Aix is a beautiful city at any time of the year, but in spring it takes on a particularly vibrant atmosphere. Already full to the brim with locals, and the first spattering of tourists, spring is a great time to visit before the real summer rush begins.
And this was exactly how we found the city last weekend… bustling with early-spring activity and full of life. Admittedly, I had to sidestep more than a few busy customers at the Place Richelme market, and stalls were no less crowded at the stunning flower market, but it was all part of the general “buzz” that accompanies a Saturday-morning shopping expedition in Aix.
We had one glorious day in Avignon during our extended weekend at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and instead of making it a mad-dash run to see all we could see, we opted for a morning trip to the Les Halles market and a long, leisurely lunch.
The question was, as it often is in an unknown city, where to eat? Well, besides being a gorgeous city, Avignon is chock-full of restaurants – many being conveniently located along the main squares and somewhat impossible to choose from one another.
With trusted guidebook in hand (and even more trusted food guide) we roamed the streets for the better part of an hour searching for the Holy Grail combo of sunny terrace, good menu, and welcoming faces.
One thing that I love about France (among the many) is that there always seems to be a food festival happening just around the corner. And this week one of the biggest gourmet “festivals” of the year is taking place: Tous au Restaurant.
Much more than a typical festival, Tous au Restaurant is a chance to discover new places to dine all around France as select restaurants offer 2 for 1 meals. Oo la lahh, if that isn’t a sweet deal.
We’ve narrowed down our “wish list” (participating restaurants can be found on the website) to about 4, so this weekend we’ll be seeing how many we can actually fit in. Thank goodness swimsuit season is almost over…
There’s not much that can be said about this stellar restaurant that could be any better than what we overhead our fellow diners exclaiming on Saturday afternoon: Qu’est-ce que c’est beau! (it’s so pretty) Wouaou! (the French wow) & C’est trop bon! (it’s so good).
If you’ve ever eaten in France, you know those are pretty big compliments coming from the French. And when French folks start whipping out their iPhones to take photos of the food, you know you’ve stumbled upon a hot spot. Not to mention there were 2 birthdays being celebrated around us… in a 7 table restaurant.
Our lunch was not exactly a meal but an all-out culinary experience. I do tend to be quite an enthusiastic person by nature, but I don’t post things lightly, and we certainly don’t pull any punches when the quality isn’t great (that’s living in France for ya). We both were left with the impression that this was one of the best meals either of us can remember having… ever.