Posts Tagged ‘Provence’

Travels in France Part II – Avignon

Posted by Martin Field on 21 September 2011 in Wine Travel

Sous le pont d’Avignon

The train from Dijon to Avignon takes us through vineyard country. Signs for M.Chapoutieradorn the hillsides. As you enjoy the scenic vignettes, you pass an ominous brooding nuclear reactor, no doubt waiting for the Rhone to flood and irradiate the already powerful reds.

Rhone reactor

A first impression of Avignon is that it is noticeably more touristy than Dijon and more English language friendly. For example, unlike Dijon, many of the restaurant menus here feature English translations.

Half a bridge too far

A must-see here is the Pont d’Avignon, originating from the 12thcentury and the basis of the famous song. It’s actually less than half a bridge as only four of the original 22 arches remain, so it stops disappointingly half way across the river. They have had many centuries to fix this but so far no action.

Incomplete bridge

And I have it on good authority that the song we learned in execrable French at school is wrong – they didn’t dance “sur la pont”, they actually danced under it, that is, “sous le pont”, in a long gone café. Should I be called upon to sing this song in future it is the correct “sous” version I shall offer.

We have a good look round at the Palais des Papes in the heart of the city. A bunch of popes who battled with Rome for control of the Catholic empire lived here and ruled in the 14th century. Read the rest of this entry

La Petite Maison, Cucuron (Eric Sapet, Provence)

Posted by Mike Tommasi on 15 March 2009 in Restaurant Reviews

Eric SapetMy last visit dates back to October 2007, at the time I had sent my friend Eric Sapet to the Istrian Truffle Festival in Croatia, and on his return he had prepared a meal inspired by white truffles in his then new Petite Maison. I have since tried several times to book a table, mission impossible! No wonder, when a restaurant serves such “passionate” cuisine at affordable prices, success is guaranteed.
This Saturday, I was lucky to find a table for 4. We headed for the Luberon with our friends Michael and Marie Rose, about 1.5 hours’ drive, to the village of Cucuron, one of the most beautiful in Provence, with its clock tower, its walls and the immense pond on the main square surrounded by old plane trees. La Petite Maison de Cucuron (Place de l’Etang, Cucuron, 04 90 68 21 99) is right next to the pond. It is Saturday noon and Eric is conducting a cooking class on the ground floor, we happen to arrive during the preparation of a soufflé pancake.
The restaurant is small, the kitchen is only 4m2 … It is well known that to make good wine you need to keep yields low in the vineyard, but in restaurants yields can be very high, this minuscule kitchen is sufficient to treat 40 guests to a cuisine as generous, honest, tasty, creative and cheerful as its author, the dishes are always perfectly cooked and well presented, the service, thanks to Patrick and Camille, is friendly and competent.

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