Walking and Eating in Provence


walk & eat AVIGNON

by John and Pat Underwood

Sunflower have led the field for years with their brilliant Landscapes walking and car touring guides. Now they have raised their game even higher with a superb new Walk & Eat series. (Frank Barrett, Mail on Sunday)

Full of wonderful tips of Avignon and surrounding areas (EP, Amazon)

Great guide book, lots of interesting walking, information on local history and places to eat (flash, Amazon)

Click below to read walker’s reviews and use the ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon.co.uk (RRP £8.99)


Or, purchase the complete book as a downloadable PDF using the Add to Basket button below (£7).



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W&E Avignon

This pocket-sized full-colour guide to walking in Provence is designed for short-break walking holidays around Avignon and the Roman cities of Nîmes and Arles using the excellent public transport services. Avignon is just 2h30min from Paris by TGV (6 hours direct from London in summer); it is also served by coach and budget airlines.

Even ‘non-walkers’ will appreciate the large-scale city plans, descriptions of the sights, and recommendations for eating out in Provence. For each suggested restaurant there is a photograph of the décor and one of their dishes, sample menu, price guide, opening times, and a recipe for one of their specialities.

Other sections include: planning your trip, logistics on arrival (using public transport, tourist information, shopping), local markets and specialities, glossary of local food terms, and a restaurant mini-vocabulary. A special feature is the emphasis on natural local foods suitable for those with food intolerances. All recipes have been made by the authors and are known to ‘work’.

Area covered: Besides Avignon, Nîmes and Arles, the book covers many other highlights: St-Rémy, Les Baux, the Alpilles, Barbentane, Gordes and the Pont du Gard (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) — all easily accessible by public transport.

The best months for countryside walking in Provence are from late September till May. In summer it’s best to just stroll around the sights and sites using the large-scale town plans and enjoy eating out in Provence!


Where to stay

Your choice of where to look for accommodation will be governed by several factors. For instance, if you intend to hire a car you will benefit from a much wider choice. On the other hand if you plan to rely on public transport, you will need to choose a centre offering good access to the walk routes or excursions you plan to do. There is also the factor of what type of accommodation you plan to use, for example whether you plan to stay in a hotel or in a self-catering apartment or villa. The author provides useful advice on the various options in the Where to Stay chapter which will be found in the introductory pages of the book.

Edition/contents etc

10 walks and suggested excursions by train, bus and boat
144 pages + large-scale plans of Avignon, Nîmes, Arles, and St-Rémy; area map; 1:35,000 topo maps for the countryside walks

2nd ed, 2014; ISBN 978-1-85691-453-6; UK retail price £8.99 / USA retail price $14.99

Table of contents:

the walks 5
the restaurants 5
the recipes 6
planning your visit 7
when to go 7
where to stay 8
what to take 9
planning your walks 10
verifying timetables in advance 12
on arrival 15
rail and bus passes 15
parking in the cities 15
tourist information 16
shopping for self-catering 17
markets 18
excursions in the area 20
excursions by train 20
excursions by coach 22
excursions by boat 23
Walk 1 · around avignon 24

PLAN OF AVIGNON inside front cover
restaurant: le forum in place de l’horloge 34
recipe: petit salé aux lentilles (lean pork belly with lentils) 35
Walk 2 · around nîmes 36

restaurant: le pavillon de la fontaine in the jardins de la fontaine 50
recipe: seafood salad with a citrus vinaigrette 51
Walk 3 · around arles 52

restaurant: le malarte on boulevard des lices 66
recipe: lobster or crayfish risotto 67
Walk 4 · from st-rémy to les baux 68
restaurant: au porte mages at the gates of les baux 76
recipe: galette de sarrasin garrigue (buckwheat crèpe
with provençal filling) 77
Walk 5 · from les baux to st-rémy 78

restaurant: bistrot découverte in central st-rémy 86
recipe: filets de loup de mer au fenouil
(sea bass fillets with fennel) 87
Walk 6 · barbentane and frigolet 88
restaurant: le romarin in the centre of barbentane 96
recipe: souris d’agneau confites à l’ail (lamb shanks with garlic) 97
Walk 7 · pont du gard 98
restaurants: vers, pont du gard, uzès 105
recipe: soupe au pistou (vegetable soup with pistou) 107
Walk 8 · tour des opies 108
restaurant: la sartan in aureille’s church square 113
recipe: escalope de veau normande (veal escalope,
Normandy-style) 114
recipes: tapenade; moelleux au chocolat (‘molten’ chocolate) 115
Walk 9 · from aureille to le destet 116
Walk 10 · gordes and sénanque 122
restaurants: le provençal and la pause in central gordes 130
recipe: veau marenço (‘napoleon’s veal’) 131
EAT GF, DF 134
eating in restaurants 135
self-catering 136
gf, df shopping 137
gf, df cooking; conversion tables 139
GLOSSARY (menu items, shopping terms) 140
IN the restaurant (pocket vocabulary) inside back cover

Guidebook index

Alpilles, Les (mountain chain) 5, 20, 22, 68-87, 73, 81, 108, 110, 111, 116, 118, 118-9, 121
Antiques, Les (Roman site) 70-1, 80-1, 82, 83
Arles 4, 5, 14, 15, 19, 21, 23, 52-67, 52, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 63, 64, 66
town plan 54-5
Aureille 108-115, 110, 112, 113, 116-121, 118-9, 120
Avignon 4, 5, 6, 8, 17, 18, 19, 21, 23, 24-35, 24, 26, 28, 31, 32, 34
town plan inside front cover
Barbentane 88-94, 88, 90, 94, 96
Baux, Les (-de-Provence) 21, 22, 68-87, 68, 70-1, 73, 76, 78, 81, 80-1, 83
Camargue 21, 22
Destet, Le 116-121, 116, 118, 118-9, 119
Fontaine de Vaucluse 21, 22
Fontvieille 20, 21, 22
Gardon (river) 98, 102, 105
Glanum (Roman site, near St-Rémy) 58, 70-1, 79, 80-1, 83
Gordes 122-131, 124, 126, 128, 129
Village des Bories 124, 125
Montagnette, La (mountain) 88, 90
Montmajour, Abbaye de 20, 21
Nîmes 4, 5, 12, 5, 16, 18, 21, 36-51, 36, 40, 41, 42, 45, 46, 49, 50
town plan 38-9
Opies, Les (part of the Alpilles chain) and Tour des Opies 108-115, 108, 111, 111
Peiroou, Lake (near St-Rémy) 68-87, 70-1, 80-1, 73
Pont du Gard 20, 21, 98-107, 98, 100, 102, 103, 105
Rhône (river) 21, 23, 29, 30, 31, 52, 61, 65
St-Michel-de-Frigolet (abbey on La Montagnette) 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 95
St-Paul-de-Mausole (monastery, near St-Rémy) 83, 84, 85
St-Rémy (-de-Provence) 13, 15, 21, 68-87, 70, 70-1, 74, 80-1, 84, 85, 86
town plan 71, 83
Sénanque, Abbaye de (near Gordes) 122-131, 122, 124, 127
Vers (-Pont-du-Gard) 98-107, 100, 104, 106
Villeneuve-les-Avignon 23, 30

apéritif of white wine, thyme and honey 91 (see photo caption)
escalope de veau normande (veal escalope Normandy-style) 114
filets de loup de mer au fenouil (sea bass fillets with fennel) 87
galette de sarrasin garrigue (buckwheat crèpe with Provençal filling) 77
lobster or crayfish risotto 67
moelleux au chocolat (‘molten’ chocolate 115
petit salé aux lentilles (lean pork belly with lentils) 35
seafood salad with a citrus vinaigrette 51
soupe au pistou (vegetable soup with pistou) 107
souris d’agneau confites à l’ail (lamb shanks with garlic) 97
veau marenço (‘Napoleon’s veal’) 131

Current update

Walk & Eat Series: AVIGNON (12/07/2014); updated 23/11/15

Updates given below supplement the information provided in the guidebook. It is vital that this Update is read in conjunction with the text of the book, but note that the Update applies only to the edition stated.

Information has been forwarded to us by users of the book, and Sunflower Books offers the data in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any misleading or inaccurate content in the Update. Unless indicated otherwise, what appears here has not been verified by the author or publisher, so please allow due caution when new or amended routes are suggested. Each piece of information is dated; bear in mind that some of the older observations may have since been overtaken by events or further changes. If, during your holiday, you are using the current edition of the guide and are able to provide any additional updating to add to this page, we will be pleased to hear from you. Please send information by e-mail to info@sunflowerbooks.co.uk.

General: Provence by rail all year round! Eurostar have recently announced a 6h15min service from London St Pancreas to Marseille to run all year round. The train will only make two stops, at Lyon and Avignon. So it will only take something under 6h from London to Avignon, without the hassle of security queues and airport transfers. The service will start on May 1st 2015 – just perfect for walking in Provence before the weather gets too hot. (Sunflower)

Food shopping: Avignon: I’m delighted to report that there is now an organic stall in Les Halles. As you come in from Place Pie it’s in the first aisle on the far left-hand side. They do a good range of bio fruits and vegetables that you can choose yourself plus a range of dry goods and some GF stuff. But they don’t have a chilled cabinet. For things like soya yogurts and a better range of GF foods (such as biscuits, pasta), there’s a little shop down the street on the north side of Les Halles. (User, 3/09) + That ‘bio’ stall in Les Halles is called Le Panier des Amis and the phone is I was also excited (how sad is this?!) to find almond milk in Carrefour in rue de la Republique. (User, 3/10) • You may like to know than Monoprix, 24 Rue de la Republique, Avignon (page 18) is now a department store and does not sell food.We found 3 small supermarkets in the city centre (all of which had a small gluten free section) –

  • Carrefour City 23 Rue de la Répblique,  Avignon
  • Carrefour City 19 Rue Florence,  Villeneuve-lès-Avignon
  • Spar, 40 Rue Bonneterie, Avignon,

Additionally we could not find Grain d’Or in Nimes (page 138).  We think it is an empty shop now. (User, 11/15)

Walk 1: A few people have written to say they do not like Le Forum. One suggested l’Opera instead. But if you look at Trip Advisor, people are now complaining about that as well. Please bear in mind that some of our restaurants are chosen for their location, not necessarily the food (although we find the food at Forum better than just acceptable). We like to sit and watch the world go by… (The authors, 5/15)

Walk 2: We got the last table at Aux Plaisirs des Halles, 4 rue Littre ( and had the best meal out of the holiday for 68 euros including wine and water (not DF, but thanks to you I had the lactase tablets with me). Wonderful imaginative cooking with market-fresh ingredients. (User, 3/09)

Walk 5: When you reach the lake, our walk takes the right-hand fork towards “Les Antiques”. Do not continue on the left-hand fork unless you are very adventurous. Here is a description of the left-hand route (GR6) from another user: “The waymarked GR6 follows the eastern shore of the lake for a while. However, once it leaves the lake, it is nothing like the description in the guide. For someone with no head for heights it gradually becomes more and more horrendous. First, there is a bit of scrambling across rocks, which isn’t too bad, then an ascent up steep steps cut into the rocks. After this, we felt that it would be impossible to go back (as going down is always worse than going up), but then there is a ladder up a vertical rock face! It would be helpful to have a warning in the guide that this part of GR6 should not be attempted by those who suffer from vertigo.” (User, 2010) [This last comment brought to mind the first time we ever did this walk, starting at St-Remy and following the GR6. The “ladder” was quite a surprise. It seemed the path just ended at a deep rabbit hole, into which a ladder had been bolted. No part of the ladder was above ground, so one had to lower oneself onto it. Never having seen one of these before, Pat almost dislocated her shoulder approaching it clumsily. (The Authors)] • The lovely Table d’Orientation shown on page 81 has been vandalised — completely chiselled off, probably to make someone a souvenir coffee table. This is very very sad: it was there for decades. (Authors, 5/15)

Walk 6: IMPORTANT: There is a major change to this walk after the Abbey of Frigolet because the landowners have closed some access. After the 1h30min-point, you round the Mont de la Mère. The text reads ‘The next fork, after 200m, is an important junction: go left.’ Do not go left here! Continue for another 300m to the next junction, then go left. This track is the Draille du Mas de la Dame, and you can continue straight on (there are no longer any forks to worry about)… The chateau at Barbentane is no longer open for visits… Les Romarins, our recommended restaurant in Barbentane, may be under new ownership. Their website has changed. There are a lot of photographs, but the décor look different. The menus look different, too, but there are a lot of photos of their dishes. It has good reviews nevertheless. The only day we were in Barbentane this spring we were to late to call in. There used to be a lovely restaurant at Frigolet; it closed for some years, but has reopened under new management. We stopped there for a meal, not realising it was a bank holiday. They were very busy, so we just ordered a tomato salad and drinks. Unfortunately the salad was not nice. It is perhaps unfair to judge on a day when they were so busy. The garden is a lovely place to stop for a break. (Authors, 5/15)

Walk 7: Having passed the Chapelle St-Pierre, the route is more straightforward: just continue straight ahead on the lane to a T-junction and turn left through the barrier, passing a house on the right… Le Jardin de la Gare (page 106) has a new owner/chef. It’s called La Petite Gare (www.laspetitegare.net; in French, but mostly decipherable). We had a superb dinner there a couple of weeks ago: gaspacho to die for (with tomato sorbet on the side), beef tartare, Thai red chicken curry. We do hope that this place will survive; it’s not a location for passing trade. It’s only open for lunch and Thur/Fri dinner; book! (Tel 04 6603 40 67) … By the way, we stayed at the Bégude St-Pierre, re-opened after 12 years and totally rebuilt. But it is still a lovely hotel, with very friendly management. (Authors, 5/15)

Walks 8 and 9: La Sartan is no more. The place has been bought by a chef who trained at the L’Oustau de Baumanière and other top-class restaurants. It is now called La Table des Alpilles (Tel 04 88 40 07 29). Incredibly, from Mon-Fri for lunch he is offering a formula at only 15 euros. Otherwise there is a menu at 20 euros. Naturally in the evening it is much more expensive. Of course one can also eat à la carte as we did: we just had one superb course of John Dory with a pastry basket of vegetables and flowers! There are now tables outside in the square. So this is quite a treat, and we hope that he makes a success of it. (The authors, 5/15)

Walk 10: Both of our restaurants in Gordes closed in 2014! We tried to find a substitute in May but had a very disappointing meal. We do wonder what will happen to the old Provençal (which was there forever!): after all, this is probably the very best location in the village, with a lovely terrace from which to watch the world go by. We’re really surprised that no one has taken it over yet – there must be a story there. (Authors, 5/15)