A Discovery at the Top of Bonnieux


One day while taking a walk up the very steep road behind Bonnieux, I saw signs for la Bastide de Capelongue and Édouard Loubet, Relais and Châteaux. Curious, I kept walking. I continued up past the village and onto a side road. I soon came to the grounds of a gorgeous resort. As I discreetly explored the grounds, I saw across from the bastide a sign for la Bergerie.


The electronic gates were open, so I made my way in. What I found was a cozy, intimate restaurant set on the beautiful grounds of la Ferme de Capelongue, which is a more informal part of the bastide. La Bergerie restaurant looked outstanding! I excitedly made my way back down the hill below the village of Bonnieux to share my discovery. I made a reservation and back we went.


Not only are the grounds beautiful but the inside of the restaurant is gorgeous, rustic, and inviting. Arriving at 7:00 p.m., naturally we were the only ones there. This is France of course! The waiter was hysterical as he told us that he still needed to get dressed but to go ahead and have a seat on one of the cozy couches and he would bring us an apéritif shortly.


While we enjoyed our apéritifs with delicious tapenade and bread, we were brought two chalkboards showing both the menu of the day and suggestions of the day.

At 7:30 we chose a table and ordered a bottle of wine from the domaine of Édouard Loubet, which we thought was wonderful! For our first course, we chose le melon de Bonnieux et jambon and sardinillas de Galice à l’huile. Now, I don’t normally like melon, but this salad was delicious! Provençal melons of course!

I guess I got distracted and forgot to photograph properly our main courses and will spare you the photos of half-eaten plates, but we chose la belle entrecôte Charolaise and pavé de saumon. The salmon rated highly with the dish I had at le Petit Café. Along with our courses, we were served a side of ratatouille and gratin de pommes de terre. While the chefs cooked right in front of us, baskets of freshly baked bread were being brought out from a separate kitchen.

We certainly didn’t need dessert. But with an ambience like this, we were in no rush to leave. So we ended the night with la tarte du jour and tiramisu.

La Bergerie was a highlight of our recent trip, and we hope to return again.


À bientôt!

Le Petit Café in the Majestic Oppède-le-Vieux


Some things just don’t change. Don’t you love it when you return to a place and it feels like nothing has skipped a beat while you were gone? Like le Petit Café located in the breathtaking Oppède-le-Vieux. The same white dog sitting on a spool in the center of it all.

We had another amazing meal at this restaurant. It really is an extremely enchanting place in the evening, located in the very ancient village square. This time we parked our car a good 15 minutes away so as to enjoy a surreal walk before dinner with a backdrop of vineyards, the Luberon mountain, and the ruins of Oppède. This made for a romantic yet scary walk back later in the dark, all the time wondering if a wild boar would present itself.


Being that le Petit Café is a Mediterranan-inspired restaurant, what better way to start our meal than with the most delicious olives and bread! For our main course, we chose the côte de veau with lemon and vegetables and the pavé de saumon à la plancha with risotto and ratatouille. The food was so fresh and delicious that this restaurant is now number three on our list of Provençal favorites.


And for dessert, crème citronnée sur lit de fruits and tiramisu maison. Voilà!



Happy and content, we must now venture in the dark back to our car through the enchanting Oppède-le-Vieux. Can’t wait to return to le Petit Café.


À bientôt!

Le Fournil—The New Gold Standard


Over the last few years, I’d been hearing mention of le Fournil in several gite rental binders, and it had been on my list of restaurants to try. It did not disappoint! In fact, with each bite we were asking, “How soon can we get back?”

Le Fournil is located in the center of the beautiful village of Bonnieux and set in a natural troglodytic cave. The menu is Mediterranean inspired with the freshest ingredients and the most simple yet refined dishes.


During the summer months, it is absolutely enchanting to sit at a table outside in the evening by the 17th-century fountain.


For our menu, we chose the poisson du jour and the porc du Ventoux with pommes de terre. Both were outstanding!


And for dessert, the chocolat du jour with apricot sauce was crazy good.


Thanks to le Fournil, nothing tastes as good since returning to the States. Now, we can’t help but compare everything to it. It’s hard to choose between le Fournil and our other favorite restaurant in Provence, les Remparts, written about here. But I think you will agree that le Fournil deserves to be the new gold standard.


À bientôt!

How Not to Go Hungry in France

IMG_3406Hungry in France? Wait a minute! Isn’t France all about the food? Isn’t it known for its boulangeries, pâtisseries, cheese, bread, croissants, steak frites, Michelin-star dining? Don’t people go to France for the food? Yes, yes, and yes. There is wonderful food everywhere, as long as you play by the rules.

On one of our first trips to Paris, we woke up late in the morning on account of jet lag and the time difference. We went down to the hotel breakfast room and asked if we could get croissants or breakfast. The distinguished Madame attending the desk replied, “No! Now is not the time for eating. Now is the time for shopping!” Well, OK then. If we must. Shopping it is!

Another evening we found ourselves staring in the window of a restaurant at 5:00 p.m. wondering why it was not open. A kind tourist explained to us that restaurants do not open until 7:00-7:30 p.m. Starvation it is!

On further trips, it didn’t take us long to discover that if we didn’t establish a spot in time for lunch, we were probably going to go hungry. One time we were bicycling our way to a recommended bistrot for lunch only to get lost and not make it before 1:30 to be served. Disappointed and hungry, we decided to cycle to an épicerie (small grocery store) to get some nuts or something to hold us over until 7:30 p.m. only to find that it was closed from the hours of 2:00-4:00. No food now whatsoever, only alcohol or espresso. You can get that any time of the day at cafés. Thank goodness!

IMG_1059Now if you are hoping to eat at a restaurant for dinner and you don’t have a reservation, you better just pray you can get a seat and that there is no sign that says “complet” when you arrive or that the restaurant is not closed that particular day. Otherwise, you will truly understand the meaning of why French women don’t get fat. You can’t get any food!

All kidding aside, we finally have learned to play by the rules and things have run pretty smoothly in recent years. There still is the occasional arriving at a restaurant in the evening to find it is closed and rushing like crazy to the next village hoping that something will be open. By the way, we did make it back to the above mentioned bistrot that we got lost trying to find on bicycle that day, and it was great! We asked the owner what day of the week he was closed because we wanted to return. He responded, “I am always here. I’m never closed.” We went back another day with anticipation, and naturally he was closed.

Thus, some people have asked me, “Why do you keep going back? Why don’t you go somewhere else where you can eat whenever you want and there aren’t so many rules? Well, maybe they haven’t experienced the je ne sais quoi factor of France that makes one want to return, need to return, be willing to forgo food at times just for the extreme joy of being in such a delightful place.


À bientôt!

Venasque—A Village With a View


Overlooking the towering Mont Ventoux is the sleepy plus beau village of Venasque with its fountains, charming walkways, artisan shops, ancient ruins and ramparts, cherry orchards, and stunning views of the Vaucluse as well as of the Giant itself.


We return to this character-filled village every time not only for the atmosphere but mostly for the food. By fluke, we discovered an amazing restaurant with the most outstanding food and a view to die for that keeps us returning time and again. This is our favorite restaurant of the region thus far. Others are discovering it too, but hopefully not too many. But, I’ll share it with you!


Les Remparts is a hotel restaurant with an outstanding panorama from its terrace. I can’t even begin to write about the food without gnawing hunger pangs striking. So I’ll just show you.

Absolute favorites are the tomato pie, tomato and pesto tiramisu, and vegetable crumble with mozzarella and pine nuts. Throw in a good Ventoux wine, and you have perfection! Everything here is delicious.

And here is your view.

Before dinner make sure to take a stroll around the ramparts to the ancient towers for gorgeous views of the valley.

À bientôt!

Séguret—A Jewel of the Rhône Valley


The village of Séguret is visually stunning in every way. It’s the prettiest Provençal village I have encountered thus far. It certainly gives my favorite, Joucas, a run for its money. This charming jewel of a village is filled with colorful flowers and crazy charm around every bend of its winding cobblestone streets. It certainly earns its classification as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Thus, I had to label it “Flavignesque” in honor of my Bourgogne favorite.



From the moment we arrived in the village, I was completely immersed, camera in hand, exploring every street while my husband relaxed on a bench waiting for me to do my usual rapid exploration of every nook and cranny not wanting to miss anything.


Here in Séguret, there are a few restaurants, a lovely tea salon, and a few shops to be explored. We enjoyed a casual lunch outside at the Côté Terrasse restaurant, where creative salads were being served along with the wonderful wines of the region. Naturally, we tried a Séguret Côtes du Rhône in honor of the village.


To enjoy peaceful views of the countryside, there is a steep little hike that takes you above the village to the remains of a château. It probably takes about 45 minutes to get to the top. There was nothing too outstanding at the top, but it was a good way to burn off our lunch and enjoy the peace and serenity, since there was not a soul around.

A day of exploring Séguret could certainly be combined with stopping off for tastings at the nearby notable winemaking villages, such as Gigondas and Vacqueyras. I definitely have that planned for next time along with more villages of charm to be explored in the Rhône Valley.

À bientôt!

Joucas—My Favorite Village of the Luberon


Just the name Joucas alone is pretty. There is something about this village, some je ne sais quoi, that just makes it mine. I could imagine myself living here. It’s quiet, peaceful, scenic, charming, pretty. Yet, it’s not far from the shops and restaurants in Gordes, Goult, and Roussillon.


Joucas is a little perched village with just a small épicerie and a fantastic bistrot. The cobblestone walkways winding through the village along with the blue shutters against the ancient stone walls just ooze charm. Joucas is an artists’ retreat.

Bistrot la Terrasse is spectacular at night with enchanting views of the Luberon, cypress trees, vineyards, the gentle Provençal breeze, and the village of Roussillon all lit up from afar. The food at the bistrot is very good and reasonably priced, from the omelettes and frites to the plat du jour. Yet, it’s the intoxicating view at sunset that beckons one to return.

A visit to la Terrasse could be combined with a stop at the nearby village of Lioux for a hike either before or after lunch. We had no problem at the very end of August getting a table for lunch or in the evening without a reservation, but I think people are catching on to this place. So reservations are highly recommended.




La Terrasse in Joucas has changed! We are sad to say that we can no longer recommend this lovely place for the food, namely the omelettes that we use to dream about. Good omelettes no more! It’s still a great place to stop for a drink or perhaps, if you don’t care to be wowed by the food, a light bite in the evening to enjoy the ambience. Let’s hope the new owners bring back the good food to match the ambience. We miss the little dog too!

À bientôt!

Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt—Unspoiled, Quintessential Provence


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Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt is a perfect Provençal village. Located in the Vaucluse department of Provence, it is a quiet, unspoiled village with spectacular views from the top. Walk the charming stone pathway to the ancient ruins above for a rewarding sight. It’s a … Continue reading