On our final day in Provence, we perused the Sunday market at L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Located 23 kilometers from Avignon, this small Provençal town is famous for its Venice-like canals, working water wheels, and sprawling Sunday market. As we crisscrossed our way along the waterways, we found hundreds of vendors selling everything from local produce to soaps to espadrilles. I bought some of each.
First, cherries and cantaloupes were procured for a light breakfast. The vendor was nice enough to slice our melon into manageable pieces.
With our fingers sticky with fruit juice, we moseyed over to the sausage vendor, where we purchased three beautiful links for lunch. The Astronomer chose an herb-crusted sausage, while Mom chose a smoked variety. I settled on one made with figs. All three were seriously amazing. The vendor was nice enough to slice our sausages into manageable pieces.
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In between our back to back dinners at AOC, The Astronomer, Mom, and I lunched at Ginette et Marcel, a petit restaurant specializing in tartines (open-faced sandwiches). While there was plenty of seating available inside the restaurant, most everyone who dined here this afternoon chose a table al fresco. Another day in Avignon, another lovely meal set in a picturesque courtyard. Life sure is beautiful in Provence.
We chose a table inside because the space was just so lovely. From the shelves lined with dried goods to the sausages hung to dry, the vibe and aesthetics here were effortlessly stylish. As far as I am concerned, this is the most adorable restaurant in all of France.
The tartines du jour were scrawled on a chalkboard.
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Of all the restaurants that we had the pleasure of visiting while in France, I would be most thrilled if AOC expanded stateside. Tucked into a quiet courtyard in Avignon, this wine bar offered everything that I could ever want from a restaurant. The service was helpful and efficient, the al fresco seating couldn’t be beat, the wines and food were priced just right, and let me tell you about their beef tartare…
I was crushing so hard on AOC after our meal here that we gave it another go the following evening. It’s the only restaurant of the trip to have had the distinction of being visited twice.
AOC, in case you’re curious, stands for the appellation d’origine contrôlée:
The French certification granted to certain French geographical indications for wines, cheeses, butters, and other agricultural products, all under the auspices of the government bureau Institut national des appellations d’origine, now called Institut national de l’origine et de la qualité (INAO). It is based on the concept of terroir.
I was putty in AOC’s hands as soon as this plank of house-made charcuterie and cheeses arrived. There were heaps of pork rilettes, a slice of gelatinous headcheese, thick cuts of salami, and beautiful cheeses of all stripes—stinky, runny, blue, hard, and creamy. Best of all were the sausages embedded with Roquefort! Served in tandem with this spread to shame all other spreads were snappy cornichons, salted butter, and bread. This, paired with several glasses of chilled white wine, was pure heaven.
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