Provence dining and more

We had a 2-week stay in Provence, Oct. 5-19, ’05, with Idyll, Ltd. (Box 405, Media, PA 19063; phone 888/868-6871 or visit We stayed in Velorgues, France, in the Oasis 2 apartment, a luxurious 2-bedroom rental with dishwasher, washing machine, patio and lots of privacy. The cost was $2,169 for apartment, car rental and airfare from Philadelphia.

Idyll provides a local “host” for orientation and support plus a wealth of pre-trip information. They have rentals throughout continental Europe.

Some restaurant recommendations in this area are as follows:

• In nearby L’Isle Sur la Sorgue, Bistrot de l’Industrie (2 quai de la Charite; tel. 04 90 38 00 40) — behind the Peugeot dealership. Delicious pizzas, crepes and salads around €8 (near $9.60) each. Indoor and outdoor seating. Closed Monday night and Tuesday.

• Also in L’Isle Sur la Sorgue, Restaurant Rose d’Asie (30 quai Jean Jaures; tel. 04 90 38 00 37). Freshly prepared Chinese/Vietnamese specialties. €13.50 ($16) for a 3-course menu du jour. Try the “nem” starter, a quartet of crispy egg rolls, and have the pommes beignet (apple fritter) for dessert.

• In Pernes Les Fountaines, restaurant La Margelle (Place Aristide Briand; tel. 04 90 61 25 83). Three choices of delicious French home cooking. Menu du jour (three courses), €17.50 ($21).

• In Orange, Bistrot Aux Choregies (Place aux Herbes) — near the Roman theater. Three-course lunch of pizza, salad and crème brûlée for €9. Many locals were enjoying the food here.

• In Paradou, Le Bistrot du Paradou (tel. 04 90 54 32 70) — near the town of Les Baux. Wonderful food and service. Set menu changes daily. Four-course meal, €39 ($47) including wine. Highly recommended. Reservations required. Closed Sunday.

We also enjoyed a bullfight in the Arles arena on a Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets were €14 for centrally located seats on the second level.

The French bullfight is quite different from the Spanish bullfight. The French cheer for the bulls who live to old age. There is quite a lot of pageantry involved before the five bullfights. Arrive early to find a parking spot.

Provence in October featured few crowds and beautiful, sunny, 70-degree weather.

Williamstown, NJ