More of Provence

hotelroomwindowWe only stayed one night at Couvent des Minimes.   The hotel located in an old monastery in the Manes region of Provence.  It was just recently renovated and the design firm did an amazing job.  They took all modern decor and planted it in an old building.  Our room was at the top of the church still located in the building.  This was our view this morning.

eggsWe got on the road after breakfast to our next location in Provence.  Just have to share this egg maker they had at breakfast.  Pretty cool.  You cook your own eggs.

sunflowersThe drive through Provence is just breathtaking.  Gorgeous trees that frame the roads providing shade and beauty.   Fields of lavender and of course the final gasp of sunflowers drying up for the Autumn months ahead.

linensWe stopped in Gordes where there is the weekly market.  This one is smaller and more manageable.  There is also a focus on linens.  Yes we picked up a tablecloth.

dried peppersLots of pottery.  Had my fill yesterday on that.  Dried peppers that I wasn’t sure would travel well.

driedlavendarClassic dried lavender creations.  Also can’t imagine these would travel well.

jellyaspicJelly aspics.  Have yet to see this.  Delicious!


lavendar cheeseCheese.  I was fascinated with the blue cheese.  It is infused with lavender.  The cheesemonger has one infused with tomato too.  We tried the lavender.  It was amazing.  This combination of a mild cheese with an earthy flavoring of lavender herbs.  Crazy good.

gourdesThen we drove out of town.  This is a photo of Gordes.  Quite jaw dropping.

creekOur next stop was in L’isle Sur-La-Sorgue.  If you want to know where all antiques to go die this is the town.  I believe you can even buy pieces of old churches here.  There is a beautiful creek that travels throughout the town.

turning wheelThese wheels keep the water moving.

antiguqesWe were definitely amateurs because it turns out that on Tuesday most of the antique shops are closed.  The real day to go is Sunday but most shops are open Friday-Monday.  We just walked the town.  Tons of restaurants too.

misenbouheWe had lunch at Le Vivier.  A real treat.  You know you are in for a good meal when they bring you this to start.  A little bite of foie gras, eggplant pate, crunchy Parmesan like cheese and a sage leaf.  Wow.

lobsterWe split everything.  Pieces of lobster is inside that crispy casing that has a citrus flavoring to it.  To keep the lobster in that is a whipped avocado.  On the side is  a grapefruit gel and pieces of chopped razor clam in the clam shell.   Really interesting mixture of flavors and textures.  Also such a beautiful plate.

foiegrasThis is classic French.  Terrine of foie gras and smoked eel.  The toast is filled with tiny pieces of dates.  Creamy and luscious.  Perfect.

bathroomTook a bathroom break.  Had to take a picture of this.  The whole restaurant has this goldfish theme.  It is hilarious but makes sense since Le Vivier sits over the creek filled with fish.   We could hear the rush of the water throughout lunch.  So soothing.

fishFilet of sea bass with pieces of squid ink ravioli stuffed with just a little bit of fennel.  The fennel is also infused with super light whipped potatoes that is close to a foam.  The broth is a fish consume.  Those yellow squares are like eggy saffron sponges to absorb the broth.  Light, elegant and delicious.

chickenBelieve it or not this is chicken.  Chicken rolled in something that had the consistency of quiche but was made of eggplant and bell peppers.   The small balls on top are stuffed with pulled dark meat and coated with an eggplant mixture and then deep fried.  These balls stick to the chicken pieces with roasted red pepper tapenade.  Then rolls of roasted eggplant with small bits of Parmesan crisps on top.  The dish is not only unique it tasted amazing.

strawberriesDessert is creative too.  They call this Strawberry fields.  Dollops of mint ice.  Loved this.  Just exploded in your mouth.  Strawberry mousse and pieces of meringue.

lemonraspFresh raspberries served with very tart pieces of lemon tart, cardamon mousse and lemon ice cream.

treatsWhy stop?  Another round of treats.  Cannelles, macaroons and creamy chocolate fudge packed with a few hazelnuts.

Next stop was the hotel.  We drove to Les Baux des Provence.   This is located at the top of the mountains overlooking St. Remy.  There is an old fort up there including vineyards and olive trees.  The drive is beautiful and the topography is really different.  The hotel is located in between those mountains in a flat area.  It is pretty cool like a huge rolling mesa.  They even have a golf course up here.  The hotel is called Domain de Manville.  It just opened in January.  Might be our favorite hotel yet.   We settled in and lounged by the pool.

Dinner is in a few hours and we have to rest up!

Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    So many great shots, I reflexively wanted to double-click on each to like them, as if on Instagram!Domain de Manville sounds like fancy French for “Man Cave”. Their site indicates otherwise. 😉

  2. Brandon Burns

    If you can, stop in Arles. Lots of ancient Roman ruins still there from when the empire reached that far north (and as far as the UK, really) but still very French. Its also where Van Gogh spent his last years and painted all his famous paintings, including La Cafe La Nuit, which still exists, looks the same, and is in the center of town. The food is great, lots of Spanish influence. And if you like shopping, I’m sure you’ve seen bags like the one below… Arles is where they come from.The coastal towns are prettier, but Arles is rich in culture. And it’s on the way if you’re driving to Spain.Aix-en-Provence (for wine), Avignon (for theater), Antibes (for art and sandy beaches) are also all great.

  3. William Mougayar

    Macarons & cannele? Wow. My 2 favorite sweets. Nice meal pics.

  4. kirklove

    This trip reached EPIC status a few days back and still gets better. Fantastic.Love the “oldness” of Europe. We forget how young the US is sometimes.

    1. Gotham Gal

      We so do. It is so obvious over here how OLD Europe is and how they are still living in that past quite a bit.

      1. kirklove

        Yup. Pros and Cons to that for sure.

  5. Manuel

    Hi Joanne, welcome to Barcelona. Tomorrow I will cook, mushrooms season,”Ous de Reig” risotto, as good or better than Porcini. It would be a pleasure to invite you and Fred. Best, Manuel

  6. Christine Vachon

    One of the things we did (and LOVED) in that area was rent bicycles with batteries– we pedaled from medieval town to medieval town and when the hills got super steep we turned on “l’assistance” and zipped on up. It made us feel like we were earning our dinner!

  7. AG

    Did you have help planning the trip? How did you decide where to stay and eat?

    1. Gotham Gal

      lots of research. also, my amazing assistant!