Subject: restaurants in Avignon, Arles, Aix and Marseille
Here, finally, some suggestions for restaurants in the four towns (all within a reasonable budget). Some I've quoted from emails from my contacts there (in French), some I've added myself. I asked my contacts to only refer restaurants that are reasonably priced (which I consider from 100 - 140 F for a menu) to slightly higher, but below 200F for a menu. My own suggestions follow the same lines, except for Le Clos de la Violette in Aix. I apologize for still quoting in French Francs, but that is still necessary to get a feeling for a bon marché. Lunch is always the best bargain in French restaurants.


- sur Avignon, pas grand-chose Il y a plein de restaurants sur l'ile de la Barthelasse, il y en a un, pas de la grande cuisine mais un cadre magnifique, sur le Rhône, avec vue sur le Palais des Papes: Le BERCAIL 04 90 82 20 22 I've been told that the best restaurants are indeed found on Ile de la Barthelasse, but it's 5 km from city center. You need a cab or swift feet.

Otherwise in the center: D'Ici et d'Ailleurs - 4, Rue Galante - 04 90 14 63 65 - eclectic food from here and elsewhere with (1 year ago) a menu (2 courses) for lunch of 60 F. Not stunning food, but not bad either, certainly for the price.

Les Domaines - 28 Place de l'Horloge - 04 90 82 58 86 - a wide choice of dishes, menus, many Provencal (meaning tapenades, anchoiades, soupe de poissons, courgettes farcies, etc), all reasonably priced.

In Arles: One year ago, in the height of summer I visited Arles with a couple of friends and had little expectation of a reasonable lunch, with the place so jam-packed with tourists. Still, we didn't want a sandwich or a slice of pizza. We found an empty table at Le Pistou on the SE side of the Arena. We expected to be ripped off, but it was surprisingly good, great fish, daurade, rougets, not huge portions. A 2-course meal (+caraf of wine) was, I believe 90F, a steal. On the Blvd des Lices, you find a magnificent hotel, Jules César, in an old monastery. The restaurant there, Lou Marques, is renowned, but pricey. They have a bistrot-type place, La Cloitre, with down-to-earth prices, but only for lunch.

In Aix: Le Bistrot Latin - 18, rue de la Couronne -- 04 42 38 22 88 - very popular restaurant with decent prices, certainly for lunch (low)

La Vieille Auberge - 63, rue Espariat - 04 42 27 17 41 - the menu follows the seasons, with Provencal touches, but inventive. Prices from quite reasonable to a bit higher.

Le Clos de la Violette - 10, ave. de la Violette - 04 42 23 30 71 - a 2-Michelin star place, with prices accordingly, though not stratospheric. One of the best kitchens in Provence.

In Marseille:

A Marseille, la bouillabaisse est chère partout mais très belle terrasse au restaurant Perron 04 91 52 15 22 sur la corniche Kennedy (I had asked for a good bouillabaisse place, Marseille is its birthplace)

Sinon, pour les beaux endroits:

Aldo - Madrague de Montredon - 04 91 25 03 71

Bar de la grotte à Callelongue (mais je n'ai pas trouvé le N° de téléphone)

Pizzeria Jeannot - Vallon des Auffes - 04 91 52 11 28

504 (couscous) très belle décoration - place aux herbes (vieux Port) 04 91 33 57 74

Two places I want to add: Le Bistrot de Gambas - 29, place aux huiles - 04 91 33 26 44 -- a place to go if you like gambas in any form, such gambas à la Provencale, gambas flambé (au pastis, for example). - reasonably priced.

L'Oliveraie - 10 place aux huiles - 04 91 33 34 41 - a small restaurant with very French dishes, such as filet de boeuf au foie gras, noix de veau au jus de truffe - reasonable to slightly higher prices.

Hope this helps, Frieda