London art dealer Simon Lee recommended his two favorite restaurants in Provence for us
to try. Our first stop, lunch at La Chassagnette in the heart of the Camarque, was
fifteen minutes from Arles, if you don't get lost ...... as we did, but it
was absolutely incredible and well-worth the detour!!!!
Opened in 2000 by Swiss art collector Maja Hoffmann and her husband Stanley Buchthal, La Chassagnette is a stunning combination of natural charm and contemporary design. Inspired by the marriage of fresh farm-products, organic agriculture, and gastronomy ....... chef Armand Arnal creates a memorable dinning experience. He uses fresh from the earth, eco-produce from gardener Catherine Louis's organic garden, which surrounds the restaurant. Changing the menu daily, each of the 4 courses was spectacular ..... but for me the ultimate decadence was a basket of chocolate-chip cookies that came with my coffee post-dessert. I love a good cookie and these were the best I have ever, ever eaten ....... that alone is a the best reason for me to go back to Provence!!!!!!!
The day was divine and we had lunch on the terrace. We followed our meal with a walk through the lush, colorful, and aromatic garden ..... a totally sensual experience. In addition to outdoor dinning, the indoor restaurant, a converted sheepfold, is equally divine. I was particularly enthralled by a mural running along one wall ...... and realized it had been done by New York based artist's Astro Vivid Focus, whose style is not exactly traditional to Provence!!! There is a recently opened charming shop that sells an assortment of unusual items, and of course, I managed to buy a dozen wonderful red handmade ceramic cups ........ I can find great "accessorations" anywhere!!!
I adored La Chassagnette ....... it melded all of my favorite things ......
really great design, fabulous fresh food, a wonderful garden,
and a unique place to shop!!!!!