Provence

Restaurants in Provence

With its resident DJ and even a bouncer, the Opéra Café is an oasis très design, as the French say, in the Papal City's principal square. At about $17, the lunch formule is a good value (appetizer and main course or main course and dessert).

New owners Jean-Louis and Mireille Pons, from nearby Arles, took over Chez Quénin, changing the name to the trendier-sounding Bistrot du Paradou and improving the cuisine, while maintaining the character—vintage-tiled floors, stone walls, timbered ceilings—of the old place.

The modest 35-seat restaurant in Arles has no written menu and a $67 lunchtime prix fixe. Rival Gault Millau had named Rabanel, the restaurant’s previously obscure fortysomething chef, its toque of the year in 2008.

The unlikely people behind Pierrerue's only storefront are Maryvonne and Mark Marinelli, Americans in their forties who formerly owned a corporate catering company in North Carolina.

In the tourist-clogged hill town of Gordes, it's not easy finding a place to eat—a pleasant, authentic, and reasonably priced place, that is, among the tourist canteens and the high-priced restaurants. Le Bouquet de Basilic, tucked behind a souvenir shop, is an adorable discovery.

Tables were placed on gravel underneath the shade of the trees at this casual country place. Order beautiful green salads with red currants, a bit of foie gras, warm cheese with a red pepper–and-garlic rémoulade, rabbit with a dried-fruit reduction, and risotto aux fruits de mer.

Ths Michelin-starred restaurant-cum-inn sira among aromatic herb gardens and lavender fields.

Located on a narrow street opening onto the Place du Forum in the heart of old Arles, this former charcuterie dates from 1942. The tiny space is now a winsome bistro with a modest décor of red velvet banquettes and pig figurines.