Dining out in France is often very different from the experience in English speaking countries. The midday meal is the most important in a French person’s daily routine and people take time to enjoy it. With the lunchtime break a full hour, they are also encouraged to eat away from their desks. On weekends, one could expect to stay at the table for hours, enjoying several well-paced and perfectly sized courses, with matching wines. Lastly, you won’t find restaurant menus with pages of choice; most places offer a daily changing selection, written up on a chalkboard, and following the seasons. At a good restaurant, you will find dishes created with all the farmers’ market ingredients you’ll see on our tour.
Here are a just a few of our favorite dining spots in Aix en Provence. Ask us for more, while walking with us in our town, and we’ll happily make other suggestions.
La Tomate Verte
15 rue des Tanneurs, Tel: 04 42 60 04 58
For a taste of local Mediterranean cuisine, just a few steps away from the Cours Mirabeau, you won’t go wrong here. Blackboard specials every day focusing on seasonal ingredients. Veggie dishes. Fresh and modern. One of our favorite lunch spots.
La Fromagerie du Passage
Tel: 04 42 22 90 00 Upstairs from a wine & cheese shop in a historic “passage” that was once part of an ancient convent. Study their menu and ask for your waiter’s help–there’s a world of good main dish and cheese tasting options, all around “fromage” of course. The best seating is on the top floor terrace.
(our new favourite!) 2 Place Joachim Gasquet, Tel: 09 80 82 85 92 Very much a place “in the know”, this outdoor dining restaurant serves up local products in a fresh, modern way. Order one of their menus, with a starter, main course and dessert, along with a discovery from their independent wine list. The meal portions are just right and you will walk away feeling satisfied and like you got off the beaten path. The tables are all nestled under a canopy of plane trees in an authentic square, near the edge of the old town, in a “real” neighbourhood of ancient townhouses. Must reserve.
De l’Une à l’Autre
(another new favourite!) 12, rue du Cancel, Tel: 04 42 22 79 61 (reservations only by phone) An exceptional setting tucked in the ancient backstreets of the city, with a secret garden and a tranquil ambience. The delicious lunches and dinners are presented on lovely vintage plates, accompanied by pretty glass wear, and laid out on white tablecloths. This is an authentic French dining experience, without being pretentious. Be ready to while away a bit of time here, as you relax into the cosy atmosphere.