Three countries. Twelve Days. 36 Meals. One delicious European adventure!
My partner and I just returned from the most divine vacation! We visited Provence, France; Barcelona, Spain; and finished in Capri, Italy. Over the next few posts I’ll share my trip with you, starting with our arrival in St. Tropez.
I’d been there a couple of years before ago and loved it. I was so looking forward to trying it again. I remembered the vast amounts of food and the charming ambiance. The restaurant is located in a little town that has one stop light, about 20 minutes away from St. Tropez. It’s a family run restaurant–unpretentious and absolutely delicious!
We ate in the garden and sitting a few tables away I was delighted to find Joan Collins and her friends!
We then ordered frogs legs, steak with truffle butter and potato (phenomenal), and duck breast (which was a little tough). If you can believe it, we also indulged in a huge platter of cheeses and then dessert: chocolate mousse, prunes in syrup, pears cooked in red wine!
What a way to start a vacation! And very reasonably priced. It was a beautiful night to kick off this adventure.
The beach clubs in St. Tropez are where it’s happening during the day, and you must make reservations. We normally go to Club 55 but I wanted to try something new, so we went to La Voile Rouge instead. I loved it! Simple salads to start, grilled dorade, and a bottle of Domaines Ott. The DJ was terrific, as was the crowd and the fashion show.
Dorade at La Voile Rouge
Our foodie friends told us about Chez Camille for the best bouillabaisse. When you walk in, you see your pot of bouillabaisse bubbling away on the outdoor stoves.
It’s a casual Restaurant, located right on Pampelonne Bay. They bring out the rouille–a spicy garlic aioli, and plenty of toast. Then the soup and the seafood on the side which you add yourself. You must eat bouillabaise if you’re in the south of France and this one was excellent! The experience of Chez Camille was so authentically French that I loved it!
To truly experience St. Tropez night life, you must go to the clubs. We met friends and went to Villa Romana. This Bar/Restaurant is a scene. We had a lot of fun enjoying the sexy fashion show, but the food was overpriced and not very good. Afterwards, we went dancing at Les Caves du Roy until wee hours of the morning.
After three days in St. Tropez, we headed to the heart of Provence.
We stopped in St. Remy on the way to Gordes where our hotel, La Bastide de Gordes, was located. Saint Remy was terribly hot, so walking around this charming town was limited. Everything closes down at one, and understandably so–the heat is prohibitive. We lunched at Le Bistrot des Alpilles, which turned out to be one of my favorites!
We cooled ourselves down with ice cold Belgian beers that hit the spot, and started the meal with a simple heirloom tomato salad. It was summer perfection!
Then we split the langoustine cooked in pastis and served with a fennel and potato puree that was creamy and irresistible.
I went into the kitchen and asked the chef for the recipe and he was happy to give it to me! Don’t worry I’ll be trying it soon to share it with you!
On our way to Gordes, one of Provence’s most beautiful hilltop medieval towns, we passed The Lavender Museum. I made Michael turn the car around! Can you believe there’s a Lavender Museum?! Provence is known for its special lavender and the museum actually taught us the history of how it’s harvested and then made into oil. Of course, there’s also a store to buy products. I have always wanted to be running through fields of lavender, so I asked Michael to photograph me. I hope there’s lavender in heaven!
Our hotel was overlooking a medieval village in Gordes. The view from our room and the restaurant was very special. Just miles of fields and it stays light until 10PM, so it’s magical watching the sunset. We each got a massage at the Hotel Spa–with lavender oil, of course.
That night, we ate at the modern Le Bistro d’Eygalieres (since closed), a 2-star Michelin restaurant. We had a fantastic meal in the garden. Although it was roasting during the day, there was a cool breeze at night.
The chef, Wout Bru, is quite young. He and his wife, Suzy, built this small hotel and restaurant about a year prior to our visit.
We had cannelloni of lobster and pan fried langoustines with tomato tartar and wakame. Wow!
Then I ordered baby lamb chops and Michael had the red mullet a la plancha.
This was true fine dining in France and a meal to remember!
The following day, we visited a market in Apt. I adore the outdoor markets in Provence.
The variety of local, artisanal products is wonderfully mind-blowing and I’m happy just wandering from one booth to the next. My dream is to stay in Provence long enough to cook–maybe one day!
The next day we got up early and drove to Barcelona. Stay tuned for next blog post to join us on the Spanish leg of our eating frenzy!
*The original blog was called Flavors in Love. All material has been transferred and some has been edited for easier reading, and archiving.