The annual Marseille Gourmet Experience and Exhibition ‘Food en Sud’ takes place at the end of January each year and what an experience it is.

For us the highlight was watching international chefs cooking and talking about their creations under the theme of Vegetables and legumes, the richness of Mediterranean cuisine.

The cast assembles.

Ready, Steady, Cook!

Renowned Turkish chef, Aylin Yazicioglou prepares her exotic creation – from her restaurant Nicole in Istanbul.

From the other side of the Mediterranean in Tunisia came Mounir Arem from le Baroque in Tunis – he brought his own calamari from Tunisia!

It’s back! The newly revamped Bistrot Le 5 has reopened under the wing of its original owners who have sold their twin operation, La Veranda to concentrate on the much bigger and moe demanding Le 5.

While the snow still sits atop Mont Ventoux and the chilly mistral blows, the Bistrot is open inside and when conditions get warmer, it’ll be outside as well.

The front entrance to the inside restaurant.

The 1960s Ménerbes discotheque has been smartened up to take a few tables when the upstairs restaurant is full.

Le 5 is open for lunch Tuesday-Sunday and evenings Thursday-Saturday during the winter season.

Bookings at: 04 90 72 31 84.

Francophiles tend to devour as many books about France as they can. Here’s another ‘must’ – The Bettencourt Affair, the World’s richest woman and the scandal that rocked Paris.

It’s written brilliantly by Tom Sancton the Paris Time correspondent, and tells the story of Lilian Bettencourt, the L’Oreal heiress (her father started L’Oreal) and the photographer/author/painter who befriended her and received over 1billion euro (that’s 1 billion!) in gifts and how the family tried not only to recover the money but also to pursue other gifts. Parisian high society, French politicans, you name it, it’s all there.


Available from amazon and leading bookstores.


A misty afternoon – Ménerbes with some ‘Ridley Scott’ movie type sign posts.

Every few months, Madame and her mates take off for a restaurant and spend their monies accumulated from playing cards every Wednesday night.

The most recent choice was a L’Isle sur la Sorgue staple – La Balade des Saveurs and it went down a treat.

A typical L’Isle sur la Sorgue view – the Venice of the South.

Madaem’s entree – seared tuna. A hit!

Another of the entrees – ravioli.

Home-made ice cream; chocolate fondant on a biscuit. Delicious!


How’s this – home made macaroon and ice-cream.

At this time of the year, the markets are full of Sevilla oranges from down south in Spain. The ladies descended on the fruit and veg stalls and scooped them up – for marmalade.

A busy Monday afternoon spent making marmalade (and quaffing the golden liquid form the valley, plus a bit of singing) and there you have it…..

My perfect Valentine’s Day gift.



Many thanks, my darling…

Statue in Apt

The Luberon valley is bookended by two towns – Cavaillon and Apt. Both have rich Roman heritage – in fact the whole valley does. Outside the main administrative building in Apt, is this lovely old statue.

Continuing the theme – Ménerbes basks in the wintry sun.

All we know is the new sign….

For over 20 years, Marie-Pierre has baan a fixture in nearby Roussillon with her shop selling fine wines, cheeses, olive oils and all manner of luxury gourmandises.

Time for a change – Marie-Pierre has moved lock stock and barrel to Ménerbes and is moving inot the space vacated by La Veranda restaurant (who have amalgamated their restaurant activities into Bistrot Le5).

What’s behind there?

The brown paper on the windows hides the secret – we await the beginning of March with bated breath!


Gordes – one of the most beautiful villages in France, silhouetted against the winter sun.

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