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Hotel Crillon le Brave - good stop between Beaune and Nice?

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Mar 18th, 2009, 10:55 AM
  #1
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Hotel Crillon le Brave - good stop between Beaune and Nice?

As part of a 16 day tour of France my husband and I are driving from Beaune to Nice. Based on recommendations of fellow Fodorites, an overnight stopover seemed like a good idea. Every time I think I have found a great place to stay, I find ANOTHER great place. So Hotel Crillon le Brave is the latest. Husband really likes this one (nice pool and a bit more luxurious then my last choice – Le Clos de la Glycine in Roussillon.) On an internet map, Crillon le Brave seems to be on the way and bit closer to Beaune than Roussillon.

My questions are:

1) Is this close enough to the highway to make this a reasonable stopover for 1 night?

2) How is the hotel and village? Since we are staying for 1 night we are looking for an (unfortunately brief) taste of Provence, nice place to sleep, restaurants nearby or on premises -- a pool and a nearby village to stroll are plusses.

Thanks all!
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Mar 18th, 2009, 11:33 AM
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1. It's a little off the beaten path - but worth the detour
2. The hotel IS the village - it's a tiny tiny hill top
hamlet. There is one other resto - IIRC it's called
Le Four - and it's a great little place with a lovely
view over the countryside. The hotel has a very upscale
resto and a lovely pool. The nearest village for a nice
stroll would be Bedoin.
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Mar 18th, 2009, 11:41 AM
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A nice place. I have been there many times...
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Mar 18th, 2009, 12:00 PM
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We've spent 6 weeks vacationing in that area recently. I agree with everything immimi stated. Here is a write-up I did about my 60th birtyday dinner there.

We had visited the hotel on previous occasions and the setting was fabulous. We had never stayed there before, however. The hotel is terraced and the views east in the evening (with the sun at your back) are spectacular. We were staying close by in a Gite (for the second time) for the entire month of June. We arrived in Provence on June 2 & my birthday is June 6, so we reserved ahead from the US. I was hoping to dine outside

Early June of ’07 was quite cold – we didn’t dine outside for the first 2 weeks. However, the inside restaurant at Crillon la Brave was quite cozy & romantic. We were seated at a table next to the fireplace at one end of the vaulted dining room. We noticed that two legs of lamb were suspended from a wire and were slowly roasting in the wood burning fireplace. The aromas were tantalizing.

We received the menus and there was no fixed price menu – which didn’t bother us because we were going to splurge here & order anything we wanted. I am a very adventuresome eater, and I always gravitate to something on the menu that I’ve never tried before. The main course menu at the restaurant did not have anything that looked interesting to me:

Leg of lamb (which was roasting in front of us)
Camargue Bull
Veal
Chicken
Bar
Rougets – you see these on many, many menus in the South
Sandre – not one of my favorite fishes
Risotto with morels – I don’t want risotto in France

I almost never order beef in France, because I think our beef in the US is much better (I’ve heard Paul Bocuse make this statement also). Anyway, I ordered:
- Foie Gras in a glass terrine – normally I would not order this at a “high end” restaurant because it’s available everywhere in France and I often purchase it at markets & have it at our gites – but it was the only thing on the appetizer menu that seemed interesting
- Gambas with spring olives, fava beans, in a light tomato sauce – which was OK
- Caramgue Bull with French fries and Bernaise sauce. You can get fries anywhere in France and Bernaise sauce is a standard at most good beef restaurants in the US – and this offering of it wasn’t anything special. The plate came with only these 3 things. No art-on-the-plate, no tiny halved asparagus spears, no other vegetables or purees – just the 3 “steak frites” type items. The Camargue Bull was cooked perfectly, but had very little taste. This was to be my last beef in France for as long as I live. I’ll stick to US prime or US Kobe beef. The price of this entree was 35E. It was not the restaurant’s fault that the beef was tasteless – but they could have done a much better job of presentation and adorned the plate with other things for $50.
- Pomme Tarte with caramel sauce & vanilla ice cream – with a chocolate “Happy Birthday” spelled out on top (in English). This dessert was very good.

My wife had the diced tuna tartar , the Rugets, and strawberries tossed with sugar-crystal covered lavender. She said the dishes were OK, but all pretty ordinarily prepared & presented.

Also, this restaurant was perhaps the only mid to upper-end restaurant in France that we’ve dined at, that did NOT serve and Amuse Bouche. They either don’t serve it, or they forgot ours.

The most amusing part of the dinner was the leg of lamb. There were two legs roasting in the fireplace. Each time lamb was served, a young waitress carried a dish up to the leg, grabbed a carving knife, and proceeded to slice a serving from the leg. When I carve a leg of lamb at home, I cut vertical to the bone so each piece is crisp on the outside and pink in the middle. She carved horizontal to the bone, so the first piece was all crisp & medium-well to well done, and the last piece was all pink. I also only plan on serving 6 “cuts” from each leg – usually the “end” pieces near the foot are not that good of a cut and are usually cooked medium-well. What was amusing, and an “attention getter” for us and the other diners in the restaurant, was the number of servings they obtained from each leg. Perhaps because the weather was cold, a roast seemed like a popular choice for too many diners. As the evening proceeded, the waitress cut more & more servings from each leg and the carcass soon looked like it had been picked over by vultures. But the waitress continued to slice tendons, fat, & gristle from the carcass. People at other tables were finding this an interesting thing to watch. As she approached the carcass, heads would turn and people would start chuckling. A table of 6 next to us was finding this amusing. Finally their entrees arrived and one person ordered the lamb. When the waitress set the plate in front of him, the other diners howled in laughter. If I had been at the other end of the room and had not watched the waitress serve tendons & gristle to others – and a plate of such was set in front of me, I would have refused the entrée. A Relais et Chateau establishment charging pretty steep prices, should know how many “good” servings can be obtained from a leg. When that limit was ordered, they should tell customers that the item was no longer available. The Leg was 27E.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 18th, 2009, 12:05 PM
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Be still my heart!! That is one of my favorite places.It sits atop the village next to the church,
Through the years they have added more buildings and have absorbed most of the village. It's built on tiers. There's a restaurant with a beautidul view on one, a less expensive Pub, on another, the swimming pool on yet another level. You can drive down to the main road and visit the closeby village
down below is Bedoin
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Mar 18th, 2009, 02:15 PM
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Thanks for the restaurant experience, Stu, makes me happy
that we've gone to the little one on the east side - is it
Le Four? In any case, it's run by a lovely lady and her
large dog. The dog seems to be in charge.

I know it's more casual than C-l-B but it serves very
nice food - I've had monkfish there a few times and it
was lovely.

I agree, last June in France was very damp and cold -
we were in gites in very rural parts of Brittany and
Allier and we had to buy fleecey tops and raingear.
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Mar 18th, 2009, 03:44 PM
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You are all confirming my latest impulse for Crillon le Brave – and I think that’s where we’ll stay – but will not go out of our way to eat at the hotel restaurant. I had read a review on Tripadvisor that an evening at the restaurant cost 350 euros for 2! There are very few circumstances in which we’ll spend that kind of money on dinner. So glad to hear there is another option – someone on Tripadvisor referred to it as Le Vieux Four. Thanks!
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Mar 18th, 2009, 03:56 PM
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the other resto they have, that I call the pub, is much less expensive. Check it out when you are there. Note the beautiful floral paintings, they were painted by one of the owners, Craig. We never paid that much for dinners, maybe since the spa facilities were implamented the prices increased...sad
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