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16 September 2018 1 comment

I've two special hotels to share with you today, and worry not, this post is more than just showing you some rooms ;)

After hearing such wonderful things about Bastide de Marie, we had to make a visit.

A picturesque hotel and vineyard, set in what felt like the deepest of countryside, it was an incredibly peaceful and tranquil setting - a marked change from the hustle and bustle of discovering the markets at Aix the previous day.

Whilst it would usually be abundant with roses in the height of summer, September seemed a more subdued and mellow affair, although the courtyard and interior looked no less beautiful than at any other time of year.

Outfit details

I did find the odd persisting rose or two though!

The skirt is another bargain find, and of course I couldn't resist another item of blue and white stripes.. I wore it discovering Arles too, but this time paired it with a classic, white Oxford shirt, tied up, and some tan/chestnut accessories.

Having slept wonderfully that night, we lined our stomachs with a quick snack and some coffee (Earl Grey for me!) and hit the road for our lunchtime reservation..

I only wish we'd spent longer in Villeneuve les Avignons.

It's nothing like it's big-city neighbour, and the medieval, cobbled streets were particularly quiet and retiring this afternoon.

I wouldn't say that Le Prieure looks like much from the front. If it weren't for the signs, you'd probably walk straight past it (the big door isn't the entrance, and it's tucked round a corner in a dead end). But it's out into the back where all the magic is.

For lunch, this was the most beautiful setting, just a few tables lined up under the natural canopy of green, rambling climbers, overlooking a wonderfully unrefined, cottage-planting-style kitchen garden.

Although Michelin star, it wasn't stuffy or pretentious, the staff were lovely, and very accommodating of me butchering the pronunciation of many words..

Set menus or 'formule' are commonplace in French restaurants, and tends to be what the chef deems fresh and delicious on that day, so that's what we plumped with.

Canapes to start, of crispy, fried 'ravioli' filled with tomato confit, with carrot jelly and caviar on the side.

Then came an amuse bouche of aubergine (deliciously savoury).

Starters were cured John Dory, with tomatoes, raspberries and a herb dressing.

Guinea fowl for main, leg roulade stuffed with herbs, breast smothered in a delicious sauce (culinary things I miss most from French: the sauces, Noire De Crimee tomatoes and the bread/viennoiserie).

Dessert was a highlight and entirely delicious (not that the rest of it wasn't). A financier cake with creme pat. and jam layers, meringue, fresh berries, strawberry and verbena sorbets (the verbena was to die for) and a sharp, berry soup.

Either establishment I'd entirely recommend - I can't wait to show you more of our trip!