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Provence Villa -- Vacation Rental

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Gastronomy -- Les Delices de Provence

Dining in France is a delightful experience, which often follows the following sequence: 

First an aperitif to whet the appetite.  The classic in this part of France is the Pastis, an anise flavored liquor that is mixed with water and turns a milky, cloudy white color.  The other classic is the kir  (white wine and blackcurrant liqueur) which can also be made with champagne (kir royale) as well as with other liqueurs, including peach, strawberry, blueberry and raspberry.  The region is also famous for its white sweet Muscat wine, often called Beaumes de Venise after the town which produces large quantities of it.  Many restaurants make up their own aperitifs, called 'coctail maison'.  It's worth asking for if you are adventurous.

In some restaurants, at the higher end of the scale, a 'mise bouche' or 'amuse bouche' cleanses the palate before the appetizer

The Entree (appetizer) is usually small and can be quite complex, or it can be very simple, like a pate or terrine. 

The Plat Principal is the main dish.  In the south of France, veal and duck are exquisite.  Servings are adequate but not excessive.

Depending on the restaurant and the menu chosen, you may be offered a course of several cheeses before dessert, while others offer just the dessert or just a plate of cheeses.  No need to comment on the French desserts:  mousse au chocolat, parfaits, creme caramel, profiterole, eclaires and the millefeuilles  (a thousand leaves) of light buttery flaky pastries, just to name a few.  Don't be surprised to find cannoli and tiramisu as well. 

If you want your coffee with your dessert, you'd better make that known, because the custom in France is to have the coffee by itself, after the dessert. 

To round out the experience, a digestif (cognac, armagnac or other after dinner drink) will finish your gastronomic tour de force.

Nearly all restaurants in France offer 'Prix Fix' (fixed price) meals which are always your most economical choice, starting as low as low as ten euros for . Take this literally, because the tax and tip are included in the price, as is the case in the a-la-carte menu. If you don't see it on the menu, ask for the Prix Fix choices, or the Menu du jour.  Many restaurants have several options, with the price increasing along with the number of courses and kinds of dishes available.  (See our list of restaurants for examples)

Most restaurants also have house wines available by the carafe, which are much cheaper than the bottled wines.  You can order them as 'un carafe du vin' or 'un pichet du vin'.  They will then ask you what size you want: the 25cl (one third of a bottle) or the 50cl (two thirds of a bottle).

If you order water, it is usually assumed you mean bottled water and they will ask if you want 'avec gas' (carbonated).  If you want just plain tap water, ask for 'un carafe d'eau'.

Pizzerias in Provence are a wonderful blend of wood oven baked, thin crust pizzas, along with the classic Provencal meals, so don't let the name prevent you from trying one.  Being only three hours from Italy, there is a very strong Italian influence to the cuisine of Provence and it shows in the delightful pastas and pizzas offered.

Don't be surprised if you think the wait staff has forgotten you after your coffee or digestif.  Dining is a leisurely experience and the wait staff will not bring the check until you ask for it  (l'addition, s'il vous plait).

In the south of France, tipping is not required, but if you would like to show your appreciation for the wait staff, it is customary to leave anywhere from one to five euros as a tip ('pourboire').

Almost all restaurants take Mastercard and Visa (American Express is accepted in some establishments but not as frequently as the other two), but note that there may not be a line on the bill for you to add a tip, since that is included in the price.  Therefore, most tips are in cash.

  Local Restaurants 


When you arrive at La Lavande there will be a 'yellow book' which will have all sorts of useful information.  Among the information included is a list of restaurants (with a brief description of each) that we have visited within a thirty to forty minute drive of La Lavande in various price ranges and cuisine styles.  Please be sure to phone ahead, as the restaurant business in Provence is very lively and establishments change hands, go out of business, change hours, change names, and more all the time.  If you find that one of our suggestions is no longer available or has changed in some way, please let us know to help us keep the book current for future guests

Dining at even the most formal restaurants is casual.

France has passed legislation forbidding smoking in public places, but it is still allowed in outdoor terraces, so keep that in mind when you choose whether to eat in or out.

Warning:  Many restaurants close on Sunday as do grocery stores.  Be sure to plan your Sunday meals ahead of time!





For Additional Information Contact

Elias and Jo Ann Safdie
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Last modified: May 2010