. Not to worry though. Here's my suggestion for your 3 days in Bonnieux:
                                SAT: Once you've checked into your hotel, maybe head out to Lourmarin & take some time to relax at Café Gaby with a glass of rosé or a pastis. If you have time, drive on to Ansouis, back around towards Cucuron. Have dinner at la Petite Cave in Saignon, a beautiful tiny village. (Last summer they were charging 29€ for 3 courses.)
                                SUN: Go early to the market at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. It's huge; it's touristy; it's fun. Try to find the huge church in the middle of town (I think it's on Rue Carnot). In the 'place' in front of it, there are usually fishmongers selling fresh oysters (but I can't swear they'll be there). If you ask, he/she will shuck them for you so you can eat them on the spot. In the afternoon visit Avignon. Have dinner at la Bartavelle in Goult (42€ for 3 courses).
                                MON: Visit Gordes, Lacoste, Oppède-le-Vieux, Roussillon. Walk around Bonnieux (finally) & have dinner at l'Arôme (3 courses for 30-ish or 40-ish euros, if I remember correctly).
                                Now, I came up with these restaurants/dates because of the various closing days for each one. You could do a real splurge at the Bastide de Capelongue (Bonnieux) - they offer 2 tasting menus (140€ & 190€) but I'm guessing that's not what you want. (For the record, should you opt for Capelongue, it's on a beautiful site overlooking the perched village of Bonnieux.) I'm pretty sure the restaurant is open SAT/SUN/MON. As for le Fournil, that restaurant is open SAT/SUN but closed MON. You could substitute Fournil for one of the others, should you want to. As for Rabanel (140€ tasting men, 190€ with wine), I think that's a bit far for dinner, especially with so many other choices closer to Bonnieux. Oh yes - I'm not sure what 'tarte flambée you mean, but maybe you are referring to La Flambée, a pizza place in Bonnieux....? If you go there for lunch, be sure to sit on the terrace upstairs, weather permitting.
                                Other suggestions:
                                -be sure to book restaurants in advance. You can book l'Arôme on line, but la Bartavelle takes bookings only from 9am to noon (& they are closed TUE/WED). Hmmm... it's only 5 hours difference between France & NYC until March 31, when France turns their clocks ahead one hour. If you're on the East Coast (why do I think you're from NYC?), you might be able to reach them one morning. La Petite Cave has a British chef who usually answers the phone.
                                -make sure you reserve a car with GPS
                                -buy your TGV tickets ASAP

                                1. re: boredough
                                  j
                                  j.jessica.lee Mar 20, 2013 04:25 PM

                                  Wow boredough. This is fantastic. Thank you so very much!

                                  Consider it done! As for Capelongue vs dinner at L'Arome, in your opinion, is the price differential really worth it? If so, we shall go for it. It's our honeymoon and we want to enjoy it to the fullest without TOO much worry over finances. It happens (hopefully) once in a lifetime.

                                  You are a treasure for laying this out for me. Thank you a million times over! If you're in Paris while we are there, I'll buy you a drink!!!

                                  1. re: j.jessica.lee
                                    boredough Mar 20, 2013 06:00 PM

                                    Oh gee that's an unfair question! Capelongue has 2 Michelin stars, so there's a higher authority claiming the food is very special. For me the whole dining experience is important, meaning the setting & the service as well as the food. Although l'Arôme is in a beautiful stone, arched-ceiling room, I suppose the feel is similar to la Petite Cave. And when the weather isn't warm enough to dine outside (as in April), you would sit in Capelongue's dining room - with huge windows looking out onto Bonnieux. You might be able to have apéritifs on their terrace beforehand (if it's not too chilly). So I think that dinner at Capelongue could be very romantic & special, and therefore "worth it", provided you're not planning many other meals in that price bracket. You can book on-line - there's a box where you can (should) indicate that you will be on your honeymoon & would like a window table. Book it first, in case I am wrong about the days they are open.
                                    (And for the record, I won't be in Paris when you are, but my husband & I will be in Provence for several months as of March 27. Still, I wouldn't dream of accepting your kind offer & intruding on your honeymoon! I hope you have a wonderful time....)

                                    1. re: boredough
                                      j
                                      j.jessica.lee Mar 20, 2013 07:38 PM

                                      Oy, a difficult choice. But I suppose I can't go wrong either way. We will let you know what we end up doing. Provence for several months?? Wow! Very jealous.

                                      I suppose that it might come down to whether we want to do one more Michelin starred special lunch in Paris or splurge on Capelongue. Thoughts? We are doing (hopefully, as I am making reservations tomorrow) L'Arpege and Ledoyen there.

                                      Thank you so very much again!

                                      1. re: j.jessica.lee
                                        ChefJune Mar 21, 2013 07:56 AM

                                        fwiw, starred meals outside of Paris are MUCH less expensive than those inside... and just as wonderful (some cases, more wonderful). Your dining dollar goes lots farther in the provinces!

                                        1. re: ChefJune
                                          j
                                          j.jessica.lee Mar 21, 2013 11:17 AM

                                          Good to know. In the areas we are going, are there any such exemplary recommendations where the food is as good or better than in Paris? It would definitely be something to consider.

                                          1. re: j.jessica.lee
                                            ChefJune Mar 21, 2013 12:05 PM

                                            In the Luberon you will not be too far from Maison Bru which has 2 Michelin stars, and in St. Remy, not far from Les Baux de Provence, home of the famed L'Oustau de Baumaniere. Lunch on their terrace under the plane trees is one of the most romantic meals of memory!

                                            and of course, Ma Cuisine in Beaune has one star. I could eat Fabienne Escoffier's food every day!

                                            1. re: ChefJune
                                              s
                                              sderham Mar 25, 2013 02:02 PM

                                              Chez Bru has had only one Michelin star for the past year or so. In my opinion, they deserved the demotion. I have been eating there regularly since they opened and now recently have been disappointed.

                                              L'Oustau de Baumaniere still has two stars.

                                  2. re: boredough
                                    p
                                    Pammel Mar 23, 2013 06:14 AM

                                    The schedule for Monday is awfully ambitious especially if you take time for lunch and you walk up to the church in Oppede-le-Vieux. We love all these villages but just saying it will be impossible to do this if you factor some stopping for pictures and wandering in and out of shops and galleries.

                                    1. re: Pammel
                                      boredough Mar 23, 2013 06:27 AM

                                      I thought that as well when I suggested it, but I figured the OP could always cut out something if they ran out of time. I'd do Oppède-le-Vieux, Gordes, Roussillon - and then Lacoste only if there's time (it's only across the valley from Bonnieux, their home turf). Days are getting longer so, who knows, it might be possible...

                                    2. re: boredough
                                      boredough Apr 14, 2013 04:32 AM

                                      j.jessica.lee: You may very well be married & on your honeymoon by now - and therefore possibly no longer reading Chowhound - but in case you do.... We just got back from the market at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, where we bought oysters to bring home for lunch (€5,40 per dozen). I asked the vendor (across from that big church) how long her 'season' is, and she said that they will be there until June. I also asked about her policy regarding opening the oysters for consumers, and she explained that, technically, they're not supposed to do that since it's not meant to be a "restaurant" there, but did confess that she would open no more than a dozen without concern. I mention this because, should you ask, she might turn you down at first, but if pressed (nicely), she should agree. It wouldn't hurt to explain that you're on your honeymoon to soften her up a bit. (OTOH they do sell oyster knives for all of 3€, in case you dare to open them yourselves.)

                                      1. re: boredough
                                        j
                                        j.jessica.lee Apr 20, 2013 01:58 PM

                                        Wow boredough, I just saw this, thank you!! W are headed there tomorrow and will keep this information in mind! Thank you again for all of your help. Thanks to you and so many others, our first day in Provence has been exquisite!

                                        1. re: j.jessica.lee
                                          boredough Apr 21, 2013 04:23 AM

                                          deleted - saw your other post

                                    3. re: j.jessica.lee
                                      j
                                      j.jessica.lee Mar 27, 2013 07:38 PM

                                      For instance, for a splurge between Capelongue in Provence, or say, Lameloise, Troisgros, or somewhere in Bourgogne, or another lunch in Paris, at say, Gagnaire or such, how would you choose personally? I'm struggling with that choice....

                                      1. re: j.jessica.lee
                                        ChefJune Mar 28, 2013 10:16 AM

                                        Have not been to Lameloise or Capelongue, nor Gagnaire, but I'll jsut say that Troisgros is an unforgettable experience. OTOH, it's in Lyon's backyard, and you aren't going there. save it for the "Lyon trip" next year for your anniversary! :-D

                                  3. ChefJune Mar 20, 2013 10:11 AM

                                    That's a HUGE post. So many items to respond to.

                                    First of all, the TGV does not go to Beaune, which is a little town. I would recommend the TGV to either Dijon or Lyon to rent your car.

                                    ONE day in Lyon? You could spend the whole week in Lyon and not begin to see all this great city has to offer! The more time I spend there, the more I have to return to see more. It's every bit as fascinating as Paris, imho. And just as historic.

                                    There is no market in Lyon on Sunday afternoon, but the Croix Rousse market is very lively on Sunday morning. However, you are going to want someplace to cook the food you'll feel compelled to buy! The Marche St. Antoine (along the Saone River) is aimed at the local chefs, although other folks shop there. It starts early in the mornings and wraps up around noon. but not on Sunday. I would recommend the web site of the Lyon Tourist Office. It's very helpful. Here's a link: http://www.en.lyon-france.com/page/p-...

                                    Oh, and the Luberon is part of Provence, not a separate entity.

                                    I have a lot more I could tell you, but I need to get back to work! Hopefully more later (or email me).

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: ChefJune
                                      BlueOx Mar 20, 2013 12:27 PM

                                      Actually the TGV goes to Beaune twice a day, once at 6"53 am and again at 16:53 pm and it takes about 2 hours 15 minutes. And there are special deals on the fares (tgv-eurpoe.com) and you can print out the tickets at home.

                                      1. re: BlueOx
                                        boredough Mar 20, 2013 02:22 PM

                                        There are many more trains from Paris Gare de Lyon to Dijon-Ville - with an approximate 1.5 hr trip via TGV. OTOH on April 20 (the day it appears the OP is planning to leave Paris) the trains to Beaune are either 3 hour regional ones from Paris-Bercy, or anywhere from total 2 to 2.5 hours with a transfer to a regional train to Beaune off the Dijon-Ville TGV. (Hope that makes sense.) The 16:53 direct TGV appears to operate on Sunday the 21st, however.

                                        1. re: BlueOx
                                          j
                                          j.jessica.lee Mar 20, 2013 02:26 PM

                                          Thanks, BlueOx! I saw that train last night when I was looking up train schedules. Seems like we are heading first to Avignon, but good to know for the way back. I would like to drop my car off in Beaune after picking it up in Avignon. I'll have to check on how much they charge for one-way rentals.

                                          We have never driven in France. Any tips, warnings, advice?

                                          1. re: j.jessica.lee
                                            BlueOx Mar 20, 2013 04:13 PM

                                            JJL, TGV'ing to Avignon makes a lot of sense. If you use the tgv-europe.com site and are willing to print off your ticket at home, check the box for Ireland and you will save an $18 ticket fee.

                                            As for driving back up, lot's of great places to stop, but the scenery from A6 can be fairly industrial. I'd take A6 exit 25, and follow N6 to Chagny (you can checkout Lameloise) and on into Puligny Montrachet, Meursault, Pommard and Beaune. This board has lot's eating of ideas for the towns.

                                            We have had lunch several time at Tres Girard In Morey St. Denis. Was always good and it looks to be a well run Inn. Also, in Morey St Denis is Relais des Grand Crus, a truck stop covered by Anthony Bourdain last year (hope he didn't ruin it).

                                        2. re: ChefJune
                                          j
                                          j.jessica.lee Mar 20, 2013 02:24 PM

                                          Thanks, ChefJune!

                                          Yes, it is a lot. Maybe I should have broken it up into separate posts. Hmmm, judging from your reply and boredough's as well, perhaps we should leave Lyon out this time. I'd love to see it but if one or two days isn't enough, I'd rather get to it when there is enough time to enjoy it. There must be a next time. However, my aunt lives in Génève, so perhaps we may just meet her there for an afternoon on the way up to Bourgogne. If you recommend basing in Beaune, we will look into that. Any thoughts on the meals in Bourgogne?

                                          Thank you for all of your advice! I'm still mulling over Lyon, especially since you have made such strong recommendations of it here and on the CH board. Your passion is appreciated.

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