Le Mas des Gres is a quaint country inn and guesthouse set in a tastefully restored, typical Provencal 18th Century country house, surrounded by sun-dappled gardens, homely interiors filled with whimsical knick-knacks and a warm kitchen helmed by the jovial and passionate Chef Thierry Crovara and his wife, Nina. Married for over 20 years and having run this place together for as many of those years, the Crovaras bring a sense of warm humour and generous hospitality to the table. As a newly married couple, Thierry and Nina had this beautiful 18th century house during their travels and it was a memorable enough experience for them to come back, buy the place and set up home here in later years. This lovely inn offering hearty, local cuisine with a gourmet touch and a luxurious yet rustic home-stay experience is just a 25 minutes car or train ride away from Avignon. Thierry also offers a pick-up service from Cavaillon station, should visitors choose to take the train from Avignon.
Trained in Switzerland and London, Chef Thierry cooks with fresh, seasonal produce and loves sharing his cuisine and passion in every sense of the word. So it is not rare for guests to be drawn into his warm, fire-lit kitchen by the mouth-watering aromas of his cooking and to peer under the lids to discover the day's menu. The over-200-years-old walls have preserved the soul of a family home that envelops visitors in conviviality and joie de vivre.
Chef Thierry Crovara took Shipra Khanna through a bountiful and beautiful 5 course menu.
First Course - Succulent Guinea Fowl with Tian Provencal vegetables (The medley of roasted vegetables included a colourful profusion of sweet onions, green and red peppers, eggplant, courgettes and tomatoes)
Second Course - Scallops St. Jacques with sauteed zucchini, courgettes, thyme and garlic
Third Course - Ratatouille with Grilled Lamb Chops
Fourth Course - Grilled Red Peppers with fresh Goat's Cheese drizzled with garlic and olive oil
Dessert - Far Breton with Figs (a delicate souffle on a creamy custard base with fresh and poached figs)
The Village of Gordes in Provence, is pronounced as the Village of God and it could well be - little wonder then that it has been declared as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France.
An ancient castle and cathedral at the top of a hill and a spill of golden stones and ruins, glinting in the Provencal sun welcome you into Gordes and into the heart of Luberon in Provence. While strolling around the charming cobbled streets which climb up between the tall, stone houses, you will chance upon beautiful old doorways, gorgeous arches and captivating walls of perfectly restored golden stone, while on the other side, the panoramic vistas of the valley and mountains of Luberon, stretch out.
Le Petit Palais d'Aglae is an exquisite Italian Renaissance style chateau hotel with stunning views of the Luberon countryside and lavish gourmet offerings. Frederic Trabuch, one of the youngest and most exciting French chefs, weaves his magic in the kitchen. Drawing his inspiration from the abundant local produce with bold, seasonal flavour pairings, his cuisine is exquisitely simple yet as beguiling to the eye as it is to the palate.
An elegant pastoral setting and exquisitely presented food that is entirely gluten and allergen-free, are the hallmarks of La Feniere - a beautiful hotel and restaurant, located in the heart of Lourmarin in Provence. Reine Sammut , a renowned Michelin starred chef, together with her daughter Nadia Sammut, has dedicated herself to providing a memorable gastronomic experience free from all glutens yet bold and experimental in taste and flavours.
Menu presented at La Feniere
Chateau La Verrerie, set amidst lush vineyards belongs to the Descours family, which has over the last 3 generations been deeply committed to this little wine-making gem of the Luberon that produces some of the finest French wines. A tour of this gorgeous estate takes you through its vast cellars and the history of wine-making which has moved from heavy old barrels (still seen here) to the gleaming stainless-steel efficiency of the modern wine-making process.
Savour the finer things in life at Domaine de Fontenille, a rambling country retreat set amidst the idyllic landscapes of Luberon in Provence. Time seems to stand still at this Savornin family estate turned boutique hotel, with its centuries-old vineyards, tinkling fountains and towering old cedar trees. On the outside Domaine de Fontenille's traditional green shutters, sandy walls and ornamental gardens hark back to its 18th-century origins. Inside, an intriguing blend of historic portraits and designer furnishings make for a contemporary and plush living experience. So wake up to tranquil views, relax at the outdoor pool, satiate your tastebuds at the in-house restaurant or just explore and discover more of Provence. If you're feeling energetic, take a horseback tour or hike into the foothills of the Luberon. If sightseeing is on the cards, venture into nearby Aix en Provence or journey through the famous lavender fields nearby (Bonnieux, Apt). Or simply seek out a cafe in a historic square and watch the world go by.
This idyllic romantic getaway housed in a classic French manor, also offers an explosive gastronomic experience in its restaurant Champ des Lunes, which is the playground for Michelin starred chef, Jerome Faure, known as much for his bold, contemporary creations as for his artistic yet flavour-packed approach to food. Chef Faure's food is a celebration of intermingling colours, complimentary flavours and harmonic textures, underlining his unbridled creativity and passion and famed precision and technique.
Menu presented by Chef Jerome Faure to Shipra Khanna
Steeped in history with a busy harbour and a vibrant urban energy, Marseille is a cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic melting pot and the Capital of Provence. Everywhere you visit in Marseille, you are never far from the serene turquoise waters of the Mediterranean - whether walking along a charming old street with eye-catching graffiti, winding your way along white beaches and picturesque, hilly roads or taking in the tranquil magnificence of the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, which is perched at the summit of the city. The Old Port area is the most vibrant part of this stunning harbour city with a plethora of restaurants offering every cuisine imaginable. Some exclusive gourmet delicacies typical to Marseille:
Set in a stately building dating back to the 18th Century and perched in grand splendour atop a hill, overlooking the bustling Old Port of Marseilles, The Intercontinental promises an exclusive luxury experience in this charming French city, steeped in history. Chef Lionel Levy, the renowned Michelin starred Head Chef at The Intercontinental's restaurant, 'L'Alcyone' introduced us to Marseille's most famous dish - Bouillabaisse.
An aromatic, deeply flavoured fish stew originating from the time when sailors would come in with a fresh catch and rustle up this rustic delicacy, a typical Bouillabaise includes at least 3 types of fish simmered together with vegetables. The broth is traditionally served with a rouille (a kind of mayonnaise), on slices of grilled bread. Chef Levy though presented us with his own mindblowingly creative twist to this traditional dish - a frothy, divinely delicious Bouillabaise Milkshake!
Les Goudes lies at the very end of Marseilles and is reached via scenic drives hugging stunning shorelines and the hypnotic blue of the Mediterranean. With picturesque harbour views and a wide variety of premium bars and restaurants, Les Goudes makes for a charming, must-visit experience.
L 'Esplai Du Grand Bar des Goudes is a gorgeous seafood speciality restaurant. Spicy dishes with a sunny touch, not to mention fish, shellfish and other seafood delicacies make up the famed local fare.
Le Comptoir aux Huiles is a charming olive oil cellar and shop in the heart of Marseille, offering exclusive olive oil tastings and pairings with different aperitifs. With walls lined with olive oil casks and bottles and delightful treasures tucked into every nook, this delightful olive-oil speciality shop offers a charming and distinctly Marseille experience where a traditional Aperitifs feast was laid out for us.
In the heart of this charming French city's ancient harbour area, Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port is a luxury 5-star hotel which blends rich history with contemporary design. This hotel is also accessible by boat from the Chateau d'If and the calanques.
Yet for all its glamour, a relaxed Mediterranean vibe predominates here. Its luxurious Les Trois Forts restaurant and terrace offers panoramic views of the scenic Marseille harbour area as well as mind-blowing creative cuisine.