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Some recommendations from a recent trip to Provence

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We spent four nights in Provence, with Avignon as our base, this past September.
Wanted to pass along some recommendations from our stay.

Hotel d' Europe: This was a great choice for us. An easy walk to bustling Place
de l'Horloge, the Palace of the Popes and St. Benezet Bridge. Our room was nicely furnished, with a spacious bathroom and balcony. We had a lovely dinner at
La Vieille Fontaine, the hotel's restaurant. Staff could not have been nicer or more accommodating; everyone knew our names. We would stay here again.

La Fourchette, 17 rue Racine: We loved our dinner and the quirky decor at this
small, cozy eatery. Starters were a chicken pate in aspic with carmelized onions and
a salad with mozzarella and the most luscious tomatoes we have ever eaten; each had the daube(beef cheek stew in winesauce with mushrooms, carrots and black olives), with sides of baked cheese and penne noodles. Desserts were profiteroles and
a slice of the house specialty cake with meringue. Delicious food and warm service.
We returned the next day for eggplant with red pepper sauce and another mozzarella and tomato salad.

Christian Etienne, 10 rue de Mons, next to the Palace of the Popes: This was our splurge. We sat on their lovely terrace and both ordered the Menu du Palais --6 courses (terrine of duck liver with absinthe, filet of John Dory, Duck 3 Ways, a rolling cart filled with cheeses and accompaniments, candied fruits, a plate of chocolate desserts) and several amuse bouches were served and enjoyed over 2 1/2 hours. Chef Etienne was very welcoming; his staff was attentive and fun, and his food was terrific.

Puyricard, 33 rue Joseph Vernet: great chocolates here, as well as calisson, caramels and other treats.

We chose not to rent a car and hired Laurent Catoni with All Provence Tours, Over two very full days, we visited the Sunday market at L'Isle sur la Sorgue, Fontaine de Vaucluse, Gordes, Roussillon, the synagogue at Cavaillon, St. Paul Monastery at St. Remy,( the asylum where Van Gogh was treated), Roman ruins, Les Baux, Arles and the Pont du Gard; sampled olive oils, tapenades, honeys, and other local fare. Laurent was knowledgeable, engaging, and passionate. He greatly enhanced our experience of this beautiful region.

Some day we hope to return and further explore Provence.

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