Friends of ours have rented a house in Roussillon for a few months and have invited us to join them for a week . . . how do you complain or say no to that! So we are going of course. It will be our first time to Provence - I know shocking but we always seem to end up in Paris and points north (Brittany, Normandy, etc). Three of us will be arriving to Avignon by train on Saturday evening, renting a car to join them until the following Saturday morning. Those parts are fixed points in time.
There will be five of us (all grown adult men) so I'm a little worried about the car situation. It sounds like parking is always a bit of an issue - so we may have to rent a car that is a little bigger so we can squeeze instead of taking two cars everywhere. While we all love to eat, I'm probably the most food driven person in the group and will be the one who everyone looks at and says "where should we eat". I also cook a lot and will likely be cooking dinners for many nights. I'm actually looking forward to cooking in Provence a lot - it's just my thing.
This post is a little scattered (sorry in advance for that), so I'm going to post to my post as well ;) I guess my primary questions for anyone willing to reply are as follows:
I will be and want to cook a lot. I'll be heading to markets/etc but will also need staples (flour, sugar, plastic wrap, etc). What is that situation like in/around Roussillon? People live there so there must be something but I can't figure that out online. Should I shop in Avignon before driving out to Roussillon?
Anyone know what to expect in the markets in the end of May? I assume things like asparagus, greens, beans . . . I know may is a little early in the growing season here but just not sure about Provence. Just like being prepared. Along the same lines, what about butchers, fish mongers, etc in and around Roussillon? Is that all market driven or are there shops? Just not sure what to expect in those regards.
I've been combing the boards for restaurants (I'll post my list below). Since I won't be in control of everything, I've tried to consolidate recommendations from different threads by town. That way if we end up somewhere I may have some options available. Any additional advice from the list below is more than welcome.
My guess is that we will do many more lunches out and about than dinners (we are wine lovers - not good for driving late at night - and we all know I love cooking, so drinking at home out on a terrace sounds great too for all of us). We have also all taken different paths in life, so while some of us may be happy spending 100E a night for dinner, that won't work for all of us. So I have to be sensitive to that.
Restaurant Choice Opinions:
Given all that I've read and given the parameters above - I think there are three places that I want to try to be sure to go - what do you think:
1) La Bartavelle (Goult) - sounds like everyone likes the food, it isn't far away, and I think I'm going to try to make reservations for us as a "thank you treat" to our hosts for allowing us into their vacation.
2) Le Castelas (Sivergues) - this just sounds like exactly my kind of place - do they do lunch and dinner? From the posts it was confusing. It sounds like dinner is only on the weekend.
3) Maison Gouin (Coustellet) - sounds like a great prepared foods resource for picnics/appetizers/dinner components
Thanks so much for all the feedback on the other posts as well - there is a lot of helpful information!
My restaurant list/summary to follow below . . . .