Between Avignon and Arles are the les Alpilles, the "little Alps", one of the "classical" regions of the Provence. Similar to the Luberon and the Haut Vaucluse, this is an area where many well to do French and a lot of foreigners have vacation homes or retire. Needless to say that the region offers a good choice of restaurants.
St.Rémy de Provence of van Gogh fame, the Grimaldi castle of les Baux de Provence are the major tourist attractions. But most just love the numerous quaint villages surrounded by olive trees, the rugged Alpilles mountains with their numerous hiking trails, country life!
St.Rémy de Provence:
Alain Assaud, an oldtimer in St.Rémy; in danger of falling into the trap of "seriously average, service uninspiring". Last time we were there we liked the solid regional cooking, but some fresh ideas are needed. Competition is intense in the region. We'll give it another try later this year. Prices: €35-45. 13 Blvd. Marceau, 13210 St.Rémy de Provence, Tel: +33 (0)4 90 92 37 11
l'Assiette de Marie Marie is a collector and her tiny restaurant shows it. Attic treasures provide the decor, old school desks are the tables. Corsican-Italian cuisine with daily specials. An experience - one to come back to - Madame Marie is a number! Prices: €15-30. 1 Rue Jaume Roux, 13210 St.Rémy de Provence. Tel: +33 (0)4 90 92 32 14
Le Bistro Découverte This small bistro is in high demand. Menu changes daily according to what is in season. We loved the relaxed atmosphere sitting outside. A place to have good food at reasonable prices and try a glass of wine (or two) from the extensive wine list. The wine cellar may be used for private lunch or dinner gatherings. We simply love this one! Prices: €16-30. 19 Boulevard Victor Hugo, 13210 St.Rémy de Provence. Tel: +33 (0)4 90 92 34 49
La Cuisine des Anges In the heart of St.Rémy, a cute little restaurant with make-you-feel-at-home atmosphere. "Bonne femme" cooking, hearty regional dishes, prices on the easy side. Prices: €26. 4 Rue du 8 mai 1945, 13210 St.Rémy de Provence. Tel: +33 (0)4 90 92 17 66
Grain de Sel, you dine in style here: Baroque chic with a cool atmosphere, service and ambiance are very pleasing. Southern French cooking, generous portions and a good wine list. Prices: €25-30. 25 Boulevard Mirabeau, 13210 St.Rémy de Provence, Tel : +33 (0)4 90 92 00 89.
La Maison Jaune, located in an elegant old 18th century mansion. We had a wonderful dinner in this 1-star Michelin restaurant. Innovative and varied cuisine, new and very pleasing ideas. We love this place! Prices: €40-80. 15 rue Carnot, 13210 St.Rémy de Provence, Tel: +33 (0)4 90 92 56 14
Marc de Passorio Romanesque villa 800m from the town center, amidst pine and olive groves. Outside dining on the large terrace with views to the Alpilles on a warm summer - a lovely setting. Chef Passorio mixes tradition with a dash of novelty in his cuisine. No surprise he has been awarded his 1st Michelin star in 2009. Prices are geared towards the well to do clientele in the Alpilles. The bistro is a good option for those who want to test this one first. Prices: €60-100 (Bistro: €30). Chemin de la Canto Cigalo, 13210 St. Rémy de Provence, Tel: +33 (0)4 90 92 04 40
Le Saint Georges, the restaurant of the boutique hotel Domaine de Valmouriane, serves a classic cuisine with Provençal touches. Charming country setting. Prices: €40-80. The bistro Le Petit Georges only opens on evenings, limited menu at around €30. Petite Rte. des Baux (Rte.D27), 13210 St. Rémy de Provence, Tel: +33 (0)4 90 92 44 62.
Chez Xa a neat little bistrot run by husband and wife. They offer a limited but interesting menu. Every dish is lovingly prepared. We liked it very much - price/quality is great. Prices: €25-30. 24 Blvd. Mirabeau, 13210 St.Rémy de Provence, Tel: +33 (0)4 90 92 41 23
Les Alpilles Countryside:
Bistrot de la Petite France, Le Paradou Old stone charm reigns supreme in this 18th century farmhouse next to the village church. Quaint Provence atmosphere, flavorful and reliable regional fare at prices that won't leave a void in your pocket. Natalie reigns in the kitchen, while Jean-Baptiste, a seasoned sommelier, will advise you on the day's fare and the solid wine list. Prices: €27. 55, Avenue de la Vallée des Baux, 13520 Le Paradou. Tel: +33 (0)4 90 54 41 91
Le Bistrot du Paradou, Le Paradou Old stone house with guests from all over the world. Mireille Pons, the chef, offers gastro-bistro food with regional specialties. Reportedly one of Charles Aznavour's hangouts whenever he is spending time at his home in the Alpilles. Definitely an excellent choice, in case you need a respite from Michelin star restaurants full of free spending folks, like the ones at nearby l'Oustaù de Baumanière. Prices: €30-50. 57 Avenue de la Vallée des Baux, 13125 Le Paradou Tel: +33 (0)4 90 54 32 70
Chez Bru, Eygalières Chef-owner Wout Bru and his wife Suzy run this highly regarded 2-Michelin-star restaurant in the lovely village of Eygalières, a few kilometers east of St.Rémy. A chic Provençal where every detail is perfect, service relaxed and friendly - the whole package (food, wine, mood, surroundings) is topnotch. Yes, it's pricey, but the superb cuisine will not disappoint you. It's among the best the Provence has to offer. Prices: €90-120. Rue de la République, 13810 Eygalières, Tel: +33 (0)4 90 90 60 34
Le Patio, Fontvieille A former 18th century sheepfold with a large fireplace. Rustic chic contrasting with more modern settings. Flower filled garden. Chef Jean Pierre Cote's cuisine has Provençal roots. His dishes are inspired by the fresh products in the area, carefully prepared. Friendly service. Our choice if we are in the area. Simply superb! Prices: €28-34. 119 Route du Nord, 13990 Fontvieille. Tel: +33 (0) 4 90 54 73 10
Mas du Capoun, Mollégès, just south of St.Rémy de Provence. It's tough to get a reservation here. The reason: a superb cuisine at reasonable prices. Michael and Michèle sold their restaurant in Brussels and started a new life in the Provence in 2004 - very successful that is. Prices: €20-35. 27 Avenue des Paluds, 13940 Mollégès, Tel: +33 (0)4 90 26 07 12
La Maison de Bournissac, Noves the restaurant of the hotel Domaine de Bournissac in Paluds de Noves halfway between St.Rémy des Alpilles and Avignon. Chef Christian Peyre, with one Michelin star just under his belt, provides for an excellent cuisine based on local produce. Prices: €45-85. Domaine de Bournissac, Montée d'Eyragues, 13550 Paluds de Noves, Tel: +33 (0)4 90 90 25 25.
La Table de Marguerite, Beaucaire In the campagne just south of Beaucaire in an old farmhouse with rustic decor, Bernadette welcomes guests with solid appetite and adepts of the generous cuisine. Provence hospitality at great prices. Prices: €14-20. Mas de Casole, Chemin Rural Dit de Végère, 30300 Beaucaire, Tel: +33 (0)4 66 59 17 00
La Table du Meunier, Fontvieille It's impossible not to be relaxed and happy in this typical Provençal, where you are treated like family. Rustic interior, nice outside terrace and the menu with tasty regional fare. A solid citizen for years, its reputation is spreading. Prices: €25. 42 Cours Hyacinthe Bellon, 13990 Fontvieille. Tel: +33 (0)4 90 54 61 05