Rachel Khoo


Posted by Rachel

February 21st, 2013

Looking for tips for Marseille/Avignon/Montpellier region

I’m heading to the South of France again for more research for my new book. This time, I’m off to Marseille, Avignon and Montpellier (and any other must-see spots in this region). Any ideas or suggestions for places that I should check out? Any locals who could share some tips for fabulous local markets/producers with me? I’ll be checking out as many restaurants, local producers, museums, and bars/bistros as I can.

Any suggestions are welcome (leave your comments here on the blog). Merci!

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23 thoughts on “Looking for tips for Marseille/Avignon/Montpellier region

  1. Two places I’d really recommend you going to in Marseille are La Caravelle & Le Comptoir Dugommier :


    Two places I’d really recommend you going to in Marseille are La Caravelle & Le Comptoir Dugommier :



  2. You have to go to O’Bontemps in Magalas , further south of Montpellier. Narbonne covered market and the Ethan de Thau for its oysters ( don’t forget to drink some picpoul with them! )

  3. Hey Rachel! J’ai habité à Aix-en-Provence à l’occasion d’un programme d’échange dans ma graduation pour étudier Sciences Po à l’IEP d’Aix. Je me trouve un peu tendencieuse pour le dire, mais il faut ABSOLUMENT aller à Aix! C’est la ville des marchés (et il n’y a guère de chose pareille à un marché provençale); dans ce cas, je te conseille de prendre la navette depuis marseille st. cherles, ce qui va t’emmener au centre-ville d’Aix! Tant mieux si tu es en voiture! Comme ça tu seras plus à l’aise avec les achats! Ce que je peux te dire c’est que tu veras l’une des villes les plus charmantes de provence! N’oublies pas d’acheter le miel aux lavandes, l’huile d’olive de provence, les olives de provence, bien sûr, et évidemment, le vin rosé de Provence (OMG!)!! Les légumes seront incroyables! La qualité est extraordinaire et aussi le peuple provençale est très accueillant! Il y a qqch très provençale que tu ne peux pas râter à Aix. Tu dois le connaître déjà, mais en tout cas, la pizza Pissaladière du resto Chez Jo est incroyable! la mixture des anchois et des olives, avec les onions presque sucrées, c’est inégalable…
    Je suis sûre que tu auras un grand séjour en Provence. Si jamais tu auras le temps, il faut aussi aller à l’ÃŽle-sur-la-Sorgue! C’est à côté d’Avignon et tu trouveras là-bas aussi des restos très accueillants et un marché provençale qui occupe TOUTE la ville!! Les rues sont remplies des arômes provençales – romarin, lavande, miel, gallettes, et le nougat!!!! Ah j’adore!!! Après il faudra tout raconter ici 🙂 Bon courage et bon voyage!!

  4. If you have the time I would suggest going to St. Remy-en-Provence for at least an afternoon. It is a lovely town with great shops. I suggest Le Bistrot de Marie for fabulous provencale fare in a funky and fun atmosphere. Have a great trip!

  5. Ah Lucky you!

    Here a few tips in case you beyond Montpellier, further south in the Languedoc. You should definitely do so. If not this time, next time. It´s a rough, unpolished version of South of France with plenty of discoveries to be made. OK I´m a bit biased, it´s home to me, but I´m not the only one saying so!

    The ´Halles` in Narbonne are definitely worth a visit ( I agree with Vivienne). My fav restaurants there are `L´Estagnol` (yummie see food) and `En Face`. I also heard a coop of local producers opened a shop recently somewhere in the outskirts of town (La Ferme – côté producteurs, Croix Sud). Certainly not where the tourists come but might be interesting for someone with culinary interest.

    As for markets, I like the one in Carcassonne, (Place Carnot Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday morning) and the one in the little town of Lézignan (wed morning). You also have to check out L´Oulibo, in Bize Minervois, the local olives coop with the most fantastic Lucques olives and delicious olive oil. And so many fantastic wines in the region (among which my brothers´ 🙂 http://www.prat-majou-gay.leminervois.com/?la=en )

    More restaurants (cooking with local products, authentic style restaurants, not per se the sophisticated kind) – Lo Cagarol in Aigne, La Grange in Bize, La Cave in La Caunette, L´Auberge des Lices in Carcassonne.

    As far as accommodations are concerned, there also are nice places to stay. I have my own gîte in a tiny village, back-to-basic charming village house http://www.ruedelancienfour.fr . More upscale addresses: also in my village, someone who renovated former agricultural buildings into lovely holiday houses http://www.gitesudfrance.com/ , or Hotel La Bastide : http://www.la-bastide-cabezac.com/, or B&B Villa Limonade: http://villalimonade.fr/

    Enjoy your trip!

  6. Dear Rachel,
    I also recommend Narbonne, Carcassonne for its Cassoulet . Close to these places you find a small little village called Bages – a small fisher village where you find painting artists. Check it out on the internet – it’s worth to go there. Besides, close to these places there’s also Gruissan – famous for the sea salt from there. And there’s also Banyuls – famous for its sweet wine 🙂 Cheers, Andy

  7. All three cities are fantastic places – especially Avignon!

    There are some amazing places around those Cities which are definitely worth a visit – maybe more so than the actual cities.

    Narbonne is an gorgeous place with special mention to their outstanding food market. I can’t remember what day I went but I’m fairly certain its open every morning.

    The small town of Pezenas which isn’t far from Montpellier is one of my favourite places in the whole of France. Gorgeous shops and restaurants. There are some amazing thai and sushi stops -which is pretty damn ‘out there’ for a tiny old fashioned french market town!

    Last but certainly not least the gorgeous little port of Marseillan. Me and my boyfriend have very special memories of a seafood feast in one of the restaurants in the port.

    AND if you do have time definitely go to Carcasonne. Awsome but very touristy. Hit up the chocolate shop!!!

    All fantastic – you will have the best time xxx

  8. Hi Rachel
    Just outside Montpellier is a coastal fishing town called Pavalas les Flots, the harbourside has many really good seafood restaurants. Well worth a visit.
    Have fun, the Languedoc is fabulous!

  9. Hi, Rachel! Please check out Narbonne, which is not far from Montpellier. There’s a very good food market! Very nice people, too! x

  10. Hi Rachel,
    In Montpellier, there is a really nice restaurant called Pastis, opened some months ago in the old town. Only “menu surprise” with fresh & seasonal products. The chef was working at Michel Bras restaurant in Laguiole and then at l’Astrance in Paris before opening its own place ! here is the address : http://www.le-pastis.fr
    Enjoy your trip!

  11. Bonjour Rachel! I have just been reading your newsletter and hearing all about your plans for your fabulous research trip…I work in the food industry myself and a product development project led me to spend a lot of time in Avignon a few years ago, it was really wonderful. I really, really recommend you eat at the L’Isle Sonnatte restaurant in Avignon http://www.provenceguide.co.uk/restaurant-l-isle-sonnante/avignon/tabid/8381/offreid/f47a2797-20b0-4149-810e-3959aa0daefc/more-infos-member-restaurants.aspx The restaurant itself is so tiny but really quirky and more importantly the food was just divine- some of the best I have ever eaten! It was a real gem of a find. Hope this helps and you have a wonderful time 🙂 x

  12. Rachel so proud of you for doing such an original job on all of it! You are unique and happy to say very special in your approach. Individual spirit and creative thinking are making you a success. Wonderful! Franklin Gothic Book Font is the one for me. Have fun and be safe on your trip! Regards-john&Alley

  13. If you’re near Avignon, try going to the market in Velleron. There are only small local producers and products are very high quality.

  14. Hey, I love Avignon and I live in the region. If you decide to go in Avignon you have to go to “l’atelier des thés” http://www.latelierdesthes.fr/ The food is so good always fresh, it s a small and cute place people are kind. The other place I love is not too far of “l’atelier des thés” it’s Aline Géhant Chocolatier http://www.aline-gehant-chocolatier.com , That’s for me the best chocolates in the region, My favorite is the Mendiant provençal, the honey Ganach and the passion fruit Ganach. Enjoy your trip in Avignon !

  15. This may be too late and you may already have gone but do try the bouillabaisse 🙂 I tried 4 (posted on hapinesswherever.wordpress.com) to search for the perfect one 🙂 Finally had to give up as it was taking a toll on my pocket 😛

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