6 Top Picks Eating and Drinking in the Rhone Valley
Located in Provence’s wine country, Fontaine des Magnarelles is a delightful Bed and Breakfast (B&B). The 18th-century Provençal country house, constructed with traditional stone, has five spacious guest bedrooms. In addition, there is a communal space with room for sharing meals, playing board games, and planning excursions. Each morning guests enjoy a generous breakfast spread on the terrace, weather permitting. Also, most weeks, the owners propose large seasonal plates, charcuterie and cheese boards, or Table d’hôtes (a meal the host prepares) for dinners. However, as there are also many tempting restaurant options nearby, we asked the owners Chantal et Jean-François Bernard, for their top picks for eating and drinking in the region.
Just a short drive from Avignon with its Palais des Papes, Pont d’Avignon and annual summer festivals, the B&B is a quiet property that is an ideal holiday base for exploring Provence. The opportunities for day trips from Fontaine des Magnarelles are endless, from vineyards to the Mediterranean coastline. Explore the perched villages of the Luberon or go shopping for antiques in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. After a day of exploring, you may not want to go far from the B&B, so this restaurant offers creative cuisine in a refined country atmosphere. They have a beautiful terrace, and it is two minutes away from Fontaine des Magnarelles.
Le Moulin Rive Gauche
Route de la Roque
84210 Althen des Paluds
Telephone: +33 (0)4 90 28 73 98
Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner and Sundays for lunch only. There are menu options for takeaway as well. Reservations recommended.
Wine and Dine
Wine lovers may choose to explore the vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The only problem might be deciding which direction to drive! Fontaine des Magnarelles is in the southern Rhône Valley, with renowned winemaking villages such as Rustrel, Gigondas, Beaume de Venise, and Vacqueyras, all within easy reach.
Plan for your visit to Châteauneuf-du-Pape and book a table at
Le Restaurant du Verger des Papes
2 Rue du Château
84230 Châteauneuf du Pape
This excellent restaurant is at the top of the Chateauneuf du Pape village, with a superb view of the Rhône valley, Avignon, and the Palais des Papes. There is also a wine cave so that you can taste wines before or after your meal. Open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. In addition, the wine-tasting cave is open on the same days from 10:30 to 18:30. Reservations are recommended for both.
Since we all know that small can be great for food, this restaurant is in the heart of Saint Saturnin lès Avignon and is a must-try. Run by Camille, a Maitre Restaurateur (since 2020), and her husband Toni, the menu at Restaurant O’Gastos offers excellent value for money.
49 Rue Porte de Jonquerettes
Reserve by phone: +33 (0)4 90 88 11 93
The restaurant is open Wednesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner and on Sundays for lunch only. Reservations are required.
Mont Ventoux Wines
The diversity of climate, soil and elevations also translates into prime agricultural land. Below Mont Ventoux’s summit are cherry and stone fruit orchards, olive groves and thousands of grapevines. This region may be one of the oldest wine-producing zones in France. Evidence from the remains of a pottery workshop, including wine-related clay pots, have been found and archaeologically dated to roughly 30 BC (Roman era). Despite Roman vine stock and the Avignon Popes’ (1309-77) encouragement of the wine industry, the Appellation Côtes du Ventoux was only established in 1973.
In 2010, Côtes du Ventoux rebranded as AOC Ventoux. There are 6,700 hectares of vines cultivated in this area of the Southern Rhône Valley. The AOC has three distinct regions from north to south: the Malaucène basin, the Carpentras amphitheatre and the southern section closest to the Luberon vineyards. While there are many lovely vineyards and well-stocked wine cooperative, these are two vineyards that our friends at Fontaine des Magnarelles recommend.
Domaine de Mas Caron
1187 Route Carpentras
Telephone: +33 (0)6 72 84 33 01
Cerise and Marc Boulon met in Paris, and after discussions over drinks, they shared a love for many things, including wine. The Boulons discovered Mas Caron near Mont Ventoux and began a new chapter as winemakers. They offer guided tours of the property.
1365 Bis Route de Flassan
Telephone: +33 (0)4 90 61 94 08
Château Pesquié is Provencal postcard perfection, with the soaring limestone summit of Mont Ventoux as a backdrop and a leafy canopy of plane trees shading the bastide’s entrance. The Provencal name pesquié is a derivative of the Latin “pescarium,” meaning fishpond or basin.
Learn to Cook
Chef Christine Garcia offers two-hour cooking classes in French if you are interested in learning to cook some traditional Provencal dishes. Book one of these hands-on workshops for delicious culinary fun at Fontaine des Magnarelles.