Museum restaurants in The South of France for Art Lovers
1) Château La Coste
After visiting the outstanding sculpture park at Château La Coste, you can sit down to lunch or dinner in the vineyard. On sunny days, the summery La Terrasse Provençale is just the place you had in mind. A spacious pergola, where you can enjoy salads, cold soups, a cheese or charcuterie platter or a nice piece of cake and wash it down with a glass of one of the excellent wines they produce here. It can get busy at times and they do not accept bookings. Alternatively, you can also eat in the more minimalistic setting of the pavilion designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, for which you must call to reserve a table. If you’re up for a more elegant and lavish dining experience, Villa La Coste is your best option.
2) Le Café Caumont
If you’re looking for a stylish place to dine after visiting one of the many excellent exhibitions here, then Le Café Caumont in Aix-en-Provence is just the place to go. Step inside and you may be forgiven for thinking that you travelled back in time to the 18th century. But you can also sit outside on the terrace in the lovely garden. Café Caumont is open throughout the day and freely accessible – no need to pay the admission charge for the arts centre. Order a coffee or a more copious lunch. They regularly programme jazz concerts, too.
3) Le Charité Café
Le Panier, a hillside neighbourhood of Marseille, is always a great place for a walk. Marseille’s oldest neighbourhood has long been home to the city’s fishermen, with tiny houses lining the narrow, steep streets. Since then, many artists and designers have made it their home. This picturesque neighbourhood, with its many terraces, has plenty of places where you can eat or drink something. One of the quietest spots is tucked away behind the tall walls of La Vieille Charité, a former almshouse, which has since been converted into several museums and cultural institutions. Find the tranquil courtyard terrace, which is a lovely place to sit. Order a simple lunch – a salad or a sandwich – or a drink. The courtyard is freely accessible.
4) La Commanderie de Peyrassol
After visiting the marvelous sculpture park and vineyard at La Commanderie de Peyrassol you can enjoy an aperitif (and the sunset) at Le Bistrot de Lou. Book beforehand to be assured of a table. You can also have lunch or dinner on the terrace of Chez Jeannette among the vines, where they serve Provençal- style cuisine. The Commanderie also has guest rooms if you want to make your experience even more enjoyable.
5) Brasserie des Arts
The cafe-restaurant of the Musée Paul Valéry in Sète. An idyllic place, in a nice garden and some small water features, away from the tourists and the busy city centre. This hillside restaurant overlooks the Mediterranean and the fishermen’s cemetery from the flanks of the Mont Saint-Clair to which Paul Valéry dedicated a long poem. They serve coffee and lunch or dinner. The restaurant is primarily known for its fish dishes. Sète is a fishing port, after all.
6) Le Môle La Table & La Cuisine
There are two restaurants, that offer breathtaking views of the surroundings, on the roof of Mucem – the Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée. From your rooftop vantage point, you can see the Mediterranean, the port of Marseille and the Cathédrale de la Major. Take your pick. Le Môle La Table, serves a prix fixe menu, that changes daily, and can seat 80 guests. Le Môle La Cuisine resembles a large canteen and can seat up to 130 guests. You can also have a drink on the outdoor terrace on the top floor, where food stands often serve quick and tasty bites.
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The South of France for Art Lovers is one of the spin-off titles of The 500 Hidden Secrets series of essential city guides. This guide focusses on one particular aspect of the region of the South of France.
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