British author Peter Mayle spent 15 years in advertising before leaving the business, in 1975, to write children's books. In 1990, he published A Year in Provence, which became an international bestseller; his books have since been translated into 20-plus languages. Mayle’s novel A Good Year was the basis for a 2006 film of the same name...directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe, it was filmed almost entirely in the Luberon. Peter has just finished his 25th book, a novel called The Vintage Caper, to be published by Knopf next year. He and his wife, Jennie, live in Lourmarin. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Peter for Conde Nast Traveller UK and Wine Spectator and so I grabbed the chance to ask him to name some of his favorite local spots.
"The crew of the film (A Good Year) liked the Michelin two-star Bastide de Capelongue, just outside Bonnieux, and so do I. Chef/owner Edouard Loubet has two Michelin stars. It’s where you go for a special meal, a celebration. 04-90-75-89-78.
I love Le Fournil, in the lower part of the village of Bonnieux. The restaurant is cut out of the rocks and you can sit outside by the fountain in summer. 04-90-75-83-62.
Auberge de la Loube, at Buoux, outside Bonnieux, has a rustic menu, wonderful views and horses tethered in the car park. 04-90-74-19-58.
Auberge de L’Aiguebrun, outside Bonnieux, is in a marvelous setting in a secluded valley with an elegant country menu. 04-90-04-47-00.
In Lourmarin there’s a tremendous place which does just steak and crêpes, called Crêperie la Louche à Beurre. It’s very simple but has a wonderful atmosphere. It’s run by a delightful lady named Babette, who was partly my inspiration for the character Fanny in A Good Year. 04-90-68-00-33.
Ansouis is very pretty town and there’s a charming place just down the street from the Mairie called La Closerie. Excellent food and very good value for money. 04-90-09-90-54.
In St. Martin de la Brasque, 12 km north of Pertuis, I like Restaurant de La Fontaine, for very good simple food in a nice setting. The stuffed fleurs de courgettes are worth the trip on their own. 04-90-07-72-16.
L'Ardoise in Cadenet is simple, friendly, very good food and not going to break the bank. 04-90-68-35-35.
And for anyone who loves wine, there’s a wonderful wine store in Apt, La Cave du Septier. They have an extraordinary selection of labels from south and southwest France, run by a very nice couple. And they ship. It’s one of the best wine shops I’ve seen outside Paris. 04-90-04-77-38. There's also the Cave du Château in Lourmarin. They have terrific selection of local wines and olive oils."
Number 90: French Easter Postcard
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