D is for Dining Out

Dining out with 2 gregarious teenage boys tends to rule out any holiday fine-dining experiences. To be honest I like to relax whilst we’re away and the thought of trying to get them into anything other than t-shirts, shorts & flip-flops leaves me cold – let alone the fact that they may find something on their plate that is not to their liking! So for us dining out tends to be a simple affair.

Lunch at Chalet Reynard during a cycle ride on Mont Ventoux

Lunch at Chalet Reynard during a cycle ride on Mont Ventoux

That doesn’t mean we don’t go out, but we tend to choose more relaxed places to eat, often taking a long lunch during a family cycle-ride at one of the many restaurants in local villages. A particular favourite is the terrace at the rear of the ‘Café Des Couleurs’ on the main square in Roussillon, where there is generally a good fixed-price menu, but above all stunning views.

In the evenings when we fancy a meal out we tend to make our way into L’Isle Sur La Sorgue where there are lots of friendly easy-going restaurants with terraces alongside the river. There is something lovely about wandering along, taking the time to read the menus before collectively deciding where to eat. Sitting on a terrace by the river is great as there is always something to watch, whether it’s just the ducks and fish or the local Nego Chin boats (flat bottomed boats unique to the town) racing past.

Fla- bottomed Nego Chin boats racing past restaurants in L'Isle Sur La Sorgue

Fla- bottomed Nego Chin boats racing past restaurants in L’Isle Sur La Sorgue

I have to say though, that some restaurants just make us smile with the English translations of some French dishes. I think the most literal we have seen was in the Dordogne where the restaurant was offering ‘hot chicken gut salad’ …. for some reason this didn’t really appeal!! More locally we have seen the below, which raised a smile, particularly the ‘opposite of apples in the goat’ and the ‘packages of feet in the provencal’ – sometimes I think it is just best to leave it to a potential diner to decide what is on offer.

Menu outside a Restaurant in Fontaine De Vaucluse

Menu outside a Restaurant in Fontaine De Vaucluse

Of course there have been a few times when we have visited the area without the boys and then we have managed to enjoy a slower evening out, choosing restaurants that we really fancy rather than places where we know the boys will be happy. One such place is ‘La Figuiere’ at Fontaine de Vaucluse-  http://www.lafiguiere-provence.fr .

This is a beautiful restaurant with a delicious, locally sourced menu. Dinner is served in its enclosed courtyard, where you dine, under the stars to the sound of running water from its stunning fountain.

Central Fountain La Figuiere, Fontaine De Vaucluse

Central Fountain La Figuiere, Fontaine De Vaucluse

Another is to have a seat on the bridge terrace at ‘Les Terrasses du Bassin’ in L’Isle Sur La Sorgue http://www.lesterrassesdubassin.com where we spent an evening having a late 25th wedding anniversary meal.

Dinner on the Terrace at Les Terrasses du Bassin l'Isle sur la Sorgue

Dinner on the Terrace at Les Terrasses du Bassin l’Isle sur la Sorgue

Here there are tables for 2 set on a small bridge that stretches across the river as it enters the town. It is a wonderfully romantic setting with the lights from the surrounding buildings twinkling on the water below and comes with excellent food and service, because of this it is always worth booking ahead, particularly if you want to sit on the bridge.

Of course though, the simplest and best way to dine out is to pack a picnic of fresh bread, cheese, saucisson and tomatoes and head to one of the many perfect picnic spots in the area. From a shady spot by the river Sorgue as it flows away from its source, to the scented fields at the side of a cycle route the choice is endless and you can enjoy the best food and views that the area has to offer, without the price tag …….

View from a perfect picnic spot on the road above Gordes

View from a perfect picnic spot on the road above Gordes

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