So often restaurants next to major tourists sights are an unmitigated disaster. A captive audience means high prices and below average food. The Carre du Palais right opposite the Palais des Papes in Avignon is the exception to the rule. From the outside terrace the views of the Palais des Papes are sensational. The tables are laid out in neat rows and adorned with pristine white table cloths. The upmarket cutlery and glasses complete the sense of occasion. Wine is a major lure at the restaurant, with the Carre leading a double life as a wine tasting school, and each dish on the menu is matched with a glass of appropriate Cote du Rhone. The food is classic bistrot fayre – skate wing with black butter, and supreme of chicken were the dishes of the day when I visited. Both were priced around the €17 mark which seemed fair given the quality and the accompanying view.
While on the subject of trying (with the exception of the Carre above) to avoid the tourist hotspots Faubourg 46 is a hip new brasserie in Aix en Provence on the Cours Sextius. Just a hop skip and a jump from the Cours Mirabeau, the Sextius is somewhat of a forgotten avenue. It’s a curious mix of downmarket kebab restaurants and designer kitchen shops. The Faubourg is perhaps a sign of a neighbourhood on the up. The interior is a triumph of modern brasserie design, and the food is good and well priced, with the menu featuring the ubiquitous burger with a few more quirky dishes – such as a roasted half chicken so large a side table is needed to facilitate carving and eating.