HOME > Chowhound > France >

Discussion

Restaurant Suggestions: St. Remy, Bonnieux, Aix en Provence, Marseille

My husband and I will be in Provence (our first time there) this coming September. We will have a car and have based ourselves in the above 4 places. While we will be driving around during the day, we would prefer to have later evening dinners walking distances from our hotels. So we are looking for recommendations in these places. We already have one evening in Bonnieux covered. We are staying at Domaine de Caeplongue and have reservations at Gastroniomic Restaurant of Edouard Loubert for one evening. Please help us out with suggestions for other nights. We love great food and especially love French food. And more on the casual side would be great although we are open to most anything.
Thanks,
Susan

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Bonnieux vicinity: Definitely try to get into La Bartavelle in Goult, wonderful food and lovely setting. In Menerbes, try Cafe Veranda. Another more rustic but good choice is Auberge de la Loube in Buoux which is on the other side of Bonnieux.

    St. Remy: La Maison Jaune and Cafe de la Place.

    1. You can walk to l'Arôme (closed WED/THU) from Capelongue in Bonnieux, although you might want to have a flashlight for your walk back in the dark. If you are up for the polar opposite of dinner at Loubet's restaurant (a great choice), you might like le Castelas in Sivèrgues, but that requires driving along winding & bumpy roads. (See http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/911227) I believe they are open every night barring a private function.
      In Aix I would recommend le Formal (closed SUN/MON) on rue Espariat. Marseille: Chez Fonfon for bouillabaisse in the lovely Vallon des Auffes (closed SUN/MON, possibly just SUN in September). As for St Rémy, we liked the food at l'Aile ou la Cuisse but had horrible service there last year. You might do better. Lastly a note for ex-pats needing an American fix (which I assume won't be you & your husband): we had great hamburgers last night at le Bon Burger, 43A rue Carnot in St Rémy. On well-made burger rolls (difficult to find) with great fries.

      1. What did you think of this very recent thread on the Luberon, including Bonnieux ?
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/910333

        Also

        http://www.chow.com/search?q=bonnieux...

        http://www.chow.com/search?q=bonnieux...

        Let us know what you think, what you like and don't like about the recommendations. Then we can advise better. That is how you can help us help you.

        1. We were bowled over by Cafe des Epices in Marseilles last year - strong regional flavours (capers, goat cheese etc) used in stylish contemporary French food and a great outdoor space, at least at lunchtime, a block back from the old port. In Aix, try le Millefeuille, also a bit more contemporary in style. Both are casual.

          1. I have done my homework and read many positings along with the responses to my original post. Here is where we are are now - and I still need some help!
            I thought i would lay out our whole trip and maybe that way get some other advice on our trip. We are figuring to keep lunches lighter and more casual beuase are day plans are not so set that we can decide exactly where we will be for lunch. I am hoping that works out. For dinners we would like to be able to walk to restaurants from our hotels (however this may not the be case in Marseille - we may need a taxi there!).

            Here is the plan - with questions - so far:

            Friday afternoon - arrive in Marseille.
            Saturday - wander Marseille
            Sunday - wander Marseille

            I For dinners in Marseille I am so far I have the following: Un Table au Sud, LbleI hav the

            4 Replies
            1. re: Susan56

              Sorry, tried to delete and hit post!

              Here is my complete post:

              I have done my homework and read many postings along with the responses to my original post. Here is where we are are now - and I still need some help!

              I thought i would lay out our whole trip and maybe that way get some other advice on our trip. We are figuring to keep lunches lighter and more casual because are day plans are not so set that we can decide exactly where we will be for lunch. I am hoping that works out. For dinners we would like to be able to walk to restaurants from our hotels (however this may not the be case in Marseilles - we may need a taxi there!).

              Here is the plan - with questions - so far:

              Friday afternoon - arrive in Marseilles.
              Saturday - wander Marseilles
              Sunday - wander Marseilles

              we are having trouble finding places in Marseilles. We love seafood but not necessarily Bouillabaisse - I would appreciate some help with dinners in Marseilles! So far I think Un Table au Sud looks good but not sure where else.

              Monday we are picking up our rental car and driving to our hotel in St. Remy. the plan is to then head to Arles and Les Baux for the day and then return to St. Remy for the evening and for dinner.

              Tuesday we plan to visit Avignon, Pont du Gard and if possible, Uzes, and Orange. Is this too much? Then back to St. Remy for the evening and for dinner.

              For our dinners in St. Remy I am thinking that we should reserve La Maison Jaune and Le Bistro Decouverte. Any comments? Other suggestions? Should we substitute L'aile ou la Cuisse for one of these?

              Wednesday we plan to visit the St. Remy market in the morning and then head to Bonnieux and check into Domaine de Capelongue. Then we are going to try to see Gordes Roussillon and head back to Bonnieux for the evening and dinner.

              Thursday we thought we would try to go to L'Isle-sur-la-Sorge, then Lourmarin and/or Goult and Menerbes. That night we ahve dinner at the Capelongue.

              For our other dinner in Bonnieux I am deciding between L'Arome and Le Fournil. Right now leaning towards Le Fornil. Comments?

              Friday we are driving to Aix-en-Provence where we are staying for two nights. I thought that our time here would be spent in that city. However if there are any wineries around perhaps this is our chance to visit one.

              Saturday - we thought we would visit the Aix-en Provence market and spend the day in this town

              For dinners in Aix-en Provence we are considering Le Formal and Z Bistro. Any thoughts?

              Sunday - we drive back to the airport in Marseilles and fly home.

              So here is our plan - we would really appreciate help with finalizing our dinner plans, ideas for lunches and general advice! Thanks,
              Susan

              1. re: Susan56

                "Monday we are picking up our rental car and driving to our hotel in St. Remy. the plan is to then head to Arles and Les Baux for the day and then return to St. Remy for the evening and for dinner."

                Paradou is very near. Le Bistro de Paradou is every hound's fave. Or do you really want to dine IN St Rémy ? I find St Rémy to be lovely town, with not that many excellent eateries, unlike, say, Arles.

                "Tuesday we plan to visit Avignon, Pont du Gard and if possible, Uzes, and Orange. Is this too much?"

                yes.
                The first 3 places will already be extremely strenuous for one day. You'll end up mostly commuting and not much geting out of car and enjoying.
                If you must skip one or two places , I'd skip Orange and Avignon. They are very pleasant towns for changing trains, especially if one does not have a car for further-out touring. I'd focus on Uzès and the little villages near Pont du Gard (Collais and Castillon du Gard; you can look up resto recs on those places on this board). I repeat: Avignon is not unpleasant. I consider not a must-visit at all if one has the option of a car and can visit so many much nicer places.
                If you do like mainly to drive and zip from place to place, then I would still recommend Arles to Avignon, for its compact beauty and its concentration of good eats.

                "Wednesday we plan to visit the St. Remy market in the morning and then head to Bonnieux and check into Domaine de Capelongue. Then we are going to try to see Gordes Roussillon and head back to Bonnieux for the evening and dinner."

                Gordes is physically very beautiful, but overrun. Ditto Roussillon. Do consider nearby Venasque, St Saturnin les Apt, Goult. They are just as beautiful but have their own life independent of tourism.

                "For our other dinner in Bonnieux I am deciding between L'Arome and Le Fournil. Right now leaning towards Le Fornil. Comments?"

                The food's about the same. The settting of Le Fournil is enchanting.

                Bon séjour. Don't forget to report back.

                1. re: Parigi

                  < I repeat: Avignon is not unpleasant. I consider not a must-visit at all if one has the option of a car and can visit so many much nicer places.> I feel compelled to counter that Avignon is my favorite town in the area, and I don't at all consider it less than the others. Plenty of delicious food, and no dearth of fabulous sights to see. ("sur le pont d'Avignon, l'on y danse...").

                  However, I think you -- Susan56 -- are planning way too dense an itinerary, and I fear you will be wasting a lot of time running from one place to another. And I notice you've left no time at all for the wonderful Roman ruins (Glanum) in St. Remy or the Hospice de St. Joseph, where Van Gogh was interned when he painted some of his most famous works, or the lovely working olive oil cooperative at nearby Maussane les Alpilles.

                2. re: Susan56

                  Marseille: We haven't been to Une Table, au Sud in many years so I can't comment on the cuisine now. But the chef - who I believe was responsible for its previous Michelin star - has now opened Les Fenêtres in the new Intercontinental Hotel on the Vieux Port. Weather permitting, dinner is served outside on the terrace with a stunning view of Notre Dame de la Garde. Friends of ours had a great dinner there, and as a result we have booked a table for next week. I will try to remember to report back.
                  St Rémy: The last time we were at le Bistrot Découverte was at least a year ago. I'd recommend it over most of the other restaurants in St Rémy, but then we haven't been to la Maison Jaune, which gets good reviews, in about 10 years.
                  Bonnieux: I'd normally choose l'Arôme over le Fournil, but l'Arôme is closed on WED, so that makes the choice easy.
                  As for your basic itinerary, I think you will find MON to be a push, depending on what time you leave Marseille & how much time you intend to spend in Arles. Fortunately (!?) the Atelier Jean-Luc Rabanel is closed on MON, so you don't have to decide whether a long creatively-prepared lunch is more worthwhile than additional sightseeing. TUE is also overloaded - I don't think you'll make it to Orange especially if you visit the Palais des Papes. As for visiting wineries, the area around Ménerbes has many vineyards. You could stop in to Domaine de la Citadelle, an above-average local wine, instead of leaving a winery visit for an excursion from Aix. (Once you've parked your car in Aix, you'll be happy to leave it there.) Lastly, although this will just add to your tight schedule, try to get to the Carrières de Lumières : http://carrieres-lumieres.com/fr/home
                  just outside of les Baux. You won't be sorry.

              2. We were in Marseille earlier this year and loved it. Here's our report

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/900610

                One thing, we found a lot of restaurants closed Sunday evening.

                1. I was in Aix last September and had an excellent Sunday night dinner at Le Poivre d’Ane (40 Place Forum des Cardeurs) where I got adventurous and tried Pork Tartare. Also enjoyed dining at Jardin Mazarin (Rue du 4 Septembre -near Place des 4 Dauphins) which was recommended to us by the host at our B&B.

                  Have a great trip

                  1. With all due respect to those who give replies on Chowhound, don't forget that the opinions expressed are just one point of view, that of the author. I think that your choices need to be prioritized based upon what is your focus; sightseeing or food/meals?

                    We have a house in the Vaucluse and spend about two months a year over the course of 3 or 4 visits at different times of the year. I agree with Parigi that your proposed schedule for Tuesday is too ambitious. Definitely skip Orange, although the Roman Theater is unique in Europe, you can't do everything.

                    I think you should either visit Uzes, and the Pont du Gard and little villages plus lunch or Avignon, lunch and the Pont du Gard. I really think that Avignon is not to be missed and there are some wonderful places to dine there. We keep discovering new corners of Avignon every time we go there. If you were proposing to go on Saturday, I would lean to Uzes because the market is wonderful.

                    I disagree about not going to Gordes and Roussillon. They are full of tourists for a reason and that is they are unique beautiful villages, the former cut out of the rock and the latter is colored with 17 shades of ocher. September will be less crowded than June through July and in fact they are both practically deserted January - March. We have visited these villages plus Venasque, St Saturnin les Apt, and Goult multiple times. Having been to all of these and shared pictures on my blog several times, I think you will have made a bad trade if you don't go to Gordes and Roussillon. Stay with your original plan.

                    I would also mention that if you go to the St. Remy market on Wednesday, then to Bonnieux to check in, lunch somewhere, you are not going to see much of anything else that day. If it were me, I would visit the market (or maybe not, as it is not one of the best in my opinion), then go to Gordes and do a simple lunch, go down the hill to see the Senanque Abbey, then to Roussillon before you head to Bonnieux.

                    As I said these are personal opinions and this is mine, unless you love antiques, skip l'Isle sur la Sorgue. For me, there is not enough reason to go unless antiques are one of your priorities. Instead, consider going to Lacoste and Oppede le Vieux. Truth be told, I am not a big fan of Menerbe, I find it very sterile.

                    We had a wonderful lunch at L'Arome in June and recommend it highly.

                    If I were you, I would consider going early to Cassis on Friday morning on the Mediterranean Sea, charming village and there is a vibrant market there on Friday morning and there are several very good wineries (Domaine de la Paternel and Clos Sainte Magdeleine) right around the village, and go from there to Aix on Friday afternoon. I think that Friday afternoon and Saturday will be plenty of time in Aix. If you go to Cassis, skip the restaurants on the port. Spectacular views and people watching, but generally bad food. Go off the port to Restaurant Le Bonaparte, very fresh seafood and friendly servers and chef.

                    Just my opinions, as I said. Hope this helps.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Pammel

                      Yes this does! Thank you. Our focus is sightseeing. We enjoy wonderful dining. But our plan was to be on our feet sightseeing; not in the car, as much as possible. We planned on having casual light lunches (I would usually be fine with a nice salad) and then have nicer dinners. But even then, our nicer dinners did not mean a lavish two michelin star dinner every evening!

                      So, taking everything that I have been reading into account; here is my latest plan - somewhat modified:

                      Here is the plan - with questions - so far:

                      Friday afternoon - arrive in Marseilles.
                      Saturday - wander Marseilles
                      Sunday - wander Marseilles

                      Still having trouble finding places for dinner in Marseille. At this point though I have some ideas. We love seafood but not necessarily Bouillabaisse -considering, Les Fenetres, L'Epuisette, Les Arcenaulx, Le Peron, Chez Vincent. Comments? Advice?

                      Monday we are picking up our rental car and driving to our hotel in St. Remy. I think our original plan of trying visit Arles and Les Baux for the day is still workable. Then return to St. Remy for the evening and for dinner.

                      Tuesday I think we will cut back and now plan on Avignon and have lunch their and then head to Pont du Gard. Then back to St. Remy for the later evening and dinner.

                      For our dinners in St. Remy I am thinking that we should reserve Le Bistro Decouverte. After that I am still undecided. Mason Jaune has very mixed reviews and is very expensive. But I am not sure if L'aile ou la Cuisse would be the best fit for dinner. Perhaps L Grousse D'Ail? Not certain on this yet.

                      Wednesday we do want to visit the St. Remy market in the morning. Perhaps we will make it a very short visit!. Then possibly this is the time we should visit the Roman Ruins in St. Remy and the Hospice de St. Joseph. (I had thought we could fit it in one of the evenings back in St Remy before dinner.) Then we can head on to Bonnieux and check into Domaine de Capelongue and maybe have a later light lunch in Gordes before heading back to Bonnieux and the hotel. We have a late dinner reservation at La Fournil that evening.

                      Then Thursday we can visit Roussillon and where else? Lourmarin? Goult? Lacoste? Oppede le Vieux? That night we have dinner at the Capelonge..

                      Friday we are driving to Aix-en-Provence where we are staying for two nights. I like the idea of going to Cassis that first morning, but I think I would like to stop at the hotel and drop off our bags first. I don't like the idea of having our luggage in the rental car when we have to park for long period of time. We can spend most of the day in Cassis and then head to Aix later in the afternoon.

                      Saturday - we thought we would visit the Aix-en Provence market and spend the day in this town

                      I have not picked restaurants yet for Aix-en Provence we are considering Le Formal, Le Millefeuill, Z Bistro, and Le Poivre d'Ane, other thoughts?

                      Sunday - we drive back to the airport in Marseilles and fly home.

                      So, comments? Advice?

                      Thank you all so much!
                      Susan

                      1. re: Susan56

                        We had dinner last night at l'Incontournable (in Place des 3 Ormeaux, officially 14 rue Montigny in AIX). Although they do have à la carte dishes, their 3-course menu is €37. Definitely a place we'd go back to, and one I'd recommend if you'd like another option. Le Poivre d'Ane is also a good choice.
                        WED: Keep in mind that most restaurants/cafés stop serving lunch at 2pm. It's possible, however, that one of the small cafés in Gordes' main square is open non-stop, but I have no idea. So assuming you spend more time than anticipated at the market, Glanum, & the Hospice, you should probably plan on stopping for a quick bite to eat somewhere else. If your route to Bonnieux is the one through Robion, you'll pass a few small restaurants or cafés where you can get something simple. Then consider going next to Gordes (which, for me, is best appreciated from a distance)... maybe even Roussillon...and checking in at Capelongue afterwards. With a late dinner at le Fournil, you might have enough time. By then you will be exhausted and can enjoy the beauty of Capelongue's setting with a drink on the terrace overlooking Bonnieux, before heading down to le Fournil.
                        THU: With Roussillon (possibly) out of the way, you could go to Lourmarin early (have coffees at one of the cafés in the square - maybe Café Gaby), head back towards the Ménerbes vineyards (such as la Citadelle - keep in mind they usually close for lunch) on your way to Oppède-le-Vieux. It's a nice short-ish hike from the parking lot up to the old village, where there should be one or 2 cafés where you could have a light lunch. After that, Goult or Lacoste...or Roussillon if you will not have gotten there on WED.
                        One last plug for the Carrières de Lumières, which you may end up passing on the D27 on your way from les Baux back to St Rémy on MON.

                        1. re: boredough

                          I think that Boredough's recommendations are very good. I will reiterate what he says about restaurant service hours; the all day dining option is not very commonly found in France, especially in the provinces. Most restaurants start service at 12, 12:15 or even 12:30 and most finish service by 2:00 PM. If you are going to try and go in somewhere without reservations, do so at the beginning of service. It is not unusual to see guests walk into a restaurant at 1:30 PM with many open tables and be turned away with "désolé, nous sommes complet." (sorry, we are full). Most restaurants don't turn tables several times like we are used to in the USA; so plan accordingly so you are not disappointed.

                          We have eaten at Le MilleFeuille in Aix and enjoyed it very much. I don't think you will go wrong, the chef/owners are l'Oustau de Baumanière alum. We have not eaten there, but foodie friends recommend Le Poivre d'Ane very highly.

                           
                           
                          1. re: Pammel

                            Thank you for that advice. I wonder if our original plans for this trip make sense though. We thought that we would keep our days more loose/fluid and not have lunch reservations. Partly because we wanted lighter lunches and partly because we thought that this would give us more freedom to change plans at the last minute and not be strictly tied to a schedule during the day. Will we be okay with this plan as long as we are sure to start looking for lunch places around 1? In truth we usually eat lunches much later (2-2:30) because dinners are usually 9pm or later!

                            1. re: Susan56

                              Your other option is to buy provisions and have a picnic lunch. That way you are not tied to the restaurant hours. And there will be quite a number of lovely spots for a picnic.

                              <the Hospice de St. Joseph. (I had thought we could fit it in one of the evenings back in St Remy before dinner.)> I am not aware that it is open for touring in the evenings. Be sure to check that out. I have good friends who live next door.

                    2. So once again I have made some changes to our plan and as you can see, I still could use some help with finalizing travel and dining plans But I think I am getting closer!

                      Friday afternoon - arrive in Marseilles.

                      Saturday - wander Marseilles

                      Sunday - wander Marseilles

                      Still having trouble finding places for dinner in Marseille. At this point though I have some ideas. We love seafood but not necessarily Bouillabaisse -considering, Les Fenetres, L'Epuisette, Les Arcenaulx, Le Peron, Chez Vincent. Comments? Advice?

                      Monday
                      Pick up rental car and drive to hotel in St. Remy to check in and drop off our luggage. Then visit Arles and Les Baux. Any order? Should we try to be in one place vs. the other for lunch? Then return to St. Remy for the evening and for dinner. If we get back early enough we can wander in St. Remy.

                      Tuesday
                      Start out early to see Avignon and have lunch there and then head to Pont du Gard. Then back to St. Remy for the later evening and dinner. And again – possibly do some touring in St. Remy itself depending on when we return to our hotel.

                      For our dinners in St. Remy I am thinking that we should reserve Le Bistro Decouverte. After that I am still undecided. Mason Jaune has very mixed reviews and is very expensive. But I am not sure if L'aile ou la Cuisse would be the best fit for dinner. Perhaps L Grousse D'Ail? Not certain on this yet. Could use some help here.

                      Wednesday
                      A short visit to the St. Remy market in the morning. Then - if we did not already get there - visit the Roman Ruins in St. Remy and the Hospice de St. Joseph. (I had thought we could fit it in one of the evenings back in St Remy before dinner.) Then we can head on to Bonnieux and check into Domaine de Capelongue and drop off our bags. Then somewhere get a light lunch and head on to Gordes before heading back to Bonnieux and the hotel. We have a late dinner reservation at La Fournil that evening.

                      Thursday
                      Visit Roussillon and where else? Lourmarin? Goult? Lacoste? Oppede le Vieux? That night we have a late dinner at the Capelonge.

                      Friday
                      We are driving to Aix-en-Provence where we are staying for two nights. Original plan was to spend these last two days of our trip in Aix; but now we are very interested stopping at hotel in Aix on Friday morning to drop off the luggage and then head on to Cassis. We can spend most of the day in Cassis and then head to Aix later in the afternoon. Not sure which way we will go on this; Aix or Cassis?

                      Saturday
                      We thought we would visit the Aix-en Provence market and spend the rest of the day in Aix.
                      I have not picked restaurants yet for Aix-en Provence. This is turning out to be harder than I expected! I am still thinking of Le Millefeuill (I think this is a definite choice), Z Bistro, and Le Poivre d'Ane, I had Le Formal on the list but now I am not so sure.

                      Sunday - we drive back to the airport in Marseilles and fly home.

                      I really appreciate any help and comments! Thanks,
                      Susan

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Susan56

                        Although I don't know Aix all that well, I was there in June to visit some old friends from uni... they took us to l'Epicurien, a tiny place on the fun but not usually foodie-fab place des Cardeurs... fabulous, laid back and a real find... one small caveat: the menu is very limited (but everything was a winner for our table).... closed on Sun and Mon. New (2012) so there's probably not a great volume of reviews. On previous visits, we had been to MilleFeuille, Poivre d'Ane and a few others but l'Epicurien is now my very firm favourite.

                        BTW, Arles is one of my favourite towns on your itinerary. And probably the highest concentration of good eateries outside of Marseilles. So careful not to spend too much time in La Baule and too little in Arles on your day-trip from Saint-Rémy.

                        1. re: Parnassien

                          Thanks! I will check it out. Did you like Millefeuille and Poivre d'Ane? I am trying to narrow this down to two places since we only have two nights there.

                          And thanks for the heads up on Arles - we will take that into consideration.

                          1. re: Susan56

                            I'd give Le MilleFeuille second place after l'Epicurean even though MilleFeuille's hidden and quiet setting is a bit more appealing. Poivre d'Ane, the terrace is great if the weather is good and the rather inventive cuisine is a welcome change but, unfortunately, a bit off the target when I was there. But all my restaurants in Aix have been one-time experiences and so I feel a little reluctant to judge any of them. Every restaurant has an off day. All these 3 restos are good choices... but no guarantee of which one will be best on the day you are there.

                      2. Re Marseille, Lionel Levi's new place in the Hotel Intercontinental in definitely isn't worth your time. I like the Bistrot d'Edouard, and this nice piece from the WSJ last weekend has two good ideas: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: andaba

                          Having just dined at les Fenêtres in the Intercontinental, I'd like to (gently) dispute your statement. The food we had last night was, for the most part, delicious. Of the 6 dishes (3 courses for me & my husband), 4 were great (Milkshake de Bouill-abaisse, crispy rack of pork, Breton blue lobster, chocolate tart with salt caramel cream), 1 "just" very good (vacherin renversé), and 1 well-prepared but ultimately unexciting (zucchini flowers stuffed with brousse & pignoli). Total with a bottle of wine: €173. That's not to say the meal was a "great buy" or worth a detour, but the view from the terrace was/is spectacular. For us, it is often the whole package that makes or breaks an evening, and we thought this was a success.

                        2. Thank you all! I have made my choices in all places but am still deciding which restaurants to choose in Aix en Provence. We onlhy have two nights and I have limitedit to: Mitch, Millefeuilles, Poivre D'Ane,Lavault and Le Formal. So, which two would you choose? My husband eats everything but I prefer fish/seafood.

                          Thanks for any help - I need to finally choose!
                          Susan