Sleeping and Dining in the Luberon, Provence, France

This is classic Provence, the Provence of Peter Mayle’s ”A Year in Provence” fame. A visit to the region will confirm why it is such a popular tourist destination – rugged Mediterranean landscape surrounding an agricultural basin of wheat, vineyards and fruit orchards; picturesque villages perched on the hilltops, four of which – Gordes, Roussillon, Ménerbes and Venasque – are listed among the most beautiful in France; and then of course there are the lavender fields, that incredible color that pops out of the landscape as if it isn’t real but merely painted in.

Gordes

Gordes

Our “weekend” in Provence began on a Monday afternoon in mid-May to avoid the weekend and summer chaos. As it was, there were just enough tourists for a lively environment without the headache of dealing with crowds. I was surprised, however, to notice that there were proportionally more American English speakers than I’ve heard anywhere else in France.

La Ferme de la Huppe

A popular restored guest house located at the bottom of the hill outside of Gordes. Although there are many hotels and restaurants along the small roads that feed into Gordes, this one is ranked #1 on Tripadvisor and is a splurge pick in the Rick Steves’ guidebook. As expected the grounds are lovely and well maintained with a covered lounge area and sparkling pool next to the restaurant terrace. The guestrooms occupy the original old stone farm buildings and are nicely appointed while maintaining the integrity of the former structure.

La Ferme de la Huppe

La Ferme de la Huppe

La Ferme de la Huppe

The breakfast buffet includes an ample selection of quality products – the croissant are wonderfully flaky, the cheeses divine and the fruits and jams flavorful.

La Ferme de la Huppe

Dinner is equally well done and in the off season is served in a lovely stone room with bright table linens in a rustic yet elegant setting.  The limited menu offers two courses for 37€ or three for 43€.

La Ferme de la Huppe

We started with the scallop tartar with green apple and celery in a celery and saffron reduction – a fresh and delightful beginning; and the only real disappointment of the evening, the antipasti plate – chewy eggplant and an overly vinegary vinaigrette. The mains, however, were both excellent. St Pierre (John Dory) served with a lemon beurre blanc,

La Ferme de la Huppe

and a luscious jaret d’agneau (lamb shank) served with summer vegetables in a Provençal sauce. The flavorful meat, cooked for seven hours, melts in your mouth. For dessert house made sorbet – apple, pear and lemon – all wonderfully fruity;

La Ferme de la Huppe

and a lemon tart – rich,lemony and, yes, tart. A perfect ending.

L’Estellan

This charming restaurant located on the D2, down the road from La Ferme de la Huppe, is comparable in terms of price and setting to La Ferme de la Huppe’s restaurant, but I would give it slightly lower marks for the food.  Interestingly, the other patrons at L’Estellan were nearly all French while at Huppe they were nearly all American.

L’Estellan’s dining room is decorated with a causal yet refined hand in a country meets the stars motif – laundry hangs from the ceiling, poetry graces the walls and colors are tastefully subdued. Our starters included the smoked salmon carpaccio with a garnish of bean sprouts and shredded carrots in a vinaigrette and an asparagus terrine served with asparagus tips, also in a vinaigrette. For mains we tasted

L’Estellan

the Dorade Royale (fish) served with roasted vegetables – nicely cooked but not served as hot as it should have been,

L’Estellan

and the magret de canard (duck breast) served with a potato gratin – good but rather plain and unadorned.  For dessert, the sorbet and a spelt pudding (like rice pudding) served with a lavender ice-cream – interesting, but more like eating breakfast than dessert.

L’Estellan

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Travel, Travel France and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Sleeping and Dining in the Luberon, Provence, France

  1. Madeleine says:

    Superbe!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s