Where to Go Next: Provence

FoodandWine Recipe

Best Dining Room
Prévôté The stone walls and fine linens are lovely, but the real star is the Sorgue River, which runs right through the center of the dining room. On my last visit, I had a sublime rabbit salad and fine quenelles of salt cod (4 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue; 011-33-4-90-38-57-29).

Liveliest Bistro
Le Bistro de France This café in the village of Apt may look simple, but it is the in spot for lunch on Saturdays after shopping in the town market. Try the fresh, plump oysters and other traditional bistro foods (67 place de la Bouquerie, Apt; 011-33-4-90-74-22-01).

Worth The Drive
Le Mas des Vignes A long way from anywhere, but worth every kilometer. Local fruits and vegetables shine in this kitchen (try the fresh apricot desserts), and the view--which takes in a dramatic limestone rock formation nearby and Avignon and Orange in the distance--is unbeatable (Route de Mont Ventoux, Bédoin; 011-33-4-90-65-63-91).

An Old Favorite
La Bonne Etape The scenic road to this favorite grand restaurant begins in Malaucène and leads over Mont Ventoux through fields of lavender. Must-tries include ravioli stuffed with mushrooms, spinach and Swiss chard, and tuna topped with anchovies (Chemin du Lac, Château-Arnoux-St.-Alban; 011-33-4-92-64-00-09).

Best Chocolate Shop
La Boutique aux Chocolats Master chocolatier Jef Challier flavors his exquisite candies with lavender, licorice, lemon verbena and even sesame (17 rue de l'Hôtel de Ville, Valréas; 011-33-4-90-35-05-22).

Best Wine Shop
La Cave du Septier Hélène and Thierry Riols have tracked down the finest wines of Provence and other regions. Ask to try the extraordinary Muscadets and Gigondas (Place du Septier and Place Carnot, Apt; 011-33-4-90-04-77-38).

Best New Bakery
Le Pain des Moissons Denis Lefebvre makes extraordinary organic breads, such as pain au fromage (stuffed with chunks of French Emmental), pain au fruits secs (like a brioche studded with dried fruits) and a ladderlike olive fougasse (36 place Montfort, Vaison-la-Romaine; 011-33-4-90-36-03-25).

Best Summer Market
Velleron town market This is where you'll find the region's best artichokes, peaches, apricots and fat beefsteak-style tomatoes, along with many types of strawberries (Monday to Saturday, 6 to 8 p.m.).

Best Excursion
La Compagnie des Comptoirs About 40 miles west of Arles, this new bistro with Spanish, Italian and Middle Eastern accents is worth a detour into Languedoc. One reason is the pedigree of the owners, Jacques and Laurent Pourcel, the twin brothers who run the three-Michelin-starJardin des Sens (51 avenue de Nîmes, Montpellier; 011-33-4-99-58-39-29).

PUBLISHED August 2001