Provence’s Luberon Valley is one of the most beautiful spots in France. It is chock-full of restaurants serving excellent food, and I love the ones where Val and I can enjoy a nice view along with our meals.
Would you like a simple café, perfect for an afternoon glass of wine? How about a restaurant with views over the stunning ochre quarries of Roussillon? Or for a special occasion, maybe you’d like to enjoy a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant along a lovely riverbank.
I’ve made a list of our five favorite Luberon restaurants with a view. You can read all about them in Perfectly Provence!
This may be my new favorite restaurant in St-Rémy. It’s where Val and I go for delicious food in a relaxed atmosphere.
Sometimes we’ll have a big platter of steamed fish and vegetables, plus a side of that garlicky mayonnaise called aïoli. Another time it will be lamb shoulder that’s been cooked so long that it practically melts in your mouth. And if we want something lighter, we’ll have a bowl of crunchy raw vegetables to dip in flavorful anchoïade.
Chef Julien Martinet used to run a gastronomic restaurant in Burgundy, but decided he wanted a simpler place in Provence. “Everything in my restaurant is homemade and there are no shortcuts,” he says. “I’d rather spend hours shelling coco beans than I would fussing things up to impress the critics.” But impress the critics he has, making it into the prestigious Michelin Guide.
Read all about this terrific restaurant in Perfectly Provence!
St-Rémy has a lot of great cafés and restaurants, but there’s one that really stands out: the Bar-Tabac des Alpilles.
It’s not just that the food is good, it’s also that it’s comfortable any time of day. Whether it’s a coffee and croissant before hitting the weekly market, a glass of wine in the afternoon, or a delicious meal, you can find it here. And even more, it’s an important part of the local fabric of St-Rémy, while also being welcoming to tourists.
Sitting at your table, you might hear Americans on one side of you discussing their travel plans and, on the other side, there will be workers unwinding after a long day. Patrick, the owner, calls his place “A mix of modern tourism and local identity.” It’s family-friendly, and I often see kids there with their parents, having a Coke or a juice. It’s a must-stop for your next visit to St-Rémy.
Read all about it in Perfectly Provence!
Val and I live part of the year in St-Rèmy-de-Provence, a charming town between Marseille and Avignon. I’ve written a guidebook about the area, An Insider’s Guide to Provence, where I share some of our favorite things to see and do. Now I’ve put together a series of articles I call Secrets of St-Rémy, based on that book.
St-Rémy is full of excellent restaurants and cafés, and Val and I love enjoying their meals, lingering over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. I’ve made a list of our seven top favorites, places we’ve been to many times, from simple cafés to special-occasion restaurants.
Read all about them in My French Life!
Just a few miles north of St-Rémy-de-Provence, in the quiet town of Maillane, sits a restaurant that is well worth the trip. Consider it if you want to enjoy a delicious meal in a comfortable dining room—or on a shady terrace in warm weather. Val and I love L’Oustalet Maianen; it’s one of our favorite restaurants.
It’s also a family affair, with current owner Christian Garino having taken over from his parents some years ago. What started as a snack bar with five tables has grown and evolved to the point that today the Michelin Guide lauds it for “exceptionally good food at reasonable prices.”
Read all about it in Perfectly Provence!
Just south of where Val and I live in St-Rémy sits a charming town that more people should visit, Maussane-les-Alpilles.
Maussane is in the middle of olive growing country, and local producers occasionally take home “Best Olive Oil” awards in world competitions. So if you want olives, olive oil, tapenade, or anything olive, you definitely want to come to Maussane.
The town has a comfortable central square, lined with cafés around a big central fountain. It’s a great place for a meal or a drink. Just off the square is an award-winning chef at one of my favorite restaurants.
Maussane has one of the area’s best boutiques selling Provençal foods, a wine shop with a multilingual owner (try to stump him!), and three medieval towers that used to protect the southern edge of the Alpilles Mountains.
For more on Maussane, including some fun pictures, read all about it at Perfectly Provence!
My wife Val and I live part-time in St-Rémy-de-Provence, and over the years we’ve discovered lots of wonderful places to eat, including some that are off the beaten path. And, of course, we have our favorite boulangerie, cheese shop, and all the rest.
Would you like to dine while gazing at the Alpilles mountains, with horses in the field next door? Or while sitting under leafy sycamore trees in a beautiful park? Or maybe you’d like to try the specialities at Provence’s best chocolatièr.
I share my insider secrets with you at The Good Life France!
This article is taken from my upcoming book An Insider’s Guide to Provence, available for pre-order on Amazon.
Dominique Crenn is one of the world’s greatest chefs, and her flagship restaurant in San Francisco has been awarded three Michelin stars. Known for her creative cuisine, Crenn has recently published her autobiography Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters. It’s a fascinating look at a fascinating person.
Crenn’s has been an unusual journey, and she is not your usual chef. As an infant she was adopted by a couple in Brittany, her father a Resistance hero and a friend of Charles de Gaulle. Despite being raised by a traditional French family, Crenn never quite fit into the conservative France of the 1960s. One reason was her looks—part of her heritage is North African. Plus she was a tomboy with a crush on Olivia Newton-John. And then there was the matter of cooking. Crenn longed to be a great chef, and why not? “But the top restaurants are for men!” she was told. “Women cook at home.”
Read all about this rebel chef in France Today!
When most of us order take-out food, it’s pizza or chicken chow mien or something like that: tasty but not what you’d call elegant.
By contrast, restaurants with Michelin stars serve food that is the epitome of elegance—Duck à l’Orange presented on fine china, that sort of thing. Not what you would imagine being sold “to go.” Until now.
With the coronavirus forcing restaurants to close their doors, even those with Michelin stars have had to get creative to pay the bills. Some are now offering takeaway food for prices well below what they usually charge. Instead of meals costing hundreds of euros, these restaurants are offering dishes for as little as 8 euros! Prepared by the great chef himself! (or herself, bien sûr)
Let’s take a tour around France and see what’s cooking.
Read all about it in France Today!
I was asked recently by Taste of France Magazine to name my favorite restaurants in Provence. “Well, that’s easy,” I thought, until they told me to limit my list to five. But there are so many wonderful places to eat! Even in my village of St-Rémy I can easily come up with more than five.
But rules are rules so my wife Val and I put our heads together and came up with our list. It’s a mix of styles and prices and you might want to check it out for your next visit to beautiful Provence.
You can read all about it at Taste of France.